File No. 841.51/82

The British Embassy to the Department of State 1

paraphrase of a telegram from mr. balfour dated august 2, 1917

Please give following message to Mr. McAdoo from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

There is no doubt about the fact that our exchange is really Allied exchange. The exchanges of the Allies are entirely dependent on the maintenance of sterling exchange in New York although the exact figures are naturally not available but all the Allies are well aware of this.

At the present time we are supporting exchange only by means of dollars supplied by the United States Government. Only so long as such assistance is forthcoming can exchange be supported. We have no resources of our own except a trifling amount which would possibly be obtained by the sale of securities. We ought, however, unless there is an exceptional run on the exchange, to get through August without a break if in addition to the $185,000,000 for August we could be repaid for the sums advanced by us for expenditure incurred by Russia in the United States since April 1. The exact amount would be furnished by Lever. We estimate that before the end of August the amount would be about $100,000,000. Pending further means of a less temporary character which we hope to see applied in a month or two, this seems the best way of avoiding raising an awkward question at the present moment in view of the difficulty of explaining to Congress the true nature of the present difficulty and of getting them to realise the vital importance of finding a solution and of avoiding a crisis.

  1. Left with the Assistant to the Counselor for the Department of State (Auchincloss) by the British Ambassador. Note in file: “He will give original to Treas.”