21 NOVEMBER 1931, Page 2

* * * * Will America Help ?

Whatever M. Laval may do it is going to be next to im- possible to reach a satisfactory reparation settlement unless war debts are brought full into the discussion. Some action in this direction is believed to be contemplated by the United States Government, though with a 152,000,000,000 deficit on the national budget in prospect it is not the happiest moment for the advocacy of generosity towards Europe. But in fact not generosity but hard business is involved. The plain fact that America can only get payment from Europe in goods which she does not want, and is doing her best to keep out by means of a towering tariff, is gradually sinking into the minds not only of bankers and business men who realized it long ago, but of the more intelligent sections of the population as a whole—and that includes some Con- gressmen. The official attitude is understood to be that a debt settlement must follow, not synchronize with, a reparation settlement. That is not a fatal objection. Europe must face the reparation question rationally on her own account. She will have an additional incentive for doing that if some alleviation of debt burdens is in sight. But it would help matters a 'great deal if Mr. Hoover could assure Germany's reparation creditors that America does not intend to leave them worse off than they are under the present moratorium. They cannot forgo reparations in part or in whole and still make full payments on debts.