Cabinet Opinion on the American Debt to France
The President communicated to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War and the Attorney General of the United States, a letter from William S. Smith Esqr. of the 28th. of February past, to the Secretary of the Treasury, with sundry Papers No. I. II. III and IV. relating to a negotiation for changing the form of the debt to France; and required their opinion what answer should be returned to the Application.
The opinion unanimously is, that the Secretary of the Treasury shall inform Mr. Smith that the Government of the United States have made and engaged1 payments to France to the extent which is at present consistent with their arrangements; and do not judge it adviseable to take any measures on the Subject of his Application.
March 2nd. 1793
MS (DLC): Washington Papers); in the hand of Tobias Lear, signed by TJ, Hamilton, Knox, and Randolph; endorsed by Lear.
Smith’s letter to Hamilton of 28 Feb. 1793 and the sundry papers relating to Smith’s offer to buy the American debt to France and pay it in American goods have not been found. See note to Notes on Conversations with William Stephens Smith and George Washington, 20 Feb. 1793.
1. Preceding two words in the margin.