27 December 1945

The International Monetary Fund is established.

On December 27 1945 the International Monetary Fund was created. The idea of the fund was laid out at the Bretton Woods Conference held in the USA in 1944. The representatives of 45 governments met at the Bretton Woods Conference in the Mount Washington Hotel in the area of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in the United States. There they discussed frameworks for post-World War II international economic co-operation. The participating countries were concerned with the rebuilding of Europe and the global economic system after the war. There were two views on the role the IMF should assume as a global economic institution. British economist John Maynard Keynes imagined that the IMF would be a cooperative fund upon which member states could draw to maintain economic activity and employment through periodic crises. This view suggested an IMF that helped governments and to act as the US government had during the New Deal in response to World War II. American delegate Harry Dexter White foresaw an IMF that functioned more like a bank, making sure that borrowing states could repay their debts on time.

The International Monetary Fund formally came into existence on 27 December 1945, when the first 29 countries ratified its Articles of Agreement. By the end of 1946 the Fund had grown to 39 members. On 1 March 1947, the IMF began its financial operations, and on 8 May France became the first country to borrow from it.

These images shown here are from a series of papers on International Post War settlement, including international agreements and trade negotiations. The papers belong to the Prime Ministers Department. The department’s responsibilities included advise, administrative support and media services to the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Both the External Affairs and External Intelligence Bureau came under its jurisdiction at different times.