Total Long-Term Foreign Investments Owned by Residents
of the Principal Capital-Exporting Countries
(In millions of dollars)

  Great Britain France Germany United States

























In arriving at these figures, I was of necessity guided by a large number of estimates made at different times by different authorities for diverse purposes and with unequal care. The actual procedure was to plot all the known estimates for each country on a sheet of graph paper, thus arriving at a curve of "the consensus of informed opinion" regarding the total investments of each country at different dates. With the aid of this curve, what seemed to be the "best" estimates for 1855, 1870, 1885, and so on, were then selected. Sometimes this was an estimate that had been previously made by some one authority, sometimes it was a compromise among several estimates relating to the same or nearly the same year. Conversions to United States currency were made at $4.87 to the pound, $0.192 to the franc ($0.0392 for 1929), and $0.238 to the mark. Dollar results were then rounded to the nearest hundred million. The collection of estimates on which the figures in the table are based follows.(1)



At end of year Amount in million pounds Authority Source and Remarks
1827 93 London Statistical Society Statistical Illustrations of the British Empire, 1827, p. 112. This amount was lent to foreign governments in the decade 1816-1825. Total foreign investment would be much larger.
1854 195-230 Jenks The Migration of British Capital, 1927, p. 413.
1854 550 Bowley England's Foreign Trade in the 19th Century, rev. ed., 1905, p. 76.
1854 600 Seyd Journal of Society of Arts, April 15, 1878, p. 408. (Includes short-term trading accounts.)
1860 750 Bowley Cited above.
1872 1100 Seyd Journal of Society of Arts, April 5, 1878, p. 407. (Includes short-term trading accounts.)
1875 1000-1100 Seyd Journal of Society of Arts, March 10, 1876, p. 309. (Includes short-term trading accounts.)
1875 1400 Bowley Cited above.
1875 1048 Sir Robert Giffen The Growth of Capital, 1889, p. 30.
1878 900-950 Seyd Journal of Society of Arts, April 5, 1878, P. 409.
1880 1500 Bowley Cited above.
1881 1250 Nash A Short Inquiry into the Profitable Nature of Our Investments. (Cited by C. K. Hobson, The Export of Capital, 1914, p. 144.)
1882 1500 Giffen "The Use of Import and Export Statistics." In Economic Inquiries and Studies, 1904, Vol. 1, p. 339
1885 1300 Giffen The Growth of Capital, 1889, p. 11.
1890 2000 Bowley Cited above (England's Foreign Trade).
1895 1600 Hirst,applying Giffen's method. In Porter, Progress of the Nation, 1912, p. 701.
1900 2500 Speyer "Some Aspects of National Finance," lecture before Institute of Bankers, June 7, 1900. (Reprinted in Die Entwicklung der deutschen Seeinteressen, 1905, pp. 239-40.)
1905 2025 Hirst,applying Giffen's method. Cited above
1907 2700
Paish Journal of Royal Statistical Society, September, 1909, p. 473. The larger figure allows for capital privately in vested for which data are unobtainable.
1909 2332 Hirst, applying Giffen's method. Cited above.
1910 3192
Paish Journal of Royal Statistical Society, January, 1911, p. 187. The larger figure allows for capital privately invested for which data are unobtainable.
1913 3714
Paish Statist, February 14, 1914. The larger figure allows for capital privately invested for which data are unobtainable.
1913-14 3904 Crammond The British Shipping Industry, 1917, p. 32.
1926 3896 Sir Robert Kinder sley Economic Journal, March, 1929. (Listed securities only.)
1927 3990 Kindersley Cited above. (Listed securities only.)
1929 3438
Kindersley Economic Journal, September, 1931. The larger figure allows for unlisted investments not directly covered by the inquiry.
1930 3424
Kindersley Economic Journal, June 1932. The larger figure allows for unlisted investments not directly covered by the inquiry.
1931 3410
Kindersley Economic Journal, June, 1933. The larger figure allows for unlisted investments not directly covered by the inquiry.
1932 3355
Kindersley Economic Journal, September, 1934 The larger figure allows for unlisted investments not directly covered by the inquiry.


The estimates of Alfred Neymarck, made over a series of years by the same methods and finally brought together in his report to the Institut International de Statistique, give a degree of internal consistency to French pre-war investment figures. Like practically all French estimates, Neymarck's were based on security issues. French capital characteristically went abroad in this form, however; Frenchmen were much less inclined to make direct business investments away from home than were Englishmen, Germans, and Americans.

At end of year Amount in billions of pre-war francs Authority Source and Remarks
1850 2.5 E. Théry Cited by A. Théry, Les grands établissements de crédit français, 1921, pp. 80-1.
1869 10. A. Neymarck Bulletin de l'Institut Inter-national de Statistique, Vol. XX, Part II (1915), p. 1406. (Report presented in 1913.)
1870 12-14 L. Say Rapport sur le paiement de l'indemnité de guerre, 1874, pp. 70-1.
1875 12.5-13.75 E. Seyd Journal of Society of Arts, March 10, 1876, p. 309
1880 15. A. Neymarck Cited above.
1888 18.5 A. de Foville Cited by P. Arndt, "Neue Beiträge zur Frage der Kapitalanlage im Auslande," Zeitschrift für Socialwissenschaft, 1915, p. 378.
1890 20. A. Neymarck Cited above.
1892 21. E. Théry Fortune publique de la France, 1911, p. 197
1897 26. R. G. Lévy Revue des Deux Mondes, March 15, 1897, p. 440
1897 26.2 E. Théry Les valeurs mobilières en France, 1897, p. 185.
1899 27. E. Théry La France économique el financière, 1900, p. 257.
1902 25-27 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1902 30. Official investigation under direction of Minister of Foreign Affairs, by means of questionnaires to French diplomatic agents and consuls.
Journal Officiel, September 25, 1902, p. 6389.
1902 33-34 P. Leroy-Beaulieu Cited by P. Arndt in article cited above.
1904 27-30 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1906 30-32 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1907 37.15 E. Théry Les progrès économiques de la France, 1908, p. 307.
1908 32-35 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1908 38. E. Théry Fortune publique de la France, 1911, p. 197.
1909 40. E. Crammond Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, September, 1909, P. 483.
1910 38-40 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1910 40 W. Zollinger Die Bilanz der internationalen Wertübertragungen, pp. 111-12.
1912 40-42 A. Neymarck Cited above.
1912 40-42 Yves Guyot Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1916, pp. 41-3.
1913-14 45 C. K. Hobson Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 68 (November, 1916), p. 32.
1913-4 45 Moulton and Lewis The French Debt Problem, 1925, p. 331.
1913-14 50 G. Martin La situation financière de la France, 1914-24, 1924, pp. 100 and 106.

I have not been able to find any studies of the amount of French foreign investments in the post-war period which correspond to those of Neymarck before the war or of Kindersley in England and the Department of Commerce in the United States. Some estimates of income from investments abroad have been made in connection with balance of payment studies. The League of Nations, for its Memorandum on Trade and Balances of Payments series, in the absence of official estimates, uses those published by M. Pierre Meynial in the Revue d'économie politique. These include, for 1929, 4,100 million francs representing interest and dividends received on account of long-term investments abroad by French nationals, and similar receipts of 500 million francs by foreigners living permanently in France. The total, 4,600 million francs, I have capitalized at 5.1 per cent, which is the average rate of return estimated to have been received on French investments in 1914.(2) This gives 90 billion francs, or approximately 3,500 million dollars, which is the rounded figure used in Chart I for French investments as of the end of 1929.(3)



The remarkable scatter of opinion regarding the amount of German capital abroad just before the war is due to two facts. First, much German investment was made directly in trading facilities and overseas enterprises without special security issues, and, second, there was a lack of reliable data even on those investments represented by securities. Practically all the German estimators in the decade before the war were influenced, some of them quite uncritically, by the unreliable and incomplete investigation of the Imperial Marine Office.

Year Amount in billions of marks Authority Source and Remarks
1883 4-5 G. Schmoller Securities only. Assumed as basis for the 1892 estimate. Introduction to statistical appendices of the Börsen Enquête-Kommission, 1893.
1892 10 G. Schmoller Cited above. Securities only.
1892 13 W. Christians Deutscher Oeconomist, January 27, 1894. Securities only. Cited in J. M. Keynes, p. 162.
1893-4 12 Reichsbank- president Koch Cited in Keynes, same.
1892-3 15 Miquel Cited in Riesser, The German Great Banks and Their Concentration. (Report of U. S. National Monetary Commission), p. 803. (Prussian capital alone.)
1905 24-25 Riesser The German Great Banks and Their Concentration, p. 803. Citing Admiralty memorandum, "Die Entwicklung der Deutschen Seeinteressen."
1905 25 Ballod Cited in Riesser, same.
1905 16 Imperial Marine Office Die Entwicklung der deutschen Seeinte ressen, 1905. This figure is for securities only. Riesser, cited above, adds 7-7-9.2 billion marks for business enterprise abroad and Says the resulting figure is probably much too small.
1906 16 Koch Securities only. Cited in Steinmann Bucher, 350 Milliarden deutsches Volksvermögen, pp. 44-47.
1909 30 Steinmann-Bucher Cited above.
1912 20 Crammond Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, July, 1914, p. 803.
1912 30 Navy League Deutschland sei wach! 1912, p. 148
1912 35 P. Arndt Deutschlands Stellung in der Weltwirtschaft, 2d edn., 1913, p. 29.
1913 20 Helfferich Deutschlands Volkswoldstand, 1888-1913, 1914, pp. 112-13
1913 20-25 Kurt Singer Wiftschaftsdienst, July 7, 1922, pp. 660-61.
1913 35 August Müller Reconstruction, February-March, 1922-23, p. 218.
1913-14 20 C. K. Hobson Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 68 (November, x916), p. 32.
1913-14 20 Moulton and McGuire Germany's Capacity to Pay, 1923, p. 32. (A net sum, subtracting foreign capital in Germany.)
1913-14 25 Ballod Cited in Keynes, same.
1913-14 25 Pistorious Cited in Keynes, same.
1913-14 20-30 Steinmann-Bucher Dos reiche Deutschland, 1914, p. 54. Deutschlands Volksvermögen im Krieg 1916, p. 21.
1913-14 28 Second Committee of Experts (McKenna Committee) 1924.
1913-14 30 Paish Contemporary Review, September, 1919, p. 255.
1913-14 31 H. David Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, 1919, I, 31 ff. (Including 3.5 billion marks of short term trading accounts abroad he reaches a figure of at least 34 billions.)
1913-14 36 P. Arndt Zeitschrift fir Sozialwissenschaft, 1915, p. 455.
1923 5.7-7.8 Second Committee of Experts (McKenna Committee) 1924.
1930 4-5 Reich Statistical Office. Wirtschaft und Statistik, X, No. 22 (November, 1930), p. 894.
1926-31 4-5-5 Report of the Basle (Wiggin) Committee.



At end of year Amount in millions of dollars Authority Source and Remarks
1899 500 Nathaniel T. Bacon Yale Review, IX, 265 ff., Nov., 1900.
1900 500 H. E. Fisk Inter-Ally Debts, 1924, pp. 306-10.
1909 1,500 Sir G. Paish Report of United States National Monetary Commission, XX, pp. 172-176.
1909 2,000 H. E. Fisk Cited above.
1909 2,000 Chas. F. Speare North American Review, July, 1909, pp. 82-92.
1912 1,902 John B. Osborne North American Review, May, 1912, pp. 687 ff
1913 2,625 Max Winkler Foreign Policy Association, Information Service, IV, Sup. No. 1 (March, 1929).
1913 2,500 H. E. Fisk Cited above.
1923 7,650 H. E. Fisk Cited above.
1921 8,020 Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, U. S. Dept. of Commerce, yearly estimates in connection with annual balance of payments studies, revised and summarized in" A New Estimate of American Investments Abroad," Trade Information Bulletin No. 767 (Washington, 1931), p. 25.
1922 8,877
1923 9, 135
1924 10,004
1925 10,876
1926 11,684
1927 12,656
1928 13,973
1929 14,764
1930 15,170
1919 5,678 Max Winkler, estimates prepared annually over a series of years for the Foreign Policy Association and published in its Information Service (Foreign Policy Reports). Vol. IV, Sup. No. 1, March, 1928; Vol. V, Sup. No. 1, March, 1929; Vol VI, Sup. No. 1, May, 1930; Vol. VII, No. 24, February 3, 1932. The 1919 estimate is adopted by Winkler from The International Position of the United States (N. Y., National Industrial Conference Board, 1929), p. 48.
. . . .  
1922 7,775
1923 8,175
1924 9,386
1925 11,535
1926 12,855
1927 14,500
1928 1 15,601 1
1929 16,604
1930 17,528
1931 17,968



(A) Total Foreign-Owned Long-Term Investments in the United States.
(B) Total Long-Term United States Investments Abroad. (In millions of dollars.)

  A B
1855 275 No data, but small
1870 1,400 " " " " "
1885 2,000 " " " " "
1900 3,330 500
1914 4,500 2,500
1929 4,700 14,700

The figures of column B above are based on estimates already listed on the preceding page. Estimates bearing on foreign investments in the United States are collected below:


At end of year Amount in millions of dollars Authority Source and Remarks
1838 15-200 Review of Economic Statistics, Vol. I (July, 1919), pp. 215 ff., "The Balance of Trade of the United States," by Charles J. Bullock, John H. Williams, and Rufus Tucker. A committee report to the House of Representatives in 1843 is cited in connection with the 1838 figure; it placed city and state debts held abroad at $150,000,000.
1839 200 President Jackson, cited by C. K. Hobson, The Export of Capital, 1914, p. 111.
1853 222 Secretary of the Treasury Reply to Congressional resolution. Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 42, 33rd Cong., 1st sess. Quoted in Cleona Lewis, The International Accounts, 1927, p. 137.
1860 400 Secretary of the Treasury Cited in Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1863 200 Review of Economic Statistics, cited above. A temporary return of securities took place after 1860.
1869 1,465 David A Wells, Special Commissioner of the Revenue. House Ex. Doc. No. 27, 41st Cong., 2nd sess. Quoted in Lewis, cited above, p. 148.
1873 1,500 Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1875 2,000 E. Seyd Journal of the Society of Arts, March 10, 1876.
1883 2,000 Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1895 2,500 Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1899 3,330 Nathaniel T. Bacon Yale Review, IX (November, 1900), pp. 265 ff
1899 3,100 W. Z. Ripley New York Journal of Commerce, December 6, 1911. Cited in Hobson, cited above, p. 153.
1909 6,000 Sir G. Paish Report of the United States National Monetary Commission, XX, 172-176. (Regarded in Review of Economic Statistics study cited above as too large.)
1913-14 4,500 Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1913-14 51000 Dow, Jones and Company. Cited in Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1913-14 4,000 to 5,000 "All of the estimates." Review of Economic Statistics, cited above.
1913-14 7,000 H. E. Fisk Cited above, p. 312.
1920 1,500 John H. Williams Cited in "The Balance of International Payments of the United States in 1926," U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Trade Information Bulletin No. 503, p. 15
1923 3,000 H. E. Fisk Cited above, p. 312.
1925 3,000 U. S. Department of Commerce. Reference in 1920 item.
1927 3,700 U. S. Department of Commerce. "The Balance of International Payments of the United States in 1927," Trade Information Bulletin No. 552, p. 25.
1929 4,700 U. S. Department of Commerce. "The Balance of International Payments of the United States in 1929," Trade Information Bulletin No. 698, p. 32.




(In millions of dollars.)

For Great Britain, France, Germany, and the United States, the figures are the same as those already tabulated in connection with Chart 1.





























Total, all countries, including large lenders not listed here

13,000 plus

22,600 plus

41,600 plus


The sum of $2,700 million for "others" in 1929-30 is based on the following items: (A) Countries with less than $500 million but more than $100 million probably invested abroad---Canada, 354; Australia, 250; India, 200; Spain, at least 400; Italy, 300; U.S.S.R., at least 300; China, at least 400. (B) Countries with something less than $100 million invested abroad, including---Czechoslovakia, 81; Denmark, 61; Norway, 54; New Zealand, 70; Austria, 35; Greece, 12; Hungary, 31; Union of South Africa, at least 13; Argentina, 8; Poland, 6; Rumania, 6; Turkey, 6.

The figures presented above for these minor lending countries are, of course, full of guesswork---more or less shrewd, perhaps, but guesswork. There is fairly reliable data for a few of them, however, and I summarize that briefly below, together with shreds of information on which some of the more daring guesses were partly based. Considerable use was made of the League of Nations' annual Memorandum on Trade and Balances of Payment, mainly the volumes 1927-1929 (Geneva, 1930), and 1930 (Geneva, 1931), hereafter cited as "BP, 1929" and "BP, 1930." These contain summaries of official and private estimates regarding the balances of international indebtedness of some countries, and for others I have made use of the interest and dividend item on long-term capital abroad, capitalizing it at what seemed to me a reasonable rate in each case. The results are doubtless highly inaccurate, but the "order of magnitude" of holdings abroad is probably fairly well indicated in most instances.

Holland. As early as the late fifties of the last century Holland's foreign investments were estimated at about $300 million, and the total went much higher in the sixties and seventies. (C. K. Hobson, op. cit., p. 130.) Since the war the securities market in Holland has had very active periods. From 1924 to 1927, for example, foreign securities to the value of some $325 million were emitted, of which some 240 million dollars worth were reckoned to be in the possession of Dutch investors. This was in addition to investments already held. (Dr. Theodor Metz, " Die Niederlande und ihre Kredite an das Ausland," Schriffen des Vereins für Sozialpolilik, 174 [1928-9], pp. 88, 119.) The long-term interest and dividend item in the balance of payment statement (BP, 1929), capitalized at 6%, converted, and rounded, gives the figure of $2,300 million, which seems not unreasonable.

Switzerland. Switzerland is the oldest capital export area in Europe north of the Alps. Its foreign investments in recent times have come in part through the activity of Swiss enterprises abroad and in part from security purchases. Foreign security holdings were estimated during the World War at some $900 million, with a yearly increase just before the war of $20 million. On the basis of this estimate, said to be low, the Swiss capital export per capita of population stood in the relation of 3 to 4 with respect to the British and at least 3 to 1 with respect to the German just before the war. (J. Landmann, Der schweizerische Kapitalexport, 1916, pp. 31, 71-72.) The following estimates of Swiss foreign security holdings are given by W. Stauffacher, Der schweizerische Kapitalexport, 1929, p. 77:


Amount in millions of dollars










" "





Schweizerische Kreditanstalt


1,400-1,600 (nominal)
Schweizerische Bankvereinigung


1,700 (nominal)

The Schweizerische Volksbank, says Stauffacher, in its report of September, 1926, estimated the worth of Swiss business enterprises abroad at 300 million dollars.

Belgium. On the occasion of the Brussels World Exposition of 1910, the Foreign Ministry estimated Belgian industrial placements abroad, as of 1908-9, at $540 million, of which one-fourth were said to be in Russia. (Cited in Ischchanian, Die ausländischen Elemente in der russischen Volkswirtschaft, Berlin, 1913, p. 249.) A report prepared by the German war-time administration of Belgium put its total capital outlay in Russian industries at about $300 million, which was said to be one-third or one-fourth of the Belgian industrial capital invested abroad. ("Die belgischen Wirtschaftsinteressen in Russland," Bericht der Sektion VII der politischen Abteilung bei dem Generalgouverneur in Belgien, Brussels, 1918.) F. Baudhuin estimates the yearly export of capital from Belgium before 1914 at not less than $54 million and believes that on the eve of the war Belgian interests abroad must have totaled $1600 million to $1800 million. (Le capital de la Belgique et le rendement de son industrie avant la guerre, Louvain, 1924, p. 168; cited in Léon Dupriez, "Belgien und die internationalen Kapitalbewegungen, 1919-1927," Schriften des Vereins für Sozialpolitik, Vol. 174, 1928-9, pp. 49-66.) The committee for the defense of Belgian interests in Russia placed Belgian pre-war investments there at $470 million of industrial capital, $128 million in state loans, and $105 million miscellaneous claims. (E. Witmeur, "Les intérêts belges en Russie," Rev. Ec. Internationale, May, 1922.) These high figures are all greatly exaggerated by the fact that Belgium served as an intermediary for the capital exports of other lands, notably France, just as it has long been an entrepôt for wares and peoples. Heinrich König ("Belgische Kapitalanlagen in Italien," Kieler wissenschaftliche Dissertation, 1920, unpublished, pp. 310-315) shows that the actual participation of Belgian capital in the securities issued by Belgian companies having their chief activity abroad was less than 50 per cent before the war, often much less. The figure for 1929 given in the table ($1500 million) is supported by capitalization at 6 per cent of the interest and dividend item in the balance of payments (BP, 1929).

Japan. H. G. Moulton, Japan, In Economic and Financial Appraisal (Washington, 1931), Appendix A, arrives at estimates of $300 million for Japanese investments abroad in 1913 and $905 million in 1929. C. F. Remer (op. cit., p. 548) finds $1136 million of Japanese investments in China as of the end of 1930. The 1929 inward interest and dividend item (BP, 1930) capitalized at 6 per cent would indicate $743 million abroad.

Sweden. Inward interest and dividend on long-term capital, as of 1929 (BP, 1930), capitalized at 6 per cent, gives $494 million.

Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, Poland. Official or unofficial international indebtedness estimates, as of 1929 where possible, quoted in BP, 1930.

India, Austria, Greece, Hungary, Union of South Africa, Argentina, Rumania, Turkey. Inward interest and dividend item on long-term capital, 1929, reported in BP, 1930, capitalized, compared with incomplete international indebtedness statements in some cases, converted, and rounded.

Australia. Guess, based on net cumulated capital import figures in Roland Wilson, "Australian Capital Imports, 1871-1930" Economic Record (Melbourne) Vol. 12 (May, 1931)., pp. 33-63, compared with certain gross estimates.

Spain. Spanish investment in Mexico alone has been put at $195 million, largely in agricultural land, business, petroleum. (William Manger, "Foreign Investments in the American Republics," Bulletin of the Pan American Union, Vol. 65 [October, 1931], p. 1073.)

Italy. Guess. Manger (cited above) mentions estimates of $10 million to $50 million for Italian interests in Peru, and there must be similar scattered sums elsewhere, considering Italian banks with branches abroad and various Italian interests in Albania, Tunis, Turkey, China, etc.

U.S.S.R. A Russian investment of $273 million in China alone, mainly the Chinese Eastern Railway inherited from Tsarist days, is shown by C. F. Remer, Foreign Investments in China (New York, 1933), p. 612. The Amtorg and Intourist agencies abroad represent some investment.

China. Remer (cited above, p. 189) shows that Chinese families have surprisingly large business holdings abroad, to which perhaps Chinese $133 million per year of receipts in the Chinese balance of payments should be ascribed, excluding remittances of wages. It is dangerous to capitalize this figure, but it supports the guess that Chinese holdings abroad are at least U. S. $400 million.




The percentage distribution of British holdings abroad has been calculated from the estimates of Sir George Paish, Statist, Supplement, February 14, 1914. Paish's figures relate only to publicly issued securities, thus omitting from the total of 3,716 million pounds an estimated 300 million p ounds of foreign investment unrepresented by securities.

The available data and previous estimates regarding the geographical distribution of French pre-war investments abroad were canvassed and summarized by Moulton and Lewis (The French Debt Problem, 1926, pp. 332-340). I have used their conclusions, converting them into percentage figures. Herbert Feis (Europe the World's Banker: 1870-1914, 1930, p. 51) criticizes the Moulton and Lewis estimates as too high in the cases of Rumania, Austria-Hungary, Spain, and Portugal, and too low for Latin America, the United States, and Canada.

The German data are based on the conclusions of Feis (op. cit., p. 74), converted into percentages.


The estimates of Sir Robert Kindersley (Economic Journal, June, 1933, p. 200) have been converted into percentages to show the geographical distribution of British investments as of the end of 1930. The total of 3,185 pounds so distributed includes only about 85 per cent of British overseas investment. The balance, some 540 million pounds, consisted of private investments and securities not listed on stock exchanges in the United Kingdom, as well as the overseas assets of a number of British companies whose activities were spread throughout the globe. The result drastically understates investments in the United States and, to a less extent, investments in South America, India, Canada, and China.

The percentages showing geographical distribution of United States investments at the end Of 1930 are based on tables in "A New Estimate of American Investments Abroad," U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Trade Information Bulletin No. 767 (Washington, 1931).




The figures in parentheses following the name of each country below indicate the estimated total long-term foreign investment within its borders as of the end of 1929 (or thereabouts), in millions of dollars; methods of estimation and sources are briefly mentioned. The data at the basis of these estimates, as in the case of Chart III, are of widely varying reliability and adequacy. Some of the figures must be wide of the mark, but in most cases the "order of magnitude" will be fairly well indicated by even these crude figures.

Canada (6,124). International indebtedness estimate quoted in BP, 1930.

United States (4,700). Data cited in connection with Chart II.

Australia (3,800). Net cumulated capital import given in Roland Wilson, "Australian Capital Imports, 1871-1930," Economic Record (Melbourne), Vol. 12 (May, 1931), pp. 33-63, increased by an allowance of $250 million for Australian placements abroad.

China (3,300). C. F. Remer, Foreign Investments in China (New York, 1933), p. 58.

Germany (3,200). Official estimate of balance of international indebtedness in Wirtschaft und Statistik, Vol. 10, No. 22, 1930, p. 894; quoted in BP, 1930.

Argentina (3,100). Dr. Carlos Garcia Mata, "Los capitales extranjeros en Sud America," Rev. Econ. Argentina. 21 (Nov., 1928), pp. 345-58. Dr. Mata's material appears in German in Weltwinschaftliches Archiv, 29 (1929, I), pp. 13-15. His figure for Argentina is $3021 million as of the middle of 1928. William Manger, "Foreign Investments in the American Republics," Bulletin of the Pan American Union, 65 (October, 1931), pp. 1064-1077 collects estimates from a number of sources. These substantially confirm Dr. Mata's figure. An estimate based on capitalization of outward interest and dividends (BP, 1930) at 6 per cent gave $3126 million.

India (2,800). Remer (cited above), pp. 59-60, quotes estimates ranging from $2000 million upwards to $3500 million.

Mexico (2,300). Manger (cited above).

Brazil (2,600). Mata (cited above), fairly well in agreement with estimates quoted by Manger (cited above).

Malaya (1,600). This includes both Dutch and British territory in the East Indies. British investments there were placed at about $540 million by Kindersley for 1930 (Economic Journal, June, 1933). The U. S. Department of Commerce ("New Estimate . . .") found $201 million of American investments in the Dutch East Indies and $27 million in British Malaya in 1930. Dutch investments must be large. Outward payments from the Dutch East Indies alone on account of interest and dividends (BP, 1930), capitalized at 6 per cent, indicate $2,200 million; or, at 10 per cent, the sum is $1300. I have made a guess of $1600 million for total investments in British and Dutch possessions.

United Kingdom (1,900). The U. S. Department of Commerce ("New Estimate") placed American investments at $1420 million in 1930. Business investments from all over the world must have been fairly large, and British bonds would be held abroad. The outward interest and dividend item for long-term capital (BP, 1930), capitalized at 4 per cent, indicates about $1875 million.

Union of South Africa (1,300). Outward interest and dividend item on long-term capital, 1929 (BP, 1930), capitalized, compared with incomplete international indebtedness data, converted, and rounded.

Cuba (1,300). Manger (cited above).

Japan (1,300). H. G. Moulton, Japan, An Economic and Financial Appraisal (Washington, 1931), p. 524, gives $1275 million.

Chile (1,300). International indebtedness estimate quoted in BP, 1930, as of end of 1929. Manger (cited above) indicates $1155 million; Mata (cited above), for 1928, $1101 million.

Belgium (1,200). Outward interest and dividend item on long-term capital, 1929 (BP, 1929), capitalized, adjusted with aid of incomplete international indebtedness data in same source, converted, and rounded.

Spain and Portugal (1,000). A guess, starting from knowledge that estimated British, French, and German investments in these countries in 1914 totaled about $1300 million. U. S. investments in 1930 were put by the Department of Commerce ("New Estimate at $17 million and $95 million in Spain and Portugal respectively.

The following countries were estimated to have had between $500 million and $1000 million each of foreign long-term capital, totaling $5,700 million. In millions of dollars:

New Zealand






Egypt and Suez

Tunis, etc. in North Africa




Those for which the figure 500 appears in parentheses were set down at the minimum for the class, signifying that, while the absence of data makes a definite guess too hazardous, evidence such as pre-war estimates (and in the case of Persia, earnings of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company) gave some justification for supposing that foreign capital to the extent of $500 million to $1000 million was present. Where definite figures are given, they were arrived at by methods similar to those already explained for other countries, and no claim can be made for having achieved anything better than very crude approximations. The same holds for the following figures put down for some countries probably having less than $500 million of foreign long-term capital in 1929-30:

Sweden 400 Finland


Norway 400 Belgian Congo


Peru 400 Bulgaria


Venezuela 400 Guatemala


Denmark 360 Dominican Republic


Colombia 350 Paraguay


Hungary 350 Honduras


Greece 350 Costa Rica


Austria 320 Salvador


Yugoslavia 300 Ecuador


Holland 300 Haiti


Czechoslovakia 260 Latvia


Switzerland 250 Jamaica


British W. Afr. 230 Nicaragua


Bolivia 200 Lithuania


Philippines 200 Albania


There are omissions---areas for which there is no trace of data available but which have some small foreign investment. However, the tendency of the small individual estimates is doubtless to overstate rather than to understate the total, and this may offset the omissions in part. The total for the countries listed having less than $500 million is $6050 million, that for those having between $500 million and $1000 million is $5,700 million, and that for those having more than $1000 million is $42,924 million, making a grand total for the world which reaches, by this method of estimation, $54,674 million.



(Source: U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, "A New Estimate of American Investments Abroad," Trade Information Bulletin No. 767 [Washington, 1931], p. 8.)

(Millions of dollars)









Mexico and Central America



South America

1,63 1


West Indies















Deduct for international securities movement  





a. Exclusive of holdings of Mexican Government and Mexican National Railway Co. securities and very small holdings of Nicaraguan guaranteed customs bonds of 1918.

b. Exclusive of very minor holdings of various Ecuadorian issues.

c. Exclusive of holdings of Chinese securities.

d. It is estimated that this deduction might be distributed as follows: Canada $150 million, Europe $430 million, and Asia $50 million.





Examples of direct access to international justice by private parties are not rare in the history of international arbitrations. A treaty of 1853 between the United States and Great Britain provided that persons having claims against either state were to turn directly to a mixed commission set up by the treaty. Such arrangements have been entered into by Uruguay with England and France, by the United States with New Granada, with Costa Rica, with Peru, with Great Britain (in 1863), by Great Britain with Venezuela.(1) In the treaties resulting from the World War mixed tribunals were set up to pass upon a large number of differences between the subjects of the Allied Powers and the Central Powers. These seem to have been the first international tribunals in Europe before which private parties who believed themselves injured by a state had direct access. Though the mixed tribunals established in Egypt in 1876 were not international, the judges were drawn from various nationalities, and controversies of private parties with Egypt could be brought before them. Similarly, in the Algeciras Act of 1906 the Powers established the Bank of Morocco and provided that any controversy between it and the Moroccan government should be taken before the Federal Court of Switzerland.(2)

In two instances an international convention has been drawn up establishing an international court before which private parties were to have direct access. The first was at the Hague Conference of 1907. Article 4 of the proposed convention (not ratified) relative to the creation of an International Prize Court of Appeal provided that recourse could be had to the Court not only by interested states, but also by private persons, with certain limitations. In answer to the contention that only nations should be allowed to plead it was argued: (1) that international relations might be troubled rather than calmed by such a procedure; (2) that especially in the interest of the small states prize cases should not be given an inter-state character, for the small states might be restrained from acting by political considerations; (3) that it would be unjust to deprive an individual of right of appeal because his state, for political, economic, or other reasons might not wish to press the case before the Hague Prize Court; (4) that, finally, in line with the tendency of progress in international matters every person ought to be able to obtain directly the justice due him without the intervention of his government to assure this result.(3) The second example was the Central American Court of Justice created at Washington in December, 1907, by a convention between Honduras, Nicaragua, and Salvador. Under this convention private persons not only had the right to bring cases against foreign governments, but their own government could not even forbid them to do so.(4)

In 1910 a concrete case illustrating the impotence of a private person in bringing a legal claim against a foreign state, even where the legal issue has arisen out of commercial transactions, aroused much attention in Germany and led merchants' organizations as well as many international jurists to agitate for some form of direct access by private parties to international justice.(5) The treatise on The Diplomatic Protection of Citizens Abroad, published by Edwin M. Borchard in 1915, recommended the divorce of pecuniary claims against foreign governments from political considerations and their direct submission to an independent international tribunal.(6) More recently the question has been discussed by the Institut de Droit International on two occasions, the first in connection with the report of Messrs. F. L. de ]a Barra and A. Mercier on arbitral procedure in 1927, and the second in 1929 when M. St. P. Séfériadès presented an entire report on the access of private parties to international jurisdictions.(7) Indeed, the question of direct access for private persons to international justice is only one aspect of a great controversy which has arisen the last few years and is even now raging among the professional guardians and developers of international legal theory---a controversy which relates to the fundamental reshaping of legal concepts necessitated by the increasing rôle of private organizations and individuals in modern international life. The literature on this subject is growing rapidly.(8)

Messrs. Barra and Mercier pointed out that the access of private parties to international judicial procedure may be viewed in different lights according to whether the litigation is between private parties or between a private party and a state. In the first case, they held, the institution of a permanent international jurisdiction would be an important guarantee of impartiality, would assure uniformity in the interpretation of treaties, would solve conflicts of competence between different existing jurisdictions, and would avoid multiple litigation before different courts with the possibility of conflicting decisions. These advantages, the report says, would be especially marked in the case of parties domiciled in many different countries or having goods in many countries; one decision might suffice to clear up matters arising out of bankruptcy, succession, trademarks, patents, and the like. (Note that almost all international private investment matters come under this category of cases in which international jurisdiction is particularly to be desired.) Litigation of the second type, that is, between a private party and a state, might arise out of a conventional engagement, such as an international treaty, or out of a contract made by a state with private individuals, or out of a denial of justice. The desirability of establishing direct access of private individuals to international jurisdictions for litigation of this second type was the topic discussed in most detail by M. Séfériadès in 1929.

He reported that international practice has tried several different systems in order that a private party might plead against a foreign state before a judge not dependent on that state. One method is to recognize the competence of the courts of the state to which the private individual belongs, in certain circumstances; a second depends upon the insertion in all agreements between private individuals and states of compromise clauses providing for a method of arbitration. The defects and limitations of these two systems are obvious. The third system is that of official intervention by the state of the national affected in favor of the interests of its citizen---that is, national diplomatic protection. This system, says M. Séfériadès, presents incontestable advantages when the states involved agree to submit the difficulty to a court of arbitration or to the Permanent Court of International Justice. But the system contains the germs of incontestable disadvantages. It is oftentimes too violent a remedy, giving more than would be equitable. On the other hand, it is oftentimes absolutely insufficient to bring about a solution of all the difficulties arising between an individual and a foreign state.

First of all, it is only the powerful states that are able to take matters into their own hands when their nationals believe themselves injured by a foreign state; these states sometimes do not hesitate to use force to arrive at a solution of the conflict conforming to their views. Thus the defense of private interests sometimes risks irritating the relations between states in a manner even more dangerous than would a conflict involving the nation directly. The conflicts of interest between individuals and states of different nationalities ought never to be allowed to be elevated---or rather to degenerate---into conflicts between states, conflicts of a sort which are given to surprises as tragic as they are unexpected. Furthermore, there is good reason for generalizing to all conflicts of interest between individuals and states the Drago-Porter doctrine of the 1907 Hague convention for the limitation of the use of force in collection of contract debts. Indeed, wherever the pecuniary interest of an individual is involved it would be in the interest of justice and of the international community that the individual should act directly, without involving his state. The pride of a defendant state would suffer much less under such conditions, should the decision go against it, and the broader political interests of the states affected would rest intact.

In the actual practice of diplomatic protection, the report continues, governments will not ordinarily make common cause with their citizens abroad where more general political interests interfere. Every governmental action from abroad which is critical of the internal authority of a state, no matter how courteous, cannot but offend national susceptibilities. Under such conditions, without precisely lacking courage, the government of a small state, especially, will always hesitate to intervene diplomatically on account of an alleged illegality suffered by one of its nationals abroad. Or, a state asked to interest itself in a matter of secondary importance on behalf of an individual citizen may be engaged in conflicts of capital importance with the other state. In any case, the governmental protection here being discussed is completely unavailable for a whole category of persons: those without a state, the heimatlosen, or apatrides. The protection of some states may be available only in favor of certain individuals: powerful industrialists, bankers, or merchants for whom the government finds it worth while to act, perhaps for reasons of internal politics or for reasons which cannot be avowed. For small merchants without influence, and especially for the large numbers of political exiles, voluntary or forced, protection against injustices to their interests abroad may be out of the question. Finally, one may consider it certain that a state will not give vigorous representation to the interests of its citizen in concrete cases where the citizen's interest calls for a different interpretation of a treaty or a different method of thinking on delicate questions of international law than those demanded by the state's general policy.

Thus, concludes the Séfériadès report, the present recourse of individuals whose interests are injured abroad by a foreign state is unsatisfactory from many points of view. It is necessary to institute an international justice, to which private persons may have access, and which will be competent to pronounce on differences between private persons and a state. What are the objections to such a step? It has been argued that a state would never tolerate being attacked before a court by a private person. The history of mixed commissions, the framing of the Hague convention on an international prize court, the original competence of the Central American Court of justice, may be urged to the contrary. Especially if reciprocal rights were accorded by all states to each other's citizens no harm to national dignity would seem to result. It has been said that private parties would be at a disadvantage without the support of their governments before an international court. This assumes that judges would consider the political weight of supporting governments rather than the justice of a cause in deciding cases. Furthermore, representation through his government might not always be an advantage to a citizen, for the government might be unwilling on occasion to support an argument which could some day be used against it. It has been urged that diplomatic conversations cannot take place between a government and a private person, that international litigations are always litigations between states, because only states are subjects of international law, and that the principle of state sovereignty is opposed to allowing a state to be cited without its consent in advance. These are all doctrinaire objections. They state the existing situation which it is proposed to change. Finally, it has been said that to allow private parties direct access to an international court would increase the number of international conflicts. This is to confound the number of conflicts with the number of cases, to believe that the former can be suppressed by suppressing the latter, by suppressing justice.(9)



There have been serious proposals looking toward the creation of aome sort of "international legal personality" for private nonprofit associations like the International Red Cross, the International Law Association, and international scientific bodies. The International Law Association, including in its membership some of the most eminent international jurists, adopted the following resolution at its London conference of 1910:

"It is desirable to establish by diplomatic convention an extra-national or super-national statute or governing law which may be adopted by International Associations formed for no profit, which, by reason of their nature or their object, cannot or will not submit themselves to the law of any particular defined country."(10)

This proposal had previously obtained the approval of a congress of international associations held at Brussels in May, 1910, at which some 132 organizations had been represented.(11) A proposed international convention was drawn up and made the subject of a detailed inquiry; this proposed convention was approved by the second congress at Brussels in 1913. The parliament of Belgium took up the problem, for many international associations had their headquarters in Belgium, and considered a law under which complete civil personality might be granted to international scientific associations open to Belgians and foreigners, having an office in Belgium, and including at least one Belgian among the officers. A law to this effect was adopted in 1919, but it embodied stricter regulations than had been originally proposed.(12) In 1923 the whole subject of the legal status of international associations was considered by the Institut de Droit International.(13) M. Nicolas Politis, as rapporteur, distinguished the following types of international associations: (1) Private, not for profit; (2) Private, for profit; (3) Associations for public purposes, but due to non-state initiative; (4) Associations of states. He urged that means be provided whereby associations of the first type could acquire an international legal personality, and offered a carefully elaborated treaty project for the purpose.(14) This proposed convention, as amended after discussion, was unanimously approved by the Institut.(15) Some members expressed regret that the report did not include international associations for profit-making purposes.

As concrete examples of already existing organizations which are not states but which have international legal personalities of their own, the following are often cited: the International Institute of Agriculture, the European Commission of the Danube, the Universal Postal Union, the League of Nations itself. All of these rest upon treaties between states and are interesting to us simply because they illustrate a tendency, born of modern necessities, to create extra-national legal entities---a tendency which is undermining the old doctrine that only states can be "subjects of international law." The juridical basis of the Bank for International Settlements is especially noteworthy in connection with the proposed international corporations, for the Bank, while it grew out of the problem of German reparations and was established by international treaties, is empowered to act not only as a nonnational trustee of states but also as a commercial institution, competing with banks and financial houses on the exchanges of the world.

It was finally decided by those charged with creating the Bank that it should be established under a special charter from the Swiss government. This charter was actually issued in a form exactly prescribed by a treaty between Switzerland and the states interested in reparations, and the charter may not be amended except in agreement with these states. The Bank was also dealt with in a simultaneous treaty between Germany on the one hand and the creditor states on the other. Thus, while technically a Swiss corporation with certain internationally guaranteed privileges and immunities, the Bank for International Settlements is also in a very real sense an international body corporate. Indeed, the six legal experts who met in Brussels in December, 1929, to prepare for signature the international instruments by which the Young Plan was to be carried into execution proposed the following language:

"The parties recognize that the Bank for International Settlements will, from and after the date of its establishment, possess the quality of an international body corporate (personne juridique internationale)."

They also inserted an express proviso that "in view of its quality as an international body corporate (en raison de sa qualité de personne juridique internationale) " the Bank and its property were to enjoy certain immunities from expropriation, seizure, and the like. That is, the Bank was to come into being as the result of municipal action (the granting of a charter by Switzerland), but was subsequently by express recognition of the governments interested to take rank as an institution of international law. When the representatives of the governments assembled at The Hague in January, 1930, to conclude the agreements, however, a general unwillingness to speak in terms of a "personne juridique internationale" became manifest. "The thing was perhaps well enough, but there was something shocking in giving it such a name." As Sir John Fischer Williams suggests, the delegates at The Hague were like the man who suddenly discovered that he had been talking prose all his life without knowing it, with the difference that "international legal personality" is more alarming than ordinary prose. "There is a potency of unknown quality in such a name; such a name must by prudent persons be avoided, whatever rash lawyers might propose." And so, in the result, the agreements which underlie the Bank for International Settlements contain no reference to international legal personality.(16)

The legal situation with respect to world-wide enterprises, if international incorporation were made possible, might be likened to that which would prevail in a federal state where corporation charters could be taken out either under federal law or under the law of a particular state. It is interesting, therefore, to examine the practice of federal systems in this regard. Such a situation as that just suggested is actually found in Canada, for incorporation is possible under the Dominion Companies Act, or under the Companies Act of one of the provinces.(17) The corporations chartered by the Dominion have power to operate in any of the provinces. Business corporations in Switzerland prior to 1881 were regulated by cantonal laws, fragmentary in character and differing widely from each other. In that year, after long deliberation, the federal government took over the task.(18) In Australia, on the other hand, business corporations are organized under the laws of the several states, although the Commonwealth constitution gives parliament the power to make laws with respect to "foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth."(19) Similarly, in the United States of America charters are granted to business enterprises by the states and there is no general federal incorporation law, though Congress has created federal public corporations by special act. The presence of forty-eight separate incorporating authorities has led to much laxity in corporate regulation, stimulated by the efforts of some states to obtain revenue through becoming a domicile for great corporations doing a nation-wide business. Demands for the reform of this situation have been increasing in the United States of recent years and may possibly lead in the direction of federal incorporation. May an international parallel develop in future years?

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