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Extra info for Britain, America and the War Debt Controversy: The Economic Diplomacy of an Unspecial Relationship, 1917-45
Moreover, although he concluded that ‘most of the really level-headed able men that I have met . . 19 Nevertheless, on 15 January 1919, Eduard de Billy, the French Deputy High Commissioner in Washington returned to the subject of the ‘closely interwoven’ nature of inter-Allied financial relations by proposing ‘a general and simultaneous settlement’ of all of these debts at the Paris Peace Conference; an idea justified on grounds of equity and because ‘the possibility of reimbursement by certain Governments may be deeply affected by the conditions of the Treaty of Peace, especially by the indemnity eventually to be received from Germany’.
When once that was done, however, cooperation would be easy and, he thought, fruitful’. Conversely, the Ambassador warned that Britain’s failure to respond to the American invitation while allowing France to send a delegation to Washington was a ‘disastrous blunder’ as ‘bad feeling and suspicion’ would be created in America, while ‘a great opportunity for Anglo-American cooperation would be lost’. Even more encouraging was Harvey’s hint that Downloaded by [INFLIBNET Centre] at 06:23 30 August 2012 38 Britain and the war debt settlements the Debt Commission ‘might very well report to the Administration that funding was not practicable without some amendment of the law’ and that the administration might then introduce further legislation relaxing the terms before March.
Finally, through the ARA, the US Grain Corporation also disposed of a further $56,858,802 worth of flour to relieve hunger in Europe. In total, therefore, by 1921 the US Treasury held the obligations of 20 nations payable on demand or within a short period of time. 10 Britain was the largest debtor with outstanding obligations to the United States of $4,277 million (around £880 million at par) acquired as capital advances between 1 April 1917 and 30 June 1919. 5 per cent was met by borrowing. But as Appendix III demonstrates, Britain in its turn was owed by its Allies the net sum of $6,753 million (around £1,390 million at par).