29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 2

Payments for American Supplies

Both Lord Lothian, the British Ambassador in Washington, who has just returned to America, and Sir Walter Citrine, who has been speaking to the American Federation of Labour, have been assuring the American people of what we all know in this country7—that there is no wavering here in the war effort, and that we are confident of ultimate victory. Both stressed the importance of the war material with which the United States can supply us, and Sir Walter urged his labour friends there for the sake of both countries to speed up production. But Lord Lothian made no secret of the fact, well known to informed people everywhere, that there are limits to Britain's capacity to pay for war material with gold and the sale of securities. Our securities on the American market will be used up before long at the increasing rate of purchases, and other means of payment will have to be found next year. Lord Lothian did not mention credits—a delicate subject—but that was in everyone's mind. The Johnson Act prohibits the ex- tension of American credits to any nation which has defaulted on payments of war debts, and the Neutrality Act prohibits it to any belligerent State. Nothing, therefore, can be done by the Administration alone—it is a matter for legislation. But since it is now generally admitted that the British Navy is America's first line of defence, and that this country is fighting in the interests of the United States, it is difficult to see how the conclusion can be resisted that America should at least lend money to those who are fighting her battles. That view is making rapid headway in the United States.