HC Deb 20 March 1923 vol 161 cc2345-6
62. Sir W. DAVISON

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, in order to set at rest differences of opinion which have arisen, he will give full particulars of our various loans from America; whether the British Government suggested to the Government of the United States at the time when America came into the War that the United States Government should undertake the financing of the Continental Allied Powers, a task which for the previous 2¾ years had been undertaken by Great Britain; whether the United States declined to assume this responsibility; and whether this refusal necessitated our present indebtedness to the United States?


As the reply is rather lengthy, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


In reference to the last part of the question, is it not a fact that no loan would have been required by us from the United States of America if we had not been obliged to finance the European Allies of both America and ourselves?


That question was answered very much more clearly than is possible by question and answer by Earl Balfour the other day in another place.

Following is the answer:

The money was borrowed from the United States Government at frequent intervals to meet our requirements, but no distinction was made between individual advances now included in the funded debt. There are outstanding also advances for the purchase of silver and certain market loans, see my reply to the hon. Member for Belper on the 22nd February. As regards the second part of the question, the United States on entering the War undertook the financing of the Continental Allied Powers as regards expenditure in the United States and made loans direct to those Powers for that purpose. The British Government continued to make advances to the Allies for their expenditure in the British Empire and in neutral countries. Early in 1918 the British Government pressed the United States Government to relieve it of responsibility for financing these requirements of the Allies and offered in return to finance all its own expenditure in the United States without borrowing from the United States Government, but that Government did not accept the proposal.