BANK OF ENGLAND ARCHIVE: RECORDS ON WARTIME GOLD TRANSACTIONS
This is a guide to records in the Bank of England Archive bearing on wartime gold dealings and movements. The transactional records listed will, it is believed, enable researchers to identify all the Bank's dealings from 1927 to 1966. The selection of policy and subject files has of necessity been subjective: files included are those where the compiler believes they will be of relevance or at least interest, or where an interest has already been expressed.
Other records exist and are available for public access. Full finding aids are available. Please contact the Bank's Archivists, Henry Gillett and Sarah Millard on 0171-601-4889/5096 for details or appointments to see records.
Notes on this list:
The date spans given are those of the file(s) but the papers relevant to this subject do not necessarily cover the same range.
Bank records are, in general, open for public access after 30 years.
Bank of England Archive
London EC2R 8AH
17 November 1997
RECORDS DEALING PRINCIPALLY WITH THE TRIPARTITE GOLD COMMISSION (TGC)
C52/9 is the Bullion Office file dealing with the visit of Bank staff to Frankfurt to help with inventorying the gold held at the Frankfurt Exchange Depository in 1945. There are preliminary lists, working papers, a general report on conditions and working procedures and detailed coin and bar lists.
0V34/251 is the Overseas Department file on the TGC, 1941-1948 Contains details of claims presented by the governments of Albania, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
0V34/218-219 are Overseas Department files entitled "Germany; looted property and its restitution." 1942-1947
Joint Allied Declaration on looted gold. German methods of securing control of property rights and interests situated in or belonging to residents of occupied allied territory. Gold finds; inventories. Bank staff visit; correspondence. Rumours of further hoards. Frankfurt inventories. Estimates of gold looted by Germany. estimates of looted Dutch, Austrian and Italian gold.
0V34/247-250 are files of the Overseas Department entitled "Germany: restitution of monetary gold." 1945-1977
Proposals to pool gold as found. Paris Conference on Reparations. List of gold held in British zone. Definition of "monetary" and other terms relevant to pooling and reparation. Tripartite Commission established. Analysis of claims received. Gold available for restitution. Distributions. Dutch claim in 1963.
Other records, relating to the TGC's relationship with the Bank as a customer, remain subject to customer confidentiality.
RECORDS ON SPECIFIC COUNTRIES
0Vl16/1-2 Overseas Department file on Albania, 1923-1964
Albanian gold with Banca d'Italia. Albanian claim, Italian counter claim etc.
0V88/48 Overseas Department file on Belgium, 1927-1951
Holdings in Belgium and in the Belgian Congo. Gold with the Bank of France looted by Germany, equivalent restored post war.
C43/245 Gold and foreign exchange file on Belgium, 1940-1943 Anglo-Belgian gold agreement 1941: Gold belonging to National Bank of Belgium to be delivered to Bank of Ottawa for prosecution of war and to be repaid in installments after conclusion of hostilities.
C43/376-382 Gold and foreign exchange file on Belgium, 1933-1954 Gold purchase and sale. Shipments to London during the war.
C43/167 Gold and foreign exchange file on Canada, 1939-1940 Gold shipments to Canada: line and port to be used.
C43/240-242 Gold and foreign exchange file on Canada, 1939-1941 Shipments by naval vessels.
C43/247 Gold and foreign exchange file on Canada, 1937-1971
Opening of new account with Bank of Canada, Montreal, prior to shipments of gold from France, 1938; press speculation; choice of shipping line.
C43/629 Gold and foreign exchange file on Canada, 1940-1946 Evacuation of foreign central bank gold set aside at Bank, following that of Treasury gold to Ottawa, with particular reference to occupied France, and arrangements after war for repatriation of gold and re-set aside.
0Vl12/5-8 Overseas Department file on Czechoslovakia, 1939-1947
Some papers on the Czech gold transfer, but mostly dealing with arrangements for blocking Czech assets. Czech gold holdings in Switzerland.
C43/374-375 Gold and foreign exchange file on Czechoslovakia, 1933-1970
Narodni Banka Ceskoslovenska; gold and foreign exchange accounts with the Bank. Holdings on the account vested with Custodian. Resumption of relations after the war.
OV4/IO1 Overseas Department file on BIS/Czechoslovakia, 1939-1947 Detailed account of the sequence of events leading to and following the transfer of Czech gold held in London on BIS account to Reichsbank BIS account.
0V4/102 Press cuttings on the Czech gold affair. 1939
G14/166 Committee of Treasury file on Czech gold affair.1939 Extracts from the Bank's Committee of Treasury on Czech gold, and some correspondence between the Governor and the Chancellor.
G15/327 Secretary's Department file of miscellanea, 1943
Includes an internal memorandum on the Czech gold affair, prepared for internal circulation.
C43/451-452 Gold and foreign exchange file on France, 1935-1945
Gold moved to Canada from France and from London. Gold holdings and movements.
0V45/95-96 Overseas Department file on France, 1932-1952 Location of French gold. Movements, transactions etc.
C40/1008 Cashier's Department file on France, 1940-1941
Bank of France Gold: Bank/HMG correspondence on transfer of title to Custodian of Enemy Property.
C43/629 Gold and foreign exchange file on French Equatorial Africa, 1941-1944
Purchase of gold from French Equatorial Africa.
C43/371 Gold and foreign exchange file on Holland, 1933-1959
C43/682 Gold and foreign exchange file on Poland, 1940-1945
Gold reserves moved from Paris to Dakar, then under Vichy government control. Poles offered (blocked) French gold in return.
C43/308 Gold and foreign exchange file on Portugal, 1935-1948 Gold movements etc.
C43/359-360 Gold and foreign exchange files on Sweden, 1933-1955
C43/365-367 Gold and foreign exchange files on Switzerland, 1933-54
0V58/4 Overseas Department file on Switzerland, 1939-1945
Papers on a wartime Swiss gold swap were weeded in the 1980s, but index references still exist.
BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS (BIS)
0V4/99-100 Overseas Department files on BIS gold, 1935-1952
These contain copies of BIS papers sent to Sir Otto Niemeyer, who was a Director of the BIS from 1932-1965 and Chairman from 1937 -1940, and correspondence with him. They also include internal Bank memoranda commenting on transactions and policy.
C43/332 Gold and foreign exchange file on the BIS, 1934-1946 Management of the BIS gold at the Bank - amounts, movements, instructions etc.
RECORDS ON BROADER SUBJECTS
0V48/12-13 Overseas Department files entitled "Gold", 1938-1961 Wartime estimates of holdings by occupied and other countries, and amounts looted. International gold movements. Frozen accounts.
Post war papers are largely concerned with gold production and prices and re-establishing the Bullion Market.
PARTICULAR SCHEMES, ETC
C43/10-11 Gold and foreign exchange files,1940-1955
These files deal with a scheme whereby gold held in London by non UK residents could be relocated to Canada against subsequent repayment after the war. Details of the individuals involved remain sensitive on customer grounds.
C40/370-377 Cashier's department files, 1947-1958
The files cover the Dollfus Mieg case, which is concerned with that company's claim for the restitution of specific bars looted by the Germans.
C139/1-8 Exchange Equalisation Account Gold ledgers, 1937-1965
These ledgers record gold holdings and movements on the Exchange Equalisation Account.
C142/1-5 Bullion Office: set aside ledgers, 1927-1971
Records of gold held at the Bank and set aside for specific customers. These include the BIS numbered accounts and the accounts of other central banks.
These records contain dealings with a number of the Bank's customers and may still be subject to restrictions on access.