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Central Files

  • Fonds
  • 1946 - 1986
  • 1946 - 1986

The fonds contains the records maintained as part of the World Bank Group's centralized files variously known as General Files (1946 - 1968), Central Files (1969 - 1971), the semi-centralized Bank Administration and Policy Records Stations (BAP, 1972 - 1974), Bank General Records Station and Administration and Policy Records Stations (BAPRS, 1975 - 1977) and Non-Regional Information Centers (NRIC, 1978 - 1987) with exceptions as described in the Arrangement field below. Records of the administrative unitsresponsible for the management of the General Files records center and its subsequent iterations are not included in this fonds except so far as these records were filed in Central Files. The date range of the Central Files is from 1946 to 1986 and the 1987 files maintained in the NRIC until its closure in July 1987 were likely handed over to the functional departments.

The departments whose records were centralized over time and represented most prominently in Central Files include (but are not limited to): Economics, Development Services, Technical Operations, Projects (and its sector divisions), and Administration.

Correspondence contained in the fonds includes letters, memoranda, cables, and other related records sent to and from the above departments and the Office of the President during the presidencies of Meyer, McCloy, Black and Woods. President records are otherwise nonexistent in the case of Meyer and are sparse for Woods, McCloy and Black in the Office of the President fonds. The Central Files also contains correspondence of the first Bank Vice Presidents which are fragmentary in the General Vice Presidents and Managing Directors fonds.

Records in this fonds document significant events and studies, administrative and organizational changes, governing bodies and committees, membership and obligations of countries, financial transactions, and the Bank's administrative and operating policies and processes including lending, projects, and development policy. The fonds comprises the general (non-regional) files on all topics not specific to a region or country as well as the membership, bond, and finance files relating to IBRD, IDA and IFC.

The general filing practice for correspondence between two offices within the Bank whose records were filed in Central Files was to save the copy of the document retained by the creating unit (often a yellow carbon copy) and to destroy the copy sent to the receiving unit, unless the receiving unit had annotated the document, in which case both copies were saved.

Central Files

Liaison with external organizations

karThis series contains records relating to the World Bank's liaison with external organizations. Records in this series originated in the various units responsible for liaison with external organizations in the External Relations department/vice presidency. However, due to records management practices in the Bank between 1946 and 1978, some of the records in this series originated in departments other than those focused exclusively on liaison activities. This is described in more detail below. Also note that, beginning in 1987, most of the liaison functions in the Bank were removed from the External Relations vice presidency for two brief periods: 1987 to 1990, and 1993 to 2002. Please see the Administrative History field in the Records of the Office of External Relations fonds description for more information on the organizational history of the liaison function in the Bank. Also see the Related Units of Description field below for the location of those post-1987 records related to the liaison function created in units outside of External Relations that are not contained in this series.

This series consists of records that were classified as "liaison files" or "United Nations liaison files" in the Bank's 'General' or 'Central' filing systems. These records date from 1946 to 1978 (with the exception of 1969 to 1971; please see Related Units of Description below). While records classified in this manner originated in departments from across the Bank (including the Office of the President), the majority of the 'General' and 'Central' files originated in the Technical Assistance and Liaison Staff (TAL, 1946-1961), Development Services Department (DSD, 1961-1973), and International Relations Department (IRD, 1973-1978).

Note that, from the beginning of the Bank's General Files classification system in 1946, "liaison files" and "United Nations liaison files" were classified separately. This likely occurred because the Bank's relationship with the UN and its agencies was more involved than with any other external organization. In 1964, as the Bank's collaboration with the UN in fields like agriculture and education was increasing, the Bank created a separate position called the Special Representative to the United Nations within DSD separate from staff responsible for liaison with non-UN external organizations. In 1965 the Special Representative moved to New York and opened an office at the United Nations headquarters. In 1978 a second World Bank UN Office was opened in Geneva, Switzerland.

Both the "liaison files" or "United Nations liaison files" consist of communications with external organizations with whom the Bank had a relationship. Organizations include governmental and international agencies, development banks, religious groups, academic institutions, and private foundations. Records relating to communications with the United Nations and its many agencies (United Nations Development Program [UNDP], Food and Agriculture Organizations [FAO], etc.) are the most voluminous in this series. The volume of records relating to communications with non-UN organizations and governments can be sizable (the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD] or the United States government and its legislators, for example) or as small as a single folder.

The most common correspondence in this series are invitations to or requests for participation in meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops, training courses, and similar events. In addition to correspondence with external organizations, records related to event participation and coordination also include internal memoranda, Terms of Reference, back-to-office reports, meeting agendas, conference programs, and press releases.

Records relating to collaboration or partnership on joint projects, research, and missions are also common, particularly in those records relating to the UN and its agencies. These records are generally limited to work program development, information sharing,and logistical planning. The records also relate to the exchange of information (including mission schedules, policy proposals, sector studies, etc., most of which are not included with the correspondence), and request for comment.

The Bank-wide 'General' and 'Central' filing practice was discontinued in 1978, and a new Non-Regional Information Center (NRIC) was created to manage records created by non-operational units including the External Relations' International Relations Department (IRD). Unlike therecords of the 'General' and 'Central' files, records from the NRIC, which existed from 1978 to 1986, and those subsequently transferred to the World Bank Group Archives directly from units responsible for external liaison include only those that originated in units responsible for the function. The exceptions are those records that were shared with these departments by other Bank units. Note that most of the records relating to external liaison that were created while the external liaison function was housed outside of the External Relations Vice Presidency from 1987 to 1990 and 1993 to 2002 are included. To locate those arranged in other fonds, please see the Related Units of Description field below.

Topics contained in the NRIC and subsequent records are similar to those in the 'General' or 'Central' files, but with some additions. Beginning around 1980, the Bank's engagement with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) intensified. Records relating to the Bank's communication and collaboration with NGOs as well as the development of policy for interacting with NGOs are contained in this series. Likewise, records relating to the Bank's interaction with civil society also become more numerous throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Records relating to external meeting and conference attendance are also included as are records related to external liaison staff's participation in World Bank Group spring and annual meetings. Background and briefing materials for senior Bank management prepared by EXT units responsiblefor meetings with external organizations are contained in this series. Many of these briefing materials were prepared for World Bank Group presidents Lewis Preston, James Wolfensohn, Paul Wolfowitz, and Robert Zoellick. Finally, a small amount of records relating to the organization and management of the units responsible for external liaison over time, including the New York and Geneva offices, are contained in this series. These records primarily relate to staff retreats where strategy and work programs were developed.

Records relating to the Bank's European field office in Paris, France, are also included in this series. The records date from 1949, when Drew Dudley, Director of Public Relations for Europe, arrived in Paris, to 1980. The records of the European office relate to its primary role as Bank representative to European governments, central banks and other financial institutions, international organizations, and the European media, academic institutions, and business community. Records also relate to other activities, including the arrangement for the sale of Bank securities in Europe, carrying out information programs, and performing administrative functions. Records consist of correspondence with Bank staff, including Bank presidents, in Washington, DC. Topics include logistical matters, reports on meetings, and exchange of information.

Records relating to the Tokyo office, which opened in November 1970, are also included in this series. The office was concerned with facilitating liaison between the Bank and the Japanese government and the Japanese financial community. It also served as a source of information for the Japanese press and public. Tokyo office records date from 1974 to 1975 and relate to communications with the Japanese government and media, administrative functions, and information exchange and publication.

The series also contains records from 1983 to 1987 relating to general policy and analysis undertaken by IRD in support of liaison with NGOs and other external organizations. Records relate to food security, poverty, debt, and the environment and contain reports, internal memoranda, communications with external organizations, logistical plans for meetings, and back-to-office reports.

The series also contains thematic subject files created and used by EXT units responsible for liaison with external organizations. Topics include gender, human rights, indigenous peoples, partnerships, structural adjustment, private sector investment, etc. These types of records generally date from the 1980s through 2010 and contain a variety of materials, such as: correspondence and internal memoranda; conference materials; and external publications.

The records of the World Bank's Grant Committee are also contained in this series. In 1981, the Bank's system for making grants to development institutions and conferences was streamlined and consolidated within the External Relations Department. From 1981 to 1987, IRD provided the staff for the roles of chairman and secretary. Records include meetingminutes, internal memoranda, and correspondence with external organizations relating to their requests for funding. Records date from 1981 to 1987 and 1990 to 1993.

Records related to the Robert S. McNamara Fellowship Fund are also included in this series. The fund was proposed in 1981 and awarded its first fellowships in 1983. Records relate to the setting up of the fund, raising funds from Bank members, the establishment of a selection committee, and the awarding of fellowships. Records date from 1981 to 1986.


This series contains a fragment of President George D. Woods' correspondence, both private and official. Notable among the official correspondence is a letter to Hector Prud'homme, University of Hartford, Connecticut, on education projects; an exchange of letters with the President of Pakistan, Marshall Ayub Khan, on the political situation for Pakistan in July 1965; a letter to Antonio Montero, a banker from the Bahamas, on external financing of local currency components of public projects; and a report from World Bank Vice President J. Burke Knapp on his talks with the President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, on the situation in Rhodesia in December 1965.

Records of the Social Development Sector

  • Fonds
  • 1975 - 2007
  • 1975 - 2007

This fonds consists of records created by the Social Development Department (SDV) as well as by other Bank units that pre-existed the SDV and which carried out those functions that comprise the Bank's social development sector. Records created in the Environment Department's Social Policy and Resettlement Division (ENVSP, 1993-1997) are abundant. In some cases, files begun in the ENVSP were transferred to and eventually closed by the SDV. Records from other Departments in this fonds include: the International Relations Department of the Office of the Vice President, External Relations (VPE) between 1983 and 1987; the Strategic Planning Department (SPRIE) between 1987 and 1990; the External Relations Department (EXTIE) between 1990-1993; and the Operations Policy Department's Policy Group (OPRPG) between 1993 and 1997.

A significant amount of records in this fonds relate to the Bank's involvement with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in their capacity: as operational organizations, whose main purpose isthe design and implementation of development projects; and as advocacy organizations that support a particular cause and seek to influence Bank policies and practices.

Included are general subject and policy development records used to establish and review Bank Group policies in relation to NGOs. The majority of these files were created in the 1990s by the ENVSP and SDV's NGO Unit (SDVNG), although there are a number of files from the SPRIE, EXTIE, and OPRPG in the mid-1980s through the early 1990s. Correspondence and reports related to policies and strategies for Bank collaboration with NGOs are included, as are subject files on gender, governance, resettlement, capacity building, civil society, debt initiative, and other topics. Other NGO-related topics (often in the form of chronological files) include: committees; partnerships; participation and monitoring; progress reports; conferences; seminars; workshops; U.S. development NGOs; and Swiss NGOs. Related to these records and present in this fonds are records created and received while monitoring civic engagement in Bank lending and policy instruments.

Bank/NGO liaison files dating from the mid 1980s to early 1990s and relating to specific countries are also included. These records relate to activities carried out by NGOs independently or in collaboration with the Bank. Records include correspondence between the Bank and NGOs or government officials as well as technical materials, Bank and NGO reports, and material on workshops and conferences. Records related to the Small Grants Program are also included. The Program supports activities related to civic engagement by providing small grants administered through the Country Offices. The records included here are primarily from the early to mid-1990s when the Program was organized within the EXTIE. Records include reports, minutes, grant applications, awards, and related materials from the Committee. The fonds also contains records relating to other trust funds, such as the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD) and the Grants Facility for Indigenous Peoples. These records include legal documents, Internal Audit Reports, External Audit Reports, Portfolio review issues, single audit reports, and special analyses.

A number of records related specifically to participation - that is, the promotion of methods and approaches that encourage the involvement of stakeholders in development initiatives - are also included. These include internal and externally created documents, suchas: NGO files; action plans; participatory poverty assessment studies; discussion papers; committee files; policy development files; and general files.

The fonds also contains a large amount of research material created and collected by SDV staff and by the Bank's social scientists prior to the SDV's formation. Research undertaken by Michael Cernea and others in the 1990s related to resettlement is included. This includes research materials created during the writing of various reports including The Bankwide Review of Projects Involving Involuntary Resettlement (1986-1993) (1994). Included are country and project files that involve cases of resettlement.

Records related to Cernea's historical research on sociology in the Bank are also included. These contain a collection compiled by Cernea of Bank project files, Terms of Reference (TORs), conference and seminar materials, and other records from the 1980s that involved elements related to the social development sector. Records of the Bank Sociological Groupare also included. The fonds also contains Gloria Davis's chronological files created during her time as the first Director of the SDV from 1997 to 2000. These generally consist of correspondence.

Social Development Sector

Zmarak Shalizi files

The records are largely electrostatic copies of correspondence and papers, filed by the type of function that generated the records. The majority of the records date from 1992-1995 when Shalizi was chief of the Transport Division.

The records are arranged in four sections. The first section has administrative records; the conference files include the background readings for a 1991 seminar for Bank staff on air quality in urban transportation.

The second section is records of research projects funded by the regular budget, trust funds or other special funds. Four of the research proposal files consist primarily of reviews of proposed Bank positions on taxation policies and on poverty lending in the urban sector, 1980-1991, and three additional files concern Bank transport sector policy and performance reviews, 1992-1995. The chronological file consists principally of notes and correspondence regarding the review of taxation and poverty policies found in the research proposals. The papers and a small quantity of correspondence were written by persons other than Shalizi and sent to him for his comments or use. The topics range from road pricing to automotive emissions in developing countries to railways to informal gold mining and mercury pollution in Brazil. The publications are primarily those produced by the Bank, although a few others from sources such as the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy are included. The principal topics are railways and transport-related air pollution; some correspondence related to the publications is included.

The third section consists of records of operational support for projects. One of the four files consists of country studies of taxation in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Malawi. This is followed by three files of correspondence, arranged chronologically, commenting on projects and studies, proposed and ongoing.

The fourth section is records of research projects funded by the Bank's Research Support Budget. The majority of the files relate to Shalizi's 1989-1991 project on a "Practical framework for evaluating mineral payment/taxation schemes" and are linked to the taxation files found in the second section. In the publications file is a copy of the project document on "Trade and transport in West and Central African States" dated April 1993, while the files of original research data include two papers co-authored by Shalizi, "Contract Policy and the Variability of Government Revenue form Mining Projects" (1990, with R. Conrad and J. Syme) and "The Role of Extraction Charges in Mineral Contracts (1991, with R. Conrad and M. Engers). The research files also include three files on the project on taxation in developing countries, one file on a framework for tax policy analysis in Sub-Saharan Africa, two files on uniform rates of effective protection and efficient taxes, and three files on an analysis of the tax system in developing countries as applied to Pakistan and Mexico.

Léonard B. Rist files

Fonds consists of records maintained by Léonard B. Rist from the early period of IBRD history primarily when he first served as Director of the Research Department, later Economics Department beginning in 1946 and printed material that Rist collected relating to Bretton Woods.

Administrative Circulars and For Your Information announcements

Series contains copies of of World Bank/International Finance Corporation/International Development Association (IBRD/IFC/IDA) Administrative Circulars from 1973 to 1985 and For Your Information (FYI) announcements from 1986 to 1993 collected by Moeen Qureshi. Administrative Circulars were circulated Bank-wide, and provided announcements of senior staff appointments, organizational and procedural changes, and Bank-wide initiatives. As of 1986, the circulars were renamed For Your Information. The frequencyof the announcements varied from week to week.

Indonesian oil sector files

Series consists of records primarily created during Bernard R. Bell's tenure as Director, Resident Staff Indonesia from 1968 to 1972. The series contains a draft paper on the historical development of the oil sector in Indonesia, including notes on Indonesian oil companies. Correspondence and notes concerning Bank economic missions reviewing the oil sector are included, as well as notes of interviews with Indonesian government officials and oil company personnel. The series contains copies of articles on Indonesian oil, copies contracts dating from 1963, copies of Indonesian laws regulating the oil sector, and statistics on the financial status of P. N. Pertamina, the Indonesian National Oil and Natural Gas Mining State Enterprise.

India Fourth Five-Year Plan and economic policy files

Series consists of records maintained by Bernard R. Bell primarily relating to his work studying India's Fourth Five-Year plan while he was economic advisor to Andre de Lattre, President Woods' appointed representative to India. The study began with an appraisal mission headed by Bell which visited India in October-November 1966. The purposes of the mission were to examine the changes made in Indian economic policy in 1966 and how they were being implemented, and to survey the proposed Fourth Five-Year Plan and the aid requirements associated with it. The series contains: Bell's outgoing memoranda and cables with Woods and de Lattre and members of the 1966 appraisal mission to India; correspondence on the previous Bell Mission Report (1964-1966) on India's economy; correspondence with the government of India and documents from the U.S. government on India; a file on Woods' meeting with Ashok Mehta, the Indian Minister of Planning; and copies of official meeting documents of the India Consortium, a group of donor countries concerned with providing aid to India and India's development efforts. The consortium meeting records are filed with copies of memoranda primarily from Alexander Stevenson, Associate Director of Asia Department, and copied to Bell and others, covering the years 1966 to 1968.

Series also contains subject files relating to the Fourth Plan, containing correspondence and background reference materials, a copy of Bell's fourteen volume Bell Mission report in 1965 published as "The Report to the President of the IBRD and IDA on India's Economic Development Effort", and a copy of his 1967 Bank report titled, "Indian Economic Policy and the Fourth Five-Year Plan".

Also included in the series is a small volume of correspondence and other records, dating from 1964 to 1965, relating to the India coal transport study financed by the Bank, a report written by Bell's consulting firm in 1963 on statistics of Korea, and economic reports authored by the Bank, the Indian government or external research groups on India, its growth, and economic prospects, dating from 1973 to 1975.

Bernard R. Bell files

Subfonds consists of records created by Bernard R. Bell primarily when he was the economic advisor to the representative resident in India during which time he examined Indian economic policy and the proposed Fourth Five-Year Plan during 1966 to 1967. Subfonds also contains subject files and correspondence kept while he served as Director, Resident Staff Indonesia and Regional Vice President, East Asia and Pacific Region.

Ernest Stern files

The majority of the subfonds consists of chronological correspondence records sent and received by Stern from the start of his World Bank career in 1972 to his retirement as a Managing Director in 1995. The subfonds also contains speeches given by Stern while serving in various positions from 1973 to 1995 and records relating to committees in which he participated.

Bretton Woods collection

Series is comprised of Léonard B. Rist's collection of reference material on the Bretton Woods Conference and the events leading up to it. Document types include official copies of proposals, agreements and amendments relating to the Bretton Woods institutions, IBRD and IMF, as well as reports and commentary from U.S. government agencies (Treasury, Federal Reserve, State Department), research institutions, and the press (Foreign Affairs, Finance, Foreign Commerce Weekly). Also included are President Roosevelt's address to Congress recommending passage of the Bretton Woods agreements, 1963 amendment to the Bretton Woods agreement, and several unpublished papers.

Subject files

Series contains records maintained by Léonard B. Rist from the early period of IBRD history primarily when he first served as Director of the Research Department, later Economics Department between 1946 and 1960. Records are varied and include correspondence and speeches that Rist drafted for President Eugene Black during the period 1947-1953 and an information packet prepared for Black's 1952 trip on which Rist and other senior staff accompanied him to Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Thailand, and Australia. Also included is a file of Rist's speeches to the information conferences (1949-1959), two or three-day sessions at the Bank where groups of individuals in the finance profession would be introduced the Bank and its operations (1949-1951), a file on establishing the Research Department in 1946, and files on loan policy, 1946-1967. Records from the 1950s relate to the European Investment Bank and French oil exploration, and UK credit conditions covering 1945-1957. In 1963 and 1964 while he was Special Adviser to the President, Rist chaired the Committee on Loan Charges , and these files include correspondence on the Committee's Memorandum on Loan Charges (1964). Other files (1960-1968) relate to terms of Bank loans, market loans, IBRD reserves and 9% subscriptions, and Bank and IDA financial policy.

Correspondence with World Bank President

Series contains Qureshi's correspondence with Bank Presidents Robert S. McNamara, Alden W. Clausen, and Barber Conable beginning when Qureshi was both Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Vice President Finance, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) in 1979 to his retirement in 1991 as Senior Vice President for Operations.

Although Qureshi maintained this correspondence in a single chronological series, the nature of the files changes somewhatwith each president. Records from the McNamara era, 1979-1981, include: copies of notes and memoranda sent by or through Qureshi to McNamara; copies of letters forwarded by Qureshi to McNamara for his signature; letters forwarded to McNamara by others and copied to Qureshi; copies of letters and memoranda McNamara sent to others and copied to Qureshi; and memoranda "to the files" summarizing important meetings that McNamara held with others and that Qureshi attended as an observer and/or recorder. Many of Quresh's memoranda to McNamara were returned with extensive handwritten comments and/or replies from McNamara. In many cases, a typed version of McNamara's handwritten comments is also attached to the incoming correspondence.

Records from the Clausen era, 1981-1986, primarily consist of: copies of letters Clausen sent to others and copied to Qureshi; copies of memoranda and notes sent by or through Qureshi to Clausen; and copies of letters Qureshi and his staff prepared for Clausen's signature.

Topics covered in the files during the McNamara and Conable presidencies include (but are not limited to): draft Board papers; Bank borrowing operations; World Bank capital increases; International Development Association (IDA) replenishments; currency management; fiscal projections and monthly financial reports; work program and budget; and staffing requirements and personnel matters.

Records from the Conable era, 1986-1991, include: copies of letters Conable sent to others and copied to Qureshi; copies of memoranda and notes sent by or through Qureshi to Conable; and copies of correspondence Qureshi and his staff prepared for Conable's signature. None of Qureshi's correspondence to Conable were returned with the President's comments. Memoranda and notes that Conable sent directly to Qureshi are filed in Qureshi's subject files.

Most of the correspondence from Conable's era was sent when Qureshi was Senior Vice President for Operations (SVPOP) beginning in 1987. Correspondence covers subjects including: debt; Special Action Program for African countries; International Development Association (IDA) allocations; country lending and emergency situations; and adjustment lending and operations.

The series also contains an index of all of Qureshi's correspondence, 1979-1991, indicating the date, subject, and occasionally, the type of correspondence.

Subject files

Series contains subject files created and maintained during Qureshi's career in the World Bank Group (WBG). Although the files are most voluminous for the period during which Qureshi was the Bank's Senior Vice President for Operations, 1987 to 1991, the series also includes records accumulated while Qureshi served in his various capacities at the international Finance Corporation (IFC), through his tenure as Senior Vice President of Finance, 1981 to 1987. Subject files were created beginning in 1972 apartfrom a few reproductions of earlier publications and documents within the files.

Records include outgoing memoranda, letters, draft loan issuances, minutes, copies of Qureshi's speeches and articles, press releases and clippings, Qureshi's handwritten notes and comments, and occasionally externally-authored papers and reports. Several of the files contain Board papers presented to Executive Directors regarding a given topic.

Subject file topics include: debt; debt reduction; lending programs; Bank capital increases; co-financing; International Development Association (IDA) replenishments; overdue service payments; economic and social sectors; development of operations policy; Operations Evaluation Department (OED) project performance results; technical assistance; relations with China; relations with the Palestinian Liberation Front; currency pooling; special drawing rights; the Persian Gulf crisis; private sector development; women in development; and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations (UN). Administrative topics include: budget issues, processes, and guidelines; Operations staffing, budget, and business planning; IT support; and managers' retreats.

Moeen Qureshi files

The majority of the subfonds consists of records created and maintained by Moeen Qureshi from the start of his career at the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation (IFC) to his retirement from the Bank in 1991. Although the subfonds is most voluminous for the period during which Qureshi was Senior Vice President for Operations from 1987 to 1991, it also contains records accumulated during his various positions at IFC beginning from 1972 through his tenure as Senior Vice President of Finance (SVPFI) from 1980 to 1987.

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