By Robert Self
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Extra info for Britain, the US and the War Debt Problem, 1917-34 An Unspecial Relationship (British Politics and Society)
It also made clear to the US Treasury that its own claims should take precedence over those of America on the grounds that these debt obligations had been contracted first. P. Morgan recalled, whenever the idea reemerged, it was ‘always “stepped on” by the American delegates’. Wilson was no more enthusiastic about efforts to entangle the United States in the broader structure of German indemnities, such as the plan prepared by John Maynard Keynes who served as a financial adviser to the British delegation and which Lloyd George presented to Wilson in a long explanatory letter on 23 April 1919.
The American Government and people are living in a different continent – I might say in a different world. 46 Despite the contradictory statements of Warren Harding on the subject of war debts during his presidential election campaign, after receiving Wilson’s Origins of the war debt problem 31 firm rebuff the British concluded they should do nothing and await developments on the grounds that there was no reason to assume their claims would be treated any less sympathetically by a Republican administration than by Wilson’s Democrats.
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).
Britain, the US and the War Debt Problem, 1917-34 An Unspecial Relationship (British Politics and Society) by Robert Self