Did the United States pay France rent for trenches?

May 29, 2017 | Author: | Posted in Military

There is a persistent but unfounded popular belief in the United States that the American government paid the French government a rental for the use of battle trenches during the First World War. On this subject the United States War Department says: “The rumors in regard to this matter have probably originated from the fact that this Government rented ground for training purposes and paid a certain amount for damages to the property when training trenches Were constructed.”

There appears to be no foundation whatever for the notion that the United States paid France rent for ground used by our troops for fighting purposes.

Another persistent but unfounded popular belief in America is that the United States pays the British and French governments rent for the land on which soldiers killed in the First World War are buried. The United States War Department says that all land used for First World War cemeteries in Europe was purchased in perpetuity for burial rights.

Some years ago Sir William Bull said in the House of Commons that during a political campaign he had been asked repeatedly by constituents whether the British government paid the French government rent for the trenches used during the First World War.

In reply the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s office declared: “No payments were made to the French government or French citizens for rent of the trenches which we occupied, nor as compensation for damages done by gun fire in the battle zones during the war.”

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