Foreign Claims Settlement Commission

The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States is an independent quasi-judicial federal agency organized administratively as a component of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Commission's primary mission is to determine the validity and valuation of claims of U.S. nationals for loss of property in foreign countries, as authorized by Congress or following government-to-government claims settlement agreements.

Established in 1954, the Commission consists of a full-time Chairman and two part-time Commissioners, who are responsible for the review of claims and the issuance of decisions.

The jurisdiction of the Commission and its two predecessor commissions (the War Claims Commission and the International Claims Commission) has encompassed the administration of 44 claims programs, in which more than 660,000 claims have been filed and awards granted in excess of $3 billion.

Funds for payment of the Commission awards are generally derived from congressional appropriations, international claims settlements, or liquidation of foreign assets in the United States by the Departments of Justice and the Treasury. The Cuban Claims program, however, precludes the appropriation of funds by Congress for any such payments.

From 1965 to 1972, the Commission conducted its Cuban Claims Program to consider claims of U.S. nationals against the Cuban government for property takings occurring in the initial years of the Castro regime. The 5,911 certified claims determined by the Commission under this program were certified to the Secretary of State for possible use in the future negotiation of a claims settlement agreement with the government of Cuba.

The Commission can also be appointed as a Special Master by U.S. District Courts to make determinations on issues of ownership and valuation of property in any future federal court actions that may be brought under the Helms-Burton Act by U.S. nationals, whose Cuban property was confiscated by the Castro regime, against foreign entities "trafficking" in those properties.

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