Address by the President of the United States of America1, Dwight D. Eisenhower
- International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department
- Published Date:
- November 1956
It is a very definite honor for this nation’s capital to be the host to such a distinguished body. I assure you that we are complimented by your presence.
I suppose seated here before me is the greatest concentration of financial genius that this world could produce. That being so, you can be sure of one thing: I am not going to talk about international finances.
I think I would prefer to talk for a minute about some of the meanings, some of the results, of the kind of cooperation that you people are here to undertake. International cooperation is the key to peace. It must come about, and it must progress from year to year, or the world must be the poorer by reason of that failure.
We have the United Nations in order to spread understanding, one to the other, a place where we may debate our differences rather than resort to the ancient arbiter of force—an organization to promote and sustain peace. We have such defensive organizations as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the Organization of American States, all having as one of their main purposes the security of all of the member states against unwarranted attack.
Now, in this International Bank and International Monetary Fund, we have the possibility of extending this cooperative feeling into our business life, the international business life.
As mutual understanding and good will, and above all confidence in each other, is the basis of any successful business within a nation, so it is in the international world. As confidence grows, in turn based on mutual understanding, in turn based on meetings such as these, we are bound to have a general rise in the living standards of the world brought about by the fact that business thrives in the spirit of confidence thus engendered.
So, as you pool long-term capital and provide technical advice and help for all of the organisms that are struggling to produce wealth so that all the people of the world may prosper, you do it together and, therefore, add to the strength of each so that the whole total becomes one not only formidable but truly overwhelming in its influence.
I have only one other word to say, and it has to do with an experience of mine in wartime when I was working with groups that had among themselves to develop real cooperation or there could be no success. There are men in this audience who were my associates in that work and we early found one thing: without the heart, without the enthusiasm for the cause in which you were working, no cooperation was possible. With that enthusiasm subordinating all else to the advancement of the cause, cooperation was easy.
Now, it seems to me you people have shown your enthusiasm for doing your part in developing this growing and expanding world economy by coming here, by coming from so many different nations, giving your time and your efforts to meet with others in order that the world may prosper. Because you do show that enthusiasm, that kind of leadership, I venture to offer to each of you my complete confidence that nothing you could be now doing, in your own country or elsewhere, is more worthwhile than what you are doing here in this great Meeting you have been holding.
Again I say, Washington, our nation’s capital, this entire Government, the American people, are proud to have had you. We hope only that these Meetings may be frequent and every one of them more fruitful than its predecessor.
Delivered at the Closing Joint Session, Session No. 6, September 28, 1956.