- 1937, 1944 - 1974 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
85.69 linear feet of textual records
Name of creator
Bonds records were maintained in the World Bank's Central Files system and arranged into the Bank-wide classification scheme that grouped together membership, bond, and finance files. To create space for the increasing volume of records in the Central Files, the Records Management Section sent the pre-1966 files to a records center close to the Bank premises in 1969. When semi-centralized records stations were created in the early 1970s, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) membership and finance files were relocated from the WBG Central Files station to the new IFC Central Files location in June 1971. In the following year, Regional Records Stations (RRS) were established for each of the various regions and IBRD and IDA individual country membership files were relocated to the respective RRS from 1972 to 1974. The IBRD and IDA general membership (non-regional), bonds, and finance files were maintained in the Bank Administration and Policy Records Station (BAP) during this same period. All files, both from the RRS and the BAP, were relocated and reunited in the Bank Administration and Policy General Records Station (BAPRS) when it was created in 1975. The BAPRS operated until 1977 and the files were then held at the records center until their transfer to the Archives repository once it was established in 1980.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Series consists of records maintained in Central Files and semi-centralized filing stations that relate to the formation and management of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) borrowing operations in international capital markets, between 1946 and 1974. The records detail the development of bonds, or debt securities, as a method of financing Bank lending operations, the marketing of bonds, and issuance of the first IBRD bonds and others that followed. The first two bond issues totaling $250 million were sold on the New York Stock Exchange on July 15, 1947. The first issue of bonds in a currency other than United States dollars was a Swiss franc private placement with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in 1948, and the first public bond offering outside of the United States was a sterling issue on the London market in 1951. Records in the series also cover the selling of securities from the early 1950s through 1974 in the capital markets mainly concentrated in Canada (first issue in 1952), western Europe, Japan, Kuwait, and other countries.
The records originated in the units whose files were centralized over a period of time and whom worked closely together on borrowing, including Treasurer's Department, Legal Department, Marketing Department based in the Bank's New York office, and Office of the Controller. Records of the Office of the President were also centralized until 1968 and there is correspondence originating mainly from Presidents John McCloy, Eugene R. Black, and George D. Woods.
General and background records
Bond records contain general correspondence files (1946 - 1968) and background material (1946 - 1947) related to the establishment of borrowing operations. Other general files in the series relate to matters concerning bond holders, quotations, inquiries, purchase contracts, printing, prospectus, cancellations, cremations, taxes, and other subjects. There is a smaller volume of files concerning a price study by G. Holzman regarding the sale and repurchase of securities (1947).
A large volume of files relate to approvals for borrowing are arranged according to banking or financial institution and specific bond issue. Records are predominantly created from 1946, apart from a few files with background documents dated 1937 to 1945; these include copies of the United States Department of the Treasury regulations governing the destruction of United States securities. There are original incoming and outgoing letters, including letters of approval from Bank president or vice president to country ministers or central bank executives, and letters to and from Bank secretary and general counsel with country officials outlining proposed changes to related legislation. Correspondence between the Bank chief, Securities Division of Treasurer's Department and the chief, Accounting Division of Controller's Department to the banking institutions document the underwriting and offering arrangements with information about the percentage, account, details of purchase transaction, and any settlement of amounts. Correspondence is often filed with copies of country legislation regulating the trade of securities and terms, as well as receipts, cables, copies of certificates, draft and final Board resolutions authorizing proposed borrowings, handwritten notes, data tables, and external records such as the United States Security and Exchange Commission and US Treasury press releases. Internal memoranda periodically details the Bank's operations in the lending country, condition of markets, and summaries of Bank senior officials' visits to the country.
The series also contains a large volume of bond issue files arranged by country and specific issue. Several bond issue files are further arranged into 'general', 'printing', 'prospectus', 'purchase contracts', 'registration' and 'redemption'. Most of the records originated in the Treasurer's Department and Legal Department and relate to bond arrangements and transactions with international banking institutions and trust companies.
The general bond issue files mostly contain internal memoranda and letters that detail the proposed bond issues and terms of conditions for purchase, arrangements with international banks to list bonds on the stock exchanges and publish advertisements, regulatory and tax status of bonds, meetings with country officials, and other matters. Correspondence is often filed with: Bank press releases; draft and final Board resolutions detailing bond issues and attached purchase agreements, temporary stock certificate, and form of definitive bond (or coupon); memorandum of sale; and meeting summaries and minutes including those of the Staff Loan Committee. There are also copies of correspondence between the Bank president and country finance minister related to the approval for proposed borrowing. Certain bond issue files provide information about the relationship between the Bank and country, particularly in the case of the early Switzerland files.
Printing files contain letters between the Bank's Legal Department or others, and corporations regarding the approval of specimen bond certificates and printing of bonds. Correspondence in the United States files is primarily with the American Bank Note Company. Other records in the files include specimen bond certificates and press clippings from international newspapers.
The prospectus correspondence concerns the distribution of the prospectus to dealers, comments on preliminary drafts and registration statement, primarily between Legal and Secretary's Departments and government officials.
Bond registration records contains correspondence to and from the Bank's general counsel to the secretary and others, with attached copies of the registration statement, Bank Articles of Agreement and By-Laws, loan agreement, and preliminary prospectus in accordance with legal requirements under United States Securities Act and other national legislation.
The redemption records relate to various matters including payment of redemption price, draftBoard resolutions authorizing redemption, letters from the Bank treasurer to fiscal agents authorizing payments on principal, interest, and redemption premium, other cables and letters with private banks regrading refunding operations of bonds, publication of redemption notices, and sinking fund payments.
Purchase contract files contains primarily letters concerning the purchase of bond issues outlining terms of contract and payment details, mostly between the Bank's chief of Finance Department, the director of Marketing Department, and commercial banks.
The series also contains a substantial quantity of records regarding marketing of bonds arranged by country (1947 - 1974) and include: internal memoranda and incoming and outgoing letters, many sent and received from the Marketing Department based in New York City and the director of Public Relations; copies of public releases and newspaper advertisements inviting tenders on bond issues, several of them notarized as certification of advertising. There is also internal memoranda from Bank secretary to president and outgoing letters from Presidents Black and McCloy to executive directors and alternate directors proposing expanding marketing of World Bank bonds. Memoranda from 1947 discusses a program of advertising for World Bank securities and the benefits of advertising.
Records comprising the series also include fiscal agent files (1946 - 1974) representing the following institutions from the earliest years of operation (1946 to 1949): Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Chase Manhattan Bank; Bank of Canada; Bank of Mexico; Bank of Paris; and agents in Germany and United Kingdom. Records relate to arrangements and draft agreements between the Bank and fiscal agents performing financial duties such as authentication, registration, and bond redemption.
Records comprising the series are primarily in English, however, some bond advertisement press clippings, prospectuses, and Board documents are in other languages indicated belowin the Language note.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Original order of the records has been maintained. Files are arranged alphabetically by country, banking institution, or subject.
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Records are subject to the World Bank Access to Information Policy.
Conditions governing reproduction
Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.
Language of material
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Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
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Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Internal World Bank Group Archives rules
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
22 April 2021