Address by the President of Brazil 1

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department
Published Date:
October 1967
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Arthur da Costa e Silva

I am here to welcome, on behalf of the Brazilian people and Government, the distinguished participants of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and its affiliates and the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund.

Our country considers it a privilege, as the seat of your meetings, to contribute to the continuity of the healthy tradition established in the last 20 years, that the men responsible for the economic and financial problems of so many countries, which are directly interested in the functioning of these institutions, should meet periodically to examine the progress of the world economy during the second half of the twentieth century.

These meetings—an extension of the Bretton Woods spirit—reflect the progress achieved in the field of communications and at the same time evidence the general desire to advance in the still more important sphere of the interests of each of the nations here represented. These meetings amplify the possibilities of mutual understanding as opportunities are opened for personal discussions among the high authorities on economic matters, whose points of view may thus mutually influence each other in the search for solutions of problems which have their own characteristics in each sovereign nation, but are, in the final analysis, problems concerning the international community as a whole.

In fact, we shall only make progress in the solution of such problems if we achieve a well-balanced appraisal of the over-all interests of our countries. By this means we will be able to measure, with greater certainty, the differences to be overcome among better developed areas and those which demand and deserve an adequate treatment in their struggle for progress. Fortunately, the more favored nations are already aware of the fact that their own tranquility, in the context of international politics, depends directly on the development of poorer nations or those more pressed by social inequalities.

In many instances, it is less important to measure in absolute terms the progress already attained than to be sure that the treatment adopted in each case will make it possible to reach positive results through the sincerity and perseverance of its application.

This, gentlemen, is a moment of maturity for the international community. Our common destiny is inexorably linked to the destiny of each one of us. It is well known that it is the richer nations which trade most among themselves. Nonetheless, their unimpeded trade depends on the availability of means of payments. Though the international monetary system has functioned with great efficiency in the postwar period, there exists today the firm belief that the moment has come when the level of international reserves can no longer be the unforeseen result of the vagaries of gold production, or ad hoc measures, but must be the object of deliberate decision, as will be registered at this meeting, 23 years after the first one was held at Bretton Woods.

It is necessary to entrust an international organization with the task of adjusting the level of the means through which international exchange is to be settled. It is even more important to note that this is a decision to be taken, not under the impact of an emergency, but as the result of a serene and objective evaluation of the conditions which govern our common advance toward the future.

This approach deserves to be stressed, especially when we have in mind the difficulties the world economy went through in the period between the two World Wars. On the other hand, it should be stressed that in the international organization charged with such an important task, there are to be represented, in accordance with accepted principles designed to reflect the economic weight of each country, all members of the International Monetary Fund, in order to ensure that the decisions to be taken shall be adopted in an adequate context, because they are capable of affecting profoundly the community of nations.

As a result of the tasks to be undertaken by the Governors of the IMF during this meeting, there is to be established the basis for a solution which will allow continuous growth in international trade. The attention given to financial matters should not mean that less emphasis will be placed on questions pertaining to the liberalization of this trade, including the opening of markets for manufactured products from less developed countries.

It is a fact that the effort toward the promotion of development is the individual responsibility of each nation. However, this internal effort can and must be supplemented by a broader availability of resources derived from the more developed countries, to be used in accordance with consistent government programs. It is exactly in this area that the experience of these last few years has not been very satisfactory.

The well-known difficulties we face, in diversifying our exports, require urgently to be removed, so that, besides being raw material exporters, we will become suppliers of manufactures to the world market. As all of you are aware, the restrictions that the developing countries experience in building their industrial sector hinder the speeding up of their economic growth. We trust that, in addition to the measures to be adopted in this meeting concerning the problem of international liquidity, others may be studied which will help to stimulate the flow of investment capital and to open markets for the products which the economies of developing countries are in a condition to offer to the industrial nations. In addition to its own efforts, Brazil looks forward to the expansion of the availability of these external resources in order to help increase the pace of its progress and to enable Latin America to achieve its aim of economic integration.

The objective of harmonious and self-sustaining development for all nations can only be feasible if we have in mind the problems I have just mentioned.

The world must renew and raise the volume of resources made available through international financial institutions. However, equally important is the problem of how such resources shall be used. We have noticed a favorable evolution toward greater flexibility and more courage to innovate. This is a healthy tendency which must continue.

I hope that your labor will bear fruit and help to satisfy the hopes of countries like ours, which want to advance on the road to progress, so that our community of democratic nations shall be stronger and happier.

Brazil receives you with open arms.

Delivered at the Opening Joint Session, September 25, 1967.

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