London Economic Conference

London Economic Conference

London Economic Conference

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The London Economic Conference was a meeting of representatives of 66 nations from June 12 to July 27, 1933, at the Geological Museum in London. Its purpose was to win agreement on measures to fight global depression, revive international trade, and stabilize currency exchange rates.

The Conference was "torpedoed" by U.S. President Roosevelt in early July, when Roosevelt denounced currency stabilization.

Background

When the Great Depression devastated the world economy in the years 1929-1932, it was generally assumed that the United States would serve as a hegemon, providing leadership for a program to bring about recovery. President Herbert Hoover in 1931 called for a conference to decide how to reduce tariffs and also revive prices (i.e. reverse the deflation associated with the Depression). The agenda for the Conference was drafted by representatives of six major nations who met in Geneva in 1932. The agenda asserted that intergovernmental debts should be settled as they represented a major obstacle in the road to recovery.

The Europeans believed that “the settlement should relieve the world” of the crushing debt burdens.League of Nations, Draft Annotated Agenda, Official Number: C.48.M.18 (Conference M.E.1) II (Geneva: League of nations, 1933) 7-9; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1933 I (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1950) 453, 462-6. But most of these debts were owed to the U.S., and Americans were reluctant to...
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