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By Laura S. Turnbull

The Benjamin Strong
of International



The Benjamin Strong
of International


The Benjamin Strong
of International


By Laura S. Turnbull, Curator









IN his annual report of December I, 1951, to the Trustees of
Princeton University, President Dodds remarked that fourteen
projects in research had been initiated at the University during
the year, a "new high" in research activity. It is interesting to
note that when it was established in the Princeton University
Library the Benjamin Strong Collection, a library of primary





sources in the field of foreign public finance and central banking
offering special facilities for study, was a forerunner of the present research technique of the University.
This short history-reviewing the first twenty-six years of the
Benjamin Strong Collection of Foreign Public Finance, now the
Benjamin Strong Collection of International Finance-was pre-










pared at the request of Mr. Gardner Patterson, Director of the











International Finance Section. It attempts to record how the idea
of the collection arose and who planned it; the men whose gifts
made it possible; how it was built up; the way it has been used
by students, professors, and the public; its relation to the International Finance Section; and the special features which make
it notable.
As the collection has had one curator during this time, continuity can at least be claimed for the story. Perhaps the reader

will glimpse something of the fascination of being part of a
project that was breaking new ground, and of assisting in the
working out of an idea. Even twenty-six years of use cannot dull
the shine of authentic coin.

THE following sources have been used in the preparation of this

paper: the annual reports of the Benjamin Strong Collection,
1929-1930 to 1934-1935 (especially the first report for 19291930) ; the annual reports of the Librarian of Princeton University, 1924-1925 to 1936-1937; the catalogue of the Graduate
School of Princeton University for 1951-1952, which gives the
most recent description of the International Finance Section and
the Benjamin Strong Collection (pp. 66-67) ; Interpretations of


Federal Reserve Policy in the Speeches and Writings of Benjamin Strong, edited by W. Randolph Burgess, New York, Harper & Brothers, 1930 (especially the introduction by Mr. Burgess, pp. xi-xxvii) ; and a memorandum concerning Benjamin

Strong enclosed in a letter from Mr. Benjamin Strong, Jr.,
February 25, 1952, to the author.
Quotation marks in the text indicate the use of material from
these sources.


The Beginning of the Collection:
Mr. Strong and His Plan
BENJAMIN STRONG, the first Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York under the revolutionary banking
reform instituted by President Wilson, was a man who thought
deeply on questions of world finance. He combined with great
executive power an interest in theory and frequently conferred
with scholars who were working on financial problems.

Many of his friends recall Mr. Strong's habit of inviting to
his house groups of people including both scholars and men of
affairs. After dinner he would throw open the discussion by suggesting some question of current interest. So absorbing would
the conversation become that often it closed with difficulty long
after midnight.
One of his closest associates was Professor Edwin W. Kemmerer of Princeton University, the financial expert who was also
adviser on currency and banking to so many foreign countries
that he was popularly known as "the money doctor." It was the
friendship of these two men that crystallized Mr. Strong's idea
of a collection of original sources for the study of foreign public
finance to be located in the Library of Princeton University.

"Benjamin Strong was born December 23, 1872 at Fishkill
Landing, New York. He was educated in public schools there
and in Montclair, New Jersey, completing only two years of
high school, after which he entered the banking business at the

age of sixteen. The major part of his early years was spent
with the Bankers Trust Company, which he joined when it was
established in 1903. He became president of that bank in 1912,
leaving the position in 1914 when the Federal Reserve System

was established and then was elected first Governor of the

6 ]

Federal Reserve Bank of New York, holding that position until
his death in 1928.


"He came naturally by his banking interest, as his great-grand-

father, Benjamin Strong (1770-1851), who had come to New
York as a young man from Setauket, Long Island, where his
family had lived since the middle i 600's, had served first as a
clerk in the Treasury Department under Alexander Hamilton
and then had his own private banking firm under the name of
Benj. Strong & Co. He was one of the founders of the Bank
for Savings, the first savings bank in New York, and of the
Seamen's Bank for Savings, being the second president of that
institution. His son, Oliver Smith Strong (1806-1874), and his
grandson, Benjamin Strong (1834-1915), were also engaged in
financial work in New York, although not directly affiliated with
the banking business.
"Benjamin Strong was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws

degree by Princeton University in 1918. His maternal grandfather, the Reverend William Edward Schenck, D.D., of the
Princeton Class of 1838, was for some years minister of the
First Presbyterian Church of Princeton and a trustee of Princeton Theological Seminary. Two of his brothers, Dr. Oliver

Smith Strong, Class of 1886, and Dr. Archibald McIntyre
Strong, Class of 1904, were graduates of the University, as were

his two sons, Philip Grandin Strong, Class of 1922, and Benjamin Strong, Class of 1919.
"Indefatigable in achieving his aims, during a large part of
his most active career he was in bad health. In 1916 he was
stricken with a severe case of tuberculosis of the lung, from
which he suffered intermittently during the twelve years remaining to him. His death, however, resulted from a severe operation
necessitated by a digestive condition."

In a resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York upon his death, written by
Owen D. Young, occur the following paragraphs:
"In normal times, it would have been a great accomplishment
to have organized a central bank of issue in the City of New
York, to have selected competent persons to do its work, to have
provided adequate equipment and a beautiful building for its
use, to have taught it to function as a cooperative unit in an untried Federal banking system, and to have established its good
will and service for the member banks in its district.

[ 8 ]

"But the times were not normal. After its organization, the
new institution was immediately faced with national and international disturbances resulting from the Great War. After our own

declaration of war, there were vast problems of financing, not
only of our commerce and industry, but of our Government
itself. After peace came the problems of deflation and readjustment, and after them the rehabilitation of the currencies of the
world. In these activities, the Federal Reserve Bank of New
York took an active and important part under the aggressive and
inspiring leadership of Governor Strong.
"The good understanding of the central banks of the world
and their good will toward each other have resulted in effective
cooperation and have yielded practical results. It is not too much

to say that Benjamin Strong was the father of that movement
and its guiding spirit. Not until the history of finance during
the war and after and the story of the reconstruction of the currencies of the world shall have been written can it be known
what a significant part he played in this most important work."
Also in the London Economist of October 20, 1928, an appredation of his work begins with these sentences:
"The death of Benjamin Strong will be felt as a keen personal loss by all those many people, in many lands, who were
privileged to know something of his genius for friendship. The
loss which has been suffered by the world will be felt, but perhaps never fully measured or appreciated, when the force of his
personality fails us in the years to come."
Although a personal reminiscence may sound trivial after these

words, I cannot resist describing my first impression of Mr.
Strong, when I saw, not him, but his bank. As part of my initia-

tion in the position at Princeton, he asked Miss Marguerite
Burnett, the Librarian of the Federal Reserve Bank, to show me

their library, accompany me through the great building, and
take me to lunch in the bank restaurant. Mr. Strong was away
and ill at the time, but I left with the feeling that I had met
him, so completely had he impressed his personality on everything in the place. Instead of an efficient robot organization, the
staff functioned with an esprit de corps which could only exist
when a group of people was working for a man who had won
its loyalty and in whose ideas it believed.



To give as nearly as possible a "documentary" report of Mr.
Strong's plan for the collection and its progress, much of this
present account consists of direct quotations from the reports
of the Librarian of Princeton University, both his annual reports and those dealing directly with the collection.
"The primary emphasis," Mr. Gerould wrote, "was placed on
official material, while secondary sources and important monographs on financial problems were included. . . No restriction
was made from a geographical point of view, for it was Mr.
Strong's desire and hope that the collection would eventually
embrace the financial history of every important country in the
world. The material .
should be gathered not only from an
historical aspect but also with a view of keeping the collection
current on new developments as they occurred and on new
statistics and reports as they were published."
The financial commissions headed by Professor Kemmerer to

the following countries give some idea of the demand for information and the range of documents received in the collection:
Bolivia, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico,

Philippine Islands, Peru, Poland, and the Union of South
Africa. He also served with General Dawes on his Commission
for Germany, after World War I.
One important stipulation was made by Mr. Strong, that the

collection should not be kept as a unit-enclosed within four
walls-and "apart from the general collection of similar books,
but that it should supplement and extend the Library's resources on the subjects concerned."

This was a wise and scholarly plan for which he has been
blessed by scholars and librarians using the Strong material. But
it has somewhat complicated the work of the curator and made
any viewing of the collection as a whole impossible. In answer

to the frequent question, "Where is the Benjamin Strong Collection?" one can only take the inquirer into the economics and
history sections of the Library and say, "You will find the Benjamin Strong Collection all through these shelves." Key lists
of the foreign government reports on finance, foreign trade,
statistics, and central banks are kept in the office of the collec-


To ]

tion, together with such current reports, both United States and
foreign, as are in demand.
A special book-plate, designed by the late Lansing C. Holden,
Class of 1919, has been placed in the books acquired under the
Strong committee, and identifies these books as a part of the

The Financial Support
by Mr. Strong's Group, 1920-1934
Aearly as 192o, "Mr. Strong started his annual donations
of funds to the Library for the acquisition of books and
data recording the financial aspects of the first world war, and
the efforts that were made toward rehabilitation. . . In 1924
he increased his annual gifts to an amount that would permit
the employment of a curator experienced in handling documents
and with a knowledge of foreign languages, who would devote
her time to the collection. . .

"Mr. Strong died on October 16, 1928. During the year
1928-29, the funds for the collection were supplied by a group

of friends, headed by Mr. J. Herbert Case, and consisting of
Messrs. Russell C. Leffingwell, Paul M. Warburg, William H.
Woodin, Clarence M. Woolley, and Owen D. Young, and by
members of the Strong family.
"The importance and the positive value of the collection to
the University had, by this time, so far demonstrated itself that
it was felt that its scope should be enlarged so as to coordinate it

with the work of the newly established International Finance
Section of the Department of Economics." "The endowment of
the International Finance Section, not completed until 1930, con-

sisted of the Walker Foundation, established with a fund of
$500000 in memory of James Theodore Walker, of the Class
of 1927, by members of his family, and the Professorship of
International Finance, provided by friends of the University.
"The Section had been organized to develop and carry out
a program of research, conferences, and instruction in international finance. The results of studies in this field were published
[ II ]

by the Section in a series of monographs and essays." This was
conducted under the general direction of Professor Kemmerer,
who was shortly appointed first Director of the International

Finance Section and also first Walker Professor of International Finance.

"With the money available it had been possible to make the
collection reasonably complete in the documents issued since
1922, but little had been done to make it representative of the
development in earlier years. Accordingly plans were considered for the expansion of the collection to meet the requirements
of the new International Finance Section, without, however,
deviating from its general scope as originally set down by Mr.
"Messrs. Paul M. Warburg, Gordon S. Rentschler, and Dean
Mathey agreed to act as an advisory committee, with Mr. War-

burg serving as chairman. The committee formed a group of
Mr. Strong's friends who with the Strong family contributed
during the year a total sum of $14,Soo, and it was agreed that
the support should be continued during a five year period.
Those contributing to the Fund were Messrs. George F. Baker,
Moreau Delano, John P. Grier, George L. Harrison, Thomas
W. Lamont, Russell C. Leffingwell, Dean Mathey, Montagu
C. Norman, Gordon S. Rentschler, Paul M. Warburg, Owen
D. Young, and members of the family of Mr. Strong."
"In 1932 the advisory committee was re-constituted and consisted of Messrs. Boudinot Atterbury, Edwin W. Kemmerer,
Dean Mathey, Gordon S. Rentschler, and Mr. Benjamin Strong,

Although the support of the collection was guaranteed only

through the college year 1933-1934, when $5,900 was received, such was its usefulness to students in the Department of

Economics that it was carried on with a reduced budget for
several years more. And we find in the annual report of the
Librarian of June 3o, 1937, that the contributions for the Benjamin Strong Collection of that fiscal year were $4,200. After
that date, except for occasional gifts, the collection was supported jointly by the University Library, which bought books
and supplied the office and part-time clerical assistance, and by
the International Finance Section, which paid the salary of the



curator, who also became officially Librarian of the International
Finance Section.




Boudinot B. Atterbury '16
George F. Baker
J. Herbert Case
Andre deCoppet '15
William W. Cumberland, Ph.D. '16
Moreau Delano

Herbert L. Dillon '07
John Foster Dulles '08
William S. Gray, Jr. '19
John P. Grier
George L. Harrison
Edwin W. Kemmerer
Thomas W. Lamont
Russell C. Leffingwell

Dean Mathey '12
Montagu C. Norman
Frederick B. Rentschler '09
Gordon S. Rentschler '07
Harold R. Robinson '16
Kenneth H. Rockey '16
Martin Saxe '93
Benjamin Strong, LL.D. '18
Members of the Strong family
James P. Warburg
Paul M. Warburg
Paul M. Warburg estate
William H. Woodin
Clarence M. Woolley
Owen D. Young, LL.D. '26
The Controller's Office reports the total amount of gifts from
the Benjamin Strong group, from 1917 to June 30, 1939, when
the account was closed, as $74,262.85.
* Compiled from the reports of the Benjamin Strong Collection and of the
Librarian of Princeton University, and verified by the Office of the Controller.

13 I

Building the Collection
Amorsro the most enthusiastic promoters of the collection was

Dr. James Thayer Gerould, Librarian of Princeton University from 1920 to 1938, a man keenly interested in international affairs, and especially desirous of securing for the Library
the documents from which history is written. I quote again from
his special report on the Benjamin Strong Collection for 19291930, the year of great growth for the collection:
"With the opening of the University for the year 1929-1930,
the Benjamin Strong Collection was .
ready and able to. put
into effect the plans necessary to expand its usefulness to meet
the new requirements of the University.
"In addition to providing financial support, the before-mentioned group offered, through extensive connections and friends
abroad, to assist in the gathering of material for the development of the collection. This assistance was immediately availed
of with eminently satisfactory results. With the aid of lists of
desiderata prepared by Miss Turnbull, several members of the
group, notably Mr. Warburg and Mr. Rentschler, were able to
procure extremely valuable additions to the available data on a
large number of countries. Up to the writing of this report a
total of 2,484 volumes has been received through these sources.
Much of the material was donated by friends in various countries, while the balance was purchased with the funds of the collection." (This list includes countries in Europe, South America,
and the Far East, and the names of such men as M. Marcel van
Zeeland, of the Bank for International Settlements at Basel;

Governor Risto Ryti, of the Bank of Finland; Montagu C.
Norman, Governor of the Bank of England; Dr. D. G. Bachmann, President of the Swiss National Bank; Dr. Vincente Lecuna, President of the Banco de Venezuela; and many others.)
In the summer of 1930 Mr. Gerould was authorized by the
committee to go to Europe to seek further source material. I
quote again from his 1929-1930 report: "Fruitful as these efforts were, it seemed wise to make an additional effort in the
European countries to establish the files of those documents,


14 1

through a personal visit to the capitals where they are published,

and to establish directly permanent agencies for a continuing
search for and collection of data coming within the scope of the
subject. As has already been mentioned, it has been possible to
obtain with considerable success material relating to the years
1922 to date. Prior to 1922, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to gather the more important items. The method of publication and distribution is such that, except for current issues,
these documents are, in most countries, exceedingly difficult to
secure. .



"Taking with him carefully prepared lists of financial series,
with memoranda of such parts of them as were already in the
collection, Mr. Gerould visited successively the capitals of all
the countries of Europe, except those of Albania, Lithuania, and
Russia. He took with him a general letter of introduction to our
diplomatic representatives abroad, very kindly provided by the
Department of State at the request of Secretary Mellon, and a
large number of personal letters supplied by those interested in
the collection. Mr. Gerould was received most cordially both by
Embassies and Legations as well as by Government officials he
met. They evinced great interest in the aims of the collection
and their cooperation was invaluable."

This trip of Mr. Gerould proved of very great usefulness,
and many connections were made at that time which still continue today. The number of volumes received by October, 1930
as the immediate result of the summer trip was 1,795.
Perhaps the way in which the documents relating to the Dawes

Plan have come to the collection illustrates better than many
figures how our various resources are built up until they offer
unique opportunities for study and research. From 1925, when
the Dawes Plan began to function, Mr. Shepard Morgan of the
Transfer Committee mailed us, currently, the printed reports of
the Dawes Commission. Then at the time of the liquidation of
the Office of Reparation Payments, in 1929, Mr. S. Parker Gilbert sent not only complete sets of the printed reports of the
Agent General, the Commissioners and the Trustees, but files
of the "Notes" and "Documents" of the Economic Service of
the Transfer Committee, consisting of several hundred confidential studies on German economic and financial conditions. "The

15 I

collection already contained an extensive file of the papers gath-

ered by Dr. Kemmerer while he was serving with the Dawes
Commission, in substance, the material on the basis of which the

Dawes report was written." (These papers have recently been
released from all restrictions and are in bound volumes shelved
as part of the Library.)
Since Professor Kemmerer's death in 1945 his papers had
remained at his house, among them sixty boxes of unpublished
memoranda and correspondence relating to the Dawes Plan and
his other financial commissions. After the Library was moved
into the new and commodious Firestone building, Mrs. Kemmerer and her son, Professor Donald L. Kemmerer '27, generously gave these papers to the collection, where they may
be consulted by scholars.

Within easy access in the Firestone Library to the student
who needs more background material are grouped the great files

of government records: the British Parliamentary Papers, the
French Journal officiel, the. German Stenographische Berichte,
with all the accompanying reports, minutes of evidence, and
annexes, not to mention the United States Congressional Record,
and the Committee and Commission Reports and Hearings. As

the United States has become more and more involved in international affairs, its records are now all-important source material. This is one of the noticeable shifts in the focal point in
world affairs from foreign countries to the United States; and
it is, of course, reflected in the type of documents used in the
This grouping of books by related subjects in the new building
seems wonderful to Princeton librarians when they remember how

the British Parliamentary Papers, a "must" for research in international affairs, was crowded out of the Pyne Library and
moved first to the attic of Palmer Laboratory, where it was
separated from the rest of the building by a steel screen with a
locked door. We were permitted to dig out material requested
by professors or students until the room next to the "cage" was
used for target practice during World War II, when it was
deemed too dangerous for us to venture there. Finally, the

the messengers to read the complicated numbering of the bound
set, so that they could bring back the correct bulky volumes to
the Library. To their credit, be it said, they had a high batting
average, but one could never be sure that the right volume had
come until it was examined. Plans for a new Library had been
drawn and were being considered as far back as the early 1920's,
but it was not until September, 1948 when the Firestone Library
was opened for use. The Benjamin Strong Collection was among
many other projects rejoicing at last in adequate quarters.


The Honorary Curator of the Collection
THE collection was fortunate in having the late Harvey E.

Fisk as Honorary Curator from its beginning. Mr. Fisk
was for many years connected with the Bankers Trust Company

of New York, after the firm of Harvey Fisk and Sons in Wall
Street was dissolved. He was an expert on foreign public finance,
especially for the period of the first World War, and the author
of a series of books on foreign public finance published by the
Bankers Trust Company, which were widely used. A microfilm

of his unpublished manuscript History of American Public Finance is in the film collection of the Library. Mr. Fisk was also
an ardent Princeton man, Class of 1877, and often came down
for Princeton events or to spend the weekend with his sister,
Miss Mary L. Fisk. Almost always he would devote some time
to the development of the collection.

From his office in New York Mr. Fisk would send to the
Library hard-to-come-by books and pamphlets, information about

new material to be secured, and requests for information he
needed in his own work. Mr. Fisk left his papers and manuscripts, containing a wealth of statistical material, to the Library
at his death in 1944, when the collection did indeed lose a friend!

books were moved to the basement of 20 Nassau Street, a building then owned by the University. By this time we tried to train


16 I

17 ]


The Collection while Supported by
the Strong Committee, 1 9 2 8 -1 9 3 9To grow and prosper such a project as this needs a constant
interchange of information between the collection and the
user. One of the most gratifying experiences of this period was
the response of both professors and students using our resources
in bringing to us their bibliographies and information which they
had obtained in the course of their research. It was interesting to
notice how soon the expressions of fear on the part of a few of
the faculty, that we would be "doing the work" for the students,
disappeared when they discovered that sources of information

otherwise untapped were pointed out to men eager to do their
own research.

As a matter of fact, this ability of students to handle source
material has developed amazingly in the last quarter of a century. The policy of opening the book stacks to readers, begun
by Mr. Gerould when he came as Librarian in 1920, was a great
aid. But the intellectual enthusiasm stimulated from the time
Woodrow Wilson was President of Princeton, by his fifty new

preceptors, the development of the "four course plan," the
reading periods, and the preparation for conferences in the
School for Public and International Affairs-now the Woodrow
Wilson School-have fostered this ability until it is one of the
outstanding marks of a Princeton man.
To give some idea of the actual work of the collection during
this period, we quote again from Mr. Gerould's first report on
the Benjamin Strong Collection: "Such a collection as this, if it

is to attain its maximum value, must be up to the minute in
the information which it contains. In her efforts to make it so
Miss Turnbull examines regularly the current issues of over
one hundred financial periodicals in various languages, noting
on cards important information which they contain, and writing
for official reports and other significant publications that are mentioned. [One tangible result of this reading was the publication
in 1928 of a volume in the Handbook Series of H. W. Wilson,


18 ]

Selected Articles on Interallied Debts and Revision of the Debt
Settlements, of which the curator was joint compiler with Mr.
Gerould.] Lists of current publications of such governments as
issue them are regularly examined as are also the current accessions of documentary material at the Library of the League
of Nations.
"It is gratifying to be able to report that the use made of the

collection during the past year has fully kept step with the
strides taken in the development of the collection itself. As a
large part of Miss Turnbull's time during the college year is
given to the assistance and direction of students and members of
the Faculty using the collection, it was found desirable to employ
an assistant to aid in cataloguing, filing, etc.

"In many cases the information sought from the collection
is incidental and involves no prolonged investigation or research. It is, of course, impossible to gauge the volume or estimate the exact extent of the assistance rendered in such cases,
but it is sufficient to report that the value of such a service is
inestimable to the University as a whole.
"The collection being concerned with the more specialized
and intricate phases of banking and economic study, it is in advanced lines of work that it is of greatest value. Six members of

the last graduating class found the material for their Senior
theses in the collection.

. . The subjects covered were the Young
Plan, the Soviet economic and financial situation, the Bank for
International Settlements, the American protective tariff in its
relation to foreign policy, and the diplomatic support of foreign
"Professor Frank D. Graham has made extensive use of the
collection in the preparation of his book on exchange, prices,
and production under hyper-inflation, a study of German postwar experience with inflated currency which is now in press and

will soon appear.

"In addition to this there are now underway, under the auspices of the International Finance Section, a number of studies

for which the Benjamin Strong Collection is indispensable.
These include Mr. George Luthringer's study of Philippine currency, Mr. A. J. Duncan's study of international trade of South
Africa, and Mr. Henry Shepherd's study of the Belgian stabili[ 19

zation procedure. Professor C. R. Whittlesey is now engaged
upon a study of direct foreign investment and has completed a
book now in press on government control of rubber production
in the East Indies with the effect on public finances of British
Malaya. Professor F. W. Fetter has ready for the press his book
on Chilean monetary history, for the preliminary work on which
he is much indebted to the Strong Collection. The work which
is now being done by graduate students in the School of Public
and International Affairs [now the Woodrow Wilson School]
occasions considerable demands on the collection. The Strong
Collection is an indispensable part of the very definite forward
movement in the study of international affairs, which has been
underway at the University for several years, but which is only
now coming to its first fruition.
"It is difficult to describe, in any comprehensive way, the con-

tents of such a collection as this. It means little to say that it
contains recent budgets and financial reports of forty-three countries and the chief statistical publications of forty-nine, the re-

ports of fifty-seven central banks and the major financial and
statistical reports of seventy-one mandates and colonial governments; that we have the financial reports originating in the
League of Nations and associated with it; that the leading financial publications are here, and along with it are hundreds of volumes of special reports, monographs and treatises. Any more de-

tailed summary would be wearisome. The statement may be
complete enough so that those who read this report and their
friends may realize that, when financial data within the scope
of the collection are needed, they may be found here."

The Collection, 1935-194-9
QUCH were the activities of the Benjamin Strong Collection
ki for the next five years, until the summer of 1934, and, in
general, so they have continued, with certain curtailments and a
few important changes in the character of the work, until the
appointment of the new Director of the International Finance

[ 20 ]

Section in the fall of 1949 When the depression, which was felt
with increasing severity in 1933, made further financing of the
collection by the Strong committee impossible, the International

Finance Section and the University Library assumed the responsibility as the result of a joint agreement between Professor

Kemmerer and Mr. Gerould. However, gifts from the Strong
group were still received as late as 1937.
By this arrangement the International Finance Section paid

the salary of the curator, who was then given the title of Librarian of the International Finance Section. The University
Library provided the office and stack space, bought the books
and new periodicals, and continued as before in checking in the
periodical material, and in cataloguing and binding the books.
Some of the time a part-time secretary was also provided by the

Library instead of the former college-trained assistant. This,
with the changing character of the work involving letters and
much copying, made for increased efficiency-when we had a
secretary. And we have had some very good ones!
When the move to the Firestone building was made in 1948,

some of the difficulties of a collection functioning under two
names were ironed out by changing the words "Foreign Public
Finance" to "International Finance." This not only solved a
"language difficulty" but better defined what, with changing
world conditions and under new leadership in the Section, the
collection had come to be. The name now reads: Benjamin
Strong Collection of International Finance.

Professor Kemmerer, whose use of the collection had been
constant, retired in 1937, and, although he still called on us
for reference work, the direction of the International Finance
Section was carried on under the joint planning of the late Pro-

fessor Frank D. Graham, Walker Professor of International
Finance, and Professor Stanley E. Howard, then Chairman of
the Department of Economics. They began the publication by
the Section of the pamphlet series Essays in International Finance. For this purpose they set up in our office a mailing list
of economists and others to whom these essays would be of interest. The list now numbers about two thousand.

In 1938 Mr. Gerould was obliged to retire because of his
health, and Mr. Lawrence Heyl, now Associate Librarian, be[ 21

came Acting Librarian for two years. The collection owes a debt
of gratitude to him for his efforts to keep the work progressing.
Not only did he manage the financial side, which anyone who
knows about library budgets will appreciate, but, being a convinced internationalist, he was also interested in the aims of the
work. Having made a specialty of periodicals, he realized their
value-especially of unbroken sets-and saw in facsimile and the
microfilming of files ways of preserving and circulating hard-to-

nually in the Section. The preparation of this work, each volume
of which is of book length, demands extensive use of the facilities of the Benjamin Strong Collection.
The work of the Survey has resulted in the Library's receiv-

secure material. This for a collection such as ours was a great

luminous publications of the European Recovery Program, both


Dr. Julian P. Boyd became Librarian of Princeton University

in 1940. Under his stimulating presence a librarian who had
any ideas was encouraged to put them into print. One result
for the collection was a series of Benjamin Strong Collection
Bulletins, each containing a bibliography of current interest.
These were mimeographed and issued irregularly. Beginning
in 1943, ten numbers have appeared. Several of these Professor
Graham had re-issued by the International Finance Section and
sent to its mailing list, notably the one on the Bretton Woods
Conference. This bulletin was also used by the Legislative Reference Service at the Library of Congress as the basis of their
bibliography prepared for the San Francisco Conference. No. 9,
on the European Recovery Program, was revised and enlarged
at the joint request of the Woodrow Wilson School and of the

Council on Foreign Relations. No. 10, on Point IV, was prepared for Professor Gardner Patterson to use in his classes.
These have also been sent on request to many students outside
the University.

The Collection, 1949-1951

ing many new documents which enlarge and supplement the
Benjamin Strong Collection. Important here are the reports and
publications of the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development and the International Monetary Fund. The vo-

from the Paris Office of the Organization for European Economic Cooperation and the Washington headquarters of the Economic Cooperation Administration, have been received. These
are now being continued and expanded under the Mutual Security Agency.
The current United States publications from the Office of the
President, the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce, and Hearings of the Senate and House having to do with
foreign rehabilitation, foreign trade, military supplies, etc., have
been secured for use in preparation of the Survey and for class-

room work. Dr. Jack N. Behrman, Research Assistant of the
Section, has written his doctoral dissertation on "Foreign Aid as a

Technique in Attaining United States International Economic
New central bank reports, such as that of Pakistan, are added
to our practically complete file of central banks as they are published. The publications of United Nations Department of Economic Affairs, with its intricate setup of Economic Commissions
to Europe, to Asia, and the Far East, are carefully examined as
they appear and extra copies of important ones ordered for our

use. The series on foreign budgets which they are publishing,
begun in 1950, is most valuable for countries from which today
it is difficult to secure information.

UNDER the expanded program of the International Finance

Section two new series have been started. One of them,
Princeton Studies in International Finance, includes work of
persons outside the University, and in such cases, of course, little
or no use is made of the Benjamin Strong Collection. The other,

Survey of United States International Finance, is prepared an-

[ 22 ]

[ 23 ]


Treasures of the Collection
ONE of the unique features of the Benjamin Strong Collection is the 196-volume set of scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings of World War I from July 27, 1914 to March

20, 1920, presented to the Library by Mr. Strong. These are
located with the history of the war and form a priceless record
of firsthand sources for that period.
Also of great interest to historians of that period is a large
collection of posters having to do with European Government
loans in World War I, given by Mr. Strong. Bound photostats
of the posters are in the Princeton Collection, while the originals
are in our War Poster Collection and can be readily identified

by the Strong number marked on each item.
A collection of emergency war currency-French, Austrian,

Lettish, Finnish, etc.-brought together by Mr. Strong is a
further source of information concerning these war years. This
currency has also been photostated and the photostats are in
the Princeton Collection; the currency itself is in the Rare Book
Department of the Library.
A bronze bust of Benjamin Strong by the noted French sculptor Pierre de Soete, done in 1927, the gift of the Strong family,
may be seen in the office of the collection in the Firestone Library. I think it must be a good likeness, for everyone who knew
him pauses contentedly beside it as if communing with a friend.

[ 24 i




Nrovember 10, 1916.

Hon. Benjamin Strong, Jr.,
Governor of Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
Estes Park,
Dear Governor Strong:-

We the undersigned, professors
in the Department of Economics and Social Institutions of Princeton University, wish to ask you to cooperate with us in securing for the Fish Statistical
and Finance Library of the University, copies of the
annual reports, or semi-annual when issued, of cerTel wish the
tain of the leading banks of the world.
reports, so far as available, for the peri "d since
1910, and would like to have the Library placed upon
the mailing lists for future reports.
As you know, the Fisk Statistical and Finance Library, now located at Princeton University,
has been in process of accumulation for about thirty
years, and the University authorities are endeavoring
to make it the most complete research library in AmerUp to the
ica for work in statistics and finance.
present time our collection of material concerning
Recently there
foreign banks has been very limited,
has been much call for such material by our own students and faculty, and by students and teachers from
other Universities and by bankers and publicists, who
coma to Princeton to use the facilities of the Fisk
In view of your wide acquaintance in Europe, and of your position as Governor of our largest
Reserve Bank, it has occurred to us that you might be
If you
able to assist us in securing these reports.
can do so, it will be a valuable service to a large
number of American teachers and students in the field
of finance.

Hon. Benjamin Strong, Jr.




The reports should be addressed to The Fisk
Statistical Library, Princston University Library,
N. J.
Appended is a list of the bankR from which
we are desirous of securing reports.
With expressions of great respect and of
appreciation for your co-operation we are,

Cordially yours,

Banco de la Nacion Argentina,
(2) Banco




EspaSol del Rio de la Plata va,


( 1 ) Austro- Hungarian Bank. 6 azi t71.-


si:44; A. 4-74.,4(e,71/1: --.



1/,:si,......a.. /


(1) Australian Bank of Commerce, Ltd., C7oLLA , dza, Me A, c
( 2 ) Bank of Australia, 11 #974-6-Sbviiiki- sh-.67,..dr,t,ze.4
kierc,C& 444'41,

(3) Commercial Bank of Australia, Ltd,
( 4) Bank of New South Wales. .97,,,4 -cy


/ft. fie4/






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(2) Canadian Bank of la mm °roe , Si'', Fatv,,,,,,W tyvALtra.t. t4 r rre41,it
( 1 )

Bank of Montreal, -''''



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( 3) Royal Bank of






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(5) Imperial Bank of Canada. a



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(1) Banco de Chile.A,AA0A,A,,,,J24,vt,



(1) Barone Nationale de Copenhague

( 1 ) Nation al Bank of Egypt pea."
( 2 )


elt. ?V%


Agricultural Bank of Egypt.Cakk4

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(1) Bank of France


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( 2) Banque desOkr.ftees. qt._ Paris et des








(6) Direction der Disconto-Gesell
('7) Berliner Handels-Gesellschaft

(8) Reichsbank



Bank of England, --0-2-4., "4 it{

Bank of India,



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Australia and Chins(1173 Ø-144`T11/4-43. 44,"

(3) Bank of Liverpool,Yr,-,-



(4) British Linen ..Ziamazin.g Bank le -1t.(' V-1.--t;,'4



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(5) Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking corpoi'ation

( 7 ) Lloyds Bank, Ltd.

(8) Union o f London & Smith's B



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(6) London City & Midland Bank, Ltd. ,5.-'-x,F,P.. ?Pi' '
, ilcr t- . 1/0.--44-ex--I- - S `"viii+ Ci. et Ns. wOov.





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(9) uist er Bank. of Ireland, 13Q1 ,,,.4,,-- 9 c co-D-1- , ki,tek-...- o. '
( 10) Royal Bank of Scotland. 5- t...-40.4 CA.GIAAAA r 014.11 4 0 WI
- I,




(1) Berliner Kaasenverein,
(5) Dresdncr Baxk.

cam,, -mod



(2) Deutsche Asiatische Bank,
( 3 ) Deutsche Bank,
( 4 )
Deutsche Ueberseeischie Bank,


Pays Bas

( 3) Comptolr National AP Escompte de ? art s
(4) Credit Foncier,e_
( 5) Credit Lyonnsiset




(1) Bank- 6r-the Netherl ands,


t t erd

e B an k





(1) Banque de 1' Incto-Chine



(1) Bank of Italy, 13 (V/1C A" Z' 161'4 i







17e$P .


Bank. 13,;fi ), A. zzzt .7
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ank of Mexico, iln.tok< 1.

rway. Arc-11'420 4Lk-.04

f Russia, /)







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e Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd, A iii
n Commercial and Industrial Bank," ; :i; pudic Axo,o

Chinese Bank. k.,...,0, e6A4,441.exyt..t.,-,44.

f Spain .huaijo



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es Riksbank. 5


Bank of Switzerland.





n Mgt, 7 trill"
5L.- -wake 2





rea," - tfrift

ottwilL ?,fr"."44t



( Saigon)


Credi to It all ano ,/,4;14--A 542:..0144, ce./0_
pi( 3) Banca Commerciale Itallana. ,-1.,;,./cvli



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Pt. /3? e-; ett.

0-,-4 ett-HCRAA

(1) Bank of Bombay,
( 2 ) Bank o f Bengal, Cod

( 3) Bank of Madras. 114,, -14.4,S

Specie Bank.

f. NclAgi2.7,

froa)v1-" jsk mcvNicyvvot..41





TAP 44








Anglo-Austrian Bank
Weiner Bankverein
Allgemeine OesterreiChische Boden Credit-Anstalt
Oesterreichische Credit,Anstalt fur Handel and Gewerbe
Banque Industriolle de Boheme
Oesterreichische Ungarische Bank
Union Bank


Coliptolr National d'Escompte de Paris
Banque de Paris et des :lays Bas
Credit Lyonnais
Banque de Bruxelles


Banque de Credit
Banque Nationale Bulgare
CYPRUS. (Island)


Imperial Ottoman Bank



Banque de Athens


Den Daneke Landmandsbank
Kjobenhavns Handelsbank
Privatbanken i Kjobenhavn
Kjobenhavns Laane og Kiskontobank


Finlands Bank
7rivatbanken i Helsingfors
Forenings Ban:ken i Finland


Credit Lyonnais
Comptoir National d'Escompte de Paris
London County & 'Iestminster Bank Ltd.
Societe Generale
Banque de France
Banque des ''sys du Nord
Banque de 2 ris at des :)ays Bas
Banque .,:ational de Credit

Berl in


Bank far Mandel and Industrie
Deutsche Baak
D sdnor Bank
nisohe Bank
Disoonto Gesellsdhaft
Directioli d
d Disoonto Bank
Berlin Ieiohsbank


;lank of Englind

Lloyds Bank
London City & iidland Bank Ltd.
London County & Westminster Bank, Ltd.
Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd.
Netherlands Bank of South Africa
London Joint Stock Bank, Ltd.
Glyn, Mills, Currie & Co.
London & ?rovincial Bank
:anohester & Liverpool Balking Co.
Bank of New South Wales, Ltd.
National Bank of India, Ltd.
National Bank of New Zealand Ltd.
National Bank of Scotland Ltd.
National Bank of South ifrica Ltd.
National 7rovincial Bank of England Ltd.
Parr's Bank Ltd.
7rovincial Jim* of Ireland, Ltd.
Royal Bank of Canada
Royal Bank of Australia, Ltd.
Russian & English Bank
Russo Asiatic Bank
Societe Generale De Credit IncLetriel et Commercial
Swiss Bankvorein
Twentsche Bank
Union Bank of laetralia Ltd.
Union Bank of Canada
Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd.
London & River Plate Bank, Ltd.
Imperial .tto an Bank
Clydesdale Bank, Ltd.

Ito Bank of Livorpool, Ltd.



Union Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
National Bank of Scotland, Ltd.
Blaik of Scotland

Clydesdale Bank Ltd.
British Linen Bank

U R








The Bank of Ireland
Belfast Banking Company, Ltd.
The 7orthern Banking Company, Ltd.
The Ulster Bank

Banque National de Grece
The Bank of Athens
The Banque Commerciale de Grece
Ionian Bank, Ltd.



Rotterdamsche Bankvereeniging


Amstrdamsche Sank
Banque de Paris et

ays Bas

Imam) Bank
Surinaamsche bank
Netherlandsahe Bank
Hope & Co.

Banca Commerciale Italiana


Banque dItalia
Credito Italiano
Banco di Roma
Caisse de credit do Nice

Landabanki Islands


Societe Genorale Jisacienne de Banque


Anglo :Ialtose Bank



Bergen Privatbank


Bergens Kreditbank
Christiania Bank og Kreditkasse
Andresens Bank
Centralbanken for Norge




Bank of Roumania
Banque CommercialeR6umaine
Banque de Cr






Banque de Commerce de Siberie
Russian Bank for Foreign Trade
Banque de Commerce de 1'Azoff Don
Banque Internationale de Commerce de Petrograd
Russian and English Bank
Russo Asiatic Bank
Banque des Marchands de :ioscow


Banque de Commerce de Siberie
Russian Bank for Foreign Trade
Banque de Commerciale de Moscow
Banque de .doscow


Banque de Commerce de Siberie
Banque de l'Etat



aiiquo de Credit Serbe


Banco Espanol del Rio de la Plata
Banco Hispano American°
Credit Lyonnais
Bank of Spain


Banco Espanol del Rio de la :Plata

Banco Hispano American
Credit Lyonnais
Banco Hipotecario de Espana
Bank of Spain
Banco de Castilla

Goteborgs danaelsbank
Skandinaviska 4reditaktiebolaget
Bank Aktiebolaget Sodra Sverige


Skandinaviska Kreditaktiebolaget
Bankaktiebolaget Sodra Sverige


Stockholm's Jandelsbank
Stockholm's Enszilda Bank


Banque Commerciale de Bale


Banque Cantonale Vaudoise


Banque L.'ederale

Societe de Credit Suisse
Zurdher Cantonalbank
Swiss Bankverein





dmperial Otto ma
Bank of Ath



Banque deSal

f Turkey

1:atietal Bank



Banco de Portugal
Credit 2ranco-Portugais
Banco Commercial do Lisboa
Banco Nacional Ultramarino


Banco de Portugal
Banco Commercial de Porto

* ********** *



* *


* ******* *










Chartorod Bank of India, .iaistralia & China, Ltd.

Hongkong and Shanghai 3anking Corporation
Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd.

Banque de Indo Chine
Bank of Canton


Chartered Sank of India, Australia & China, Ltd.
National Bank of India, Ltd.
:lercantile Bank of India


Bank of Bombay
Bank of Bengal


National Bank of India Ltd.
Chartered 3111c of India, Australia & China, Ltd.


3ank, Ltd.

Yokohama Specie Bank, Ltd.
Industrial BaJk of Japan
Baia of Chosen
Bank of Taiwan

dani la

Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China, Ltd.
Bank of the Philippine Islands
International Banking Corporation
bank of Taiwan








Imperial Bank of Persia


Credit Lyonnais

Bank of British ';;est Africa, Ltd.

Las 'Palmas


Cape Town

National Bank of South Africa, Ltd.


Anglo Egyptian Bank


Bank of Athens
Banque d'Orient
National Bank of Egypt


Banque d'Etat du Aaroc


National Bank of South Africa, Ltd.


National Bank of South Africa, Ltd.

Societe Commerciale d'Oriente


Credit Lyonnais


Comptoir National d'Escompte de Paris

National Bank of South Africa, Ltd.



ITational Bank of South Africa, Ltd.


National Bank of Australasia, Ltd.
Bank of New South Wales
Union Bank of Australia
Bank of Adelaide
English, Scottish & Australian Bank, Ltd.


Bank of New Zealand
Bank of Victoria
Commercial Bank of Australia


Bank of New South Wales
Bank of Australasia
Bank of North Queensland, Ltd.
Union Bank of Australia, Ltd.



First National Bank of Hawaii


Bank of Bermuda, Ltd.


N. Gelate & Co.
Banco Espanol de la Isle de Cuba
Banco National de Cuba
Royal Alra of Canaria


Royal Bank of Canada


Colonial Bank


Banque Nationale de Hayti


Colonial Bank
Bank of Nova jcotia




Royal Bank of Canada
American Colonial Bank

San Juan


Banque rational de Cuba
Royal Bank of Canada

San Domingo


Colonial bank
Royal bank of Canada

Port of Spain

Banco de Costa Rica
Banco International de Costa Rica

San Jose

Banco Americano de Guatemala
Banco de Juatomala


Banco de iionduras



Banco Salvadoran

San Salvador

Banco do is Jacion Argentina
British Bank of South America Ltd.
Banco Germanic° do la :.meriea del Sud
Banco Holandes de la America del Sud
London & Brazialian Bank, Ltd.
London & River :late Bank
Anglo South .American Bank

Buenos Aires

La 2az

Banco Alemania Transatlantico
Banco de is Nacion Bolivian
Banco Nacional de Bolivia

( 9 )

hio de Janeiro

Deutsche Sudamerikanisehe Bank
Banque Francaise et Italienne pour l'Americque du Sud
London & Rivor =late Bank
Banco 2racional Ultrawarino


British Bank of South America Ltd.
London & Brazilian Bank Ltd.
Banco de Brasil

Sao Paulo

Banco Aloman Transatlantic°
BrazilianIsche Bank fur Deutschland
Banque Francais° pour le Brazil


Anglo South American Bank
Banco de Chile
Deutsch Sudamerikanisohe Bank
Banco kleman Transatlantico


Anglo South American Bank
Banco de Chile
Deutsch Sudamerikanische Bank
Banco rspanol de Chile


Banco de 3ogota


Banco del icuador
Banco Comercial y Agricola
Commercial Bank of Spanish Amrica


Interantional Banking Corporation


Banco del Peru y Londree
Banco Alemania -2ransatlantico


Anglo South American Bank
Banco de is Republica O'Del Uruguay
fAnco Italiano del Uruguay
Banco Espanol del Rio de is Plata
Banque Italo Belge
British Bank of South America


Banco Caracas

anco de ,enezuela



Banco Mercantil de .-araguay



Colonial Bank


Banque de la Guyane Francaise


Surinaamsche Bank


Royal Bank of Canada

ma gtia

Commercial Bank of Spanish America Ltd.

Mexico City

3anco Central .:exicano

Banco Nacional de .Zexico


Compazanricsaa de Paris

y Ataxic°



July 20, 1928

Governor Benjamin Strong,
I am infintely obliged for your kind and most informative
Federal July 3, replying to my request for comments on various papers of
letter ofiieserve Bank,
33 Liberty St., New had
Colonel House which I York.expected to publish. I am sorry to have bothered
you during your absence from the United States.

Inasmuch as it is impossible for you to consult any papers,
My dear Governor .trong:
it seems to me wiser to omit from the published passages of Colonel House's
Papers all reference to your conversations with him. It is quite possible that
the context of the papers would be inadequately explained by me and might not
do justice to your ideas and policies. I reached this conclusion after a conversation with Mr. Lamont and Mr. Leffingwell. They were both good enough to
read over the passages in question and the background which I have presented.
In view of Colonel House's absence from this country and
the fact that I am obliged to send my copy to the printer shortly, I believe
that it will be best not to take advantage of your kind offer to let me use
the ideas expressed in your personal letter to me.
I have another book in mind, and before preparing it for
the press I should be very grateful if I might use some of the ideas in your
letter. This of course would not be done until after consultation with
Colonel House and yourself.
Believe me, with expressions of renewed gratitude and deep

Faithfully yours,

Evian -les -liking,

July 3, 1928.

My dear Profeesor Seymour:
Your letter of June let has remained unanswered because of my
illness and absence from home.

You will understand that I have always refrained from giving any
publicity to personal views upon the matters mentioned in Colonel House's

memoranda, because I have no direct responsibility in these Weirs, and
conversations ouch as those recorded by Colonel House were doubtless the result of my connection with many financial matters of our Government during

the war and were in every instance unsolicied by me.
To publish the memoranda in the bare terms therein expressed, it
seems to me, would create a misapprehension as to their true meaning.
As to the one dated August 31, 1917, my recollection is very
slight, and of course I am unable to consult any papers in order to refresh

The amount of the loan mentioned in the first paragraph I believe is

incorrect and as expressed would lead to misunderstanding by the public, because while the loans were negotiated, as I recall, by Morgan & Company,

they were divided among many bankers and banking institutions, were secured
by collateral, principally American securities of known value, and, as I recall, the disposition of the loan turned upon two points concerning which
some difference of view existed.

One was, whether it would prove feasible

for the United States Government to advance funds to the British Government
for the avowed purpose of repaying these prewar advances made to the British
Government by J. P. Morgan G Company;

the other was whether, if that was

Professor Seymour.



done, the securities should be taken over by the United States Government
and held as collateral to its advances.
Colonel House raised this question with me at one of our meetings,
and I recall making some suggestion which evidently involved the use of funds

then being advanced to the French Government, but the detoils have entirely
escaped my memory.

It is quite likely that I acted upon Colonel House's re-

quest as described in the first paragraph and reported fully to Secretary
Mc Adoo.

I do not recall the details of the conversation, however.

I do

recall that he was impressed with the need of disposing of the matter and
received the suggestions which I made in a most friendly spirit.

Most of

my discussions of this and other debt questions were with Mr. Leffingwell,
then Assistant Secretary of tho Treasury in charge of finances, and he may be
able to furnish you with details which have escaped my memory.

As to the second memorandum, dated September 30th, if published in
exactly that form without elaboration I believe it would lead to a considerable misunderstanding as to the purport of my conversations with Colonel House,
and in SOMA respects it does not appear to accurately reflect my own views as
expressed to him then, and which have not since materially changed.

The cir-

cumstances were as follows.

Colonel House and I met in London in the Summer of 1919, as we happened to be stopping at the same hotel.

of interallied debts and

He asked me to discuss the question

reparations, as he was engaged in exploring the

subject for President Wilson and expected shortly to report to him.

We had

three or four meetings, during which views were freely exchanged, but I do
not recall that Colonel House proposed any definite plan, the bare outline of

Professor Seymour.



which is suggested by his memorandum, until the last meeting, at which
Lord Grey was present.

(Lord Grey)
He/was about to sail for America as Ambassador.

The views I then expressed to Colonel House were roughly as follows:(1) That the Treaty of Versailles had left the whole question of
reparations and debts in an unsettled and dangerous condition, so that they

were likely to be a cause of contention, on the one hand between the creditor
and the debtor nations, and on the other hand between the Allied Governments
and our Government.

(2) That it would be most unfortunate and give rise to grievous
complaint against the United States if Germany, through complete or partial
default, escaped the payment of whatever sums might be defined as a result of
the Treaty, while at the same time the United States endeavored to collect
the full sum of the indebtedness owing to us by the Allied Governments.


would appear to leave us in a position of asserting a more aggressive attitude as to debts with our own Allies than we would be willing to assert as to

Germany, because I apprehended that the United States would not be willing to
take aggressive steps for collection such as the Allied Governments might be
willing to undertake.

(3) That the question of debts and reprations should be dealt with

as a business proposition, similar to the treatment of a corporation which
had failed, where all the assets and liabilities were marshalled and settlements effected between the various creditors according to the equities of
their claims.

}Ay specific suggestion was that the first step should be to ascer-

tain exactly the amounts owing by the Allied and associated Governments among

that duplications of indebtedness should be eliminated by some


Professor Seymour.


method which would involve our accepting obligations from one debtor nation
in settlement or part settlement of obligations due by another debtor nation;

that the obligations of the central powers should be exactly defined and distributed equitably among the creditor nations according to the size and priority
of their various claims and with due regard to the necessities of each nation;

that such a scheme of settlement would necessarily involve considerable concessions by us and some concessions probably by Great Britain.

At that time I was not prepared to express the view that the United
States should accept these obligations in full settlement of its claims against
the various creditor nations from whom they might be received.

The subject

was too complicated to dismiss in that simple fashion.

The object of the proposal was perfectly obvious in its effort to
avoid the three difficulties mentioned above and to insure that failure on
the part of Germany to meet reparation obligations would be shared alike pro
rata by all the creditor nations.

It was in the event

Germany and the other defeated powers that the need for concessions would
arise end shotild be provided for in the plan.

At the last meeting with Lord Grey, which Colonel House asked me
to attend, he had formulated the matter somewhat more definitely than I had
orally expressed it to him, and of course his memorandum of September 30th
expressed his recollection of the conversation very shortly after it occurred,
so I would not care at this time, without opportunity certainly to refresh my
memory at home, to question the accuracy of his recollection.
of the conversations rests in the sixth paragraph.

The real point

I was at that time, and

have been every since, interested in the strictly monetary problems involved
in the restoration of Europe.

There were three chief obstacles then present-

Professor Seymour.



ing themselves which might indefinitely have deferred monetary stability.

One was reparations and interallied debts, another was excessive floating
debts by practically all the important nations of Europe, and the third was
budget deficiencies.

My conversations with Colonel House appeared to present the opportunity to raise the first question, and I welcomed his invitation to discuss
the matter, but was careful to point out that these were simply expressions
of personal views and that I felt nothing could possibly be accomplished in
developing them along thie line unless President Wilson and Secretary Mc Adoo
favored them and would lead in the creation of a public opinion which would
give them general support.

The conversations were of course strictly confi-


In general, my views as to the treatment of the Allied debts, ae

well as of reparations, have not fundamentally changed, although the establishment of the Dawes Plan, the restoration of monetary stability in Europe
and the balancing of national budgets leaves this question of reparations and
debts as ore of rather ecademic than practical interest to me.

The methods

adopted differ from those discussed with Colonel House in London and may
prove to be better, but the results attained do not differ materially from
what was then sought.

I must ask you to treat this letter as personal and confidential,

but if after bringing it to Colonel House's attention you feel that some
elaboration is justified in the text, I have no doubt that you and Colonel

Houso will find means to do so which will bo in general conformity with the
expressions in this letter.

Professor Seymour.


Thanking you for having written me on the subject, I beg to

Very sincerely yours,

Professor Charles Seymour,
Department of History,
Yalo University,
New Haven, Conn.
BS :!1





June 1, 1928

Governor Benjamin Strong,
Federal Reserve Bank,
33 Liberty Bt., New York.

My dear Sir:

I am planning to bring out two further volumes
of the "Intimate Papers of Colonel House," and hope to
have them in the hands of the printer by early summer.
among his papers I find a memorandum and a letter referI should be very glad if
ring to conversations with you.
you could find time to go through these excerpts from his
papers, copies of which I enclose.
that all inaccuracies should be eliminated from the book.
If you have any comment or correction to make, I should be
very happy to include it.
Believe me, with expressions of high respect,
Sincerely yours,

I am extreme

C 0 P Y

(of Memoranda by Colonel House sent to Governor Strong with
Professor Seymour's letter of June 1, 1928)

Aug. 25, 1917: We discussed international finances, especially foreign
I made a suggestion by which the $400,000,000 call loan, which the
British have with Morgan & Company, and which is disturbing the international
situation, could be met. I asked Strong to see Northcliffe, and the French
representative, and then Mc Adoo, but to keep the negotiations entirely in his

own hands.

Aug. 31, 1917: Governor Strong telephoned tc report progress on my suggestion as to the liquidation of the four hundred million dollar call loan made by
The French Commission have accepted
the British through Morgan & Company
the justice of the plan and are willing to do their part provided it is understood that such payment to the British shall not militate against other loans
which the French may find it necessary to make....
The French Commission are taking the matter up with their Government, and
they will discuss it directly with the British Government, and matters should
Meanwhile I have promised to give it
come to a. head by the first cf October.
Strong discussed it with Mc Adoo and while he
some direction at Washington.
was non-commital, Strong tells me...he will consent to the arrangement....
The modus operandi is largely a matter of bookkeeping and should be done as
between the two Governments in the payment, or repayment of purchases made here.

(From House's letter to Wilson of Sept. 30, 1919)
Re: urgent question of readjustment of finances of Allied countries:
"I talked this matter over with Governor Strong...before I left London
and there was no disagreement between us as to what ought finally to be done...
"The plan I have in mind and which Governor Strong approved is:
"(1) The shifting of the burden of debt from one country to another and
leaving the Central Powers to go bankrupt if anyone indeed is to go.
"(2) The United Setes wed Great Britain should fund the interest on the
Allied debts for a period of from 3 to 5 years, and agree to defer capital payments for at least 5 years.
"(3) Great Britain to accept from France obligations of the Govt. of Serbia,
Roumania, Greece, etc. held by France; the U.S. to accept from Great Britain
and Freres the obligations of nations indebted to them, and all in accordance
with a well worked out formula which will make for an equitable adjustment.
"(4) The United States and possibly Greet Britain to accept some portion
of the reparation bonds received from Germany in settlement of a certain percentage of the Allied debts remaining after the transfers have been made as
suggested in paragraph 2.
"(5) When the reparations debts of the CentralPowers are defined by the
Reparations Commission for a practicable amount, then there should be a scaling
of the German obligations between all the Allies and Associated nations.
"(6) The plan should contemplate some adjustment whereby foreign exchange
should be stabilized...".

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