Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan,
254 U.S. 554 (1921)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan, 254 U.S. 554 (1921)

Central Union Trust Co. v. Garvan

No. 392-39

Argued January 10, 11, 1921

Decided January 24, 1921

254 U.S. 554 (1921)


1. Decrees of the circuit court of appeals affirming decree of the district court placing the Alien Property Custodian in possession of property in libel proceedings brought by him under the Trading with the Enemy Act held reviewable in this Court by writ of error. P. 254 U. S. 566.

2. Congress has power in war time to provide for immediate seizure, in pais or through a court, of property supposed to belong to the enemy, leaving the question of enemy ownership vel non to be settled later at the suit of the claimant. P. 254 U. S. 566.

3. Under § 17 of the Trading with the Enemy Act of October 6, 1917,

Page 254 U. S. 555

which confers on the district court jurisdiction to make all such orders and decrees as may be necessary and proper to enforce the provisions of the act, those courts have jurisdiction to enforce the demands of the Alien Property Custodian for the delivery of property to the possession of which the act entitles him. P. 254 U. S. 566.

4. The Trading with the Enemy Act, § 7(c), provides that, "[i]f the President shall so require, any money or other property . . . held . . . for the benefit of an enemy," without license,

"which the President after investigation shall determine . . . is so held, shall be conveyed, transferred, assigned, delivered, or paid over to the alien property custodian."

Held that, upon a determination after investigation by the Custodian, exercising the President's power by delegation under § 5 of the act, that certain securities were held by trustees for the benefit of enemy insurance companies, followed by demand, the duty arose to deliver them to the Custodian; that the question of enemy property vel non could not be inquired into in his suit to compel delivery, but rights in that regard could be asserted and protected by claim, and, if necessary, suit, for return of the property, under § 9, as amended. P. 254 U. S. 567.

5. Proceedings of this character are alternative to direct seizure by the Custodian under § 7(c) of the act as amended by the Act of November 4, 1918, and involve only the right to possession. P. 254 U. S. 568. Clinkenbeard v. United States, 21 Wall. 65, distinguished.

6. Insofar as concerns claimants who proceed as allowed by amended § 9, a proceeding like the present gives a mere preliminary custody, although in other respects the Custodian may get a conveyance under the act, with broad powers of management and disposition under § 12, as amended. P. 254 U. S. 569.

265 F. 477, id. 481, affirmed.

The cases are stated in the opinion.

Page 254 U. S. 565

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