‘We Do Not Want to Be Too Hard on the Norwegians’: Sterling balances and rebuilding the Norwegian merchant shipping fleet, 1945–1950
This article looks at Anglo-Norwegian financial relations in the crucial five years after 1945. Norway lost half of her merchant fleet and had accumulated substantial sterling balances during the war through insurance claims from ships sunk in British and Allied service, and from freights carried. Given Britain’s position as banker to the sterling area and at the centre of a worldwide trading system based on sterling, in the postwar negotiations on sterling balances, the British Treasury took the lead role as financial questions loomed larger than trade questions. Norway’s sterling balances were for the most part used for building ships in British shipyards.