MR. JUSTICE REED delivered the opinion of the Court.
The Alien Property Custodian on November 17, 1942, executed Vesting Order No. 370. This order was issued under the authority of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 40 Stat. 411, as amended, and Executive Order No. 9095, as amended, and in terms vested the property therein described in the Alien Property Custodian in the interest and for the benefit of the United States. The order found the property to belong to a national of Germany. The property covered by the order was two blocks of stock — one common, one preferred — in the Silesian American Corporation, a Delaware corporation, hereinafter called Silesian. The stock, prior to August 31, 1939, stood in the stock book of Silesian in the name of Non Ferrum Gesellschaft zur Finanzierung von Unternehmungen des Bergbaues und der Industrie der Nichteisenmetalle, Zurich, Switzerland, a Swiss corporation,
To carry out the purpose of his vesting order, the Custodian directed Silesian to cancel on its books the outstanding Non Ferrum certificates, above referred to, and to issue in lieu thereof new certificates to the Custodian. This controversy revolves around the objection of Silesian so to act because the Custodian did not have physical possession of the pledged Non Ferrum certificates so as to be able to surrender them for cancellation, as the corporation's by-laws required. Silesian feared liability to the holders of the Non Ferrum certificates for issuing other certificates in such circumstances.
Silesian had been a debtor under Chapter X of the Bankruptcy Act since July 30, 1941. It therefore asked the Bankruptcy Court for instructions as to its compliance with the Custodian's direction. The other petitioner here, Silesian Holding Company, a Delaware corporation also, appeared and throughout has remained as a party to this litigation. It is the majority stockholder of Silesian but claims no different or other interest in the issue than Silesian. For the purpose of this case, it may and will be treated as having no more interest in the issue than Silesian has. The Swiss Banks asked the Reorganization Court to give instructions to the Debtor that no new shares be issued until the controversy between the Swiss Banks and the Custodian could be "fully, firmly and finally adjudicated."
The District Court instructed the debtor to issue new certificates to the Alien Property Custodian. The court said:
The court added:
No appeal to the Circuit Court of Appeals was taken by the Swiss Banks. They do not appear here as parties to this writ of certiorari or otherwise. We therefore express no opinion as to the effect of the order and decision of the District Court upon the claims of the Swiss Banks as pledgees of the Non Ferrum stock. See Silesian-American Corporation v. Markham, 156 F.2d 793, 795.
An appeal was taken to the Circuit Court of Appeals by Silesian. That court affirmed the order of the Bankruptcy Court. We first denied a petition for certiorari and then granted it so that this case might be considered in relation to other issues, thereafter presented here, in connection with the administration of the Trading with the Enemy Act. 329 U.S. 730 and 330 U.S. 852; Clark v. Uebersee Finanz-Korporation, 330 U.S. 813.
It was held by the Circuit Court of Appeals that Silesian had no "standing vicariously" to assert the interests of its shareholders. We agree. Silesian has no legal interest in the issue as to the ownership of its stock. It follows that Silesian has no standing to represent the interests of the pledgees of the Non Ferrum shares, if that is the present position of those shares. See Anderson Nat. Bank v. Luckett, 321 U.S. 233, 242. This reduces petitioners' objection to the order directing the issue of new certificates in favor of the Custodian for the Non Ferrum stock to the claim that the sections of the Trading with the Enemy Act under which the Custodian acted are invalid as applied to Silesian in these circumstances. If the provisions do not authorize the order and direction, Silesian, over its own objections, cannot be compelled to obey.
The Custodian vested the stock in himself by virtue of the Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended by the First
The section, 5 (b) (1), and Executive Order under which the Custodian acted authorized the vesting in him by his order of the property of a foreign national. This description covered stock ownership of a foreign national in Silesian. The fact that the certificates did not come into the hands of the Custodian is immaterial. They are evidences of the property right of the foreign national in Silesian that is subject to be vested in the Custodian by the Act. See Great Northern R. Co. v. Sutherland, 273 U.S. 182. Section 5 (b) (1) specifically states, "and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes." See note 2 above. Since the Custodian was authorized to vest and to sell the property by § 5, we think that the power to require the issue of new certificates was incidental to that authority. As one purpose of § 5 (b) (1) was to authorize the seizure of the interests of foreign nationals in domestic corporations so that such interest could be used or sold, such authority to participate in management or to transfer the stock interests would be frustrated if customary evidences of the ownership could not be required from the corporation. The power of the Custodian to demand the certificates is plain. The correlative duty to obey the order equally so, if the effect of obedience does not do violence to other valid requirements of the statute or make Silesian liable to bona fide holders of the old stock.
Silesian in specific terms is protected from any liability to bona fide holders such as Non Ferrum or the Swiss Banks by reason of any infirmity in the Custodian's vesting order or his direction to Silesian to issue new certificates for the Non Ferrum stock. The applicable language of § 7 (e) of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 40
Therefore, as we hold that § 5 (b) (1) rendered § 8 (a) inapplicable to the property of friendly aliens, the order of the Custodian was valid and Silesian's objection disappears.
Finally there is the argument that Silesian cannot be compelled to issue the new certificates because the friendly aliens who claim interests in the Non Ferrum stock may not succeed in recovering the just compensation for the taking. See Russian Volunteer Fleet v. United States, 282 U.S. 481, 489.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
"During the time of war or during any other period of national emergency declared by the President, the President may, through any agency that he may designate, or otherwise, and under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, by means of instructions, licenses, or otherwise —
by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; and any property or interest of any foreign country or national thereof shall vest, when, as, and upon the terms, directed by the President, in such agency or person as may be designated from time to time by the President, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe such interest or property shall be held, used, administered, liquidated, sold, or otherwise dealt with in the interest of and for the benefit of the United States, and such designated agency or person may perform any and all acts incident to the accomplishment or furtherance of these purposes;. . . ."
"No person shall be held liable in any court for or in respect to anything done or omitted in pursuance of any order, rule, or regulation made by the President under the authority of this Act."
55 Stat. 840, § 5 (b) (2):
"Any payment, conveyance, transfer, assignment, or delivery of property or interest therein, made to or for the account of the United States, or as otherwise directed, pursuant to this subdivision or any rule, regulation, instruction, or direction issued hereunder shall to the extent thereof be a full acquittance and discharge for all purposes of the obligation of the person making the same; and no person shall be held liable in any court for or in respect to anything done or omitted in good faith in connection with the administration of, or in pursuance of and in reliance on, this subdivision, or any rule, regulation, instruction, or direction issued hereunder."
"That any person not an enemy or ally of enemy holding a lawful mortgage, pledge, or lien, or other right in the nature of security in property of an enemy or ally of enemy which, by law or by the terms of the instrument creating such mortgage, pledge, or lien, or right, may be disposed of on notice or presentation or demand . . . may continue to hold said property, and, after default, may dispose of the property. . . . Provided further, That if, on any such disposition of property, a surplus shall remain after the satisfaction of the mortgage, pledge, lien, or other right in the nature of security, notice of that fact shall be given to the President pursuant to such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, and such surplus shall be held subject to his further order."