Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) to President Roosevelt

I am sending you herewith a draft of a letter which you may wish to send to Secretary Morgenthau in connection with his chairmanship of this Government’s delegation to the forthcoming United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. This letter, if you approve, would serve as Secretary Morgenthau’s general instructions at the Conference. It has the approval of the Departments of the Treasury and State.

Edward R. Stettinius, Jr.

Draft Letter From President Roosevelt to the Secretary of the Treasury (Morgenthau)41

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I am pleased that you will head the American Delegation which will participate in the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference to be held at Bretton Woods, beginning July 1, 1944.

It is my hope that this Conference will formulate for presentation to the participating governments definite proposals for an International Monetary Fund and possibly a Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In the invitation which I extended to these governments to participate in the Conference, I stated that the agreement by the Conference upon definite proposals will not be binding either morally or legally on the governments represented but will be referred to the respective governments for adoption or rejection. You will, of course, be governed accordingly in your discussions and negotiations.

In formulating a definite proposal for an International Monetary Fund, both you and the other delegates will be expected to adhere to the joint statement of principles of an International Monetary Fund announced April 21, 1944. You, as head of the delegation, are authorized, however, after consultation with the other delegates to agree to modifications which, in your opinion, are essential to the effectuation of an agreement and provided that such modifications do not fundamentally alter the principles set forth in the joint statement.

You will apply the same principles in your discussions and negotiations with respect to the proposed Bank for Reconstruction and [Page 135] Development except that you will be governed by the principles agreed upon by the American Technical Committee.

As the head of the American Delegation of the Conference, you will be the principal spokesman for this country and you will be expected to coordinate the activities and views of the other American delegates. You will, of course, work in close consultation with the Secretary of State.

The responsibility which you and the other delegates of the American Delegation will undertake is the responsibility for demonstrating to the world that international post-war cooperation is possible. I am confident that you will do your best to accomplish the purposes of the Conference.

Very sincerely yours,

[On June 10, 1944, the American technical experts, in consultation with those of the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and China, invited the technical experts of a number of other countries to meet with them at Atlantic City on June 24 for the purpose of preparing a draft agenda to be submitted to the Conference for its consideration. The countries invited were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and the French Committee of National Liberation.

The proceedings of the Bretton Woods Conference and the documents issued at the Conference are printed in Department of State publication No. 2866: Proceedings and Documents of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, July 1–22, 1944 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1948), 2 volumes.

The Final Act of the Conference contains as Annex A and Annex B the texts of the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which were to remain open for signature until December 31, 1945; see ibid., volume I, pages 927, 942, and 984.]

  1. The letter as signed was dated June 9, 1944.