Britain makes final WW2 lend-lease payment
Diplomacy between grand alliance leaders Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin was vital to the allied victory against Hitler
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Friday, 29, Dec 2006 09:43
Sixty-one years after the end of the second world war, Britain has finally paid the US back for vital financial assistance it provided to help the UK continue to resist Nazi Germany.
The Treasury has announced that a payment of $83.25 million (£42.43 million) will be made today to the US, closing the account which was initially set up in 1941.
During the second world war, US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt convinced a doubtful Congress of the need to shore up Britain to prevent Adolf Hitler establishing an unchallenged dominance over Europe.
As a result $4.3 billion (£2.2 billion) of funds were provided at a two per cent interest rate for British use, a triumph for then-prime minister Winston Churchill who had exerted considerable diplomatic pressure in his efforts to win the loan from the Americans.
After victory was achieved in 1945, Britain remained in financial straits and won an additional loan of $1.2 billion (£0.6 billion) from Canada. A payment of $22.5 million (£11.5 million) is also being made today to clear that account.
"It was vital support which helped Britain defeat Nazi Germany and secure peace and prosperity in the postwar period," Treasury minister Ed Balls said in a statement.
"We honour our commitments to them now as they honored their commitments to us all those years ago."
Britain has paid nearly twice the original amounts provided to the lending countries. In total $7.5 billion (£3.8 billion) has been paid to the US and $2 billion (£1.1 billion) to Canada.