Return to Fonds Level - Records of the Office of the President
|WB IBRD/IDA 03-04|
|Records of President Robert S. McNamara|
|1968 - 1981(predominant)|
Extent and medium
42.30 linear feet, 95 photographs
2.2 Administrative history See WB IBRD/IDA A0002, Office of the President
2.4 Source The history of the McNamara Presidential records is complicated. Some series were transferred to the Archives from the Office of the President. Other series contain records that President McNamara took with him when his tenure at the Bank was completed, later transferred to the Joint Bank-Fund Library where Blanche Moore, his former secretary, worked, and still later were transferred from the Library to the Archives. Finally, some series were transferred to the Archives from other parts of the Bank, particularly from offices where the President’s former staff members worked after leaving the President’s office. The source of each series or, in certain cases, file units is described in the archival description for that series.
The records are incomplete. President McNamara retained certain items when he transferred the bulk of the records in his custody to the Joint Library. He declined to turn over what Ms. Moore described as “Tapes Bank-related,” and he instructed her to remove the “dictated impressions of the trips” from his file on contacts with member countries (WB IBRD/IDA 03-04-05 Contacts – Member Countries files). Ms. Moore later wrote that the items she removed from the Contacts file were “personal notes written by Mr. McNamara for his own reference and were not distributed to staff members; thus, they are not official records of the World Bank and Mr. McNamara has retained them.”
3.1 Scope and content Robert S. McNamara became World Bank President on April 1, 1968 and served two full five-year terms and a partial term, leaving on June 30, 1981. The records are a very full account of his long and active presidency. Every part of the world is reflected in these records, as well as virtually every economic issue of the 1970s. Any student of the Bank during the McNamara years will find reading these records an essential first step for research.
When McNamara came to the World Bank, it was lending about $1 billion per year. When he left in 1981, Bank lending stood at about $12 billion a year. In addition to the dramatic increase in volume of loans, McNamara refocused Bank lending beyond infrastructure and projects to basic human needs and poverty reduction. McNamara's Annual Meetings speech in Nairobi in 1973, when he first used the term "absolute poverty" was a turning point in his presidency. He identified the promoting of rural development and alleviating the conditions of life to the poor as crucial development goals. He also identified population growth as a major issue for the Bank to address and the Bank began proving support for family planning programs. The Bank also began providing loans for pollution control.
McNamara proposed forming the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which makes major contributions to increasing global food production and reducing hunger. He mobilized Bank resources to launch an international onchocerciasis (river blindness) control program. He initiated two international commissions to examine world development: the Pearson Commission in 1968 and the Brandt Commission in 1977. The Joint Ministerial Committee of the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the Transfer of Real Resources to Developing Countries, usually known as the Development Committee, was established in 1974 to support international cooperation in development activities and coordination of international efforts in finance development, and to provide advice to the Board of Governors of the Bank and the Fund on all aspects of the transfer of real resources to developing countries. And in 1978 the World Development Report, the Bank’s flagship publication on development issues, was launched.
Records of all these activities can be found in the records of the McNamara presidency. An unusually large number of records are annotated by McNamara, providing unparalleled insight into the president's thinking and decision-making processes.
The records also include files from assistants to the President, notably two series from economic adviser Irving S. Friedman that include his correspondence with both President George Woods and President McNamara.
3.3 Accruals Accruals are not expected
3.4 Arrangement Arranged in 22 series.
Board [of Executive Directors] Actions files
Executive Committee minutes (available online)
President’s Council minutes
Personnel Management Committee file
Finance Committee file
Contacts – Member Countries files (partially available online)
Subject files (partially available online)
Memoranda for the record (partially available online)
General correspondence (available online)
Chronological file (outgoing) (partially available online)
IPA chronological file (outgoing) (partially available online)
Chronological file (personal)
Statements, speeches, and interviews (partially available online)
Conferences, lectures, and addresses (available online)
Daily schedules (available online)
Travel briefings of staff assistants to the President
Presidential chronological files of economic adviser Irving S. Friedman
Records of economic adviser Irving S. Friedman
Correspondence of economic adviser Hollis Chenery (available online)
World Bank documents on management and operations
4.1 Conditions of access Records are subject to the World Bank Policy on the Disclosure of Information.
4.2 Conditions of reproduction Records are subject to the Copyright Policy of the World Bank Group.
4.3 Language/scripts English
4.5 Finding aids Two types of finding aids exist. For some series, the Archives staff has created lists of files; these are attached to the series descriptions. When some of the records were in the custody of the Joint Library, Blanche Moore made extensive lists, often at an item level, and filed them at the beginning of the series or at the beginning of a file. These finding aids were accessioned with the records when they were transferred to the Archives from the Joint Library and form part of the series. They are also described in the series descriptions.
5.3 Related units of description WB IBRD/IDA 23, Records of the Office of External Relations (for speeches, photographs, and press interviews); WB IBRD/IDA 54, Joint Bank-Fund Library collection on Presidents of the World Bank; WB IBRD/IDA 80, Personal papers of William Clark; WB IBRD/IDA 43-07, Records of Individual Staff Members, Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski files (for the Nairobi speech); WB IBRD/IDA 62, Records of the Office of the Historian, Brookings Institution oral interviews, McNamara interviews.
7.2 Rules or conventions Internal World Bank Group Archives rules
7.3 Date(s) of descriptions 2006-07-21
Return to Fonds level - Records of the Office of the President