The relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States remains the bedrock of both nations' foreign policies. Though differences will always be present, the two countries treat each other with basic respect. Nothing illustrates this fact better than the news today that by the end of this year the United Kingdom will finish paying for Lend—Lease, the massive transfer of armaments arranged by FDR and Churchill, to keep Britain alive under Hitler's assault, while circumventing the isolationists who asserted that the war was none of America's business.
The leftist UK Guardian manages a couple of swipes at America in its coverage of the historic milestone, but that cannot disguise the essential respect and honor inherent in keeping a promise to a generous friend:
Between March 1941 and September 1945, the United States' lend—lease programme transferred some $48bn worth of war material to other nations, the largest part of it (worth some $21bn) to Britain. This was an enormous sum, nearly equal to an entire year's UK gross national product. But it came at a price and the Americans drove a hard bargain. At one point Washington pressed for the transfer of the British West Indies in return. Though that proposal fell through, Britain did agree to give up the rights to and royalties on innovations such as radar, antibiotics, jet aircraft and nuclear research to the US as part of "reverse lend—lease". And when the war was over, the Americans handed in their bill.
Britain has been paying off our lend—lease bill in annual instalments ever since 1950. This week the Treasury confirmed that the last payment of �45m will be made by the end of this year. Lend—lease was an extraordinarily far—sighted American move — hardly "the most unsordid act in the history of any nation", as Churchill described it. But it was also the price of our survival. Repayment of debt may be unfashionable these days. But if ever a debt deserved paying it was lend—lease.
God Bless the Queen. God Bless Britannia. God Bless America.
Thomas Lifson 5 5 06