HC Deb 13 March 1929 vol 226 cc1103-4

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether there is any record of proposals by the individual American states, who are in default in the repayment of loans raised in this country for industrial purposes in the days before the United States of America was formed, to repay the bondholders the amounts outstanding, together with interest?


I do not understand my hon. Friend's reference to industrial loans raised before the United States of America was formed, but I must assume that he has in mind the obligations incurred by certain Southern States before the American Civil War and repudiated, In so far as His Majesty's Government are aware, no proposals have been made for the liquidation of these debts. Such information as available on these points will be found in the Annual Report of the Council of Foreign Bondholders.


I am sorry the question was not clear, but the right hon. Gentleman correctly interpreted what I meant. In view of the misunderstanding that exists in America, among certain parties in America especially, as regards the difference between loans raised for civil war purposes and for industrial purposes previous to the Civil War, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether he cannot help the bondholders by making clear the position?

Viscountess ASTOR

Will not the bondholders all be dead by now?


I think the distinction between loans raised for the purposes of the Civil War and these loans which were raised for re-productive work before the Civil War is now well understood in the United States.


May I make it clear for the Noble Lady's benefit that I refer to the representatives of the bondholders.


Is it not a matter of considerable concern to the Imperial Exchequer, seeing that they are losing Income Tax on these bonds which ought to be paid?


Will the right hon. Gentleman seriously consider breaking off relations with America for her default?