462.00 R 296/746: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium (Phillips) to the Secretary of State


118. Yesterday I called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs at his request and he explained that Belgian Government was greatly concerned over attitude of the British Treasury experts in Paris. According to the Minister it is feared that British delegates are seeking to do away with Belgian priority to German payments held by the Comptabilité Centrale de Gages at Coblenz. Allied Powers had always admitted [payment?] of army costs out of these funds. British experts now assert that Belgium is not entitled to receive priority payments from these funds held at Coblenz and must hereafter accept her proportion of payments in kind instead of in cash.

Belgian Government is anxious to be protected from extreme view of British Treasury and asks intervention of delegate of the United States in support of the Belgian equities. The Minister reminded me that the Government of the United States had from the first favored idea of Belgian priorities; that Belgium had been very sympathetic to recent American claim to right of participation in Dawes annuities to cover claims of American citizens in addition to army costs;6 and that Belgian Government had taken initiative in turning over to the United States 25 percent of any sums paid to Belgium even before ratification of Army Costs Agreement of May 25, 1923.7 The Minister said that he referred to these three points in the hope that the Department would at present time find it possible to come to Belgium’s assistance and to protect her from British Treasury’s ultra rigid attitude. He also referred to critical situation which [Page 523] would be created here in political circles were the Government forced to abandon its just claim to priority payments; it is evident that both he and the Prime Minister are alarmed at course events have taken in Paris and foresee that there will be decided reaction against the Government in the forthcoming elections should Belgium be forced to abandon her present priorities.

Copy of this telegram sent to Logan.

  1. See Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. ii, pp. 1 ff.
  2. For correspondence concerning payment by Belgium, see ibid., pp. 140 ff.; for text of agreement, see ibid., 1923, vol. ii, p. 180.