Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
February 1996
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Twenty Years of International Monetary Cooperation

Vol. I. Chronicle

Vol. II. Analysis

Vol. III. Documents

This history of the first twenty years of the International Monetary Fund, written by past and present members of its staff, attempts to recount objectively what were its origins and what have been its plans and activities.

Volume I contains a chronological account of the evolution of the Fund from the original plans formulated in 1941 to the end of 1965, with a supplementary chapter summarizing subsequent events. Volume II analyzes the Fund’s policies in three major fields and reviews its constitutional development. Volume III reproduces the major documents referred to in the other two volumes, including some not hitherto published.

The three volumes are being made available to the public in the hope that they will enable those interested to understand more of the nature of the Fund’s work, of its problems, and of the techniques which it has devised.

* * *

$9.00 a volume

$25.00 the set of three volumes

(or the equivalent in most other currencies)


Twenty Years of International Monetary Cooperation



Margaret G. de Vries and J. Keith Horsefield

with the collaboration of

Joseph Gold, Mary H. Gumbart, Gertrud Lovasy, and Emil G. Spitzer

Edited by

J. Keith Horsefield




Second printing, February 1972

Third printing, May 1981



The first four parts of this volume deal successively with the process of policy formation and the objectives of the Fund, and with its policies in three main aspects of its work. These chapters are concerned wholly with the period covered by this history, viz., the twenty years 1945–65. Part V differs from the rest of the volume in two respects: in this, the General Counsel of the Fund deals with the constitutional development of the Fund rather than with its economic activities; and he includes a brief description of the amendments to the Articles which entered into force in July 1969, in order to relate past constitutional developments to special drawing rights and the reform of certain features of the Fund.

As indicated in the title, Analysis, given to this volume, the intention is to examine here, more intensively than was possible in Volume I, the Fund’s activities in the various fields chosen for study. The additional dimension here provided has several facets. By bringing together the Fund’s decisions on a given subject, instead of discussing them seriatim as they were taken, it has been possible to bring into sharper focus the reasoning which led to the Fund’s actions. Similarly, where its decisions have been diffused among discussions with a number of different countries, the underlying policy has here been brought out. Further, an attempt has been made to take into account the economic background against which the Fund’s decisions were taken. Finally, some reference has been made to comments on and criticisms of the Fund’s actions by officials and economists not connected with it.


The foundation for this volume was laid by the late Oscar L. Altman, then Historian of the Fund, with the assistance of Mrs. Margaret G. de Vries, Mr. Allan G. B. Fisher, and Miss Mary H. Gumbart. Half of the final text has been written by Mrs. de Vries. Other contributors are Mr. Joseph Gold, the General Counsel of the Fund, who wrote Chapters 22 through 27; Miss Gumbart, who wrote Chapter 8 and contributed preparatory work for parts of Chapters 11, 15, and 17; Mr. Emil G. Spitzer, who wrote Chapters 20 and 21 and prepared early drafts of parts of Chapters 18 and 19; and Mr. J. Keith Horsefield, Mr. Altman’s successor as Historian of the Fund, who wrote Chapters 9, 17, 18, and 19 and has also edited the volume. A part of Chapter 18 was written by Miss Gertrud Lovasy, and Mr. Evan B. Hannay prepared early drafts for some other sections. All those mentioned are or have been members of the staff of the Fund.

At all stages the authors have been greatly assisted by advice and comments from present and former members of the Executive Board and of the staff of the Fund. In particular, Mr. Fisher has made most helpful comments on the draft of each chapter in Parts II, III, and IV. Mrs. de Vries expresses appreciation to Professor Gerard Curzon, of the Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva, and to Professor Gardner Patterson, of Princeton University, for sharing with her some of their experiences as authors of volumes in related fields and for making suggestions for the contents of this volume. She is grateful also to Professor Robert A. Mundell, of the University of Chicago, for his encouraging interest in the project.

The staffs of the Archivist of the Fund and of the Joint Bank-Fund Library have much facilitated the task of identifying and consulting the relevant documents and volumes.

Mrs. Jane B. Evensen, Assistant Editor of the Fund, has greatly assisted in clarifying the final text.

Mrs. Margaret P. Estes has helped with some of the statistical material and has patiently typed several versions of the manuscript.

Responsibility for the contents of this volume is, however, that of the authors and editor alone.

M. G. de V.

J. G.

M. H. G.

J. K. H.

G. L.

E. G. S.


Annual Meetings, 19—

Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the Fund and the Bank, in the year specified. The Meetings of the two institutions are held at the same time and in the same place, and some of the sessions are held jointly. Other sessions, however, are held separately by the Fund and the Bank. When the term Annual Meeting (in the singular) is used, the reference is to a Meeting of the Fund Governors.

Annual Report, 19—

Annual Report of the Executive Directors for the Fiscal Year Ended April 30, 19—

Articles of Agreement; Articles; Fund Agreement

Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund

Bank; World Bank

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development


Bank for International Settlements

Bretton Woods

[Site of] United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, July 1944


Annual consultations with members by the Executive Board under Article XIV, and parallel consultations with members that have accepted the obligations of Article VIII


Purchase from the Fund by a member of another member’s currency (or other members’ currencies). Amounts are always expressed in U.S. dollars.

E.B. Decision

Decision of the Executive Board. Until Meeting 630 (at the beginning of 1951), the formal decisions and policy actions of the Executive Board were numbered x-y, where x was the number of the meeting and y that of the decision taken at that meeting (e.g., 2-1 was the first decision taken at Executive Board Meeting 2). Beginning with Meeting 630, the decisions were numbered consecutively; thereafter the number was z-(x), where z was the consecutive number of the decision and x that of the meeting (e.g., 7-(648) was the seventh policy decision taken since Meeting 630, and was taken at Meeting 648). From January 1, 1952, the number of the decision has been followed by the last two figures of the year and the number of the meeting in that year in parentheses (e.g., Decision No. 102-(52/11) was the 102nd decision since Meeting 630, and was taken at the eleventh meeting in 1952).


Economic Cooperation Administration (U.S.)


Economic and Social Council (UN)


European Economic Community


European Monetary Agreement


European Payments Union


European Recovery Program (U.S.)


Food and Agriculture Organization (UN)


First in, first out (pertaining to Fund transactions)


General Arrangements to Borrow


General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. The term Contracting Parties in capital letters denotes the adherents to the General Agreement acting in concert. The terms contracting parties and contracting party in lower case letters refer to the individual adherents to the General Agreement.

Group of Ten

The countries associated in the General Arrangements to Borrow, viz., Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States


Inter-American Development Bank


International Financial News Survey


International Financial Statistics


International Trade Organization

Joint Statement

Joint Statement by Experts on the Establishment of an International Monetary Fund

Keynes Plan

Proposals for an International Clearing Union


Last in, first out (pertaining to Fund transactions)


Organization of American States


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


Organization for European Economic Cooperation


Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944, 2 vols. (Washington, 1948)


Purchase of its own currency from the Fund by a member country, in reduction of the Fund’s holdings of that currency. Amounts are always expressed in U.S. dollars.


Resolution of the Board of Governors of the Fund. Resolutions at the Annual Meetings of Governors are referred to by the number of the Annual Meeting followed by a dash and the number of the resolution. Resolutions passed at the Inaugural Meeting (Savannah, March 1946) are listed as IM-1, etc., those at the First Annual Meeting (Washington, September 1946) as 1-1, and so on. Resolutions passed by Governors between Annual Meetings are given the number of the next succeeding Annual Meeting.

Selected Decisions

Selected Decisions of the Executive Directors and Selected Documents, 3rd issue, January 1965

Selected Documents

Selected Documents, Board of Governors Inaugural Meeting, Savannah, Ga., March 8 to 18, 1946 (compare Summary Proceedings below)

Summary Proceedings, 19—

Summary Proceedings of the … Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors (issued after each Annual Meeting). In early years Summary Proceedings were really summaries, but latterly most speeches made at the Annual Meetings have been printed in full. In these printed reports Governors are named, but in the records maintained in the Fund’s files they are not, being referred to as “Governor” whether they were in fact Governors, Alternate Governors, or Temporary Alternate Governors. Unless, therefore, the speaker can be identified in other ways, it has been necessary, in those parts of this volume that are drawn from unpublished reports, to cite only “Governor for …”.


United Nations


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

White Plan

Proposals for an International Stabilization Fund

World Bank; Bank

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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