In British government circles there were many who did not share Keynes’s enthusiasm for the Clearing Union. The reasons for their opposition were varied. Some continued to be convinced that Britain had no choice but to continue and expand the system of bilateral agreements as the only possible method to control the balance of payments. Some feared that the dollar would completely eliminate sterling as an international currency. Others were passionately attached to Empire trade, which the obligations involved in the postwar plans would dilute. Many saw in the plans a return to the gold standard. When Keynes, under the impact of the warnings issued by the State Department, had tempered his advocacy of controlled international trade, Sir Hubert Henderson had not followed him. An able economist, he had participated in the meetings held at the Board of Trade, where the idea of a Commercial Union, intended to complement the Clearing Union, was being discussed. The group involved in these discussions was mainly concerned with the reduction of prewar impediments to international trade, such as tariffs, preferences and import restrictions. They set out to formulate rules to be followed by member countries and envisaged an International Commerce Committee to which disputes between members of the Union would be referred.
KeywordsCurrent Account International Currency Capital Movement International Monetary System Monetary Reserve
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