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This Week in World Bank HIstory: November 3 – 9

November 3, 2002—A presentation of historical events by the World Bank Group Archives, Information Solutions Group (ISG).

Signing of the Tarbela Development Fund, which financed the Tarbela Dam. Charles Lucet, Ambassador of France sits with Mr. Robert McNamara for the signatures.

November 6, 1946—Four months after the World Bank began operations, President Eugene Meyer addresses the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Political Science, Hotel Astor in New York. "Economic circumstances set the stage for political action. Indeed, they do more than this. They provide the inescapable conditions under which political relations may be shaped. There is a marriage partnership between politics and economics in which divorce is an impossibility. And because of this marriage, it is as true that there can be no enduring peace without a decent level of prosperity as that there can be no prosperity without peace….The Bank had its origin in a general recognition that the widespread devastation which the war had brought to Europe and the industrial backwardness or underdevelopment of certain countries menaced the economic health of the whole world." Meyer went on to describe the functions and operations of the Bank to an audience largely unfamiliar with the young institution.

November 8, 1948—President John J. McCloy addresses the Thirty-Fifth National Foreign Trade Convention at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. "Apart from the immediately pressing political difficulties which seem to bedevil mankind in almost every corner of the globe, there are no problems more urgently in need of solution nor any whose solution would be more conducive to both political and economic stability, than the problems connected with foreign trade and international finance which you have assembled here to consider."

November 6, 1951—The World Bank announces the appointment of Richard H. Demuth as Director of Technical Assistance and Liaison. Demuth joined the Bank in 1946 as Assistant to the President, and served under presidents Meyer, McCloy and Black. From 1961 to his retirement in 1973, Demuth served as Director of the Development Services Department and the International Relations Department, and as chairman of CGIAR.

Presidents Pages
The first World Bank President - Eugene Meyer
November 9, 1951—President Eugene Black arrives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for a two week visit. It was Black’s first visit to Brazil as President of the Bank.

November 4, 1953—IBRD reports a net income of $5.285 million for the three months ending September 30, 1953, compared with $4.888 million for the same period in 1952.

November 6, 1953—The World Bank announces that it will send an economic survey mission to Japan, headed by Russell H. Dorr of the Bank’s Department of Operations for Asia and the Middle East. Japan became a member of IBRD in August 1952.

November, 1955—International Bank Notes reports that "the following books have recently been added to the Staff Relations Library in Room 1212. They rent for 3 cents a day and can be reserved without charge. Confessions of Felix Krull, by Thomas Mann; Visions Rise and Change, by Pierre Van Paassen; Big Woods by William Faulkner; Inside Africa by John Gunther; A Southern Reader by Willard Thorp. The Pauses of the Eye by Ernest Kroll; and The Deer Park, by Norman Mailer."

November 3, 1955—IBRD reports a net income of $6.2 million for the three months ending September 30, 1955, compared with $5.4 million for the same period in 1954.

November 3, 1955—The World Bank announces that the Indus Waters agreement is extended to March 31, 1956. "In the context of the work on a comprehensive plan for the irrigation use of the waters of the Indus system of rivers, the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan, with the good offices of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have entered into a new ad hoc transitional agreement covering the winter cropping period. This agreement was signed in Washington, D.C., on October 31, 1955, by the leaders of the Indian and Pakistan delegations now in Washington."

November 4, 1957—The World Bank reports a net income of $10.1 million for the three months ending September 30, 1957, compared with $8.2 million for the same period in 1956.

November 6, 1957—President Black announces that he will visit Cairo at the request of the Egyptian government to discuss how the Bank could help resolve compensation issues related to the nationalization of the Universal Suez Canal Company.

Oral Histories
Dragoslav Avramovic, World Bank economist
November 7, 1957—The World Bank announces the formation of the International Panel, a group of experts tasked with studying the feasibility of a large power station in southern Italy. The Panel was to evaluate a joint Bank-Italian government study known as Energia Nucleare Sud Italia (ENSI). The Chairman of the Panel was Dr. W.B. Lewis, Vice President of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The Panel also included: Dr. Manson Benedict, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.); Professor Francesco Giordani, President of the National Research Council of Italy; Dr. J.M. Hill, Deputy Director (Technical Policy) of the Industrial Group of the Atomic Energy Authority at Risley, England; Dr. Jules Horowitz, Chef de Service de Physique Mathematique, at the Nuclear Studies Center at Saclay, France; Mr. Arthur Griswold, Assistant to the President of Detroit Edison Company, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.; and Mr. R.E. Newell, Managing Director of the Wilton Works at Middlesbrough, of Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd.

November 4, 1958—Johns Hopkins Press publishes Bank staff member Dragoslav Avramovic’s Debt Service Capacity and Postwar Growth in International Indebtedness. Avramovic joined the Bank in 1953 as a member of the Economic Staff, and later became Director of Special Economic Studies in the Office of the President, Special Advisor on International Commodity Stabilization UNCTAD Geneva (1974-75), and Senior Advisor in the Office of Vice President Development Policy. While at the World Bank Avramovic produced numerous studies on commodity prices, international trade and debt, and served on the Bank-Fund Commodity Price Stabilization Study in 1967.

November 6, 1959—President Black visits Colombia and Peru, accompanied by Orvis Schmidt and others.

Presidents Pages
The second World Bank President – John J. McCloy
November, 1961International Bank Notes reports, "The 1961 Bowling Season entered its second Third, with some surprising results. Printers, which finished third from the bottom last season, has been striving successfully to keep at the top. The Administration team was vying for first place and only after a very exciting game against Printers did it drop back into second place. Technical Assistance and Planning are to be congratulated on their improved playing this year – if enthusiasm has anything to do with it, John Adler is a good addition to their team! Doris Eliason of Information took all the women’s honors from High Average to High Flat…The only male bowler with a score near this is Bill Matthews who is also the holder of the men’s High Average and High Set. For two weeks running, Reno Giammetta has won a dollar."

November 6, 1961—Indonesia withdraws from membership in IFC, reducing the total membership in IFC to 60.

November 7, 1961—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Ecuador, which becomes the 55th member of IDA.

November 5, 1962—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Burma, which becomes the 68th member of IDA.

November 6, 1962—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Tanganyika, which becomes the 69th member of IDA.

President Eugene Black rides a camel while on mission to Egypt
November 7, 1962—The World Bank announces that Sir Leslie Melville, the distinguished Australian economist, would join the staff of the Development Advisory Service in 1963.

November 4, 1963—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Gabon, which becomes the 88th member of IDA.

November 6, 1963—The World Bank announces its first funding for Portugal—Loan 0362—Hydroelectric do Douro Project. The $7.5 million loan financed a 210,000 kilowatt hydroelectric power plant on the Douro River in northeastern Portugal.

November 7, 1963—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by Chad, which becomes the 89th member of IDA.

November 8, 1963—IDA Articles of Agreement are signed by the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), which becomes the 90th member of IDA.

November 8, 1966—The India Aid Consortium meets in Paris to hear a preliminary report on India’s Five-Year Plan and to review India’s aid requirements.

November 4, 1968— President Ayub Khan of Pakistan conducts groundbreaking ceremonies for the Tarbela Dam in West Pakistan. The Tarbela Dam was the largest earth and rock-fill dam ever constructed, costing over $900 million. The significance of the dam was more than its size and cost; it was the centerpiece of an integrated program designed to utilize West Pakistan’s water and power resources and signified the end of Pakistan and India’s long-running dispute over water supplies. Tarbela Dam was the largest civil engineering work of the complex and interrelated system of reservoirs, barrages and link canals which formed the basis of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.

View of the Portugal Douro River Hydroelectric Project (1964 photo)
November 4, 1968—Johns Hopkins Press publishes The Water and Power Resources in West Pakistan The three volume Bank report was the result of a study headed by Dr. Pieter Lieftinck, an Executive Director of the Bank, and was conducted between 1963 and 1967. The release of the publication was timed to coincide with the groundbreaking ceremonies at Tarbela Dam (see above.

November 5, 1970—Luis Escobar is appointed Special Representative for Inter-American Organizations to improve liaison with inter-American regional organizations.

November 8, 1972—The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) meets in Washington and pledges $24 million in support for research programs in 1973.

November 3, 1974—The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) meets in Washington and pledges $45 million in support for research programs in 1975.

November 6, 1975—IFC Articles of Agreement are signed by Rwanda, which becomes the 104th member of IFC.

November 6, 1975—The World Bank approves a flood recovery project in Romania to assist with reconstruction following floods in July 1975.

World Bank bowlers - 1961
November 7, 1975—The World Bank publishes Rural Electrification. The sector policy paper discussed several main topics: the prospects for successful investment in rural electrification; approaches towards investment as regards economic justification, identification and preparation; finance, technical problems, and institutional problems; and implications for Bank policy and procedures. The report indicated that there was scope for successful investments in rural electrification, provided they were properly selected and prepared. It also concluded that future Bank work in this field would require no serious revisions of policy and procedures.

November 7, 1978—The Board of Executive Directors review environmental policies and practices of the bank, endorsing a Bank policy that seeks to control the environmental impact of its projects.

November 7, 1978—The first meeting of the Consultative Group for Uganda is convened by the World Bank.

November 4, 1987—The World Bank establishes a resident mission in Ankara, Turkey, headed by Mr. James Chaffey.

November 8, 1988—Report of the Support Staff Action Group is issued.

November 7, 1991—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Sudan, which becomes the 72nd member of MIGA.

November 3, 1992—The report of the Task Force on Portfolio Management (the "Wapenhans Report") is transmitted to the Executive Directors. The impact of the report was enormous, with both internal and external repercussions. The report was a major factor in the Bank’s impetus to re-double its efforts toward effective implementation of lending projects.

Construction of the dam on the Douro River in Portugal (1961 photo)
November 4, 1992—The Information, Technology and Facilities Department (ITF) announces the plans for Enterprise Network (EN), a common computer work-space to all staff members for the first time.

November 4, 1993—MIGA Articles of Agreement are signed by Uzbekistan, which becomes the 116th member of MIGA.

November 5, 1993—The World Bank announces the first funding for Cambodia—Credit 2550—Emergency Rehabilitation Project. The project provided critical imports for specific rehabilitation activities in the transport, agriculture, health, education, power and water supply sectors, in addition to commodities essential for the Cambodian economy. Included were imports for agricultural equipment, basic needs, commodities, economic recovery, energy, nongovernmental organizations, sectoral planning, and transport.

November 7, 1996—The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) Trust Fund is formally established with an initial funding of $500 million from the World Bank, to be joined with funds from other donors. The trust fund was to be administered by the IDA and in support of HIPC, the Bank created the HIPC Implementation Unit.

November 3, 1997—The World Bank releases Confronting AIDS: Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic, a report identifying priorities for responding to the pandemic.

November 4, 1997—Donor representatives from 14 countries and 12 international development agencies meet for the Bangladesh Aid Group Meeting, held in Dhaka (instead of its normal venue of Paris) to allow greater participation from government agencies.

November 4, 1997—The World Bank and the J. Paul Getty Trust agree to a partnership to sustain cultural heritage in developing countries. The agreement pledged the two organizations to identify projects where they can collaborate; to jointly undertake pilot projects in cultural heritage; to develop a research and evaluation agenda to assess the performance of these projects; to develop the Bank’s knowledge of current international standards of conservation; and to mobilize resources for these objectives.

Tarbela Dam in Pakistan
November 3, 1998—The World Bank pledges short term and long term assistance to Central American victims of Hurricane Mitch. "Once the emergency needs of rescue, shelter and food are met, the most important priority will be restoring the ability of the people to resume their productive lives in the shortest time possible. And the World Bank stands ready to help and has staff on the ground making arrangements with each of the governments," said Country Director Donna Dowsett-Coirolo.

November 8, 1998—Bank President Wolfensohn begins a visit to Japan to discuss the strengthening of the partnership between Japan and the World Bank. The visit lasted five days and was Mr. Wolfensohn’s fourth annual visit to Japan. He met with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, and other representatives of the Japanese government.

November 5, 1999—Mr. Ko-Yung Tung is appointed Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank. Mr. Tung succeeded Ibrahim Shihata who retired from the Bank in 2000, Mr. Tung was formally a partner of O’Melveny and Myers and was a member of the firm’s Managing Committee.

November 9, 1999—Michel Camdessus announces his retirement as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. President Wolfensohn said "Throughout his tenure at the Fund, Michel has been a strong advocate of economic development and financial stability, ably steering the Fund through a series of tests in recent years…I would personally like to thank him for the work we embarked on together in launching the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative three years ago; for our joint initiative on fighting corruption, and more recently for our partnership in bringing the Fund and the Bank closer together to fight global poverty on a common front."

November 6, 2000—Bank President Wolfensohn begins a ten day trip to India.

November 7, 2001—Staff in the Warsaw Country Office are exposed to an envelope that contained an "unknown powdery substance" which was feared to be an anthrax contamination. Health Services Department and GSD Security at Headquarters initiated actions according to prescribed guidelines to protect affected staff. Upon investigation, no health risk was found.

November 8, 2001—Authorities evacuate the Main Complex building in Washington after an anonymous bomb threat is reported. Following standard procedure, the D.C. Police conducted a thorough sweep of the building; nothing suspicious was found. Staff returned to work after several hours of evacuation.

November 8, 2001—European Commission President Romano Prodi and President Wolfensohn sign a Trust Funds and Cofinancing Framework Agreement. The agreement enhanced the collaboration between the two institutions, allowing each to coordinate and leverage their financial resources and provide more efficient financing for developing countries.

President Wolfensohn arrives in India, November, 2000
November 8, 2001—The World Bank and the IMF issue a joint statement on the importance of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings in Doha, Qatar. "We pledge that the IMF and the World Bank, in their respective areas of competence, will continue to support the efforts of developing countries, particularly the poorest, to integrate more deeply into the global economy. In particular, our institutions are devoting increased attention to a large agenda, complementary to the work of the WTO, which includes strengthening countries' capacity to negotiate and implement agreements, improve the investment climate, and reduce internal impediments to trade. Our aims are to support development of a trading system that works for the benefit of all, and to help the poorest countries adopt development strategies that use trade as a mainspring for growth."

November 9, 2001—The World Bank issues a statement by President Wolfensohn on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) talks in Doha, Qatar. "Never before have growth and poverty reduction had such tremendous implications for the stability and peace of our world as they do today. The tragic events of September 11 and the fallout since have made it clear that we live in a highly interconnected world, and that problems in one region can destabilize the welfare and security of all. Trade is not only in my view a mainspring of development, but ultimately of international peace and solidarity as well."

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

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