International Monetary Plans

After Bretton Woods

Courtesy Reuters

SINCE I last wrote in these pages about postwar monetary plans [i] events have moved swiftly. The joint plan to which we then looked forward as the successor to the original Keynes and White plans was published in April in the form of a Joint Statement of Principles by the experts. This statement was made the basis of the Bretton Woods Conference, which began July 1 at the call of President Roosevelt and ended July 22 with the unanimous adoption by the delegates of 44 nations of the projects for both the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The "Final Act" of the Conference embodying the plans concludes with the statement that "proposals formulated at the Conference for the establishment of the Fund and the Bank are now submitted, in accordance with the terms of the invitation, for consideration of the governments and people of the countries represented."

Thus the next and the decisive stage, so far as the democratic countries are concerned, will be that of legislative action. In this country it seems generally expected that the matter will go over to the new session of Congress in January. Presumably there will be weeks of discussion in committee and public hearings. As our system of government works, this will be the first and the only opportunity for debate. We have not yet found a way to keep the process of making up our national mind abreast of the process of international negotiation, though efforts in that direction are now being made with regard to the political aspects of postwar coöperation. The failure to do so after the last war had tragic consequences, and the chief hope of all of us is to avoid a repetition.

Congress will face a difficult dilemma. These monetary plans will present one of a series of major decisions about postwar international arrangements, and our action on them will be taken as an omen of things to come. After some two years of study and

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