The Belgian Ambassador ( May ) to the Acting Secretary of State
No. 1816

Mr. Under Secretary of State: I have the honor to send Your Excellency herewith the reply made by the King’s Government to the proposal of the President of the United States which Mr. Stimson communicated to me orally on the 20th of June, last.

I avail myself [etc.]

Paul May
The Belgian Embassy to the Department of State

The Belgian Government has welcomed the proposal of the President of the United States as an act of great significance; it sees in [Page 178] this act the beginning of a great work of international solidarity tending to a general economic recovery, the mere prospect of which is already giving rise everywhere to a feeling of confidence and hope. Indeed, the grave difficulties of the present moment can be overcome only if the peoples become aware of their common interest, eliminate all causes of anxiety and discord, unite their efforts, permit a broad spirit of cooperation and mutual aid. The Belgian nation sincerely desires the success of the American initiative. It is, however, unanimous in recalling that Belgium retains an imprescriptible right to reparation for the damages which she unjustly suffered. This right has been sanctioned by solemn declarations of the Governments, as well as by agreements concluded between them. It has never been contested, and it caused the extension to Belgium, in the regulation of the reparations and the war debts, of a special treatment which there is no reason to set aside.

Under these conditions, it would obviously not be admissible that the mutual aid projected should impose on Belgium consequences of a particularly onerous character and expose her to grave financial difficulties. Under reservation of these considerations, the Belgian Government adheres very sincerely to the principle of the proposal, in the conviction that the President of the United States will appreciate the necessity of so determining the methods of execution as to reconcile the plan contemplated with the legitimate special situation and rights of Belgium.