Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy in Current Perspective: The Origins and the Prospects of Our International Economic Order

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy in Current Perspective: The Origins and the Prospects of Our International Economic Order

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy in Current Perspective: The Origins and the Prospects of Our International Economic Order

Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy in Current Perspective: The Origins and the Prospects of Our International Economic Order

Excerpt

In Washington Lord Halifax
Once whispered to Lord Keynes:
"It's true they have the money bags But we have all the brains."

This mischievous little verse, found on a yellowing piece of paper salvaged from the first Anglo-American discussions during World War II about postwar economic arrangements, stirs memories of a great adventure in economic diplomacy. It recalls the extraordinary effort of a small group of men to create a new international economic order--an economic order designed to provide the foundations for world prosperity and world peace.

A great gulf of years now separates us from this scrap of paper and from the American and British negotiators, half of whom, at least, it presumably delighted. As these lines are written, it is more than a third of a century since the charters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank were completed at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Nearly the same time has passed since the first discussions leading to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. In this third of a century the international setting has radically changed. Occupied or enemy countries at the time of Bretton Woods, such as Germany, France, Italy, and Japan, have become major participants in economic diplomacy. So have the oil-rich members of OPEC, the middle-income countries like Brazil and Mexico, and the "have-not" developing countries, which were only marginally involved in the shaping of the postwar economic order. So, too, have the communist countries, who deliberately excluded themselves from participation in the world economy at the end of World War II. Today the "money- bags," the "brains," and the political influence are all better distributed than they were a third of a century ago.

Yet all the old subjects are still with us--the role of the dollar, of sterling and of gold, the management of international liquidity, fixed . . .

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