83. "Fifty francs to a dollar is blackmail! The dollar is worth at least 100-200 francs."

     The rate of 50 francs to the dollar was established in 1942 at the Casablanca conference. France didn't set the rate; the rate was agreed upon by the governments of France and the United States.

     Why was the rate set at such a disadvantage to the American dollar?

     First, to keep American soldiers from buying up many of the articles which the French themselves desperately needed. The American soldier gets his lodging, food, clothes free -- and his PX rations at extremely low prices. The French people do not get their lodging, food, clothes free - and the prices they pay for the things we get at our PXs (if they can even get those things) are very high.

     Secondly, the dollar was kept low in order to keep prices from going even higher than they are now.

     If the dollar had more purchasing power in France, American purchasers could have cleaned out the shops of, say, Paris. Prices would be much higher than they already are.(Incidentally, if the dollar had been pegged at 100 francs, say, the French private would have been getting $8 a month pay, at the wartime pay rate of 800 francs per month. He would now be getting $1.80 per month at the peacetime pay rate of 6 francs per day.)