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Royall Tyler to Mildred Barnes Bliss, June 18, 1933

Burlington Fine Arts Club,
17, Savile Row, London, W.1.
18. VI. 33Sunday.

I told you the other day, dearest Mildred, that our delegation here hadn’t made a particularly good impression.See letter of June 15, 1933. I’m glad to be able to say now that since the unfortunate squabble over the chairmanship of the Monetary Commission was settled by giving way to our demands, Cox has won the liking of the people who have had to do with him on the Commission, and the atmosphere is a good deal better.The World Monetary and Economic Conference opened in London with a battle for the chairmanship of the Monetary Committee. The American delegation insisted on the appointment of James Middleton Cox (1870–1957) against the French nomination of Georges Bonnet (1889–1973). After Cox’s election, the committee attempted to reach agreement on stabilization of American, British, and French currencies, but President Roosevelt and his undersecretary of the treasury, Dean Acheson (1893–1971), repudiated this position, including a temporary stabilization during the conference, to the anger of the other committee members. In addition, the Economic Commission proposed that all tariffs in all nations be cut ten percent, a proposal which the Conference Secretariat released with the heading: “Submitted by the American Delegation.” But this proposal was disavowed by the United States delegate, senator Key Pittman (1872–1940), who said that the American delegation had made no such proposal. The Conference Secretariat produced a letter signed by chief delegate Cordell Hull (1871–1955) authorizing the ten percent tariff slash proposal. Pittman insisted that it was “unofficial.” See “World Conference: Disgust,” Time, June 26, 1933.

I am glad that we have proposed a 10% cut in tariffs I don’t pretend to see how any even temporary £—$—Fr. stabilisation scheme can work unless the US will permit a free gold market, at any rate within certain limits, so that the Brit, and Fr. purchases of $ in support of the stabilisation scheme should not result in an intolerable exchange risk, which in fact neither country would assume. The central bank experts here, I think, are inclined to regard the difficulty as a political one and to say that they’ve done what they can do by devising the necessary technical mechanism, and that now the politicians must see to the rest.

I am going to try to get away towards the end of the week to Paris, and then B-pest where I’ve got some urgent business;Beginning in June 1932, Hungary defaulted on its loan from the League of Nations and negotiated contractual rates for repayment. In 1933, when the Hungarians met with the loans committee in London, repayment was reduced to fifty percent, and for the service year 1933–1934, there was a reduction of ten percent of the face value of the unpaid portion of the loan. See Royall Tyler, League of Nations Reconstruction Schemes in the Inter-War Period (Geneva: League of Nations, 1945), 64–65. I may have to come back here within 3 weeks.

I’ll send you our Greek reportLeague of Nations Finance Committee, Report to the Council on Greece (Geneva: League of Nations, July 8, 1933). as soon as it’s printed. I think it’s a good document, and I’m much pleased at having got the Greeks themselves to subscribe to it.

Much love—

R. T.

Associated Concepts: League of Nations