For months U.S. congressional committees have been brooding about the shadowy role of Swiss banks in U.S. financial life. In the past seven years, purchases by anonymous Swiss clients have accounted for more than two-thirds of the increase in foreign purchases of U.S. corporate securities.

Yet Swiss law makes it a crime to reveal any information about them—or about any depositors in Swiss banks. SEC Chairman J. Sinclair Armstrong has also expressed worry, complained to a Senate security subcommittee investigating possible Communist stock buying in vital U.S. industries about "the difficulty of ascertaining the identity" of those buying stock through...

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