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Freezing Controls: The Effects on an Unlicensed Transaction (with Berger), 47 Columbia Law Review 398 (1947)


On April 10, 1940-forty-eight hours after Germany began her invasion of Denmark and Norway-the United States prohibited a wide range of transactions in the assets within this country owned by the Governments of the invaded countries and by their nationals. By depriving the Axis of access to these funds and securities, Executive Order No. 8389 forestalled their use for subversive activities in this country or for commercial dealings with European neutrals, at the same time protecting the alien owners and their American creditors against forced transfers of the properties. In successive months freezing controls were extended to the assets of the Low Countries and of France; the coverage of the Order continued to match the march of events until, with the President's declaration of an unlimited national emergency on June 14, 1941, the controls were extended to the assets of Germany, Italy, and every other European country not previously embraced. Eminently successful in achieving their intended purposes in wartime, the controls imposed by Executive Order No. 8389 are now in the process of liquidation. It is not surprising, since the prohibitions of the Order called an unaccustomed halt to free trade in eight and one half billion dollars' worth of assets, that "defrosting" has accentuated a number of old legal problems and has brought with it a myriad of new ones.

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