By Armand Van Dormael
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Extra resources for Bretton Woods: Birth of a Monetary System
Furthermore, there would at all times be a defined, but not invariable, relationship between the new unit and gold. If countries such as the United States, continuing to adhere to a rigid gold standard, were disposed 'to join an international scheme of management, drawn up scientifically and without reference to obsolete prejudices, ... ' 4 In 1933, he had suggested that the London Economic Conference consider setting up an 'international authority for the issue of gold-notes', which would be responsible for the stabilisation of currencies and prices.
Thus, preferential treatment bred aggression. Secretary Hull, in his long devotion as a Congressman and a Senator to a liberal system of free trade, did not approve of high tariffs, however. He had long fought a lone battle against the prohibitive duty rates imposed by Republican Congresses, and even within his party he had been at the spearhead of the fight to reduce tariffs. When he agreed to become Roosevelt's Secretary of State, one of his highest hopes was to embark the United States upon a programme of trade liberalisation, which might set an example to the world.
It gave nations who had the political power to impose preferential trade arrangements the economic power to deny competitors equal access to raw materials, markets and investment. Excluded countries would resent such discrimination, and would try to obtain by force what was denied to them through peaceful trade. Thus, preferential treatment bred aggression. Secretary Hull, in his long devotion as a Congressman and a Senator to a liberal system of free trade, did not approve of high tariffs, however.