BANKING: Suspense Account

  • Share
  • Read Later

On the afternoon of June 11, the Bank for International Settlements held its 15th annual general meeting in the austere board room of its building in Basel, Switzerland. In other years, such famed international bankers as Germany's Hjalmar Schacht and Walter Funk, Britain's Montague Norman and Sir Otto Niemeyer, Italy's Dottore Raffaele Pilotti, Japan's Hisaakira Kano, and the U.S.'s Thomas McKittrick had met around the huge, oval table. But this year may be B.I.S.'s last: several nations would like to have it dissolved, and even whisper that there would be scandals if the full record of its wartime deals with the Axis became known.

At precisely 3 p.m., Swiss Chairman Ernst Weber walked in, seated himself in lonely state, and began opening registered letters containing proxies from various central banks.

After the meeting with himself, Chairman Weber issued a 14-line statement. A "majority" of the central banks of member nations had been represented at the meeting. No dividend had been declared (although the bank had made a handsome profit of 4,429,562 Swiss gold francs). All profits had been transferred to a "special suspense account."