800.51 W 89Belgium/35: Telegram
The Ambassador in Belgium (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 31—7:28 a.m. (?)]
62. Your 32, May 29, 4 p.m. I presented oral and written communications this afternoon at conference with the ad interim Ministers of Finance and of Foreign Affairs. A decision was reached to accept your conditions and they will send me a note tomorrow to that effect. Text will be immediately cabled Department. The Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Van de Vyvere) said that in view of existing exchange situation the $50,000,000 loan had become immediate necessity and that he had no alternative, therefore, but to accept required conditions. [He found?] conditions in paragraph (a) hard, and said that there was a public opinion in Belgium which had always distinguished between the war debts and the post-armistice debts. He referred to the negotiations on subject of the war debt which had taken place at Paris with authorized American representatives during peace conference and said that facts of the Belgian situation had then been recognized.2 He was fully aware that as the United States had not ratified the Treaty of Versailles it was not legally bound by its terms, but he felt that, at least, morally, negotiations should have been resumed where they had stopped before Belgium should be required to accept certain definite conditions.
I explained in detail impossibility for us to distinguish between war debts and post-armistice debts as well as impossibility of giving Belgium special treatment in her war debts in view of debt-funding arrangement, which we had already concluded with other nations. I pointed out importance of paragraph (c) and said that I felt confident that when the Belgian commission arrived in the United States it would receive the most sympathetic consideration. I dwelt especially on desirability that this commission should proceed with least possible delay. I was assured that it would go forward in July and would certainly be composed of ex-Premier Theunis and Mr. Hautain, Governor of the National Bank.