The President of the Bank is an American citizen and the conduct of the Bank, which is guided by a strict policy of neutrality, is wholly in his hands. No transactions have taken place since the war between the Bank of England acting as a member of the Bank and enemy Central Banks forming part of the institution. There have been no meetings of British and enemy directors since the war and there are no business relations between them. There is no British member of the Management at Basle. The two British Directors are Mr. Montagu Norman and Sir Otto Niemeyer. The only British subjects on the staff at Basle are three subordinate officials and they have nothing to do with the policy or management of the Bank. The Report just issued is that of the American President of the Bank. No one else has any responsibility for it and neither of the British Directors is concerned in it. No copy of it has in fact yet reached this country, and it was not submitted to the Treasury or the Bank of England before publication. This country has various interests and rights in the Bank under International Trust Agreements between the various Governments and it would not be in the national interest to change our connection with the Bank as at present constituted and conducted.
In view of the fact that the great majority of the shares are owned by the Nazis, either directly or indirectly, would it not be very much more satisfactory if the British Government and the Bank of England dissociated themselves from the Bank for International Settlements by withdrawing any representation and arranging that their interests should be looked after through Swiss sources—by Swiss bankers?
Although the Report has been issued on the authority of an American citizen, does not that by implication also commit our own directors of the Bank as well, and therefore should we not entirely dissociate His Majesty's Government from the views expressed in the Report?
No, Sir. I have already stated quite explicitly that this Report was issued on the authority of the American president of the Bank alone. I do not know, in fact, what is in the Report or whether it is open to any objection.