Bretton Woods Conference

The Bretton Woods Conference, formally known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, was the gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.[1]

The conference was held from July 1–22, 1944. Agreements were signed that, after legislative ratification by member governments, established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Early in the Second World War, John Maynard Keynes of the British Treasury and Harry Dexter White of the United States Treasury Department independently began to develop ideas about the financial order of the postwar world. (See below on Keynes's proposal for an International Clearing Union.) After negotiation between officials of the United States and United Kingdom, and consultation with some other Allies, a "Joint Statement by Experts on the Establishment of an International Monetary Fund," was published simultaneously in a number of Allied countries on April 21, 1944.[2] On May 25, 1944, the U.S. government invited the Allied countries to send representatives to an international monetary conference, "for the purpose of formulating definite proposals for an International Monetary Fund and possibly a Bank for Reconstruction and Development."[3] (The word "International" was only added to the Bank's title late in the Bretton Woods Conference.) The United States also invited a smaller group of countries to send experts to a preliminary conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to develop draft proposals for the Bretton Woods conference. The Atlantic City conference was held from June 15–30, 1944.

The agreements

The Bretton Woods Conference had three main results: (1) Articles of Agreement to create the IMF, whose purpose was to promote stability of exchange rates and financial flows. (2) Articles of Agreement to create the IBRD, whose purpose was to speed reconstruction after the Second World War and to foster economic development, especially through lending to build infrastructure. (3) Other recommendations for international economic cooperation. The Final Act of the conference incorporated these agreements and recommendations.

Within the Final Act, the most important part in the eyes of the conference participants and for the later operation of the world economy was the IMF agreement. Its major features were:

  • An adjustably pegged foreign exchange market rate system: Exchange rates were pegged to gold. Governments were only supposed to alter exchange rates to correct a "fundamental disequilibrium."[4]
  • Member countries pledged to make their currencies convertible for trade-related and other current account transactions. There were, however, transitional provisions that allowed for indefinite delay in accepting that obligation, and the IMF agreement explicitly allowed member countries to regulate capital flows.[5] The goal of widespread current account convertibility did not become operative until December 1958, when the currencies of the IMF's Western European members and their colonies became convertible.
  • As it was possible that exchange rates thus established might not be favourable to a country's balance of payments position, governments had the power to revise them by up to 10% from the initially agreed level ("par value") without objection by the IMF. The IMF could concur in or object to changes beyond that level. The IMF could not force a member to undo a change, but could deny the member access to the resources of the IMF.[6]
  • All member countries were required to subscribe to the IMF's capital. Membership in the IBRD was conditioned on being a member of the IMF. Voting in both institutions was apportioned according to formulas giving greater weight to countries contributing more capital ("quotas").

Encouraging open markets

The seminal idea behind the Bretton Woods Conference was the notion of open markets. In his closing remarks at the conference, its president, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, stated that the establishment of the IMF and the IBRD marked the end of economic nationalism. This meant countries would maintain their national interest, but trade blocs and economic spheres of influence would no longer be their means. The second idea behind the Bretton Woods Conference was joint management of the Western political-economic order, meaning that the foremost industrial democratic nations must lower barriers to trade and the movement of capital, in addition to their responsibility to govern the system.

Structure of the conference

The highest body of the Bretton Woods Conference was the plenary session, which met only in the first and last days of the conference and existed mainly to confirm decisions reached by the lower bodies.[7]

The conference conducted its major work through three "commissions." Commission I dealt with the IMF and was chaired by Harry Dexter White, Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and the chief American negotiator at the conference. Commission II dealt with the IBRD and was chaired by John Maynard Keynes, economic adviser to the British Chancellor of the Exchequer and the chief British negotiator at the conference. Commission III dealt with "other means of international financial cooperation" and was chaired by Eduardo Suárez, Mexico's Minister of Finance and the leader of the Mexican delegation. It was a venue for ideas that did not fall under the other two commissions.

Each commission had a number of committees, and some committees had subcommittees. Every country at the conference was entitled to send delegates to all meetings of the commissions and the "standing committees," but other committees and subcommittees had restricted membership, to allow them to work more efficiently. Except when registering final approval or disapproval of proposals, the work of the conference generally proceeded by negotiation and informal consensus rather than by formal voting. When voting occurred, each country had one vote.

The main goal of the conference was to achieve an agreement on the IMF. Enough consensus existed that the conference was also able to achieve an agreement on the IBRD. Doing so required extending the conference from its original closing date of July 19, 1944 to July 22.

Because the United States was the world's largest economy at the time, and the main prospective source of funds for the IMF and IBRD, the U.S. delegation had the largest influence on the proposals agreed to at Bretton Woods.

The Bank for International Settlements controversy

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) became an object of scrutiny when the Norwegian delegation put forth evidence that the BIS was involved in war crimes.

The BIS, formed in 1930, was originally primarily intended to facilitate settling financial obligations arising from the peace treaties that concluded the First World War. During the Second World War, it helped the Germans transfer assets from occupied countries. Moreover, now that IMF was to be established, the BIS seemed to be superfluous. Commission III of the Bretton Woods Conference therefore considered Norway's proposal for "liquidation of the Bank for International Settlements at the earliest possible moment."[8] The proposal passed Commission III without objection[9] and was adopted as part of the Final Act of the conference.

Momentum for dissolving the BIS faded after U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt died in April 1945. Under his successor, Harry S. Truman, the top U.S. officials most critical of the BIS left office, and by 1948 the liquidation had been put aside.[10]

Monetary order in a post-war world

The need for post-war Western economic order was resolved with the agreements made on monetary order and open system of trade at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. These allowed for the synthesis of Britain's desire for full employment and economic stability and the United States' desire for free trade. The Bretton Woods system of pegged exchange rates lasted into the early 1970s.

Failed proposals

International Trade Organization

The Bretton Woods Conference recommended that participating governments reach agreement to reduce obstacles to international trade.[11] The recommendation was later embodied in the proposed International Trade Organization (ITO) to establish rules and regulations for international trade. The ITO would have complemented the IMF and IBRD. The ITO charter was agreed on at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Employment (held in Havana, Cuba, in March 1948), but the charter was not ratified by the U.S. Senate. As a result, the ITO never came into existence. The less ambitious General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was adopted in its place. However, in 1995, the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations established the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the replacement body for GATT. The GATT principles and agreements were adopted by the WTO, which was charged with administering and extending them.

International Clearing Union

John Maynard Keynes first proposed the ICU in 1941, as a way to regulate the balance of trade. His concern was that countries with a trade deficit would be unable to climb out of it, paying ever more interest to service their ever-greater debt, and therefore stifling global growth. The ICU would effectively be a bank with its own currency (the "bancor"), exchangeable with national currencies at a fixed rate. It would be the unit for accounting between nations, so their trade deficits or surpluses could be measured by it.

On top of that, each country would have an overdraft facility in its "bancor" account with the ICU. Keynes proposed having a maximum overdraft of half the average trade size over five years. If a country went over that, it would be charged interest, obliging a country to reduce its currency value and prevent capital exports. But countries with trade surpluses would also be charged interest at 10% if their surplus was more than half the size of their permitted overdraft, obliging them to increase their currency values and export more capital. If, at the year's end, their credit exceeded the maximum (half the size of the overdraft in surplus), the surplus would be confiscated.

Lionel Robbins reported that "it would be difficult to exaggerate the electrifying effect on thought throughout the whole relevant apparatus of government ... nothing so imaginative and so ambitious had ever been discussed". However, Harry Dexter White, representing the United States, which was the world's biggest creditor, said "We have been perfectly adamant on that point. We have taken the position of absolutely no."

Instead, White proposed an International Stabilization Fund, which would place the burden of maintaining the balance of trade on the deficit nations, and impose no limit on the surplus that rich countries could accumulate. White also proposed creation of the IBRD (now part of the World Bank) which would provide capital for economic reconstruction after the war. The IMF as agreed to at Bretton Woods was much closer to White's proposal than to Keynes's.

Gold Room Bretton Woods Participating Nations Display Case
Bretton Woods Conference Participating Nations Flag Display Case located within the Gold Room at the Mount Washington Hotel


Delegation members
 Australia Leslie Melville, Frederick Wheeler, Arthur Tange
 Belgium Camille Gutt, Georges Theunis, René Boël
 Bolivia René Ballivián Calderón
 Brazil Artur de Sousa Costa, Francisco Alves dos Santos Filho, Roberto de Oliveira Campos
 British Raj Jeremy Raisman, C. D. Deshmukh, R. K. Shanmukham Chetty
 Canada James Lorimer Ilsley, Louis St Laurent, Douglas Abbott and Lionel Chevrier
 Chile Luis Álamos Barros
 China H.H. Kung, Tsiang Tingfu, Kuo Ping-Wen,
 Colombia Carlos Lleras Restrepo, Miguel López Pumarejo
 Costa Rica Francisco de Paula Gutiérrez Ross
 Cuba Eduardo I. Montoulieu
 Czechoslovakia Ladislav Feierabend (cs)
 Dominican Republic Anselmo Copello
 Ecuador Esteban F. Carbo
 Egypt Sany Lackany Bey
 El Salvador Agustín Alfaro Morán
 Ethiopia Ephrem Tewelde Medhen
 France Pierre Mendès France
 Greece Kyriakos Varvaressos
 Guatemala Manuel Noriega Morales
 Haiti André Liautaud
 Honduras Julián R. Cáceres
 Iceland Magnús Sigurðsson
 Iran Abol Hassan Ebtehaj
 Iraq Ibrahim Kamal
 Liberia William E. Dennis, Sr.
 Luxembourg Hugues Le Gallais
 Mexico Eduardo Suárez, Víctor Urquidi
 Netherlands Johan Willem Beyen
 New Zealand Walter Nash, Edward Coldham Fussell
 Nicaragua Guillermo Sevilla Sacasa
 Norway Wilhelm Keilhau
 Panama Augusto Guillermo Arango
 Paraguay Celso R. Velázquez
 Peru Pedro Beltrán Espantoso
Commonwealth of the Philippines Philippines Andrés Soriano
 Poland Ludwik Grosfeld
 South Africa S. Frank N. Gie
 Soviet Union Mikhail Stepanovich Stepanov
 United Kingdom John Maynard Keynes
 United States Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Fred Vinson, Dean Acheson, Harry Dexter White
 Uruguay Mario La Gamma Acevedo
 Venezuela Rodolfo Rojas
 Yugoslavia Vladimir Rybar

Ratification of Bretton Woods Final Act and Savannah Conference

The Articles of Agreement for the IMF and IBRD signed at Bretton Woods did not come into force until ratified by countries with at least 80 percent of the capital subscriptions ("quotas"). The threshold was reached on December 27, 1945.

The institutions were formally organized at an inaugural meeting in Savannah, Georgia, on March 8–18, 1946.[13] Notably absent from Savannah was the USSR, which had signed the Bretton Woods Final Act but had then decided not to ratify it. The USSR never joined the IMF and IBRD, though its successor the Russian Federation did in 1992. Australia and New Zealand were likewise absent from formal participation at Savannah (Australia sent observers), though they joined the IMF and IBRD later.


Because of its success in founding two international organizations that have had long and influential lives, the Bretton Woods Conference is sometimes cited as an example worthy of imitation. In particular, since the collapse in the early 1970s of the system of pegged exchange rates agreed to at Bretton Woods there have been a number of Calls for a "New Bretton Woods".

See also


  1. ^ Markwell 2006.
  2. ^, pp. 1629–36.
  3. ^ "Invitation of the United States of America to the Conference,", pp. 3–5.
  4. ^ IMF Articles of Agreement, Article IV,, pp. 945–48.
  5. ^ IMF Articles of Agreement, Articles VI, VIII, and XIV,, pp. 951–52, 954–57, 965–66.
  6. ^ IMF Articles of Agreement, Article IV, Sections 5–6,, pp. 946–47.
  7. ^ On the points discussed in this section, see Kurt Schuler and Andrew Rosenberg, The Bretton Woods Transcripts, pp. 7–9 (New York: Center for Financial Stability, 2013), ISBN 978-1-941801-01-7.
  8. ^ United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Final Act (London et al., 1944), Article IV.
  9. ^ Schuler and Rosenberg, The Bretton Woods Transcripts, p. 566.
  10. ^ "A brief history of the BIS, 1930–2005" (PDF).
  11. ^ Bretton Woods Final Act, Section VII, "International Economic Problems,", p. 941.
  12. ^ A full list of conference attendees is in Kurt Schuler and Mark Bernkopf, "Who Was at Bretton Woods?," Center for Financial Stability Paper in Financial History, July 1, 2014,
  13. ^ IMF, "IMF Chronology,"


  • Markwell, Donald (2006). John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-198-29236-4.
  • Mikesell, R. F. (1994). The Bretton Woods Debates: A Memoir. Essays in International Finance 192. Princeton: International Finance Section, Dept. of Economics, Princeton University. ISBN 978-0-881-65099-0.
  • Van Dormael, Armand (1978). Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System. New York: Holmes & Meier. ISBN 978-0333233696.

Further reading

  • Steil, Benn (2013). The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14909-7.

External links

1988 IMF/World Bank protests

The 1988 annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank were met with an international protest in West Berlin. Whereas the organizations' earlier meetings were met with smaller, national protests, the 1988 meetings attracted protesters internationally against what was the largest assembly of the international monetary order since the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. Protesters demonstrated against the IMF's austerity policies towards developing nations. Representatives from Third World countries called for debt cancellation, and others advocated for solutions to world hunger and poverty. Due to the protest's high-profile venue, media outlets extensively covered the protests. Later IMF and World Bank meetings received smaller protests, but following the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, all meetings of the IMF, World Bank, G7, and G8 summits were met with significant protests.


The bancor was a supranational currency that John Maynard Keynes and E. F. Schumacher conceptualised in the years 1940–1942 and which the United Kingdom proposed to introduce after World War II. The name was inspired by the French banque or ('bank gold'). This newly created supranational currency would then be used in international trade as a unit of account within a multilateral clearing system—the International Clearing Union—which would also have to be founded.

Beardsley Ruml

Beardsley Ruml (5 November 1894 – 19 April 1960) was an American statistician, economist, philanthropist, planner, businessman and man of affairs in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His father, Wentzle Ruml, was a country doctor. His mother, Salome Beardsley Ruml, was a hospital superintendent. He received a BA from Dartmouth College in 1915 and a Ph.D. in psychology and education from the University of Chicago in 1917. On August 28, 1917 he married Lois Treadwell; they had three children. A pioneer statistician, in 1918 he helped design aptitude and intelligence tests for the U.S. Army. Ruml viewed society as composed of groups whose traits could be measured and ranked on a scale of normality and deviance.

From 1922-29 he directed the fellowship program of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund, focusing on support for quantitative social and behavioral science. He was an advisor to President Herbert Hoover especially on farm issues. In 1931 he became dean of the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago—a center for quantitative research. He was not popular with the faculty and in 1934 Ruml became an executive of R. H. Macy & Company, parent company of the department store, rising to chairman in 1945. He also served as a director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (1937–1947), and was its chairman from 1941 until 1946; he was active at the Bretton Woods Conference (1944) that established the international monetary system. He was active in New Deal planning agencies but their plans never saw fruition.

In the summer of 1942 Ruml proposed that the U.S. Treasury start collecting income taxes through a withholding, pay-as-you-go, system. He proposed an abatement on the previous year's taxes, making up the revenue by immediately collecting on the current year's taxes. In 1943 Congress adopted the withholding system.

In 1945, Ruml made a famous speech to the ABA, asserting that since the end of the gold standard, "Taxes for Revenue are Obsolete". The real purposes of taxes were: to "stabilize the purchasing power of the dollar", to "express public policy in the distribution of wealth and of income", "in subsidizing or in penalizing various industries and economic groups" and to "isolate and assess directly the costs of certain national benefits, such as highways and social security". This is seen as a forerunner of functional finance or chartalism.

Ruml wrote several books and essays, including "The Interest Rate Problem," "Memo to a college trustee: A report on financial and structural problems of the liberal college," "Government, Business, and Values," and "Tomorrow's Business."

Ruml died April 19, 1960, in Danbury, Connecticut.

Brent Spence

Brent Spence (December 24, 1874 – September 18, 1967), a native of Newport, Kentucky, was a long time Democratic Congressman, attorney, and banker from Northern Kentucky.

Spence was born in Newport, Kentucky to Philip and Virginia (Berry) Spence. He was graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1894 with a degree in law and was admitted to the bar that same year. He married Ida Bitterman on September 6, 1919.

He was very active in local and state politics, serving first in the Kentucky Senate, 1904–1908, then as city solicitor of Newport, 1916-1924. In 1930 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 5th District; he held this position from March 4, 1931 until January 3, 1963 when most of his district was merged with the neighboring 4th District of fellow Democrat Frank Chelf. He lost the ensuring primary to Chelf. At the time of his retirement, Spence was one of the oldest members to serve in the House; he was 88 years old at the end of his career.

Spence chaired the U.S. House Banking and Currency Committee (1943–1963, except for four years when Republicans controlled Congress). He was a delegate to the 44-nation Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, to promote fair commerce. This led to creating the International Monetary Fund and Bank, and Spence's sponsoring legislation in Congress. Spence was a strong supporter of the New Deal and the Fair Deal. During President Roosevelt's administration, he supported the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Social Security Act, and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

Altogether Spence was a quiet man, who was not a good public speaker. However, he was known for his impartial leadership and could get critical legislation passed. His background in banking is credited for leading him to sponsor the Export-Import Federal Deposit Insurance Act, which doubled insured savings accounts from $5,000 to $10,000.

The Brent Spence Bridge of I-75/I-71 which crosses the Ohio River at Covington, Kentucky is named for him. He resided in Fort Thomas, Kentucky at the time of his death. His funeral service was at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Newport, where he was a lifetime member, then buried in Evergreen Cemetery (Southgate, Kentucky).

Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods can refer to:

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, a village in the United States

Bretton Woods Mountain Resort, a ski resort located in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

The 1944 Bretton Woods Conference, also known as the "United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference"

The Bretton Woods system, the international monetary system created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference

C. D. Deshmukh

Sir Chintaman Dwarakanath Deshmukh, CIE, ICS (14 January 1896 – 2 October 1982) was an Indian civil servant and the first Indian to be appointed as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India in 1943 by the British Raj authorities. He subsequently served as the Finance Minister in the Union Cabinet (1950–1956). It was during this time that he also became a founding member of the Governing Body of NCAER, the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi, India's first independent economic policy institute established in 1956 at the behest of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. After resignation from Union Cabinet he worked as Chairman of UGC(1956–1961). He served as Vice-Chancellor of University of Delhi (1962–67). He was also President of Indian Statistical Institute from 1945 to 1964, Honorary Chairman of National Book Trust (1957–60).

He founded India International Center in 1959 and served as Lifetime President of it. He was also chairman of Indian Institute of Public Administration.

Carlos Lleras Restrepo

Carlos Alberto Lleras Restrepo (12 April 1908 – 27 September 1994) is a Colombian politician and lawyer who served the 22nd President of Colombia from 1966 to 1970.

Dean Acheson

Dean Gooderham Acheson (pronounced ; April 11, 1893 – October 12, 1971) was an American statesman and lawyer. As United States Secretary of State in the administration of President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953, he played a central role in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War. Acheson helped design the Marshall Plan and was a key player in the development of the Truman Doctrine and creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.Acheson's most famous decision was convincing President Truman to intervene in the Korean War in June 1950. He also persuaded Truman to dispatch aid and advisors to French forces in Indochina, though in 1968 he finally counseled President Lyndon B. Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy called upon Acheson for advice, bringing him into the executive committee (ExComm), a strategic advisory group.

In the late 1940s Acheson came under heavy attack for his defense of State Department employees accused during the anti-gay Lavender and anti-Communist Red Scare investigations by Senator Joseph McCarthy and others, and over Truman's policy toward China.

Eleanor Lansing Dulles

Eleanor Lansing Dulles (June 1, 1895 – October 30, 1996) was an author, professor, and United States Government employee. Her background in economics and her familiarity with European affairs enabled her to fill a number of important State Department positions.

Felipe Pazos

Felipe Pazos (September 27, 1912 – February 26, 2001) was a Cuban economist who initially supported the Cuban Revolution of Fidel Castro, but became disillusioned with the increasingly radical nature of the revolutionary government. Born in Havana, Pazos earned a doctorate from the University of Havana in 1938. He was a member of the Cuban delegation to the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. In 1946, he joined the staff of the fledgling International Monetary Fund that had been established at the Bretton Woods conference. He worked there for three years before returning to Cuba in 1950 to head the newly established National Bank of Cuba for two years at the behest of Cuban President Carlos Prío Socarrás.

After Fulgencio Batista took power in Cuba through a military coup d'état in 1952, Pazos became active in supporting the resistance against Batista. Batista's rule came under increasing assault during the 1950s, and he and the Cuban military soon found themselves fighting against a young Castro and the forces of his 26th of July Movement. At the time, Castro was waging a guerrilla campaign in the mountainous Sierra Maestra region of Cuba. Batista had declared that Castro had been killed; however, Pazos arranged for The New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews to come and meet Castro in February 1957. The resulting interview refuted Batista's claims, and gave Castro and his revolutionaries international attention. In July 1957, Castro convened a meeting in the Sierra Maestra between his group of rebels and pro-Capitalist representatives, including Pazos. Pazos' signature on the July 12 Sierra Manifesto was meant to help reassure the Cuban people that the revolutionaries were not radical ideologues. Pazos and his family were forced to flee Cuba soon after its release.

After Castro's victory in 1959, Pazos returned to Cuba and once again headed the National Bank of Cuba. However, he soon found himself becoming increasingly disillusioned with the new Cuban government. In April 1959, Castro and his aides, including Pazos, visited the United States. Many had suspected that the purpose of the visit was to ask for economic aid, but Castro forbade Pazos from making any such requests. Pazos privately expressed his frustrations to officials at the U.S. State Department and Treasury Department.

Pazos' confidence was further weakened when Castro ordered the arrest and imprisonment in October 1959 of Huber Matos, an anti-Communist revolutionary who had recently resigned from office. After Castro angrily denounced the United States for being complicit in the "bombing" of Havana with thousands of anti-Castro leaflets by the ex-Air Force Chief Pedro Luis Diaz Lanz, Pazos decided to resign. He tendered his resignation on October 23, 1959 to President Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado. Pazos transferred the Presidency of the National Bank of Cuba to Che Guevara on November 26, 1959 and was allowed to leave Cuba soon afterward.

Pazos ended up working at the Alliance for Progress and the Inter-American Development Bank, writing many economic articles on Latin America, before retiring in 1975 to Venezuela. He died in Puerto Ordaz. He had three sons and a daughter. His son Felipe starred alongside Spencer Tracy in the 1958 film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea.

George Blowers

George Blowers (March 5, 1906 – October 19, 1969) was an American banker. A Harvard graduate, he became governor of the state banks of Liberia, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia. During his career he was responsible for introducing two new currencies and represented Ethiopia at the Bretton Woods Conference.

Harry Dexter White

Harry Dexter White (October 9, 1892 – August 16, 1948) was a senior U.S. Treasury department official. Working closely with the Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., he helped set American financial policy toward the Allies of World War II while at the same time he passed numerous secrets to the Soviet Union, which was an American ally for part of the time and an adversary at other times. He was the senior American official at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference that established the postwar economic order. He dominated the conference and imposed his vision of post-war financial institutions over the objections of John Maynard Keynes, the British representative. At Bretton Woods, White was a major architect of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

White was accused in 1948 of spying for the Soviet Union, which he adamantly denied. Although he was never a Communist party member, his status as a Soviet informant was later confirmed by declassified FBI documents related to the interception and decoding of Soviet communications, known as the Venona Project.

Henry Morgenthau Jr.

Henry Morgenthau Jr. (; May 11, 1891 – February 6, 1967) was the United States Secretary of the Treasury during the most time of the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He played a major role in designing and financing the New Deal. After 1937, while still in charge of the Treasury, he played the central role in financing United States participation in World War II. He also played an increasingly major role in shaping foreign policy, especially with respect to Lend-Lease, support for China, helping Jewish refugees, and proposing (in the "Morgenthau Plan") to prevent Germany from again being a military threat by wrecking its industry and mines.Morgenthau was the father of Robert M. Morgenthau, who was District Attorney of Manhattan for 35 years and Henry Morgenthau III, an American author and television producer. He continued as treasury secretary through the first few months of Harry Truman's presidency, and from June 27, 1945 to July 3, 1945, following the resignation of Secretary of State Edward Stettinius Jr., was next in line to the presidency. Morgenthau was the first and only Jew to be first in the presidential line of succession.

Pierre Werner

Pierre Werner (29 December 1913 – 24 June 2002) was a Luxembourg politician in the Christian Social People's Party (CSV) who was the 18th Prime Minister from 1959 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1984.

R. K. Shanmukham Chetty

Sir Ramasamy Chetty Kandasamy Shanmukham Chetty KCIE (17 October 1892 – 5 May 1953) was an Indian lawyer, economist and politician who served as independent India's first finance minister from 1947 to 1949. He also served as President of India's Central Legislative Assembly from 1933 to 1935 and Diwan of Cochin kingdom from 1935 to 1941.

Shanmukham Chetty was born in Coimbatore in 1892 and studied at Madras Christian College and Madras Law College. On completion of his education, Shanmukham Chetty joined politics and served both in the Indian nationalist Swaraj Party as well as the Justice Party. Shanmukham Chetty was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly of India and served as its Deputy President from 1931 to 1935. On losing the 1935 elections, Chetty returned to South India where he served as Diwan of Cochin kingdom from 1935 to 1941. On India's independence in 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India controversially chose Chetty as his Finance Minister despite the latter's well known pro-British leanings. Shanmukham Chetty died on 3 March 1953.

During his public life, Chetty also identified with a number of social causes. He was a strong supporter of the Tamil Isai Movement. Shanmukham Chetty was the Finance Minister of India when the country's first budget was tabled in Parliament on 26 November 1947.

Raymond Mikesell

Raymond Frech Mikesell (1913 – September 12, 2006) was an economics professor at the University of Oregon and was believed to be the last surviving economist from the Bretton Woods conference.

Mikesell was born in Eaton, Ohio. He received a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University (OSU) and, in 1939, received a doctorate in economics from OSU. From 1937 to 1941, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.

During World War II, Mikesell became an adviser to Assistant Treasury Secretary Harry Dexter White. Mikesell was a member of the technical staff at the Bretton Woods conference, which resulted in the creation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In his Bretton Woods Debates: A Memoir, Mikesell notes that he provided White with data that supported the United States' free trade position and calculated the initial quotas for the World Bank and IMF. He was a close friend of White, Frank Coe, and Sol Adler, and believed that they were not Communist sympathizers.Mikesell served the U.S. government in a number of capacities, including serving as representative of the United States Treasury Department in Cairo in 1943-44 and as the U.S. delegate to the Middle East Financial Conference in Cairo (April, 1944); as a member of the United States Currency Mission to Saudi Arabia (1948); as member of the staff of the National Commission on Materials Policy; and Chief of the Foreign Resources Division (1951). He also served as an economic adviser to the Joint British-American Cabinet Committee on Palestine.

He served as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations and the Organization of American States. He later argued for reform of the International Monetary Fund and abolishment of the World Bank, which he thought had become a useless and expensive bureaucracy. He was a member of the editorial board on the Middle East Journal from 1947.

Mikesell joined the University of Virginia department of Economics as professor in 1946 and accepted the W.E. Miner Chair at the University of Oregon in 1957, where he taught until 1993. He was an avid tennis player and active outdoorsman, and he often took his doctoral students hiking before advising them on their dissertations as they sat around a campfire.

Mikesell died at his home in Eugene, Oregon, aged 93, from natural causes.

Robert F. Wagner

Robert Ferdinand Wagner I (June 8, 1877 – May 4, 1953) was a German American politician. He was a Democratic U.S. Senator from New York from 1927 to 1949.

Born in Prussia, Wagner migrated with his family to the United States in 1885. After graduating from New York Law School, Wagner won election to the New York State Legislature, eventually becoming the Democratic leader of the state senate. Working closely with fellow New York City Democrat Al Smith, Wagner and Smith embraced reform, especially to the benefit of their core constituency, the working class. They built a coalition for these reforms that embraced unions, social workers, some businessmen, and numerous middle-class activists and civic reform organizations across the state. Wagner left the senate in 1918, and served as a justice of the New York Supreme Court until his election to the Senate in 1926.

As Senator, Wagner was a leader of the New Deal Coalition putting special emphasis on supporting the labor movement. He was a close associate and strong supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He sponsored three major laws: the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, the Social Security Act of 1935, and the Housing Act of 1937. Wagner resigned from the Senate in 1949 due to ill health, and died in 1953. His son Robert F. Wagner Jr. was mayor of New York from 1954 through 1965.

Vincent Auriol

Vincent Jules Auriol (French pronunciation: ​[vɛ̃sɑ̃ oʁjɔl]; 27 August 1884 – 1 January 1966) was a French politician who served as the first president of the Fourth Republic from 1947 to 1954.

William Ludwig Ullmann

William Ludwig Ullmann (August 14, 1908 – February 3, 1993) was an American Treasury Department official accused of spying for the Soviet Union.

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