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This Week in World Bank History: November 17 – 23

November 17, 2002 – A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

William F. Howell, Administration Department

November 22, 1948—Chauncey G. Parker, Director of Administration, announces the first Home Leave policy via Administrative Circular.

November 22, 1949— "Since the volume of Bank correspondence with Members of the United States Congress has increased during the past several months, it has been decided that all letters to Members of Congress shall be routed for clearance and initialing to Mr. Ansel F. Luxford, Associate General Counsel. This will assure compliance with Bank policy and consistent treatment of inquiries involving the same subject. Whenever possible, telephone and personal communications with Members of Congress will also be cleared with Mr. Luxford in advance. All letters from Members of United States Congress should be answered or acknowledged within 48 hours from the time of receipt by the Bank. Staff members for whose signature such mail is prepared will be responsible for seeing that it is sent to Mr. Luxford for his review before it is signed and dated for dispatch. [signed] William F. Howell, Assistant Director of Administration." Administrative Circular.

November 20, 1950—Harold N. Graves, Jr. is appointed Director of the Public Relations Department of the Bank. He replaced William L. Ayers, who suffered a heart attack while en route to the Annual Meetings in Paris. Graves joined the Bank in July 1950, and served as the Associate Director of the Development Services Department and the International Relations Department, and then as Executive Director of CGIAR (1973-1974), where he remained as an advisor until his retirement in 1975. (Graves died on November 13, 2002.)

Philippines – Electric transmission lines constructed as part of the Binga Power Project.
November 20, 1951—"We wish you to take note of a change of date for the Christmas Cocktail Party. Make your plans now for Friday, December 21, 1951. The party will be held at the Main Ballroom of the Mayflower Hotel, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Graham Jackson, the versatile musician from Atlanta, will entertain again. Mr. Black hopes that this will be the most successful and best-attended Christmas Party held by the Bank. He invites each staff member to bring a guest and has announced that this year’s party will be ‘on the house’. [signed] William F. Howell, Acting Director of Administration." Administrative Circular.

November 19, 1952—"Effective immediately the Procurement Division of the Department of Technical Operations is dissolved and its functions and personnel are transferred to the Engineering Division of that Department. [signed] William F. Howell, Director of Administration." Administrative Circular.

November 22, 1955—"Radio Broadcasts. The series of radio broadcasts originally scheduled to be presented over WEAM (1390kc) during this week at 10 p.m. will be broadcast instead at 9:55 p.m. over the same station beginning Tuesday November 22. Sunday’s program will be broadcast as 3:30 p.m. instead of 3: 15 p.m. as previously indicated. These changes were made at the last minute by the radio station, for their own program reasons. [signed] William F. Howell, Director of Administration." Administrative Circular.

Philippines – Hydroelectric dam under construction
November 19, 1956—The Bank reveals its plans to increase its activities in developing countries in connection with development banks and corporations. The Technical Assistance and Liaison Staff was assigned to coordinate functions relating to the study of existing development banks, the establishment of new institutions, and the assessment of their operating records.

November 21, 1956—President Eugene Black announces the completion of the Bank’s first participation in the United Givers Fund Campaign. Bank staff contributed $12, 678, which represented a 17% increase over the previous year’s combined Community Chest and Red Cross campaigns.

November 22, 1957—The Bank signs its first loan with the Philippines: Loan 0183 – Binga Power Project. The $21 million project called for the construction of a dam and reservoir on the Agno River, an underground power house with an installed capacity of 100.000 kilowatts, and transmission lines to Manila (about 120 miles to the south) and to various provincial areas.

November 20, 1962—A study is undertaken of telecommunications needs in Central America and Panama. The UN Special Fund financed the study, and the Bank served as executing agency.

November 21, 1962—The United Nations Special Fund, the Government of Brazil, and the Bank agree to prepare a long-range plan for the development of the six main river systems of the State of Minas Gerais for electric power generation, flood control, and irrigation. The World Bank served as executing agency, and disbursed the funds made available through the Special Fund.

November 22, 1962—The Bank announces that Sir Penderel Moon, of the Bank’s Development Advisory Service, has been appointed Chief Adviser to the National Economic Development Board of Thailand. He replaced Mr. John B. Shearer who was killed in a helicopter crash in Thailand in August 1962.

Harold N. Graves appointed Director of Public Relations Department, 1950.
November 23, 1964—Afghanistan signs for its first development assistance with the Bank: Credit 0068 Education Project. The project was to increase Afghanistan's capacity to train staff for teacher-training schools and staff for mechanical schools, as well as agricultural and industrial technicians and primary school teachers. The schools included in the project were in Kabul, Kunduz, and Herat and included an academy for training teacher educators; a technical teacher training school; an agricultural school; and an electro-mechanical school.

November 20, 1967—President George Woods announces the death of 55-year old Orvis A. Schmidt. Schmidt joined the Bank as Chief of the Western European Division of the Loan Department in November 1947. He served as Assistant to the Director of the Department between 1949 and 1951 and was promoted to Chief of the Latin American Division of the same Department in 1951. Between 1951 and 1956 Mr. Schmidt served as Assistant Director of the Western Hemisphere Department. In 1956 he was promoted to Director of that department and occupied this position until May 1964 when he became Special Adviser to the President.

November 19, 1968—President Robert S. McNamara announces the appointment of Eugene H. Rotberg as treasurer of the World Bank Group. "Rotberg was a career lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and received a phone call from McNamara: ‘What do you know about international finance?’ McNamara asked. ‘Nothing’ said the lawyer. ‘Have you ever studied accounting?’ ‘No’, the lawyer said, he had studied English literature, history, and trial law. McNamara asked what the man thought of investment bankers; he replied that he was trying to indict most of them under the Sherman Antitrust Act. What do you think about the problems of poverty? The lawyer said poverty was one of those things you could spend your life at and still not succeed. Then McNamara asked him if he would accept the post of treasurer of the World Bank." (Deborah Shapley. Promise and Power. The Life and Times of Robert McNamara, 1993.) Rotberg’s expertise in the bond market greatly expanded the Bank’s funding, which allowed McNamara to double the overall lending program of the Bank within his first five year term as President (1968-1973). Rotberg was 39 years old when he was appointed Treasurer. He remained Treasurer and Vice President and Treasurer until his retirement in 1987.

Signing of the first credit to Afghanistan. President George Woods (right) and Ambassador His Excellency Dr. Abdul Majid sign the credit agreement, 1964
November 18, 1970—President McNamara sends a telegram to President Yahya Khan of Pakistan pledging World Bank assistance to help areas of East Pakistan devastated by a recent cyclone. "The Executive Directors of the Bank and IDA met in special session today and unanimously supported my proposal that the World Bank Group of Institutions should make a special effort to help your country in the reconstruction of the areas of East Pakistan devastated by the recent cyclone. I have instructed my staff in Washington and in the field to address themselves immediately to this problem and together with East Pakistan officials to draw up financial requirements for a special reconstruction project to enable Bank Group to take the earliest possible action in support of your Government’s own efforts." World Bank Press Release.

November 19, 1970World Bank Staff Occasional Paper no. 11 is published: Risk Analysis in Project Appraisal, by Louis Y. Pouliquen. The paper showed how risk appraisal techniques could be used in appraising projects, and used three case studies to illustrate the point. The case studies included the construction of the Tanzam Highway, the improvement of the Port of Mogadiscio, and the construction of a section of the Great East Road from Zambia to Malawi.

November 18, 1971—The Bank issues Water Supply and Sewerage, a sector study. The study concluded that problems in providing adequate water supply and sewerage were not inevitable, but that improvements were often hindered by the negative bias displayed by many governments toward the development of this public utility. The study concluded that this sector warranted greater investment by the Bank than its previous limited involvement.

Afghanistan – the first development assistance was for an education project
November 22, 1971—"All staff members of the Bank and Corporation who must work after the close of the official working day are authorized to bring their cars after 6:30 p.m. to the Bank’s basement garage in the 18th Street building….Women staff members in secretarial and clerical positions who have been authorized to work overtime and who do not have private transportation may take cabs to their homes and may be reimbursed for the fare if the period of overtime extends beyond 7 p.m. during the months of the year when Standard Time applies, and up to the time of sunset when Daylight Savings Time is in effect. It should be understood that, in order to qualify for reimbursement of cab fares, the staff members concerned must work continuously through from 5:30 p.m. to at least 7:00 p.m. or the time of sunset, as the case may be, with no break for dinner…[signed R.A. Clarke, Director Personnel Department." Administrative Circular.

November 21, 1972—President McNamara announces the retirement of Mr. Sidney R. Cope, Deputy Chairman of the Loan Committee, effective December 11, 1972. Cope joined the Bank in 1947, serving as Assistant Director of Operations for Europe, Africa, and Australasia from September 1952. He became Director of Operations, Europe, Africa, and Australasia in June 1955. He remained Director of the Europe Department, simultaneously serving on the Loan Committee. He retired from the Bank in May 1972, but agreed to stay at his position in the Loan Committee to assist the Bank with the 1972 Reorganization.

November 17, 1977—The Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) meets in Paris, and pledges $87 million in financial support for agricultural research. This was the first time that CGIAR met outside of Washington.

November 19, 1978—Papua New Guinea becomes the 71st member of ICSID.

November 20, 1978—IBRD and IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Cape Verde, which becomes the 134th member of the Bank and the 121st member of IDA.

Orvis Schmidt (1965 photo)
November 22, 1978—The Bank approves a $2.5 million loan to help finance the cost of a comparative evaluation study of enhanced oil recovery techniques in Turkey. The engineering project enabled the government to determine the most viable methods of enhanced oil recovery in the Bati Raman oil field.

November 20, 1986—President Barber Conable announces that the Executive Directors approved a general salary increase, effective May 1, 1986. The increases were for regular and fixed-term staff at headquarters: 1.4% for levels 11 to 17, and 2.9% for levels 18 and above.

November 18, 1987—The Bank publishes The Uruguay Round – A Handbook on the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. The book gave background information and guidance for developing countries participating in the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations. The idea of a handbook originated when President Conable urged developing countries to participate in the new round of trade negotiations and promised that the Bank would help these countries prepare for the substantive discussions. This was the first handbook of this kind published by the Bank.

November 19, 1987—A seminar of experts on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is sponsored by the Bank in Washington. IPM is a modernized version of traditional pest control methods employed by farmers before pesticides were invented. IPM measures included planting pest-resistant crop varieties, introducing crop rotation, improving crop hygiene, protecting insects that are natural enemies of pests, and a carefully managed use of pesticides. The seminar advocated less costly and more environmentally sound methods of pest control.

Eugene Rotberg, appointed Vice President and Treasurer, November 1968
November 20, 1987—President Conable announces that Vice President Martijn Paijmans will retire from the Bank at the end of December, 1987, after 25 years of service. Paijmans joined the Bank in 1962 as an economist in the Africa Department. He became Division Chief of the West Africa Department and then became Deputy Director of the Personnel Department in 1971. He remained with the Personnel Department until 1974 when he moved to the Europe, Middle East and North Africa Country Program Department. In 1979 Mr. Paijmans was appointed Vice President of the Administration Complex, where he remained until his retirement. Paijmans’ frequent memos to staff on any and all subjects became known as "snowflakes" because of their ubiquity.

November 23, 1987—The Bank announces the establishment of a Resident Mission in Ankara, Turkey. The first Resident Representative was James Chaffey.

November 22, 1989—World Bank issues Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth, a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the Sub-Saharan world. The report analyzed development experiences since independence and spelled out the main elements of a long-term development strategy. The strategy called for a doubling of expenditure on human resource development in the areas of food security, primary education, and health care.

November 19, 1991—Executive Directors authorize the Bank to negotiate a partial guarantee for a $360 million commercially syndicated loan to support the Hub Power Project in Pakistan. Total project cost was expected to be $1.5 billion, and was cosponsored by the Export-Import Bank of Japan. Among other things, the Hub project was notable for demonstrating the viability of private finance for a major infrastructure project in a developing country.

November 18, 1993—Headquarters Construction Department, headed by Enrico Henriod, is created to oversee the construction of the new Bank Main Complex building.

Sidney Raymond Cope retired from the Bank in 1972
November 19, 1993—President Preston sends a memo to all staff concerning cost overruns in Main Complex Rehabilitation Project. The project was now estimated to be $100 million over budget. Cost overruns were due to unrealistically low budget estimates and lack of attention by senior management, but not to financial impropriety. A set of actions to correct the situation was described, including the creation of the Headquarters Construction Department to oversee the completion of the project.

November 18, 1994—Argentina becomes the 115th member of ICSID.

November 23, 1994—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Mozambique, which becomes the 129th member of MIGA.

November 18, 1995—The Bahamas becomes the 123rd member of ICSID.

November 22, 1995—Following the peace agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia on November 21, 1995, the World Bank and the European Commission (EC) announce that they will organize a donor meeting to mobilize resources for post-war reconstruction and economic normalization. The meeting was held in Brussels on December 20-21, 1995. An appraisal mission conducted by the Bank, the IMF, the EBRD and the EC had previously estimated that total priority reconstruction needs would be between $4-5 billion for Bosnia.

November 21, 1996—The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Bank sign an agreement to cooperate in all ways possible to promote sustainable human development and increase tolerance and understanding between individuals and cultures. The agreement was signed by World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

November 21, 1996—The Bank approves a $102 million loan to Croatia to help finance an Emergency Transport and Mine Clearing Project. The project was designed to improve the efficiency of regional transport networks, and to clear landmines in areas of high economic priority for reconstruction.

November 17, 2000—The Bank approves a comprehensive debt reduction package for Guyana under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. This debt relief package was estimated to save Guyana about US$590 million in debt service over the coming years, and was equal to US$329 million in net present value (NPV) terms. This amount was in addition to relief previously committed under the original HIPC Initiative.

President Lewis Preston
November 21, 2000—The Bank, in association with climate research institutes, releases a draft report entitled Cities, Seas and Storms: Managing Change in Pacific Island Economies. The report warned of potential losses of coastal infrastructure and land, more intense cyclones and droughts, failure of subsistence crops and coastal fisheries, losses in coral reefs, and the spread of malaria and dengue fever. The report concluded that global climate change could have a disastrous effect on Pacific island nations, and should thus be considered a major development challenge.

November 23, 2000—The management of the East Timor Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project is transferred to an East Timorese management team. The project was financed by the Bank-backed Trust Fund for East Timor, and was the first project of this fund to be transferred to a fully national project management team.

November 20, 2001—World Bank President Wolfensohn meets with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines in Manila. President Wolfensohn offered full support to the government’s efforts to reduce poverty and reform the economy, and noted that the most important issues were for the government to strengthen public expenditures and financial management, to increase public revenues, and to ensure fiscal sustainability.

Without Records there is no History. Courtesy of ISG’s World Bank Group Archives.




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