"The International Monetary Fund is again offering to the public a major work describing its history. This new sequel of three volumes covers the period 1972 to 1978. An earlier set of three volumes, published in 1969, recounted the origins of the Fund and the first twenty years of its existence, and an additional two volumes, published in 1976, related the Fund's history from 1966 to 1971.
The seven years covered here, spanning most of the decade of the 1970s, were particularly turbulent for the international monetary system and for the Fund. To help its members deal with the severe economic problems that arose in those years, the Fund initiated many activities, greatly increased its lending, and, following the collapse of the par value system and of negotiations to introduce a fully reformed system in the near future, undertook to supervise a gradually evolving international monetary system. Volume I and Volume II, Narrative and Analysis, describe at length these economic problems and the Fund's actions. Considerable effort has been made to explain not only what happened but also why. Volume III reproduces the most important documents published by the Fund from 1972 to 1978 and makes available several papers previously unpublished.
Many problems for which the Fund has had to take on increasing responsibility in the years after 1978, such as those arising out of the heavy external indebtedness of a number of developing members, increasing protectionism, the flow of international capital, and the need for Fund surveillance of exchange rates, originated in the period described here. Hence, in publishing these volumes, the Fund hopes to promote understanding of its present work, as well as its past. Margaret Garritsen de Vries, the Historian of the International Monetary Fund, who came to the Fund in 1946 as one of its first staff members and who was the author of the History for 1966-71 and part of the History for 1945-65, has written this History. As in the past, she has had full access to the Fund's records and has interviewed governors of the Fund, members of the Executive Board, and colleagues on the Fund staff. While these volumes are once again, as the Forewords to earlier volumes state, "history written from the inside," they are the personal responsibility of the author, and no statement or opinion expressed should be understood as committing the Fund in any way."
August 1985 J. de Larosiere
International Monetary Fund