The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Howard)

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Chilton’s note of February 9, 1924, stating that His Majesty’s Government, in conjunction with the French Government, have lately had under consideration the advisability of setting up some centralizing organ to deal with questions arising out of the liquidation of the relief credits granted in 1920 and 1921, by certain allied and neutral Governments to other Governments in central and eastern Europe.

While the Government of the United States was happy to cooperate with the other interested Governments with a view to providing the necessary credits for the purchase of the relief supplies which were so urgently needed in order to facilitate the prompt and practical solution of the pressing relief problems arising in Europe after the conclusion of the war, it has never been the opinion of this Government that it would be necessary to establish any international agency for the settlement of questions arising out of its advances to foreign Governments for the purposes of relief as this Government has believed and still believes that any questions that may arise in this regard are susceptible of adjustment through existing channels. Furthermore, as pointed out in your note under acknowledgment, under existing legislation the World War Foreign Debt Commission alone is competent to deal with the question of refunding the indebtedness of other Governments to the Government of the United States, and that Commission has no authority to execute its powers through any international agency.

It is the understanding of the Government of the United States, however, that your Government is suggesting not that an international [Page 133] agency with plenary powers be established for the purpose of settling questions arising out of the liquidation of the above mentioned relief credits, but that a committee be appointed for ancillary purposes only.

I have noted the suggestion of your Government that the committee should consist primarily of the European credit-giving countries, but that they would welcome the presence of an American representative, and that in the event that the Government of the United States were willing to share in the work of the committee, a representative of the World War Foreign Debt Commission might be delegated to attend the meetings of the committee.

This suggestion has been transmitted to the Chairman of the World War Foreign Debt Commission and upon the receipt of a reply from him, I shall take pleasure in communicating with you further on this subject.

Accept [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes