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Schacht “ransom” Plan Seen Doomed to Failure; Opposed in Britain

December 19, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Nazi efforts to cash in on the world wide sympathy for the German Jews by a scheme forcing nations to ransom them through cash payments for increased imports from Germany are apparently doomed to fail, if City of London sentiment today was any criterion. Reaction in the financial center, after Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht had yesterday left for Berlin, having submitted the Nazi plan to heads of the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee, was extremely hostile. Even the strong pro-Schacht group was reported to be unwilling to make such concessions.

There was no doubt in City circles that the British Government would reject the plan, which was described as putting a premium upon violence and persecution. Conservative Parliamentarians with City connections were likewise hostile to the idea of surrendering further markets to the Reich. There was no great enthusiasm for the plan reflected in circles around the Intergovernmental Committee, no any great hope that an agreement could be reached on the basis of the Schacht plan which would materially aid a solution of the emigration problem.

Meanwhile, Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, Chief Economic Adviser to the British Government. and Treasury officials were studying the Schacht plan and will report on it to the Government. The plan will be submitted to all the members of the intergovernmental Committee and will be considered by the committee of the chairman and vice-chairman if the replies from the Governments leave any grounds for further discussion, prospects for which are not high. Subsequent procedure would call for a study by a plenary meeting of the committee if the scheme should get so far.

It is understood authoritatively that the Schacht plan is not new, but was drawn up two years ago. The proposal that 30 per cent of the cash realized from Germany’s increased exports would be allocated to financing emigration was described as unusually high for a Nazi concession, but it was pointed out that it was proposed with a view to making the scheme more palatable and the Nazis, if serious negotiations ensued, would seek to scale down the ratio.

It is further pointed out here that comparatively few countries wearable and willing to do a cash business and the amount they might be able to concede to the Reich, if willing, would be comparatively small and could not provide a substantial sum for emigration.

Montague Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, has been flooded with letters from political leaders of all parties expressing horror and resentment at the Schacht proposals, the Sunday Express reported today amid general Sunday press condemnation of the plan. The Express said editorially: “We do not intend to ransom the Jews inside Germany. If we did do nations the world over would begin to oppress their minorities, hoping to obtain ransom money from us.” Reynolds News denounced “the attempt to blackmail the world into financing German rearmament.”

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