Fonds - Personal papers of William Diamond

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Reference code



Personal papers of William Diamond


  • 1955 - 1990, 1999 - 2000 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

8.00 linear feet of textual records

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

William Diamond was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1917. After receiving his B.A. (1937) and his Ph.D. in history (1942) from The Johns Hopkins University, Diamond worked with the U.S. Board of Economic Warfare and the U.S. Foreign Economic Administration. From 1944 to 1946 he served as an economist on U.S. missions in Turkey and Czechoslovakia. He later served as Economic Advisor to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration mission to Czechoslovakia and subsequently at its headquarters in London.

Diamond joined the Loan Department of the World Bank in 1947 and served there in a variety of posts. In 1947-1948 he took a leave of absence to be Deputy Director of the Foreign Trade Administration of Greece, an agency of the Royal Greek Government. In 1955 he transferred from the Loan Department to the staff of the new Economic Development Institute, the Bank's staff college on economic development, now called the World Bank Institute, where he served for three years. One outcome of thisperiod was his book Development Banks, a basic text on that subject, which was translated into several languages. In 1959 he was on leave from the Bank to serve as Advisor to the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI), a development financing institution set up in 1955 with the advice and financial assistance of the World Bank.

After returning from India in 1960, Diamond was appointed Assistant Director of Operations, Western Hemisphere. In July 1962 he transferred to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as Director of Development Bank Services and later became Director of the Development Finance Companies Department. That department was transferred from IFC to the IBRD on November 1, 1968, with Diamond remaining its director.

As part of the general reorganization of the Bank in November 1972, Diamond became director of the Country Programs Department for South Asia, responsible for the IBRD and IDA lending programs in Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. From December 1975 until August 1977 he was Special Assistant to the Vice President, Finance, with responsibility for activities in connection with the Fifth Replenishment of IDA. Thereafter he returned to the Economic Development Institute as a Senior Fellow and retired in March 1978.

After retirement Diamond served as a consultant for the IFC. Among his consulting assignments were work with Societe Internatinonale Financiere pour les Investissements et le Developpement en Afrique (SIFIDA) and with the Banco Portugues de Investimento SA (BPI).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated to the World Bank by William Diamond.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Throughout his career, Diamond kept a personal file in chronological order. Sometimes this file was primarily copies of the messages he sent, but at other times he included copies of incoming messages and copies of correspondence that had been sent to him by others. Occasionally a speech draft or a copy of minutes or other official documents are in the file. Although the papers are in one long chronological series, several distinct parts exist. The earliest file, dating from 1955 to 1958, is primarily outgoing messages and personal items on finances, travel arrangements, and publications. It includes information on EDI courses, Diamond's letters to Bank officials during his missions in Ethiopia, Greece, Turkey, and Tunisia; a letter to Newton Parker, March 24, 1958, on the roles of economic institutions in Honduras; and a memo to S.R. Cope of April 1, 1958, reporting on Davidson Sommers' meeting with a Yugoslav representative on future loans to Yugoslavia. An important series of files relate to Diamond's period in India as an advisor to ICICI. Beginning with his preparations in 1958 for the assignment, through the year in India, and continuing into 1960 after Diamond returned to the Bank, the files provide an exceptional view of the early organization of the ICICI and the establishment of its policies. Diamond included in the files incoming and outgoing correspondence, notes of meetings, reports, and clippings, as well as purely personal correspondence. Correspondents include Eugene Black and George D. Woods, the then current and future presidents of the World Bank; ICICI officials; Indian government officials and industrialists; the IBRD resident representatives in India and Pakistan; and various staff members in World Bank offices in Washington. Some items of correspondence discuss the establishment of the Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation Limited and developments in Ethiopia. The bulk of the chronological file covers Diamond's assignments at the Bank between 1962 and 1978, when he retired. For the first eight years the files are primarily copies of Diamond's outgoing messages; thereafter the files increasingly include copies of incoming items, such as reports from the field and copies of items sent to him while he was on official missions. The files from the IFC period contain many items about the development banks in South Asia and North Africa. When Diamond was a director of country programs in the South Asia, the files include information on the Tarbela Dam project and the efforts to assist Bangladesh. The documents in these files are largely duplicates of those in the official files of the Bank, but their chronological arrangement allows the user to see the variety of issues that Diamond was handling at the same time and to trace the evolution of his and the Bank's responses to events. The final part of the series are files relating to Diamond's work as a consultant to IFC between 1980 and 1990. The earliest items relate to IFC's role in the work of the Societe Internatinonale Financiere pour les Investissements et le Developpement en Afrique (SIFIDA), but the bulk of the files relate to the Banco Portugues de Investimento SA (BPI). In 1978 a group of Portuguese industrialists created an Executive Group to develop a private financial institution to promote private economic development. They sought the involvement of the IFC, and the IFC engaged Diamond as its consultant on the BPI. This set of files includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence. The final items inthe Diamond papers are transcripts of two speeches that he gave, one in 1984 on the World Bank's policy on development banks and the other in 1999 on the beginnings of the Economic Development Institute. The Diamond papers are of particular importance to researchers interested in the history of development banks, especially those in India and Portugal, and the history of late twentieth century economic development in South Asia

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on Access to Information. Records relating to the International Finance Corporation are closed under the IFC Policy on the Disclosure of Information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

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Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

  • See the following oral histores: Alex Cairncross and William Diamond.

  • See Reference Collection on World Bank History (WB IBRD/IDA REF) for a copy of a Columbia University interview with William Diamond.

  • Also see Records of the Office of the Historian -- Records of the World Bank History Project-- Interviews (WB IBRD/IDA HIST-01-10) for interviews of William Diamond by the Brookings Institution's World Bank history project.

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Rules and/or conventions used

Internal World Bank Group Archives rules based on ISAD(G).

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Dates of creation revision deletion

11 August 2006, 27 May 2011




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