462.00 R 296/746: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Herrick)


11. L–186 for Logan. You are referred to Ambassador Phillips’ telegram of December 4, 1924, on Belgium’s request for American support of her priority.

The Department appreciates greatly the attitude of Belgium toward American participation in German payments and desires, of course, continued Belgian support. In principle, also, this Government desires that Belgium receive equitable treatment.
The Department understands from Ambassador Phillips’ telegram that Belgium desires our support of her priority. The principle of Belgian priority has already been viewed with sympathy by this Government, and, in principle, the Department is entirely willing that Belgian priority should be realized. The points on which Belgian priority has been contested, however, have not been made clear. Ambassador Phillips’ telegram refers to German payments held at Coblenz. Department’s view is unchanged that this Government would not wish to be considered as expressing any opinion on these funds. If Belgium desires American support on some specific point please telegraph particulars to Department.
Referring to Belgian debt question raised in your L–285, December 19, 1924, 7 p.m.,8 question 5: The Department’s general position has already been set forth in its L–142, November 7, 1924, 6 p.m.9 Obviously it is essential for us to maintain integrity of our position of looking to Belgium for payment. I do not see, therefore, how the United States could assert a claim to participate in German payments without implying change in Department’s position. The Department appreciates, however, that as we continue to look to Belgium for payment we have a deep interest in Belgium’s strengthening [Page 524] her finances in order to be in a position better to reimburse this Government. The Department perceives no reason, therefore, why Belgium should not receive proportionately increased participation in German payments if she is unable to look to the United States for release from the obligation in question. The Department has consulted the Treasury and authorizes you to take position that Belgium should receive the percentage that would go to the United States under proposed plan if latter had accepted substitution of German liability described in Article 232 of Treaty of Versailles10 and letter of June 16, 1919.11 Your support of this position must be conditioned, however, upon obtaining suitable assurances that Government of Belgium will institute appropriate negotiations for refunding of its debt to the United States12 and that this Government will get benefit of payments made to Belgium as aforesaid.
  1. Ibid., 1924, vol. ii, p. 108.
  2. Ibid., p. 71.
  3. Malloy, Treaties, 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3419.
  4. Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. ii, p. 66, footnote 61.
  5. See pp. 107 ff.