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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa
(1937)

Greece,   pp. 406-434 PDF (11.0 MB)


Page 418


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 1937, VOLUME II
the introduction of restrictive systems in various countries. Thus it
is only in self-defense that she was led in turn to pursue the line of
restrictions of trade and means of payment at the moment when,
the majority of the countries having adopted restrictive measures,
she saw her export trade and invisible resources which in the past
permitted her to cover her commercial deficit, strongly compromised
by the measures under consideration. For a long time she struggled to
avoid introducing into her economic relations with the countries in
question anti-economic regulations restraining trade. But the results
of this struggle proved particularly deceptive for her. In fact, she
found herself, in the spring of 1932, driven into the position of being
unable to maintain the payment of the value of the merchandise
imported into the country, and in order to bring an end to the accu-
mulation of overdue commercial obligations which dangerously com-
promised the value of her national currency and her credit abroad,
she was forced to proceed resolutely to the establishment of import
quotas and to the adoption of measures for the protection of her
money.
  Law No. 5422 of April 26, 1932, established the foundation of this
policy, which has since developed on the basis laid down by this law.
It provided for the introduction of a control of foreign exchange
and the regulation of the importation of foreign merchandise within
the limits of the means of payment available to the country. It pro-
vided for the settlement in free foreign exchange of the entire value
of merchandise having to be imported from abroad within the frame-
work of the general import quotas, authorized by the law and subse-
quently imposed by Ministerial decision No. 29624 of May 7, 1932. It
provided further for the transfer in free foreign exchange of semi-
annual instalments on overdue commercial debts which had not been
settled up to the date of its promulgation, as well as on the moratorium
interests connected therewith; thanks to which, these debts toward
foreign countries can already be considered as practically liquidated.
It authorized, finally, the settlement in free foreign exchange of cer-
tain non-commercial obligations contracted abroad.
  That is to say, that while imposing on import trade certain general
quantitative limitations in conformity with the diminished purchas-
ing power of the impoverished country, this law assured on the one
hand the full payment in free foreign exchange for merchandise im-
ported within the above-indicated limits, and on the other, a complete
freedom, within the same limits, of international activity and com-
petition. In this way an improvement was shown in the internal
market.
  But unfortunately, countries with economic power incomparably
superior to that of Greece and which had always constituted the prin-
418


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