My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
The Centre of Separatism

Norman and I continued our conversation the following morning. "I have gone into your proposal most thoroughly and discussed it not only with my board here but also with my banking friends in the City. Do you really think you can raise one hundred million marks in foreign currency in Germany?"

"I am convinced that I stand a very good chance of it."

"Then I am prepared to make you a loan from the Bank of England for a period of three years, for the purpose of establishing the Golddiskontbank."

"I am deeply grateful to you, Mr. Governor. I take it that I should have the right to repay the loan before the expiry of that period?"

"There would certainly be no objection to that."

"What rate of interest does the loan carry?"

"We will reckon interest at a flat rate of five per cent."

When one remembers that at that time interest in Germany was in the neighbourhood of ten per cent., even for financially sound debtors, it is easy to appreciate that this rate was a great concession. I accepted without further ado. No mention was made of guarantee or security. Norman was satisfied with an ordinary, simple undertaking on the part of the Reichsbank.

"Mr. President, I and my friends have gone further into the question of the possiblity of discounting your bills in the London market. A group of London bankers is prepared to accept bills to the value of several hundred million marks, provided they are endorsed by the Golddiskontbank, so that you may count altogether on half a milliard working capital for your bank."

Once again I expressed my deep gratitude; I saw my Golddiskontbank as a certainty, which at the same time would afford me the opportunity of giving a good "boost" to Rhineland-Westphalian industry.

But Norman had yet another surprise in store for me. "Before you leave London," he said, "I would like to show you the letter I sent to M. Finaly in Paris yesterday." He handed me the carbon copy of his letter--scarcely more than twenty lines in all. In the

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