The Trading with the Enemy Act was also the authority for the seizure, on Oct. 20, 1942, of Nazi German banking operations in New York City, run by Prescott Bush, later a U.S. Senator, and father of President George H.W. Bush and grandfather of President George W. Bush.
Bush was a managing partner of Brown Brothers Harriman. From 1930 until 1942, the Wall Street firm was the US.banking agent for Fritz Thyssen, the major financial backer of Hitler's Nazi party.
Dealing with Nazi Germany was not illegal until Hitler declared war on the United States of America and the President signed an order. Six days after Pearl Harbor, however, President Roosevelt did sign an order. Ten months later, as Americans went into combat against the Germans in North Africa, Prescott Bush was still managing assets for the Nazis. Prescott Bush's business interests, seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act in October and November 1942, included:
- Union Banking Corporation (UBC)
- Holland-American Trading Corporation
- the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation
- Silesian-American Corporation
While Bush's partner E. Roland Harriman owned the bulk of the stock in UBC, and directors such as Prescott Bush owned only one share, Bush was later reimbursed $1,500,000 for his interest in the seized company.