Press Release No. 944 Issued by the Department of State, December 19, 1945, Regarding the Signing of the Bretton Woods Agreements

The signing of the Bretton Woods Fund and Bank agreements is scheduled to take place on Thursday, December 27, 1945 in the Department [Page 1386] of State on behalf of the United States of America and of such of the other countries signatory to the Final Act of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held at Bretton Woods in July 1944 as are prepared to sign those agreements on that date. The Secretary of the Treasury, Fred M. Vinson, has been authorized by the President to sign the two agreements on behalf of the United States.5

China, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Philippine Commonwealth, and the Union of South Africa have already indicated their readiness to sign the agreements, and acceptance by Great Britain appears to be assured in view of the favorable action taken by Parliament. The Department is also informed that Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, France, the Netherlands, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia may be prepared to sign the agreements with the United States, and that by December 27 a number of other countries will probably accept them.

Participation by the United States in the Fund and Bank is authorized by the Bretton Woods Agreements Act approved July 31, 1945 (Public Law 171, 79th Congress).6 Similar legislation has been passed by the Philippine Congress and was approved by President Truman on November 20, 1945.

Each of the agreements provides that it shall enter into force when duly executed on behalf of governments having 65 percent of the total of the quotas or subscriptions set forth in Schedule A thereof. Forty-four of the 45 countries listed in those schedules, including the United States, are those which signed the Final Act of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, on July 22, 1944. No quota in the Fund or subscription to the Bank has as yet been fixed for Denmark, the forty-fifth country.

The total of the quotas for the Fund is $8,800,000,000 and the total [Page 1387] of the subscriptions to the Bank is $9,100,000,000. Sixty-five percent of those amounts would be, respectively, $5,720,000,000 (Fund) and $5,915,000,000 (Bank). The aggregate quotas and aggregate subscriptions of the countries indicated above are considerably more than the 65 percent of the total of the quotas and of the subscriptions, respectively, necessary to bring the two agreements into effect.

It is provided in each of the agreements that as soon as it enters into force each member country shall appoint a governor to the Fund and to the Bank, and that the first meeting of the Board of Governors of the Fund and the Board of Governors of the Bank shall be called by the member having the largest quota or the largest subscription, as the case may be, thus inaugurating the Fund and Bank. The quota and the subscription of the United States are the largest of those fixed for the Fund and Bank, respectively.

[The Bretton Woods Agreements entered into force on December 27, 1945 when in a “ceremony of signature” representatives of the following nations signed the Fund Agreement: Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iraq, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, The Philippine Commonwealth, Poland, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia. All of the above with the exception of Colombia signed the Bank Agreement at the same time.]

  1. The U. S. instruments of acceptance in the Fund and Bank were deposited on December 20, 1945. For texts of the agreements, see Treaties and Other International Agreements Series (TIAS) No. 1501, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1401, and ibid., No. 1502, or 60 Stat. (pt. 2) 1440.
  2. 59 Stat. 512. It should be noted that the Act also forms the statutory basis for the establishment of the National Advisory Council on International Monetary and Financial Problems (hereafter referred to as the National Advisory Council). The statute, in section 4, directed the Council “to coordinate the policies and operations of the representatives of the United States on the Fund and the Bank and of all agencies of the Government which make or participate in making foreign loans or which engage in foreign financial, exchange or monetary transactions. …” The Council was to make recommendations to the President and to submit both special and semi-annual reports.

    The statutory members of the Council consisted of the Secretary of the Treasury, as chairman; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Commerce: the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Export-Import Bank of Washington.