Otto Niemeyer

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Sir Otto Ernst Niemeyer, GBE, KCB (1883-1971) was financial controller at the Treasury and a director at the Bank of England. He was also treasurer of the National Association of Mental Health (UK) post World War II. His niece, Mary Applebey, was General Secretary of the association.

In July 1930, during Australia's Great Depression, he travelled to Melbourne to advise James Scullin's government. There, he devised the 'Niemeyer statement', a monthly statement of commonwealth government financial transactions. He was Chairman of the Bank for International Settlements between 1937 and 1940.

Journey to Australia

Australia had accrued substantial debt, mainly from Britain's independent banking sector, by the late 1920s - party as a result of Prime Minister Bruce's"Men, Money, Markets" economic strategy, and partly because of the large war debt established during World War I. Following the Wall Street Crash, the United States called in many of its World War I loans, including many from the UK, which, in turn called in its own loans from Australia. Australia had accumulated such massive debt that it was unable to repay even the interest on its loans. In order to avert total bankruptcy, Australia asked Britain for a deferment of payment on its war debts. To determine whether or not this was a viable financial option, the British banks sent Niemeyer to give an assessment of Australia and its financial situation.

However Niemeyer's report was less than positive. He was...
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