My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE
I Sign the Young Plan

AFTER the failure of the attempt to evolve a new Young Plan based on the minimum demands of Germany's former enemies, the chairman very justly turned the tables on us.

"Now," he said, "it is up to the German experts to tell us what they think they can manage." Which was only to be expected. To the question, when would we be able to submit a German memorandum, I replied: "At tomorrow's session."

We worked on that memorandum the entire afternoon of that day and right through the night. We were clear enough in our own minds as to the contents but it had now to be formulated and set down in absolutely watertight fashion.

Punctually the following morning we submitted our memorandum in German and English. It had been compiled by the four German experts working in complete accord with the officials who had been seconded to our delegation. I won't go into details of the amounts we quoted: they were still too high. But for the time being, and the whole political situation being what it was, we could not possibly hope for the cancellation of reparations. It seemed to us more important to discuss those circumstances which would most strongly affect Germany's ability to pay.

This memorandum led to an explosion which set the entire political pack on our heels. The cause of the excitement was the sentence: "The loss of the Eastern Provinces handed over to Poland had reduced Germany's food-growing areas to such an extent as seriously to impair Germany's solvency." Whereupon the enemy Press immediately set up a howl: "Herr Schacht demands the return of the lost Eastern Provinces!"

No less dust was raised by a second argument in this memorandum. We had written that we should have been in a position to increase our payments, but for the seizure of our colonies which deprived us of the chance of procuring raw materials from overseas with our own currency.

"Dr. ' Schacht wants the German colonies back!" yelled the enemy Press, by whom both instances were misrepresented, distorted, misinterpreted. Today there is no one who can fail to

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