" Finland always pays her debts",--this is so constantly reiterated that it impresses some as propaganda to improve credit standing in furtherance of additional loans.(1) Now that Finland faces Poland's fate, our sympathy goes out to the people being sacrificed.
$139,035.96 appears to be the total amount that Finland's debt to the U. S. has been reduced since it was originally contracted in 1919. A. D. Peterson, Assistant Commissioner of Accounts and Deposits, Treasury Department, Washington, D. C., responding to my inquiry, writes Feb. 27, "The original indebtedness of Finland was $8,281,- 926.17. . . . As of December 15, 1939, Finland has" made payments on the interest and principal "leaving the total amount of its indebtedness $8,142,890.21". The difference, a decrease, is $139,035.96.
In 1923"the indebtedness as funded was $9,000,000 including the original principal amount of $8,281,926.17 and accrued interest of $718,073.83," Mr. Peterson writes. "The statement that advances to Finland after the World War amounted to $18,000,000 is not correct".(2) The 18 millions (Bul #22) some writers mention would approximate the amount of the balance due compounded at 5%,.(3)
The Finnish Information Center, Fifth Avenue, N. Y. emphasizes in a release that Finland is one of the least debt burdened countries in Europe, and Finland's handsome Minister emphasized at the N. Y. Herald Tribune Forum the low debt, making Finland appear a good risk. New York bankers recently appealed to did not consider Finland a sufficiently good risk to float a private bond issue to sell even to the gullible American people and Finland's 5% and 6% bonds have been quoted recently on the N. Y. Exchange at from $22 to $40.
England and America have a large stake in Finland, as brought out in Economic Notes, Jan., 1940, of the Labor Research Association,