Courtesy Reuters

The Silver Agreement

THE four-year agreement negotiated at the World Monetary and Economic Conference by the eight nations which are the largest holders or producers of silver is frequently cited as the one real definite achievement of the parley. The inclusion of the silver question in the conference agenda was due largely to American influence, and the designation of Senator Pittman of Nevada, leader of the silver bloc in Congress, as a member of the American delegation was an assurance that this problem would not be ignored. According to newspaper reports, some of the American delegates regard the silver agreement of July 22 as in itself an adequate justification for the holding of the conference.

The agreement, signed by five silver-producing nations -- Australia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and the United States -- and by three silver-holding nations -- China, India, and Spain -- was designed to increase the price of silver by limiting sales of the metal in the world market and by providing for the yearly purchase of stipulated amounts by governments of the silver producing countries. It stipulates that the five silver-producing countries shall purchase or withdraw from the market 35,000,000 ounces of silver annually for four years. Of this amount 24,421,410 ounces has been apportioned to the United States, 7,159,108 ounces to Mexico, 1,671,802 ounces to Canada, 1,095,325 ounces to Peru, and 652,355 ounces to Australia. The United States would thus take 69.78 percent of the total; Mexico, 20.45 percent; Canada, 4.78 percent; Peru, 3.13 percent, and Australia, 1.86 percent.

No official explanation has yet been given concerning the basis of this allotment. Apparently, there was a considerable amount of bartering before the figures were put in their final form. Unofficially, it is reported that American influence was an important factor in bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion. Probably the American wish "to do something for silver" induced the American representatives to agree that the government of the United States should absorb over two-thirds of the metal to be withdrawn yearly from the market. This allotment was far out of line with

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