The bankers have left Baden, and their work awaits the decision of a second meeting of the Powers at the Hague. In the interim, persons whose knowledge of the situation is valued are plagued by the press to declare an opinion. Else where in this mornings's CRIMSON Professor Doriot has explained to Harvard readers the work which was accomplished at Baden, and has found but one criticism or cause for regret great enough to deserve his stress. Frankfort, he says, or Cologne, or some other German city might have been superior to Basel as a location for the International Bank.
There is quite a little to be said for such a location for the Bank, and no doubt the bankers assembled at Baden took care to say just that. But the reasons for locating the Bank in Switzerland are clear, and it is difficult to see how the balance could be overweighted except in favor of some other country which holds the same neutral position as Switzerland, and at the same time boasts an age-old reputation as a European banking center.
The Bankers who assembled at Baden had to rackon with the jealousy of the Powers which forbade locating the new Bank in any center where it might be suspected of coming immediately under the thumb of one or another central bank. They had to secure some centrally located spot which could focus the European money markets, and one able to recommend itself by its banking facilities. Above all they must have been moved by the strenuous fight made by the Agent General for Reparations to remove from German soil all vestiges of financial "control" and to enable the German nation to regard the reparations burden as a voluntarily assumed task making for the reconstruction of Europe.
The Germans themselves are short-sighted enough to desire freedom from supervision, even at great cost. A bank which may some day rule the world's finance is a tied-up asset compared with the solid relish of being master in one's own house.
An international bank is no new notion. As long ago as the Genoa Conference in 1922 it was broached. And Switzerland was then urged as the logical location for the proposed bank.
If the first choice of each Power was its own money center, the second was probably Switzerland. And to have put that hurdle behind them was a wise act of the bankers, for their proposals contain more than enough controversial materials and cause for dissension as they go into "the second reading" of the Young Plan at the Hague.