Courtesy Reuters

"ALL is well that ends," Treasury Secretary William Simon said jokingly at the cocktail party that followed the conclusion of the recent Jamaica Conference. It would indeed be hard to give in a few syllables a more discerning judgment about the long drawn-out international monetary negotiations of the past four to five years, since the suspension of the convertibility of the dollar into gold in August 1971, and the resulting collapse of the system of par values or fixed exchange rates which had existed since 1944.

The original purpose of the negotiations had been to bring about a full-fledged, comprehensive reform of the international monetary system. But this attempt was given up in January 1974 after, but as we shall see not mainly because of, the quadrupling of the price of oil. In its stead some "interim arrangements" were to be implemented. It took another two years of negotiations to reach final agreement

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.