Cancellation of International War Debts

Cancellation of International War Debts

Cancellation of International War Debts

Cancellation of International War Debts

Excerpt

The settlement of the international war debts is one of the most complicated and troublesome problems at present being discussed. The sums themselves are large --the total due the United States alone now amounts to more than eleven billion dollars, while under present refunding agreements the interest itself will amount to another ten billions. More important, the transfer of such large sums, even when spread over a considerable period, is bound to have a marked effect on the direction and amount of international trade, and make the balancing of budgets for many countries difficult. In as delicately adjusted a world as the economic one in which we now live the balances may very easily be upset by an injudicious settlement of this question.

Agitation for the cancellation of the war debts due to the various governments has been carried on with considerable energy since even before the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. In general the arguments advanced were the same as those used in favor of a revision of the debts, since the line of demarcation between the two ideas was not clearly defined.

Within the last few years, however, a number of new factors have entered into the problem, and changed somewhat the point of view from which it was approached. The world-wide depression has taken heavy toll of Europe, and in many cases has made payment of any kind difficult or impossible. International trade has been disrupted and the regular flow of international credit disturbed.

Faced with this situation the nations of Europe gathered at Lausanne, and on July 8, 1932, announced that they had signed a general agreement for the practi-

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