My First Seventy-Six Years: Autobiography

By Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR On My Own

I DID not find it easy to relinquish my office as President of the Reichsbank. In the six years and more during which I had been at the head of the bank, relations with my fellow directors, my colleagues, and all bank employees had acquired such a confidential character as to maintain, if not actually to increase, the bank's esprit de corps which had been famous from time immemorial.

In addition, the policy of the Reichsbank during my term of office had been proved advantageous to the German economy, and the Reichsbank's reputation in the international world of banking had regained its former high level. We had kept up our connections, too, with the remaining principal Central Banks throughout the world.

My professional travels had taken me not only to European capitals but also repeatedly to New York, where I had found a particularly kind friend and counsellor in the late Benjamin Strong, then President of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Strong was a first-rate connoisseur of finance and banking conditions in the United States and keenly interested in bringing the policy of the American money market into line with that of other markets. This purpose was further served by various meetings between us Central Bank presidents either in Europe or the U.S.A. Our gatherings in the skyscraper building of the Federal Reserve Bank consisted of the heads of the Central Banks of New York, London, Paris and Berlin. These discussions were invariably characterized by complete harmony.

Even during the period of Prohibition, Strong did not despise alcohol. By way of returning his hospitality I sent him on one occasion a case of the finest (and headiest) wine of the Palatinate that I could find in all Germany. At our next meeting in New York he said,

"I still have a bottle left of your wonderful wine; you must come to lunch and share it with me." At lunch he raised his glass and welcomed us. "Gentlemen, this is a marvellous light Moselle Herr Schacht sent me."

-263-

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