71. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (Bergsten) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher)1


  • Human Rights and the IFIs

The purpose of this memorandum is to recommend that the Inter-Agency Group on Human Rights and Foreign Assistance reexamine, on a regular basis (say quarterly), the human rights situation in countries for which we are awaiting responses and results of demarches already recommended by the Group. My concern is that we will approve IFI loans to a country even in the absence of some action by the country to improve its human rights situation.

Under current practice, the Working Group calls to our attention cases of proposed foreign assistance to countries which had not been considered by the Group earlier. As a result, the Group has recommended (1) abstention on IFI loans to Argentina, Benin, and Ethiopia, (2) withdrawals of IFI loan applications by El Salvador and Paraguay, and (3) demarches or other diplomatic approaches to Afghanistan, Brazil, Guatemala, Indonesia, Korea, Malawi, Nepal, The Philippines, Romania, Thailand and Yugoslavia.

Since the last meeting of the Inter-Agency Group on June 24, the Working Group has reviewed IFI loans coming up in August and September for the following countries which had been considered by the Inter-Agency Group earlier: Afghanistan, Brazil, Haiti, Indonesia, Korea, Nepal, The Philippines, and Thailand. (The new IFI proposals for these countries are listed in the attached table.)2

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For each of these new proposals, State representatives in the Working Group have recommended approval of loans with a “wait and see attitude” without time limit, pending results of demarches and other approaches approved by the Inter-Agency Group.

I strongly urge that henceforth our review at Inter-Agency meetings include not only new situations but also reports from the Working Group updating human rights trends in countries for which the results of demarches are pending (particularly for countries in which IFI loans come up frequently and for large amounts—e.g., Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, and The Philippines). The absence of such a follow-up might well lead to a situation in which loans continue to be made to major human rights offenders, thus counteracting the Administration’s human rights objectives and possibly causing strong criticism from the Hill and the public.3

C. Fred Bergsten
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770149–2361. Confidential.
  2. Attached but not printed is an undated 6-page table entitled “Proposed IFI Loans to Countries Considered Earlier of the Interagency Group on Human Rights and Foreign Assistance.”
  3. In an August 19 action memorandum to Christopher, Derian recommended that Christopher sign an attached memorandum that expressed agreement with Bergsten’s recommendation. (Department of State, Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, 1980 Human Rights Subject Files, Lot 82D180, IAGHRFA—History & Organization) Christopher sent Bergsten a different version of the memorandum on September 6, both expressing agreement and underscoring the Department of the Treasury’s cooperation in promoting the IAGHRFA’s efforts. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770140–2360)