Completed Programs - Czechoslovakia

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

First Program  
Number of Claims 3976
Number of Awards 2630
Amount of Awards - Principal and Interest $113,645,205
Amount of Fund $83,090,768
Amount of Payment 73.11%
“Beneš” Claims  
Number of Claims 128
Number of Awards 128
Amount of Awards - Principal $43,906,382
Amount of Fund $5,400,000
Amount of Payment 12.30% of Principal
Post - 1958 Claims  
Number of Claims 1619
Number of Awards 378
Amount of Awards - Principal $5,120,928
Amount of Fund $1,500,000
Amount of Payment 29.29% of Principal

 

Title IV of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949, as amended (the Act), enacted  in August 1958, authorized the Commission to determine the validity and amount of claims of nationals of the United States against the Government of Czechoslovakia based upon losses resulting from the nationalization or other taking of property by that government.  Under the terms of the statute, the Commission was required to delay any action on the claims for twelve months after its enactment to afford the Czechoslovakian government an opportunity to reach a satisfactory claims settlement agreement with the United States.  Funds for partial payment of the Commission’s awards were then to be derived from seizure of the proceeds from the liquidation of certain Czechoslovakian government assets in the United States that had been blocked in 1952 and sold in 1954, unless a claims settlement agreement was concluded within that period.   The twelve months ended with no agreement being reached, and there was none until many years later (see below).  The assets liquidation yielded a net total of $8,540,768.41, which was deposited in a special fund in the United States Treasury and disbursed to claimants receiving Commission awards.  During the course of the program, the Commission issued decisions on a total of 3,976 claims.  It found 2,630 of those claims to be compensable, and made awards amounting to $72,614,634 in principal and $41,030,571 in interest.  The Czechoslovakian Claims Program was completed on September 15, 1962.

On December 29, 1981, Congress enacted the Czechoslovakian Claims Settlement Act of 1981, approving a claims settlement agreement which had been negotiated between the United States and Czechoslovakia.  Under that agreement, the Government of Czechoslovakia paid to the United States a total of $81.5 million in settlement of all claims which had arisen up to the date of the agreement. ( This was in addition to the $8,540,768.41 derived from the sale of Czechoslovakian assets in the United States in 1954, mentioned above.)

The claims statute directed that three funds be created out of the total settlement amount.  The first fund, amounting to $74.55 million, was set aside to make further payments on the unpaid balance of awards made in the first program.  A second fund of $5.4 million was set aside to make ex gratia payments to certain claimants whose claims had previously been denied due to their lack of United States nationality on the date of loss.  The Commission was directed to review the claims of those claimants and to find them valid if the owner of the confiscated property had become a United States national by February 26, 1948. This was referred to informally as the “Beneš” claims program, because the claims at issue in it had originally arisen during the term of the socialist Czech president Edouard Beneš. A third fund in the amount of $1.5 million was set aside to pay claimants who had suffered losses subsequent to August 8, 1958; the claims statute directed the Commission to conduct a program to determine such claims.  These programs were completed on February 24, 1985.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

First Program – Pub. L. 85-604; (22 U.S.C. 1642)

Second Program – Pub. L. 97-127; (22 U.S.C. note prec. 1642);

PERTINENT INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Czechoslavak Socialist Republic on the Settlement of Certain Outstanding Claims and Financial Issues.  Signed at Prague, January 29, 1982.

COMMISSION DECISIONS

Lead Decisions

Decisions and Annotations Regarding Claims Against Czechoslovakia

Updated September 12, 2014

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