RESTITUTION OF CAPTURED PROPERTY SILVER COIN ALLEGED TO BE CAPTURED BY GERMAN RAIDER "WOLF1: QUESTION OF RECOVERY
TREATY OF PEACE BETWEEN THE ALLIED AND ASSOCIATED POWERS AND GERMANY (1919), Part VIII, Section I, Arts 238, 239, Annex I, paragraph (9)
The Secretary to the Treasury has forwarded me the following minute for advice:
The Commonwealth Bank has brought under notice that a parcel of Australian silver, about £2,500 has been offered for sale by the London City and Midland Bank on behalf of a Dutch client. The Bank surmises that portion of this silver is identical with the £2,400 in shillings, which was captured from the Matunga by the raider Wolf, and suggests that there may be some means under the Treaty of Peace by which its return can be insisted upon.
I suggest that the Commonwealth Bank be informed that the recovery of this loss is covered by Article 231 of the Treaty of Peace with Germany.
The facts are not sufficiently stated to enable a definite opinion to be given.
Assuming the coin to be identifiable as that which was on the Matunga, it is material to know whether it was condemned by a German prize court, or looted from the ship; whether it is now in the possession of the German Government, or has passed as money in a lawful transaction; and whether it is now in ex-enemy territory.
See German Peace Treaty, Articles 238 and 239 and Part VIII, Section I, Annex I, paragraph (9).
Unless the coin can be identified, and the Commonwealth can prove that it has not, since its capture, passed as money in any lawful transaction, I do not think that any claim for restitution of the actual coin can be made.
The provisions of the Treaty above quoted require reparation to be made by Germany in case of money seized, on land or sea, in an operation of war.
[Vol. 18, p. 18]