20 JUNE 1931, Page 36


Nevertheless, to return to the subject matter of this article, it is undoubtedly essential that contractual obligations should be rigidly respected, for already we (Continued on page 992.) Finance—Public and Private - (Continued from page 990.) are finding our financial troubles increased and the way to improvement barred by the fact that the investor has suffered so greatly through inability or unwillingness on the part of the borrower to give the return anticipated and sometimes guaranteed upon the capital outlay that he had become reluctant to invest. In other words, if there is to be any wiping out of War debt or reparation obligations, it can only be initiated by the creditor. It is unthinkable, for example, that France or Great tiritain should say to the United States that because Germany is unable to fulfil her obligations therefore they Must repudiate their liability to the United States. What however is not unthinkable is that clear-headed; and far-seeing statesmen in the United States should' come to the conclusion that in an all round cancellation of debts is to be found a course likely to be advantageous to the' interests of debtor and creditor alike.

It is, however, very important to recognize that even a general cancellation of international War in- debtedness would not necessarily bring back a return to international prosperity. If, however, such a cancella- tion of indebtedness were to be part and parcel of some scheme for hastening general international disarmament and for bringing about freer trade between all the countries, then I think we should be witnessing the dawn of a new era with, perhaps, greater. prosperity than the world has yet known.