Courtesy Reuters

German Debts and Export Bounties

IN THESE days of moratoria and defaults on international obligations any revision of an existing arrangement which is made in behalf of the creditors is worthy of special notice. Such a revision was actually agreed to by the German Government on January 31, 1934, when its representatives consented to permit the payment of 76.9 percent of the interest due on certain long-term bonds, instead of the 65 percent which had been fixed as the limit in December.

This arrangement breaks the chain in a long series of reductions of the foreign claims on Germany. It will be recalled that at the time of the peace treaties there was talk for a time among some of the Allied delegations of collecting something like $200,000,000,000 from the Central Powers, with Germany assuming responsibility for ultimate payment of the Austrian and Hungarian quotas as well as her own. The amount of the Allied claims was not fixed in the treaties, but when the bill was presented later it revealed a sharp scaling down of the earlier estimates. These reductions were continued in subsequent revisions, and the story may be briefly summarized as follows:

1. May 5, 1921. The London settlement fixed Germany's direct and indirect liability at 132,000,000,000 gold marks ($31,400,000,000). The share of this to be assumed by the other Central Powers was not fixed, but Germany was to be responsible for the whole amount in case of default by her former allies. The annual instalments due from Germany were fixed at the equivalent of $500,000,000 plus a sum equal to 25 percent of the value of her exports, or a computed total of approximately $750,000,000.

2. March 21, 1922. Germany's cash payments for 1922 were reduced to $180,000,000, with the understanding that payments in kind were to continue.

3. August 31, 1922. Cash payments were suspended for six months.

4. January 11, 1923. French and Belgian troops marched into the Ruhr district because of Germany's default on payments in kind, and all payments under the London agreement came to an end. Some revenue, however, was collected by the occupation authorities.

5. September 1, 1924. Payments began under the Dawes

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