Transcript of oral history interview with Sydney Cope held on August 9, 1961

In August 9 1961, Sydney Cop was interviewed on behalf of the World Bank Group Archives oral history program by Robert Oliver. Cope covers briefly his background prior to joining the Bank's Loan Department in December 1947 at the invitation of then assistant director, Walter Hill, to serve in its Northwest European Division. This was at a time when the Marshall Plan had just been formulated [June'47 and introduced in April '48] and the Bank was uncertain as to how it would adjust its operations. Policies were being formulated and, in 1948, tentative steps were being taken towards a policy of development lending. The Research Department was renamed the Economics Department and Cope talks of overlapping between the work of the Economics and Loan Departments and its effect on staff. Also, policy issues concerning assessment of creditworthiness of a country at a time when most major currencies of the world, apart from the U.S. dollar, were inconvertible and saddled with exchange restrictions common among the principal trading nations. He elaborates on the implications of judging projects in terms of only their direct impact on the foreign exchange earnings of a country as in the first loan to Yugoslavia, and briefly talks of the gradual release of the 18-percent subscription funds and the relation to international competitive bidding. Cope concludes in commenting on the staffing changes during the McCloy presidency (47-49) between the Economics and Loan Departments as due to the inevitability of trial and error when starting something new such as the World Bank.

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The transcript of this interview is public.
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Wednesday, August 9, 1961
Transcript of oral history interview with Sydney Cope held on August 9, 1961
Robert Oliver