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I get the impression that the actual loan flotation will hardly be attempted before the spring of 1928. Many hurdles must be taken. Meanwhile, as has been intimated to me on several occasions recently, the Austrian Government would greatly appreciate it if the competent law officers of the American Government would investigate in a preliminary way the question as to what action is necessary by the United States to subordinate its existing lien to a contemplated new Austrian federal loan for the purposes indicated. It is assumed, of course, that other creditor nations will take favorable action. The outstanding external reconstruction loan, to which the United States has already subordinated its lien, is in the amount of $130,000,000. I have [etc.]
ALBERT H. WASHBURN
863.51/839 : Telegram
The Minister in Austria (Washburn) to the Secretary of State
VIENNA, September 20, 1927—10 a. m.
[Received September 20–8:25 a. m.] 54. The Chancellor has officially and urgently requested me to report that he would appreciate very much an early reply to the question on pages 3 and 46 of my despatch No. 1508 of August 30th. The reasons for the urgency of the request are connected with the meeting of the Austrian Control Committee in London on October 11th. Further details are given in my despatch of this date.
The Minister in Austria (Washburn) to the Secretary of State
VIENNA, September 20, 1927.
[Received October 1.] Sir: Supplementing my telegram No. 54 of today, 10 a. m., I have the honor to report that the Chancellor asks me officially and urgently to lay before my Government the request of the Austrian Government for an early answer to the question as to what action is necessary for the United States to subordinate its relief credit lien to a proposed new Austrian Federal Loan.
1. May the Secretary of the Treasury under authority of the Joint Resolution of Congress approved April 6, 1922, (U. S. Stat. Vol. 42, Part I, Chap. 124, page 491), subordinate the lien of the Austrian Relief Bond Series B of 1920, issued to and held by the United States
• The 3d and 5th paragraphs of the preceding despatch.
of America on account of food produced [purchased?] from the United States Grain Corporation for relief purposes, to a new Austrian Federal Loan, providing such new loan matures within the twenty-five year period mentioned in the Joint Resolution just referred to; or
2. Will a new enabling act of Congress be necessary to enable the Secretary of the Treasury, in his discretion, to take the desired action?
These queries are propounded on pages 3 and 4 of my despatch No. 1508 of the 30th ultimo, to which reference is hereby made.
The reason for the Chancellor's urgency is this: It seems to be confidently anticipated that favorable action will be taken by the Austrian Control Committee, which is scheduled to meet in London on October 11. Speedy action seems also to be awaited from the Reparations Commission. It is further my understanding, confirmed by the Chancellor, that the Relief Credit states, save the United States, have established a Relief Credit Committee composed in the main of their accredited ambassadors and ministers in London, and it seems to be expected that this Committee will act as a unit, and with a minimum of delay. These three organs just mentioned are referred to on page two of my despatch under reference.
If the Secretary of the Treasury has ample authority to act under the Joint Resolution of April 6, 1922, the Austrian Government will seek a twenty year loan to bring it within the twenty-five year period mentioned in the Congressional Joint Resolution. If further Congressional action be necessary, the Austrian Government will seek a thirty year loan. It therefore greatly desires to have its proposals definitely matured and ready for submission first to the Austrian Control Committee around the middle of October. In other words, its election for a twenty or thirty year bond term will hinge upon the answer to the question as to whether or not the Secretary of the Treasury may act under the Joint Resolution of April 6, 1922. It is recognized here that an application to Congress for a new enabling act would inevitably involve a delay which it is desired to avoid if possible. All this, of course, is predicated upon the theory that the other interested creditor nations enumerated in the proviso of the before mentioned Joint Resolution, in so far as their assent is now necessary, will take early favorable action. I am told that no difficulties are anticipated and that the way has been already prepared. In any event the attitude of the other creditor states will presently be disclosed. There is a little anxiety here, inasmuch as separate action must be taken by the United States, lest delay in Washington may result in Austria not being able to float a loan at the most propitious moment. It is represented to me that M. Dubois, the Swiss Chairman of the Finance Committee of the League, has intimated to Austrian experts that he has already broken ground with the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co., and there is a feeling of optimism here that the Morgan firm is disposed to take a large participation share in the flotation syndicate to be formed. I am not in a position to express an opinion as to whether this optimism is justified. I do know that the Austrian Minister at London, Baron Georg Franckenstein, is about to go to the United States as a guest of members of the Morgan firm (Messrs. Morgan and Lamont, as the Chancellor tells me). The story, as I hear it, is that Mr. Montagu Norman 8 ... established contacts for him with Mr. Morgan and his partners. The invitation followed. The Austrian Minister sails tomorrow, I believe, for a three weeks visit, and will be in the United States at an opportune moment around the middle of October, when it is anticipated that the necessary sanctions will have been obtained or assured. Franckenstein, so Dr. Seipel informs me, does not go to the United States with any power of attorney whatever. There have been printed reports this last week (the Stunde had an article on Thursday the 15th, and the Neues Wiener Journal on Friday the 16th) to the effect that an “Austrian personality”, whose identity does not seem to have been discovered, is about to sound the big New York banks in the matter of a federal loan. The Neues Wiener Journal says that negotiations are pending for a 120 million dollar loan for Austria, a 50 million dollar loan for Bulgaria and a 45 million dollar loan for Greece.
* See Foreign Relations, 1924, vol. I, pp. 127 ff.
In this connection, the investment program referred to on page 4 of my before mentioned despatch No. 1508, which will be presented to the Austrian Control Committee on October 11, is herewith enclosed.' This document contains:
I. An expose of the Austrian Federal Household for the years 1923-27;
II. Investment requirements for the years 1928–32;
IV. A table showing the amount of bonds issued in liquidation of outstanding obligations.
This exhibit can hardly be further profitably summarized, but it should prove a useful aid to the State and Treasury in passing upon questions relating to the new proposed loan. It will perhaps be helpful in any exhaustive study of this matter, to compare annex I (Ex. pose of the Austrian Federal Household for the year[s] 1923-27) with some of the tables given in my despatch No. 1120 of July 31, 1926,10 reviewing the Zimmermann Control. Exhibit 1 is so far a confidential document. It is not desired that any publicity be given
to it before it has been submitted to the Austrian Control Committee. I have supplied a copy of it to the Commercial Attache, and he will presumably forward it for the information of Commerce.
At the present moment it has not yet been decided whether the investment program will provisionally extend for three years or five years. The plan is drawn to cover a period of five years. It is proposed that the bonds be issued in annual instalments to cover the year's need. If the entire loan can presently be floated at a favorable interest rate for a five year period, this course will be followed. On the other hand, if the conditions of emission are not altogether favorable, the program will be curtailed to provide provisionally for three years only, with the thought of securing later on better terms for the needs of 1931 and 1932. I have [etc.]
ALBERT H. WASHBURN
The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury (Mellon)
WASHINGTON, September 24, 1927. SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Department of State has received a confidential telegram from the American Minister at Vienna reporting that the Austrian Chancellor had officially and urgently asked him to telegraph requesting an early reply to his request reported on pages three and four of the Minister's despatch No. 1508 of August 30; namely, that the competent law officers of the American Government should investigate in a preliminary way the question as to what action is necessary by the United States to subordinate its existing lien to a contemplated new Austrian Federal loan. The Minister added that in a despatch dated September 20 he was reporting the detailed reasons for the Chancellor's request which are connected with the meeting of the Control Committee in London on October 11.
A copy of despatch No. 1508 of August 30 is enclosed 10a for your information and for such comment as you may care to make. You will note that the Austrian Chancellor's present request is for an interpretation of the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury under the Joint Resolution of Congress, approved April 6, 1922, authorizing the extension for a period of not to exceed 25 years of the time for the payment of the principal and interest of the debt incurred by Austria for the purchase of flour from the United States Grain Corporation. I have [etc.]
For the Secretary of State:
W. R. CASTLE, Jr.
863.51 Relief Credits/3
The Minister in Austria (Washburn) to the Secretary of State No. 1573
VIENNA, October 17, 1927.
[Received October 31.] SIR: With further reference to my telegram No. 54 of September 20, 10 a. m., and my despatch No. 1532 of the same date, I now have the honor to enclose the original, with copies, of a communication received on the 14th instant from the Chancellor, embodying a formal request to the Government of the United States of America to grant the suspension of the lien and the postponement up to the 31st of December, 1957, of the payments due for the Relief Credit accorded to Austria in the amount of about 24 million dollars, plus interest. It will be observed that the request is for a thirty-year suspension, which would of course require congressional sanction. Nevertheless Dr. Schüller told me the day before his departure for London that whilst he proposed to proceed upon the theory that the new bond issue would mature in thirty years yet it still remained true that if it were found that our Secretary of the Treasury could act without further authority under the Joint Resolution of April 6, 1922, he would strongly urge that negotiations be conducted on the twenty-year basis.
The annex referred to in the Chancellor's letter was transmitted with my despatch under reference.11 I have [etc.]
ALBERT H. WASHBURN
The Austrian Chancellor (Seipel) to the American Minister
(Washburn) 2 EXCELLENCY: The "Comité de Contrôle des Etats garants pour la reconstruction de l'Autriche” (Committee of Control of the Guarantor States for the Reconstruction of Austria) have at the request of the Austrian Government consented in their meeting held in London on October 12th, 1927, to the conclusion on the part of the Austrian Republic of an investments loan to yield an amount of 725 million Schillings.
This decision was based on a statement of the Austrian Government on Austrian revenue and expenditure during the years 1923–1927; on the sums required for capital expenditure (investments) from 1928 to 1932; and on the actual state and the use made of the Austrian Government Guaranteed Loan 1923–1943. I have the honour to annex to these presents three copies of the said statement for information.
11 Annex not printed.
* Undated; received at the American Legation in Vienna on Oct. 14, 1927. The original document is in English.