RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FRENCH DEBT ' TO AMERICA.
[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR, With reference to your statement that " America at a certain point required Great Britain to back the bill before she would "advance more credits to France and Italy," and again, your reference to " the £30,000,000 which we pay on France's behalf to the United States," Mr. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, in August, 1922, denied that France or any other Power had borrowed from the American Government on any Understanding of joint responsibility, and made this declaration : " No guarantee of the obligations of one borrow- ing nation was asked from any other nation." Mr. Baldwin, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in February, 1923, when asked in the. House by Mr. Herbert Spencer if he would state the date or dates on which the Govermnent undertook the liability of the Ioan from America ; the proportion of that loan which went to France and Italy ; and whether any protest against the desire of America that the United Kingdom should be responsible was made at the time by His Majesty's Govern- ment, gave the following answer : " The certificates of indebtedness bear various dates between April 26th, 1917,
and June 25th, 1919. No part of the advances went to France or Italy, those countries borrowing directly from the United States. The latter part of the question does not, therefore, seem to arise." Again, on December 18th, 1924, Mr. Herbert Williams asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Churchill, how much was lent by the British Government to Allied Governments to enable them to finance purchases from the United States. Mr. Churchill replied : " Any advances made to the Allies in dollars were taken over by the United States Government."
It seems perfectly clear from the above statements that,' not only is Great Britain in no way responsible for the French debt to America, but that the £33,000,000 Britain is paying the United States is for money borrowed for Great Britain's own use. The fact of the French debt to America being considerably more than the French debt to Great Britain also goes to prove that.—I am, Sir, &e.,
[But Cabinet Ministers have persistently spoken since then of the necessity of recovering as much as possible, if not all, of the money paid by us to America on behalf of France.— En. Spectator.]