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World Bank Group Historical Chronology: 1944-1949

1944International events

Leaders of French West and Equatorial Africa meet with de Gaulle in Brazzaville and issue the Brazzaville Declaration, which reaffirms continuance of French empire and rejects the possibility of independence, but which also calls for democratic reforms in the colonies.


1944July 1 - 22

IBRD Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund drawn up and adopted at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in a conference of forty-five governments.


1945International events

World War II ends in European theater.

Potsdam Conference deals with issues of post-war Germany and Eastern Europe.

US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending war in the Pacific theater.

UN Charter drafted in San Francisco.

US President Roosevelt dies and is succeeded by Harry S Truman.

Negotiations begin for Indian independence.

Fighting breaks out between Nationalists and Communists in North China.

Republic of Yugoslavia established under Marshall Tito.

U.S. President Truman announces end of Lend-Lease, precipitating a financial crisis in Britain, and eventual extension of American loan of $3.75 billion (August)

Nuremberg tribunals begin trials of Nazi leaders for war crimes.

Pan-African Congress held in Manchester, England.


1945December 27 IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, India, Iraq, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Egypt, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia.
1945December 28IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Paraguay, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ecuador.
1945December 29IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Iran.
1945December 31

IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Peru, Mexico, Chile.


1946International eventsInternational Military Tribunal at Tokyo begins trials of Japanese war criminals.

Juan Peron becomes President of Argentina.

Winston Churchill denounces the "Iron Curtain" (March 5).

Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Palestine recommends allowing 100,000 Jewish refugees into mandate, but envisages a single, secular, democratic Palestinian state.

Transjordan becomes independent (renamed Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949). U.S. recognizes Philippine independence, Manuel Roxas becomes President.

Italy becomes a republic.

War breaks out in French Indochina between Communist forces led by Ho Chi Minh and French occupying forces (November).


1946January 8IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Costa Rica.
1946January 10IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Poland.
1946January 14IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Brazil.
1946March 1 - 18Inaugural meeting of the boards of governors of the IBRD and the IMF held at Savannah, Georgia. Bylaws are adopted, executive directors are elected, and Washington, D.C. is chosen as the site for the two new institutions. The Bank's prescribed capital stands at $7.67 billion.
1946March 11IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Uruguay.
1946March 14IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador.
1946March 30IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Denmark.
1946May 6First meeting of the executive directors is held. Emilio Collado, executive director for the United States, is appointed temporary chairman.
1946June 18Eugene Meyer takes office as the first president of the Bank.
1946June 19Harold D. Smith appointed vice president.
1946June 20Calls for capital announced (2 percent portion plus 3 percent in national currencies).
1946June 25The World Bank formally begins operations. Bank's initial authorized capital is $12 billion.
1946July 12Chester A., McLain appointed general counsel.
1946August 13Morton M. Mendels appointed secretary.
1946August 28Leonard B. Rist appointed research director.
1946September 20Daniel Crena de Iongh appointed treasurer.
1946September 27First Annual Meeting of governors convenes in Washington, with thirty-eight member nations and a staff of seventy-two.
1946September 27Five percent of capital subscription called.
1946October 14Announcement made of loan applications from Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, and Poland.
1946October 14J. W. Beyen, Executive Director, speaks to the Annual Meeting of Savings Bank Association of NY, in Quebec.
1946October 21Announcement made of $500 million loan application from France.
1946October 30Announcement made of $250 million loan application from Iran.
1946October 31Charles C. Pineo appointed loan director.
1946December 4President Eugene Meyer submits his resignation to the Board of Executive Directors.
1946December 18Harold D. Smith submits resignation, to become effective once the new president takes over.
1946December 24IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Colombia.
1946December 30

IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Venezuela


1947International eventsBritain announces plans to return Palestine mandate to United Nations; the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposes the partition into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and an internationally administered zone (February).

U. S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall proposes the "Marshall Plan" for European recovery (June 5).

Dutch launch a "police action" against Indonesian Nationalist Party led by Achmad Sukarno (July); the brutality of the campaign precipitates debate in United Nations and a subsequent truce in December.

August 15, the last Viceroy Lord Mountbatten presides over the partition of India and the creation of independent states of India and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands die in the communal strife attending the partition. In October, armed conflict breaks out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, which is effectively partitioned between the two.

Greek civil war breaks out, precipitating the Truman Doctrine.

Cominform established at the Warsaw Conference.

Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg establish the Benelux customs union.

Montenegro Bay Conference on the Federation of British West Indies.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) signed in Geneva.


1947January 23Harold D. Smith dies. Emilio Collado selected Temporary Chairman of the Executive Directors to serve in the absence of a President and Vice President of the Bank.
1947February 28John J. McCloy named as president of Bank; takes office March 17.
1947February 28Robert L. Garner appointed vice president; takes office March 17.
1947March 11IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Turkey.
1947March 14Eugene R. Black becomes U.S. executive director.
1947March 17John J. McCloy and Robert L. Garner take office.
1947March 26E. Fleetwood Dunstan appointed Director of Marketing.
1947March 27IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Italy.
1947April 3Chauncey G. Parker appointed Director of Administration.
1947April 10IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Syria.
1947April 14IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Lebanon.
1947April 29Announcement made of applications from Mexico and the Netherlands for loans of $208,875,000 and $535,000,000 respectively.
1947May 9Executive directors approve the Bank's first loan, to Credit National of France in the amount of $250 million for reconstruction purposes, one of the largest loans in real terms made by the Bank in its first fifty years. First funding for France.
1947May 21Leonard Rist, Research Director, travels to London, Paris, Holland, Switzerland, and other European centers to discuss research problems with bankers and government officials.
1947May 24Daniel Crena de Iongh, Treasurer, travels to European capitals.
1947June 10Small fact-finding mission to Poland announced (the Bank's first mission.)
1947July 15IBRD enters the bond market for the first time with an offering of $250 million. E. F. Dunstan, director of marketing, announces that the offering is substantially oversubscribed, and the bonds immediately sell at a premium over the public offering price.
1947July 16Mission to Brazil departs (first mission to Brazil).
1947August 6IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Australia, becoming the 44th member of the Bank.
1947August 7First funding for Netherlands: Loan 0002 – Post-War Reconstruction Project. Bank lends $195 million to the Netherlands. It is the second loan made by the Bank.
1947August 11English language classes for Bank staff are announced.
1947August 22First funding for Denmark: Loan 0003 – Post War Reconstruction Project for $40 million. It is the third loan made by the Bank.
1947August 28Announcement of $250 million loan application from Italy.
1947August 28First funding for Luxembourg: Loan 0004 – Steel Mill and Railway Project, for $12 million. 
1947September 1World Bank's first Group Health Program becomes effective.
1947September 11Second annual governors meeting convenes in London.
1947October 13Bank staff are requested to comply with the US food conservation program designed to conserve food for export to food-deficient countries. One slice of bread per day should be saved, Tuesdays should be meatless, Thursdays should be egg-less and fowl-less.
1947October 24Charles C. Pineo resigns as loan director, and his duties are assumed by Mr. A. S. G. Hoar and Mr. Walter Hill.
1947November 15The United Nations General Assembly approves an agreement formalizing its relationship with the IBRD.
1947November 26W. A. B. Iliff appointed loan director; assumes duties on February 9, 1948.
1947December 5Mission to Chile announced (first mission to Chile).
1947December 11Director of Administration Chauncey Parker announces that the Community Chest drive realized $6,385.75 in donations from 321 staff members, almost doubling the quota requested.
1947December 31

Mission to Philippines announced (first mission to Philippines).


1948International eventsGandhi is assassinated in India (January); Count Folke Bernadotte, UN mediator in Palestine, is assassinated; Liberal leader Jorge Gaitan is assassinated in Bogota. Colombia, precipitating violent riots and the beginning of the Colombian "Violencia".

Soviet-backed coup establishes Communist government in Czechoslovakia.

Britain leaves Palestine and the State of Israel is proclaimed. Arab armies invade, precipitating the first Arab-Israeli war.

Cease-fire proclaimed in Kashmir.

Burma and Ceylon become independent.

Communist insurgencies occur in East Java (quickly suppressed by Sukarno) and Malaya (British forces lead the combat).

Berlin blockade and airlift intensify Cold War tensions.

Organization of American States established at the Pan-American Convention in Bogota.

Afrikaner-dominated National Party accedes to power in South Africa and begins the institution of apartheid laws.


1948January 7Announcement made of $500 million loan application from Yugoslavia.
1948January 14IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Finland, becoming the 45th member of the Bank.
1948March 10 Mission to Peru and Bolivia announced (first mission to each country).
1948March 25First funding for Chile: Loan 0005 – Power and Irrigation Project. Bank lends $13.5 million to Fomento for hydroelectric development and $2.5 million to Endesa of Chile (first development loans and first loans in Latin America.) 
1948April 1President McCloy travels to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, accompanied by Luis Machado, Chester McLain, and others. 
1948May 19Bank holds its second annual picnic and field day for Bank staff members and their families at Rock Creek Park.
1948May 21Vice President Garner leaves on the Queen Mary to Europe for six weeks, accompanied by A. S. G. Hoar, Leonard Rist, and others, to visit Brussels, The Hague, Amsterdam, Basle, Milan, Rome, Paris and London.
1948June 4Visit by Eugene Black (then U.S. executive director) to Netherlands East Indies announced.
1948July 16Memo to staff sent requesting staff members to dial their own phone calls instead of having their secretaries do it for them.
1948July 19Disbursement of Dutch loan proceeds completed.
1948July 19 - 23Advisory Council holds first annual meeting.
1948July 26Grant Forbes appointed to act as the Bank's liaison with the ECA and OEEC in Paris.
1948August 2Davidson Sommers is appointed Assistant General Counsel, sharing the same title with Ansel F. Luxford.
1948August 9Bank lends $12 million to four Dutch shipping companies (first post-reconstruction loans in Europe).
1948August 16Walter Hill appointed assistant in Paris office.
1948August 27IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Austria, becoming the 46th member of the Bank.
1948September 15The Philippines applies for a loan.
1948September 27Third Annual Governors meeting convenes in Washington.
1948November 10Visit by President McCloy to Central America announced. McCloy will be joined by Luis Machado, Chester A. McLain, and others.
1948November 22Memo sent to staff explaining first Home Leave policy.
1948December 14

Banks staff Christmas cocktail party held at Hall of Nations at the Washington Hotel.


1949International eventsGermany splits into the Federal German Republic of West Germany and the German Democratic Republic of East Germany.

Ireland leaves the British Commonwealth as an independent republic.

India becomes a republic, but remains within the British Commonwealth.

Dutch military action in Indonesia causes international outrage and leads to a conference at The Hague; Indonesia becomes independent in December.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization established.

Chinese Communists drive the Nationalists off the mainland to island of Taiwan; Mao Tse Tung proclaims the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Communist rule established in Hungary.


1949January 5The Bank announces that William L. Bennett is appointed to the Public Relations Staff.
1949January 7First funding for Mexico: Loan 0012 – Electric Power Development Project. This is the Bank's first sector loan.
1949January 10Missions to India, Turkey, Colombia, and Peru announced (first missions to India, Turkey and Colombia).
1949January 12Dollar Savings Bank buys $1million Dutch Shipping Notes (the first portfolio sale).
1949January 16Bank's first training course for positions on the permanent staff announced. Six men and one woman from Guatemala, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, Australia, and Canada are the first trainees.
1949January 27First funding for Brazil: Loan 0011 – Power and Telephone Project.
1949January 31General R. A. Wheeler appointed engineering adviser.
1949February 16Visit by Robert L. Garner and party to France, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, Algeria, and Morocco announced. The party flies to Paris from LaGuardia Field, and returns via the Queen Elizabeth.
1949March 1First funding for Belgium: Loan 0014 – Steel and Power Equipment Project.
1949March 25Bank mission to Egypt, led by F. Dorsey Stephens, to study general economic situation, with a view to financing economic development, and to study a proposed irrigation project (first survey mission to Egypt). 
1949March 28Norman M. Tucker is appointed Director of Marketing, replacing E. F. Dunstan, who resigned at the end of 1948.
1949May 3IBRD Articles of Agreement signed by Thailand, becoming the 47th member of the Bank.
1949May 16Mission to El Salvador, led by Federico A. Consolo and Albert Waterston, to study economic prospects and possible financing of hydro-electric development (first mission to El Salvador).
1949May 18President John J. McCloy resigns as president of the Bank to become US High Commissioner for Germany.
1949May 27Mission to Iraq, to investigate flood control projects in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys (first mission to Iraq).
1949June 2World Bank announces that it will cooperate with UN and other international agencies in expanded program of technical assistance activities. 
1949June 30Mission to Colombia (first comprehensive economic survey mission) announced. Mission is headed by Lauchlin Currie.
1949July 1Eugene R. Black becomes third president of the Bank.
1949July 26First funding for Finland: Loan 0016 - Electric Power and Industrial Project.
1949July 29Announcement of a Bank mission to Yugoslavia to study the country's economy. Mission party includes A. S. G. Hoar, S. R. Cope, and Martin M. Rosen, among others. (first Bank mission to Yugoslavia).
1949August 18First funding for India: Loan 0017 - Railway Project. Bank lends $34 million to India for railway reconstruction and development (first Asian loan).
1949August 19First funding for Colombia: Loan 0018 – Agricultural Machinery Project.
1949August 31Davidson Sommers succeeds Chester A. McLain as general counsel of Bank.
1949October 1First funding for Yugoslavia: Loan 0020 – Agriculture Timber Equipment Project.
1949October 17Walter Hill appointed special representative in Paris office.
1949October 17Bank lends $2.7 million to Yugoslavia and $2.3 million to Finland for timber-producing equipment (the Bank's first – and only – short-term loans; repaid September 1951).
1949December 2J. Burke Knapp appointed assistant director of Economic Department.
1949December 5Bank mission to the Philippines, Thailand, India and Pakistan. Mission is headed by Joseph Rucinski, and is expected to last about two months. First mission to Thailand and Pakistan. Trip to Pakistan is to discuss impending membership of Pakistan in the Bank.
1949December 14First funding for El Salvador: Loan 0022 – Rio Lempa Hydroelectric Project.

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