The Secretary of State to Senator David A. Reed
My Dear Senator Reed: I have received your inquiry as to the discussions which took place last year between President Hoover and Monsieur Laval. According to my recollection, and that is quite clear, so far as these discussions touched upon the subject of debts and reparations they were limited entirely to temporary steps which might be taken to offset the effects of the depression. Monsieur Laval’s position was that any such step if taken by France as to reparations should be limited entirely to steps taken within the provisions of the Young Plan, which he insisted must continue in full force and effect. This in itself indicated that any remedial proposals would be of a temporary nature.
The President based his own position upon the long-established American position that the payments of our war debts were not in any way contingent upon German reparations but were based solely on the capacity of each individual debtor to pay as it might be affected by the depression.[Page 258]
No cancellation or revision of either debts or reparations was proposed by either side. No assurances or commitments on such subjects were either asked for or given. Nothing was said which could be in the remotest way a justification for a subsequent default on the war debt agreements. The communiqué given out at the close of these discussions was an accurate statement of the discussion in all these respects.