§ Mr. SMITHERS
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the letter of the law as to payment of War Debts to America; whether the British War Debt to America was incurred in payment for goods received by Great Britain or for a guarantee for goods supplied to the Allies; and, in view of the declared purpose of Great Britain to pay America what she received from other debtors, whether the agreement is affected by unilateral agreements between America and her European debtors?
The terms of the Funding Agreement of 1923 are contained in Command Paper 1912: the proceeds of the United States Grovernment's advances to His Majesty's Government, with the exception of a sum of about $140,000,000 which was re-lent to Russia, were applied towards meeting the expenditure of His Majesty's Government in the United States of America. In reply to the last part of the question, the inter-connection between the British War Debt and other inter-govermental obligations arising out of the War is based on evident and practical, rather than purely legal, considerations.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the annual payment due by this country to the United States of America if our debt had from the outset been settled on the same basis as the Italian debt and taking into consideration all past payments, in eluding the token payments recently made, on the basis of the exchange rate previous to 1931?
If the British War Debt to the United States Government had from the outset been settled on the same basis as the Italian War Debt to the United States Government, the amount which His Majesty's Government have already in fact paid would exceed the amount due on such a basis by approximately $1,240,000,000 (equivalent to £255,000,000 at $4.86 to £1), and no further payment would be due until 1955. Thereafter annual payments would be due on a scale rising from $77,750,000 (£16,000,000) in 1955 to $176,000,000 (£36,000,000) in 1984.