The Bretton Woods Conference (1-22 July 1944) is on a par with the events of the Second World War, as the Yalta meeting of the heads of the anti-Hitler coalition (4 – 11 February 1945) and the Potsdam Conference (July 17 - 2 August 1945 g.). In most of the studies on Bretton Woods, the issue of the fate of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which was hotly debated there, still remains behind the scenes.
History the occurrence of BIS
At the Paris Peace Conference 1919, it was decided that the defeated Germany would pay reparations to the winners. The amounts of reparations were serious, and the timing of payments stretched to the end of the twentieth century. Initially, the Versailles Peace Treaty established the amount of reparations in the amount of 269 billion evils. stamps (equivalent to 100 thousand tons of gold). Later, the Reparation Commission revised the amount, reducing the amount of reparations to 132 billion evils. stamps. In the 20 of the last century, Germany paid reparations, but in volumes much smaller than envisaged by the decisions of the Paris Conference.
In the year 1924, on the initiative of the American Vice-President Dawes, a plan was adopted, according to which, on the one hand, the burden of reparations for Germany was softened, and, on the other hand, Anglo-American capital began to contribute to the economic development of Germany. It was the Dawes Plan. In 1924-1929 Germany, according to the Dawes plan, received US loans in the amount of 2,5 billion dollars, from the UK - in the amount of 1,5 billion dollars. In 1929, this plan was replaced by Jung's plan (on behalf of the American financier), which provided for more active introduction of American capital into the economy of Germany. Jung's plan, in addition, provided for the creation of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which, according to official statements, was to ensure the transfer of reparation payments from Germany to the winning countries. BIS was born in 1930 year. The headquarters of the bank is Basel.
However, already 15 July 1931. Germany unilaterally announced the termination of all payments for reparations, citing the outbreak of the economic crisis. The Anglo-Saxons, surprisingly, reacted to the statement of Germany "with understanding." It would seem that the BIS could be closed, but the bank continued to work. Only now the financial flows through the BIS have gone in the opposite direction. We are talking about American and British capital (loans and direct investments), which were sent to the German economy. Moreover, it was clear that these capitals are intended not only and not so much to reanimate the German economy in order to ensure reparation payments. France, as the main beneficiary of reparation payments, still received crumbs. The Anglo-Saxon capitals have now earned the remilitarization of Germany, which violated the terms of the Versailles Peace Treaty. Between the two world wars, the BIS became part of the global Anglo-Saxon project to restore Germany’s military and economic potential and prepare it for war against the USSR.
The BIS has become an outpost of American capital in Europe. Although it was created as a commercial public bank, its immunity from government intervention and even taxation was guaranteed by an international agreement signed in 1930 in The Hague. The main initiators of the creation of the BIS were the financial oligarchs of world caliber: the bankers of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from Morgan’s inner circle, Bank of England director Norman Montague, German financiers Gelmar Schacht (then President of the Reichsbank, and later the Nazi Minister of Economics, who had powerful connections on Wall -street), Walter Funk (replaced by G. Mine as president of the Reichsbank), Emile Pull.
The central banks of England, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, as well as a number of private banks became the founders of the BIS. The United States Charter of the BIS was signed by the private banks of the First National Bank of New York, the DP Morgan and Company and the First National Bank of Chicago. They all belonged to the empire of Morgan. Japan was also represented in the BIS by private banks. In 1931-1932 19 central European banks joined the BIS.
The first president of the BIS was the Rockefeller banker Gates McGarr. In 1933, he left this post. He was replaced by an American, Leon Frazer, a protégé of the Morgans. During the Second World War, the president of the bank was again the American Thomas Harrington McKitrick.
BIS in the service of the Third Reich
Prior to the entry of America into World War II, the BIS served as the channel through which American capital entered the economy of the Third Reich. During the war years, the BIS carried out the calculations of Germany for the supply of goods from different countries, including those for which Germany was a military adversary. After Pearl Harbor throughout all the war years, the BIS was mentioned in all official directories as a correspondent bank of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The BIS was the place where the gold stolen by Germany in various European countries flowed.
In March, 1938, after the Nazis entered Vienna, most of the Austrian gold they had stolen moved to the BIS safes. The same fate befell the gold reserves of the Czech National Bank - 48 million.
After the outbreak of World War II, gold flowed into the BIS, which the Third Reich “mined” in concentration camps and as a result of various raids to rob civilians in the occupied countries (jewelry, gold crowns, cigarette cases, dishes, etc.). This is the so-called Nazi gold. It was usually processed into standard ingots and sent to the BIS, other Swiss banks or outside Europe. BIS on the instructions of the Reichsbank could move gold bullion in the vaults of different countries, as well as sell the metal. After the US entered the war in the BIS, the Nazis deposited 378 million in gold. During the war, the BIS was under the control of the Nazis and the American president was Thomas Harrington McKitrick. While soldiers and officers of the opposing armies died on the fronts, four meetings of the BIS leadership were held in Basel with the participation of bankers from Germany, Japan, Italy, Belgium, England and the United States. Here the mutual understanding of the representatives of the opposing countries reigned.
It is worth saying a few words about the history of the capture of the Third Reich with the help of the BIS of Czech gold. In March, 1939, the Nazi troops captured Prague. Board members of the Czech National Bank were arrested. Nazis threatening weapons, demanded to issue national gold reserves. Frightened members of the bank reported that the gold had already been transferred to the BIS. As it turned out later, the gold from Basel then migrated to the vault of the Bank of England. On command from Berlin, the gold was transferred to the account of the Reichsbank in the BIS, and physically it remained in the Bank of England. Then the Bank of England began to perform various operations with gold on the teams that went from the Reichsbank to the BIS. There was a criminal conspiracy of three parties - the Reichsbank, the BIS and the Bank of England. In this regard, a scandal began in England in 1939, since the Bank of England performed operations with Czech gold by teams that came from Berlin and Basel, and not from the Czech government. In particular, in June 1939 of the year, three months before the declaration of war between Great Britain and Germany, the Bank of England helped the Germans sell gold on 440 thousand pounds sterling and ship part of the German gold reserves to New York.
It turned out that the Bank of England carried out illegal operations with Czech gold with the tacit consent of the British government. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Finance Minister John Simon, and other high-ranking officials openly lied (they say gold was returned to its rightful owner or not transferred to the Reichsbank at all). Coordinating the criminal joint activities of the Bank of England and the BIS was helped by the fact that the chairman of the Bank for International Settlements throughout the war was Norman Montague, director of the Bank of England, who did not hide his sympathy for fascism.
Even more scandalous was the story of the Belgian gold, which happened after the start of the war. In June, 1940, it became known that Alexander Galoping, representing the Bank of Belgium on the BIS board of directors, intercepted 228 million dollars in gold, transferred by the Belgian government to the Bank of France, and sent them through Dakar to Reichsbank.
Verdict to the Bank for International Settlements
The connections of the BIS with the Nazis and the Third Reich during the war were so obvious that it could not but cause indignation in the countries that fought against Germany and at the same time were represented in the BIS. We are talking specifically about the UK and the USA. The story of Czech gold made British politicians periodically raise the question of the advisability of further holding the Bank of England as part of the BIS shareholders. In May, 1942 from the Labor Party of England J. Strauss made a request to the Minister of Finance regarding the activities of the BIS, and 26 in March 1943 Congressman D. Voorhees submitted a draft resolution to the US House of Representatives, which called for an appropriate investigation. However, the promotion of the resolution was blocked. Washington Congressman John Coffey in January 1944 introduced a draft resolution to Congress. He indignantly stated at the meeting: “The Nazi government has on the BIS 85 million Swiss gold francs. Most of the board members are Nazis! How can American money remain in this bank? ”Coffey drew attention to the fact that American and British shareholders continue to receive dividends from the hands of the Germans and the Japanese, and they, in turn, profit from the capital, profitably located in America. And yet the draft resolution was put on the shelf. US Treasury Secretary G. Morgentau also repeatedly questioned the appropriateness of the presence of US banks among the BIS shareholders.
At the Bretton Woods conference, the issue of the Bank for International Settlements came up when discussing the project to create the International Monetary Fund. At first, some delegates drew attention to the fact that in some cases the IMF and the BIS may overlap or compete. And then the conversation went over the criminal nature of the BIS and the need for the prompt closure of the bank. The discussion was set by the Norwegian economist Wilhelm Keila. He expressed his outrage at the fact that Washington continued to maintain relations with the BIS, and therefore with the enemies of his country.
At a meeting of the July 10 conference, 1944, Keilaw introduced a draft resolution that provided for the dissolution of the BIS as soon as possible. Keilau also drafted a second resolution, which proposed to conduct an additional investigation involving reports and documents of the BIS for the war period. Immediately, a strong pressure was put on the Norwegian economist, as a result of which Keilau withdrew the draft of the second resolution. Keilau’s performances reached Washington and Wall Street, where they caused concern.
Bankers Winthrop Aldrich and Edward Brown, members of the American delegation representing Chase National Bank and First National Bank of New York, tried to reject the project that had already been submitted to Keila. They were supported by the Dutch delegation and J. Beyen, the former president of the BIS, and the mediator in handing over the Czech gold-plundered Czech gold to the bank, Leon Frazer, who represented the First National Bank of New York, also took their side. The British delegation took the same position with the full support of Anthony Eden and the Foreign Office.
US Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson represented the State Department in the American delegation. As a former lawyer for Standard Oil, he belonged to the Winthrop Aldrich camp. The minutes of Morgenthau’s meetings with Edward Brown, Acheson and other members of the delegation who went through 18-19 in July 1944 at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods confirm that Acheson fought to preserve the BIS until the end of the war and tried to prove that the cosmopolitan bank It will serve as a convenient financial lever of US influence on the process of restoring the industry of post-war Germany. Admittedly, in this respect, he was absolutely right.
Senator Charles Toby of New Hampshire, judging by the minutes of the meetings in Mount Washington, was a patriotic position. At the July 18 meeting, he angrily threw to all those gathered: "Your silence and inaction contribute to the enemy." Morgentau agreed. He believed that the dissolution of the BIS would be an important propaganda step and would benefit the United States. Acheson, pissed off, declared that the BIS should be maintained "as an instrument of foreign policy." The discussion was hot, but in the end the conference in Bretton Woods on July 10 1944 decided to liquidate the BIS.
BIS life after death sentence
However, the implementation of this decision was torpedoed by Anglo-American bankers, who feared not only the closure of the BIS, but also a possible investigation that would reveal their unseemly role in preparing for the Second World War and their cooperation with the Nazis. In addition, many politicians believed that the BIS was still useful for backstage games in the post-war world.
Indeed, the Bank participated in the operations of the Marshall Plan, assisted the IMF and the IBRD, and carried out multilateral clearing for the European Payments Union. The BIS was a financial agent for the European Coal and Steel Community, the International Red Cross, the Universal Postal Union and other international organizations. When the dollar came under attack in 1960, the BIS came to the rescue of the American currency by organizing large money and gold swaps.
Most importantly, the BIS has become a club of central banks. It is sometimes called the “bank of central banks”. The BIS represents the central banks of 55 countries, as well as the European Central Bank (ECB). The Bank of Russia became a member of the BIS in 1996. The most important issues of the modern world monetary and financial system are being resolved in Basel. Moreover, they are solved more quickly and efficiently than in the IMF, because the IMF is an international organization controlled by, albeit nominally, national governments. And the BIS is a supranational structure that is not controlled by governments and is controlled directly by a very narrow group of bankers.
Today, when the IMF is experiencing a crisis that could lead to its collapse, the BIS may become the international financial institution No. XXUMX. In this case, the global financial system for the first time in history will come under the control of a supranational lobby.