What if Someone Kept a Transcript at Bretton Woods, and It Was Lost for 72 Years?

by Julian Ku

I hadn’t heard about this story, and I am still rather stunned to read that

…An official studying deep in the bowels of the US Treasury library has recently uncovered a prize of truly startling proportions – an 800 page plus transcript of the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944, the meeting of nations which established the foundations of today’s international monetary system.

Bizarrely, this extraordiary manuscript has never before come to light. Professor Steve Hanke of John Hopkins University, whose former student it was who discovered the document, is now dashing to publish it in full in conjunction with his friend, Jacque de Larosiere. The first stage of the process, transcribing the type-written document into digital form is now complete, though it is not yet available. It’s hoped eventually to produce a hard copy, book version.

As far as I know, there has been relatively little attention paid to the Bretton Woods conference as part of the study of the IMF, its Articles of Agreement, and GATT. That is to say, the drafting history seems to play a smaller role than one might think it would when analyzing these agreements as legal documents.  So this seems to open a remarkable new source for research and insight into these agreements.


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