Guide to Federal Records

Records of the Office of Alien Property


(Record Group 131)
1878-1987 (bulk 1917-57)

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 131.1 Administrative History
  • 131.2 Records of the Office of Alien Property Custodian and its Successors Relating to Activities Arising from World War I 1898-1946
    • 131.2.1 General records
    • 131.2.2 Records of the Washington headquarters of the Office of Alien Property Custodian
    • 131.2.3 Records of field branches of the Office of Alien Property Custodian
    • 131.2.4 Records of the Alien Property Bureau
  • 131.3 Headquarters Records of the Office of Alien Property and its Predecessors Relating to Activities Arising from World War II 1878-1965 (bulk 1930-49)
    • 131.3.1 General records
    • 131.3.2 Seized records of enemy-controlled organizations
    • 131.3.3 Seized records of Japanese-controlled trading companies
    • 131.3.4 Seized records of Japanese banks
  • 131.4 Field Records of the Office of Alien Property and its Predecessors Relating to Activities Arising from World War II 1935-55
    • 131.4.1 Records of the Office of Alien Property, Honolulu, HI
    • 131.4.2 Records of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, San Francisco, CA
  • 131.5 Textual Records (General) 1905-87
  • 131.6 Cartographic Records (General) 1927-39
  • 131.7 Motion Pictures (General)
  • 131.8 Sound Recordings (General)
  • 131.9 Still Pictures (General)

131.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Department of Justice, October 15, 1946, by EO 9788, October 14, 1946.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Office of Alien Property Custodian (1917-34)
  • Alien Property Bureau, Claims Division, Department of Justice (1934-41)
  • Alien Property Division, Department of Justice (1941-42)
  • Office of Alien Property Custodian, Office for Emergency Management (1942-46)

Transfers: To Civil Division, Department of Justice, by Attorney General Order 249-61, September 1, 1961.

Functions: Administered all suits in federal courts and all claims relative to seizure and vesting of enemy-owned or enemy- controlled property during World War II. Managed and liquidated all such vested assets.

Abolished: By EO 11281, May 13, 1966, effective June 30, 1966.

Successor Agencies: Foreign funds control to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Treasury Department; other alien property functions to Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Department of Justice, with the title of Director of the Office of Alien Property.

Specific Restrictions: As specified by the Department of Justice, seized corporate records dated after the time of seizure by the Office of Alien Property, and all other records that are less than 50 years old, may be used only by authorized employees of the Department of Justice and by other persons who have obtained the permission of the Office of Alien Property.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Office of Alien Property in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Top of Page

131.2 Records of the Office of Alien Property Custodian and its
Successors Relating to Activities Arising from World War I
1898-1946

History: Office of Alien Property Custodian established by EO 2729-A, October 12, 1917, under authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act (40 Stat. 411), October 6, 1917, to assume control and dispose of enemy-owned property in the United States and its possessions. Abolished by EO 6694, May 1, 1934, with functions and records transferred to Alien Property Bureau (APB), newly established in Claims Division of Justice Department. APB superseded, December 9, 1941, by Alien Property Division (APD), established in Justice Department to administer enemy property seized upon U.S. entry into World War II. APD abolished by EO 9142, April 21, 1942, with functions, personnel, and property transferred to Office of Alien Property Custodian, Office for Emergency Management. See 131.2.

Top of Page

131.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Records of the Alien Property Custodian, 1917- 40. Records of the Department of Justice pertaining to the Office of Alien Property Custodian, 1925-27. Records of the War Claims Arbiter, 1928-32. Records, 1898-1917, seized by the Alien Property Custodian.

Top of Page

131.2.2 Records of the Washington headquarters of the Office of
Alien Property Custodian

Textual Records: Records of the managing director, 1918-29. Records of the Bureau of Administration, 1917-40; Bureau of Law, 1909-43; Bureau of Trusts, 1908-41; and Bureau of Audits, 1917- 40.

Top of Page

131.2.3 Records of field branches of the Office of Alien Property
Custodian

Textual Records: Records of the New York Branch, including records of the Bureau of Investigation, 1913-36; Bureau of Sales, 1917-30; and Office of Enemy Insurance Companies, 1913-41. Records of the Philippine Branch, 1917-20.

Top of Page

131.2.4 Records of the Alien Property Bureau

Textual Records: General records, 1918-45. Records of the Federal Tax Section, 1918-39; Claims Section, 1926-41; Legal Section, 1917-46; Securities Section, 1916-40; and Real Estate and Decedent's Estate Division, 1938-40.

Top of Page

131.3 Headquarters Records of the Office of Alien Property and
its Predecessors Relating to Activities Arising from World War II
1878-1965 (bulk 1930-49)

History: Office of Alien Property Custodian established in Office for Emergency Management (OEM) by EO 9095, March 11, 1942, under authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 and the First War Powers Act (55 Stat. 838), December 18, 1941, with responsibility for administering enemy-owned property. By EO 9142, April 21, 1942, acquired functions, personnel, and property of Alien Property Division, Justice Department (See 131.2). Abolished by EO 9788, October 14, 1946, with functions (except those relating to property in the Philippine Islands) transferred to Office of Alien Property, justice Department. See 131.1.

Philippine Alien Property Division established in OEM by EO 9789, October 14, 1946, to administer the Philippine Property Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 418), July 3, 1946. Abolished, effective June 29, 1951, by EO 10254, June 15, 1951, with functions transferred to Office of Alien Property, Justice Department. See 131.1.

Top of Page

131.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Records of the Division of Investigation and Research relating to resident enemy aliens, 1942-44; and the vesting of assets, 1942-47. Correspondence, memorandums, and reports relating to the liquidation of vested enemy property, 1942-65.

Top of Page

131.3.2 Seized records of enemy-controlled organizations

Textual Records: Administrative and proprietary records, 1878- 1946, seized from the German Railroads Information Office (New York, NY), German-American Bund, Deutsches Haus, Deutscher Klub of Dallas, German American Athletic Union of North America, Federation of Italian World War Veterans in the United States, and the Dante Alighieri Society of New York. Correspondence of the office of the North American agent for the parent corporation of the Hamburg-America Line and for the North German Lloyd ("Hamburg-American Line/North German Lloyd"), 1937-41.

Motion Pictures: Travel in Germany and other countries, from the "Hamburg-American Line/North German Lloyd" files, 1930's (27 reels). German-American Bund activities, including a recreation center in Riverdale, NJ; a youth camp near Windham, NY; a vacation home in St. Louis, MO; and Camp Bergwald, NY, 1930's-40's (37 reels). See Also 131.7.

Sound Recordings: Bund rallies held in Madison Square Garden and the Hippodrome in New York City, February-October 1939 (8 items). German-American Bund recordings of German nationalist songs, symphonies, and operatic selections used at entertainments and rallies, n.d. (182 items). Speeches by Adolf Hitler and other Nazi leaders, n.d. (2 items). See Also 131.8.

Photographs: German works of art, cities, industries, festivals, customs, Nazi officials, and military operations in Europe and Africa, from the German Railroads Information Office in New York, 1930-41 (GR, N; 30,250 images). Seized from the "Hamburg-American Line/North German Lloyd" files, including interiors and exteriors of ships, 1908-39 (SS, 2,000 images); cities, natives, and buildings at its ports of call, 1920-39 (WP, 4,500 images); famous people on board its ships, 1920-39 (P, 500 images); and albums relating to activities of the steamship line, including an album of photographs of an "emigrant village" for transient passengers in Hamburg, 1910-30 (MA, 400 images). Nazi personalities and activities in Germany and other countries, including personnel and activities of the German- American Bund, 1933-41 (NO, 1,100 images). Loaned to the Office of Strategic Services from series WP and GR, 1942-43 (OSS, OSS-A, OSS-G, OSS-M; 2,700 images). Performers and scenes from Ufa- Films, Inc., ca. 1939-40 (UFA, 750 images). See Also 131.9.

Lantern slides):World tourist attractions, probably used by the German Railroads Information Office, 1930-39 (LSC, 2,613 images). See Also 131.9.

Top of Page

131.3.3 Seized records of Japanese-controlled trading companies

Textual Records: Organizational, administrative, and proprietary records, 1897-1949, seized from Asahi Corporation; Ataka and Company; Godo Match Company; Haruta and Company; Z. Horikoshi and Company; Mitsubishi Shoji Kaisha, Ltd. (315 ft.); Mitsui and Company (585 ft.); Mogi, Momonoi and Company; Nippon Trading Company; Okura and Company (196 ft.); Orange Petroleum Corporation; Shinyei Corporation; Southern Cotton Company; Toyo Machine Company; and Yamanaka and Company.

Motion Pictures (9 reels): Japanese film dramas from the records of Haruta and Co., Inc., 1930's. See Also 131.7.

Finding Aids: Preliminary inventory of seized Japanese company records in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Top of Page

131.3.4 Seized records of Japanese banks

Textual Records: Organizational, administrative, and proprietary records, 1880-1942, seized from Bank of Chosen, Ltd.; Mitsubishi Bank, Ltd.; Mitsui Bank, Ltd.; Sumimoto Bank, Ltd.; Bank of Taiwan, Ltd.; and Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd. (70 ft.).

Top of Page

131.4 Field Records of the Office of Alien Property and its
Predecessors Relating to Activities Arising from World War II
1935-55

Top of Page

131.4.1 Records of the Office of Alien Property, Honolulu, HI

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Administrative files and correspondence, 1953-55. Orders and authorizations, 1942-45. Operating files, 1943-55. Indexes to individual property holdings, 1942-55; to decisions by the examiner, 1942-55, to litigation cases, 1942-55; and to internees, 1942-46.

Top of Page

131.4.2 Records of the Office of Alien Property Custodian, San
Francisco, CA

Textual Records (in San Francisco): Japanese bank correspondence, 1935-43.

Top of Page

131.5 Textual Records (General)
1905-87

Records relating to I.G. Farben and I.G. Chemie, 1905-63. Index to litigation case files, 1942-87.

Top of Page

131.6 Cartographic Records (General)
1927-39

Maps and Charts: U.S. harbors, annotated to show facilities used by sales agents for the Franco-German potash cartel, 1927-39 (27 items).

Top of Page

131.7 Motion Pictures (General)

See Under 131.3.2 and 131.3.3.

Top of Page

131.8 Sound Recordings (General)

See Under 131.3.2.

Top of Page

131.9 Still Pictures (General)

See Photographs Under 131.3.2.
See Lantern Slides Under 131.3.2.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


Top of Page

Guide to Federal Records >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.