Johnson Act

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The Johnson Act of 1934 (Foreign Securities Act, ch. 112, 48 Stat. 574, 18 U.S.C. § 955, 1934-04-13) prohibited foreign nations in default from marketing their bond issues in the United States.

Senator Hiram Johnson sponsored the Act which included a passage that forbade loans to nations in default on their debts.

On May 5, 1934, Attorney General Cummings rendered an opinion on the meaning of the terms "default" and "partial default" used in the Act. He held that Czechoslovakia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Great Britain and Canada were not in default, despite the fact that all but Canada were in arrears on their debts, while Soviet Russia was in default.

The Johnson Act has been amended since the Bretton-Woods Agreement and is still on the books.

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