868.51 War Credits/485
The Minister in Greece (Skinner) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 23.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram of even date4 asking on behalf of the Hellenic Government for particulars respecting the financial arrangements come to between American financiers and the Government of Poland, and especially with regard to the powers and duties of the American comptroller. In a conversation which I had with the Foreign Minister, Mr. Michalakopoulos, this morning, he expressed a lively interest in this matter.
The Hellenic Government, as the Department is well aware, has a considerable number of outstanding foreign loans, the service of which is assured by the International Financial Commission. It is now running in the minds of the people here that a well worked out funding operation would greatly simplify the tasks of the Government, and result in considerable economy as well. Likewise, if a refunding loan should be arranged on satisfactory terms, it is hoped that the private financial interests involved would be able to provide their own comptroller, who would replace the International Financial Commission, which, while it has served useful purposes in the past, sometimes gives great annoyance when used as a political instrument by the governments represented therein.
It is the case, indeed, that within recent weeks the French Government, supported somewhat hesitatingly by the British Government, withheld authority from the International Financial Commission to take over the service of the pending general loan, as a means of exerting pressure upon the Hellenic Government to settle the French war claims without arbitration. It is probable that this matter would still be open, but for the American settlement with Greece, which had the effect of inducing the French and the British to withdraw their objections, and of causing the French to agree to the arbitration of the claims, a mode of settlement which up to that time had been urged by the Hellenic Government without success.
If American financiers should eventually conclude to float an important issue of refunding bonds for this country, the results probably would be exceedingly happy for our relations in this part of the world. It is to be assumed that, merely as a financial operation, the enterprise would be satisfactory and would open up a fair field of investment for American capital; but, aside from that, such an undertaking would bring the varied resources of the United States more conspicuously to the attention of the people of Greece than is [Page 3]now the case, and by removing Hellenic finances entirely from the domain of European politics, would prevent the granting of concessions and the like from being dealt with hereafter on other than strictly economic grounds.
I trust, therefore, that the Department will be able at an early date to provide me with literature setting forth what has been done in Poland and possibly literature respecting financial settlements with other countries, if the terms of, such settlements would be useful as a basis of discussion in Greece.
I have [etc.]
- Not printed.↩