In 1945 Britain borrowed $4.34bn from the US consisting of a
$3.75bn line of credit and a "lend-lease" loan facility of $586m. The following
year the government agreed a $1.185bn line of credit loan from Canada. The money
was primarily designed to assist in the post-war reconstruction of Britain's
exhausted economy and shattered infrastructure. But the lend-lease loan related
to wartime supplies already in transit from the US under President Franklin D
Roosevelt's programme of the same name which began in 1941 and which ended
abruptly shortly after VJ Day in 1945. Roosevelt famously said the scheme was
like lending a neighbour a hosepipe to put out a fire. It marked a significant
step away from America's post-first world war isolationism.
The final payments today to the United States and Canada, are $83.25m and $22.7m respectively. Part of me thinks these loans should have been reassigned to Germany as soon as the Witschaftswunder was underway...