Rare Signed Photograph of The Members of The World War Debt Commission and Belgian Commission; Including Herbert Hoover and Andrew Mellon

  • World War Foreign Debts Commission Act Signed Photograph.

World War Foreign Debts Commission Act Signed Photograph.


Item Number: 21058

Signed photograph of the members of The World War Foreign Debt Commission and the Belgian Commission. Signed below by each member, including Herbert Hoover (Secretary of Commerce and future President of the United States), Andrew W. Mellon (Secretary of the Treasury), Frank B. Kellogg (Secretary of State and 1929 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize), Reed Smoot (United States Senator and co-sponsor of the 1930 Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act), Theodore E. Burton (United States Senator from Ohio), Charles R. Crisp, Richard Olney, Edward N. Hurley, Garrard B. Winston, Arthur N. Young and F.G. Blair of the Debt Commission. Also signed by Emile de Cartier, Emile Francqui, Felicien Cattier, Georges Theunis, Robert Silvercruys and Andrew Terlinden of the Belgian Commission. In near fine condition. Matted and framed, which measures 14 inches by 15 inches. Rare.

The United States federal World War Foreign Debts Commission Act of February 9, 1922 authorized the creation of a commission, working under Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, to negotiate repayment agreements with Great Britain and France in the aftermath of World War I. The Commission placed the Allied debt principal to the United States at $11 billion; payments were to be made in graduated 62 annual installments; however, the accrued interest on these payments over a period of 62 years would have increased the debt to approximately $22 billion, although the U.S. did agree to lowered interest rates. Great Britain’s debt was reduced 19.7% to $4.6 billion with the interest rate reduced from 5% to 3% for the first ten years of payment to be raised to 3½% thereafter. France’s debt was reduced by 52.8% to $4 billion, without any interest for the first five years of payment. It was then to be increased gradually to 3½%. The Harding administration made it clearly understood that the United States had no interest in cancellation. This position was widely supported by the public, which felt that those who incur debts should repay them. This tight-fistedness was not well received in Europe, where the image of Uncle Sam slowly gave way to “Uncle Shylock."

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