The International Bank and the Young Plan

September 17, 1929

Report Outline
Evolution of the Reparation Problem 1924–28
Reparation Functions of the International Bank

The diplomatic conference whose sessions at The Hague came to a close August 31, 1929, will be reconvened in October—after the adjournment of the Tenth Assembly of the League of Nations –to consider final arrangements for placing the Young reparation plan in effect. Formal acceptance of the Young plan was left until October by the representatives of the interested powers at The Hague, but it is hoped that at the resumed sessions a final agreement upon all outstanding questions can be reached in sufficient time to permit its full ratification before November 1, 1929–so that the new reparation plan may come into force on that date.

The spectacular struggle at The Hague over the Spa percentages and the British share in the reparation annuities has had the effect of distracting public attention from the principal recommendation of the Young committee of experts; namely, that a non-political organization, to be known as “the Bank of International Settlements,” be set up in substitute for the reparation machinery of the Dawes plan. First steps toward carrying out this recommendation were taken at The Hague when the conference established the organization committee for which provision had been made in the Young plan and assigned to it the task of drafting the charter for the new bank. The analysis of the bank project to which the following pages are devoted will make it clear that some of the most important international questions that have arisen since the war will come up for settlement when final consideration is given to the actual establishment of this new financial institution. These questions will be seen to involve principles and money payments of far greater importance than those for which the British Chancellor of the Exchequer fought three weeks at The Hague.

The Bank as the Key to the Young Plan

The proposed Bank of International Settlements is the heart, of the Young plan. The experts who drafted the plan made that abundantly clear by the manner in which every single feature of their proposals was made to turn upon the new institution. An understanding of the essential nature of the bank project cannot be gained, however, through study of the text of the Young plan alone. It begins to stand out clearly only when the plan is studied in connection with the experiences of the reparation creditors between August 30, 1924, when the Dawes plan was accepted through the London protocol of that date, and September 16, 1928, when the governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan reached an agreement at Geneva on the “necessity for a complete and definite settlement of the reparation problem and for the constitution for this purpose of a committee of financial experts to be nominated by the six governments.” Only the trend of that experience will make it clear why the bank project should occupy so large a place in the Young report—as only the trend of reparation experience from 1919 to the occupation of the Ruhr could explain the peculiar features of the Dawes report.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Financial Institutions
International Law and Agreements