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Records of the Vice President and Special Adviser to the President, Visvanathan Rajagopalan

Visvanathan Rajagopalan was the Vice President for Sector and Operations Policy when President Preston asked him to join the President's staff as Senior Adviser. Rajagopalan held this post for the year 1993, retiring at the end of December. During his time in the President's office, Rajagopalan had 2 principal tasks: manage the follow-up to the Portfolio Management Task Force report and chair the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. In addition he spent a brief period in the summer of 1993 as the acting head of the Information, Technology and Facilities Department.

The most important records in this subfonds are those of the Portfolio Management Task Force. These records are essential to understanding the work of the task force and the controversy that followed its report.

Office of the President -- Lewis T. Preston -- Visvanathan Rajagopalan (Vice President and Special Adviser to the President)

Subject files

Visvanathan Rajagopalan maintained a series of subject files during his period as Vice President, Operations, and as Special Adviser to the President. Some of the files contain information spanning both periods, while others contain information from only one. Some files are purely topical (environment, for example) while others are on a specific meeting (for example, the file on Bellagio III) or a particular type of meeting (Bank senior staff retreats from 1987 through 1992).

Rajagopalan's files on development effectiveness provide useful background to the Wapenhans report controversy. Finally, during his tenure as Special Adviser Rajagopalan served briefly as the manager of the Information, Technology and Facilities Department, and a number of files deal with ITF management issues.

Speeches

This series contains transcripts of speeches and remarks Visvanathan Rajagopalan delivered as Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and as Vice President and Special Adviser to PresidentPreston. Most of the speeches concern CGIAR, but other topics range from the engineer's role in sustainable development to safe motherhood; food security; the Bank's activities in environment and infrastructure; integrating women's issues in project, sector, and economic work; the World Conference on Education for All; and malaria control. The series includes Rajagopalan's remarks at his retirement party.

Records of the Portfolio Management Task Force (Wapenhans Report) and follow-up

In February 1992, Lewis Preston ordered a study of the Bank's basic portfolio management and evaluation process for loans and credits. Headed by Willi Wapenhans, who was assigned to the President's office for the study, the Portfolio Management Task Force produced a report in September 1992 that is one of the most famous in the Bank's history. It argued that the Bank did not pay enough attention to the implementation and supervision of loans and that sustainable development impact is the true measure of success. The Wapenhans Report, as it came to be known, was presented to the Board of Executive Directors in November 1992. In January 1993 Preston assigned Visvanathan Rajagopalan, who as a vice president who had been a member of the advisory council to the Task Force, to coordinate discussions regarding the implementation of the recommendations in the Task Force report.

The files are in 2 parts. The first part is the files of Wapenhans as the chair of the Task Force. These files were inherited by Rajagopalan as he worked on the implementation of the report during 1993. The second are the files of Rajagopalan, both a file regarding the work of the Task Force that he had maintained while he was the Vice President, Sector and Operations Policy, and files that he created during the follow-up period.

This series is the central source for information on the work of the Task Force. It includes the record of the discussion of the Executive Directors at the time the Task Force was formed and the background documents for the meeting of the Executive Directors after the report was issued, the minutes of the meetings of the Task Force from March through June and the audio tapes and the transcripts of a 2 day meeting with partner organizations (cofinancers), and feeder studies on topics ranging from the Bank's internal culture to the use of information technology.

Records regarding the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

This series contains records compiled by Visvanathan Rajagopalan in his capacity as Chairman of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The records include his correspondence, agendas and travel plans for meetings, copies of papers presented at meetings or circulated prior to meetings, copies of his introductory remarks delivered at meetings, his briefing books for International Centers Week (the annual meeting of the international agricultural research centers that form the CGIAR network), and scattered reports of the CGIAR Oversight Committee and its Technical Advisory Committee. Correspondence covers meeting arrangements; appointments, salaries, and other personnel matters affecting staff; and resource allocations. The series includes a small amount of the correspondence of Wilfried Thalwitz, Rajagopalan's predecessor as chair of CGIAR.

Chronological files

This series contains President Preston's outgoing correspondence, principally letters, between December 1990 and May 1995, as well as some incoming correspondence addressed to Preston, and other correspondence originating in the Office of the President. The first file predates Preston's tenure at the Bank. As the series covers the entirety of Preston's term, records created during his leave of absence by acting President Stern and other Office staff are included.

Because the Preston records are scant, this series of formal outgoing letters provides an important overview of the external liaison activities in which the President engaged.

Annual Meetings

This series consists of President Preston's files for the Annual Meetings and the records of the logistical arrangements made by his office staff. The general organization of the Annual Meeting is the responsibility of the Corporate Secretary, so the records in this series are those of the President himself and the arrangements made by and for his immediate office.

The records consist of agendas, background material, briefings, speeches, correspondence, and related records regarding the Annual Meetings. The 1993 and 1994 files include briefings on commercial banks and financial institutions and the 1993 files include a Reference book. Market that has briefings on the Bank's FY94 funding plan, official borrowings, and country briefs. The briefings provided to the President for these meetings give a useful snapshot of the state of the particular country or institution as of the date of the meeting.

Travel files

The files in this series contain Mr. Preston's travel itinerary; briefing books that include background on the country's economy, the Bank's lending program, projects under execution, country profile and map of the country; schedules; meetings with Heads of States and representatives of member countries; minutes of meetings; arrival and departure statements; press statements; and outgoing letters to the government subjects.

The series contains both the files that the President used on the trip and the administrative files created by the President's office, most often by Gisu Mohadjer, an Executive Assistant to Preston, during the preparation for the trips. In some cases, there are Gisu Mohadjer files for a trip as well as files that appear to be the President's copy for use during the trip. Often the Mohadjer file will contain some briefing materials as well as logistical information.

The records include photographs from Mr. Preston's trips to Tanzania, Venezuela, Morocco, and India.

Country files

The series contains records of President Preston's briefings and talking points for meetings with Government leaders and representatives of member countries, background information on the country, country strategy papers, and internal memoranda. A few files contain items from the Conable Presidency. Many of the records in the files are memoranda and correspondence of the Managing Directors; however, the records were maintained as the record set of country files for the Office of the President.

The files cover only the first three years of the Preston term. Files on countries during the last part of the Preston years are found in the records of Matthew F. McHugh, who was appointed Counselor to the President in 1993. McHugh remained in the President's office for the first term of the Wolfensohn Presidency and he continued to use and file into the country files he maintained; these records are part of the Wolfensohn Presidential records.

Liaison files - U.S. Government

This series contains the records of President Preston's interaction with both Congressional and Executive branches of the U.S. Government. The files include information on legislation affecting the Bank or its staff, briefing notes and minutes of the meetings with the Members of Congress and senior officials in the Executive Branch, and correspondence with the White House. The file on the White House contains mostly records from the Conable Presidency.

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