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Records of the Office of the President
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Records of the Office of the President

  • WB IBRD/IDA EXC
  • collection
  • 1947 - 1995
  • 1947 - 1995

The records of cover the entire span of administrative and substantive activities of the Bank. Particularly useful is the documentation of public relations activities by the presidents and coordination efforts with outside partners. Briefing books for country visits and for meetings at the Bank's annual meeting often provide good overviews of issues as well as reports on the economic and political situation in a country. Unique materials on major Bank studies and commissions, such as the Pearson and Brandt Commissions and the Task Force on Portfolio Management (Wapenhans Report), are also found in the records of the president's office.

The McNamara, Conable and Preston records include both the records of the president and the records of his immediate staff. Some staff members had specific mandates and their files are key sources for those activities, while other presidential assistants played a more general role in handling topics for the president.

Office of the President

Correspondence of Economic Advisor Hollis Chenery

Hollis Chenery served as the Economic Adviser to the President from 1970 until 1972. Reporting directly to the President, he commented on virtually all the significant economic issues that confronted the Bank. The series consists of one file of Chenery's memoranda and correspondence and two files on the Development Research Center of the World Bank.

The correspondence file includes a memorandum by Chenery on research prospects in Latin America in April 1972; a proposal to the Bank on generation of employment in Mexico and a draft study with comments on planning in Mexico; and a draft study on Ethiopia. The correspondence ends in May 1972; an invitation dating from 1973 is also included.

The two files on the Development Research Center primarily drafts of economic studies. The study topics include evaluations of various economic models, Mexican agriculture, and substitution of labor for equipment in road construction.

Memoranda for the record

The Memoranda for the record series contains a set of minutes of McNamara's meetings with Bank staff, US representatives, and other visitors from outside the Bank. The memoranda generally were prepared by the Personal Assistant to McNamara, but there are also some memoranda of conversations drafted by McNamara and reports prepared by members of other departments in the Bank; some of the minutes are copies of minutes of the President's Council or the Policy Review Committee meetings. Background material, including notes and figures in McNamara's handwriting, sometimes accompanies the memoranda.

Meetings with Bank staff involve Vice-Presidents and Senior Vice-Presidents, the General Counsel and his Associate, the Secretary, Advisors and Special Assistants, Department Directors and the Executive Secretary of the Development Committee. Memoranda of meetings with the Staff Association are also included. Topics discussed with staff include the Bank's lending programs and budget, financial operations, organization and procedures, work programs and special studies. Among the latter are papers on capital markets; lending rate; financial policy; preference in procurement; agricultural research; commodities; the mining, urbanization and health sectors; agricultural credit; urban, nuclear power and aviation policies; river blindness; nutrition; population; employment; land reform; IDA policies and world development issues. The meetings also included discussions of McNamara's annual speech to the Governors and other speeches and statements, the preparation of Board meetings and other meetings, questions submitted by journalists, McNamara's trips to East and West Africa, and particular issues such as the increase of IBRD capital, the Development Committee, and the establishment of the Third Window.

Personalities meeting with McNamara from outside the Bank are U.S. Treasury Secretaries and other government officials, U.S. Congressmen, heads of international organizations, bankers, businessmen, economists, health specialists and journalists. These conversations concern the IDA and bond issues, marketing legislation, specific lending issues, and development cooperation.

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