Press Release: IMF Expanding Public Access To Archives

March 19, 1999

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is further expanding public access to documentary materials in the IMF’s archives, including Executive Board documents that are more than five years old, and other materials that are more than 20 years old. The IMF had moved in 1996 to declassify all materials in its archives that are more than 30 years old, except for some documents that contain highly confidential information.

Expanded access to archived material is set to take effect on September 8, 1999, according to a decision by the Executive Board. Additionally, the Board’s decision includes a required review of records to determine whether they remain of a confidential nature.

The decision to open the archives further to public review is part of an ongoing initiative by the IMF toward greater openness with respect to its operations and activities. These initiatives have included the release of Public Information Notices on the IMF’s Article IV consultations with member nations, and disclosure of a range of background documents for those consultations.

It is anticipated that the Board will again review the archive policy in two years with a view toward possible further liberalization of access guidelines. Meanwhile, IMF staff is reviewing additional categories of material that could be released under the five-year rule.

Researchers interested in using the archives after the September 8 opening date are requested to contact the IMF’s Records Division well in advance. The Division may be contacted by telephone (202-623-8625), fax (202-623-7175), e-mail (, or by mail (Records Division, C-532, Secretary’s Department, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th St., NW, Washington, DC 20431, USA).


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