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Corporation of Foreign Bondholders  

About the Collection

Corporation of Foreign Bondholders.

Digitized Annual Reports and Microform Clippings Files

The CFB was formed in 1868 to protect the interests of British holders of foreign bonds. In the early 1870s the organization began collecting information about economic and political conditions in countries that had borrowed from British investors. The council also monitored the credit history of borrowers and negotiated with foreign governments that defaulted on debts.

From 1873 through 1988, the council published annual reports with information about nearly every major borrower in the world. Reports contained the following kinds of data, broken down by country:

  • A chronology of borrowing, repayment, default, and settlement
  • Statistics on external and internal debt; government revenues and expenditures; national population; foreign exchange rates; and the total value, direction and commodity composition of international trade
  • A description of negotiations between the CFB and governments in default
  • Speeches by foreign leaders and correspondence between governments and the CFB

Foreign Bondholders Protective Council (FBPC).

Digitized Annual Reports and original manuscript and print archive.

In 1933, at the request of the Department of State, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, by Executive Order, created the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council (FBPC), in order to assist U.S. citizens and creditors in collecting on defaulted foreign government bonds. Prior to formation of the private, non-profit FBPC, no permanent organization existed to negotiate settlements with defaulting debtors. The Council was particularly active prior to WWII and again in the 1970s and 1980s. As recently as 2002, both the Department of State and the Securities and Exchange Commission recommended to creditors who hold more than 18,000 Chinese government bonds issued between 1913 and 1942 that they seek the FBPC's assistance in negotiating fair settlements.

In addition to annual reports, the archive is replete with analyses of economic and political conditions in defaulting countries as well as correspondence among the FBPC, American government officials, and foreign officials and financial elites regarding not only specific cases, but also the endemic international debt crisis of the 1930s and how to settle defaults after WWII. The archive will be of interest to researchers and students in both international and comparative political economy as well as institutional history. Its creation and earlier activities coincided with the rise to financial and economic dominance of the United States.

Complementing the Archive of the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council is the acquisition in microform of the newspaper clippings of the British predecessor entity, the Council of Foreign Bondholders, formed in London in 1868 at the time of rising ascendance of Great Britain as a financial and economic center and continuing through the 1980s. Taken together, the FBPC annual reports and archive and the CFB annual reports and clippings files comprise an essential corpus of materials for understanding the evolution of the international economic system and the roles played by the United States and Great Britain.