General de Gaulle was a businessman and did not receive education in economics, but he made it the loudest a deal in the history of global finance, has turned into paper money
In the spring of 1965 in New York harbor was a French ship at anchor. Since the war began. The ship was not fighting, but it holds a weapon with which Paris had hoped to win the financial battle with the United States. The French brought to the U.S. dollar bills for 750 million in order to get them for "real money" - thatis gold. It was only the first installment, invoiced the U.S. Federal Reserve. Then off they went. Fort Knox, where gold reserves kept the U.S. in the end could not resist the flow of paper banknotes, and the gold standard fell. Universal measure of value money turned into a virtual unit of account is not secured in the long run nothing but the good name or that the central bank governor, whose signature is on the banknotes. And the blame for all this was one man - Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle.
The French president, incidentally, did not intend to infringe on the gold standard, which ensured stability of the global financial system. Quite the contrary - his plan was to consolidate the gold and the dollar is not the role of a universal equivalent.
It all started February 4, 1965. "It's hard to imagine that he could be a different standard than gold - to enlighten journalists on its traditional briefing at the Elysee Palace President of the French Republic. - Yes, gold did not change its nature: it can be in bars, sticks, coins; it has no nationality, it has long been accepted and the world for their continued value. Of course, even today, the value of any currency is determined on the basis of direct or indirect, real or alleged ties to gold. "
General, in his classic manner - slow and it's important - read a piece of paper, but on the whole felt that this text is familiar and close to him before each comma. De Gaulle looked around the room over his glasses full of the Elysee Palace and continued to dry, spent voice: "In the international exchange of supreme law, the golden rule, here it is appropriate to say, the rule which should be restored - is an obligation to provide balance of payments of different currency areas by real revenues and expenses of gold. "
As soon as the creator of the Fifth Republic, stopped talking, the press rushed away from the hall to the telephone sets, set side by side. Everyone understood that the only formally declared war. War of the dollar. De Gaulle offered not to recognize the postwar redistribution of the financial world in favor of the dollar as the main currency, practically equated to gold, and called back in to the system of international payments, which existed before the world wars. In other words, return to the classical gold standard, where any currency only has real value, when literally worth its weight in gold.
"The old man finally gone mad" - gasped at the White House, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, who brought that was sent from the embassy in Paris, a telegram with report of a press conference De Gaulle. Americans are caught between the war in Vietnam and the problems in the Caribbean, had hoped that the French leader's rhetoric antidollarovaya remain only words. Did not he himself said: "The politician so do not take for granted the words, which always surprised when others understand it literally?" But this time everything was different. General, frankly homesick for France's imperial past, preparing for the "golden Austerlitz."
Time itself push him. Charles de Gaulle soon be filled with seventy-five. He had no doubt that in December 1965, the French re-elected him to seven years for the first time - by direct universal suffrage. Neither the French president has never had such broad authority, as he fitted the constitution under the considerable growth. Later, the general says, "When I wanted to know what he thinks France, I asked myself." But it will happen, even in isolation from the government. And now he had to take this strong boundless power to win France's place in the economic sun.
Joseph Caillaux, the former finance minister of a cabinet of Georges Clemenceau, once told de Gaulle anecdote. At the auction, "Drouot" in Paris, was put up for sale painting by Raphael. Arab, to buy a masterpiece, offered oil, Russian - gold, and an American, stuffing the price spreads for a stack of hundred dollar bills Raphael and gets a masterpiece for 10 thousand dollars. "What's the trick here?" - De Gaulle was surprised. "And in that, - said the former minister, who, for his stormy life and the prison, and the glory - that Americans bought Raphael ... for three dollars. The cost of the paper on which is printed a one hundred dollar bill - only three cents."
Three cents! Only formally gold ... The will of Washington, who wanted sole control of the world currency market has been dictated by all countries in World War II. Development of the scheme of the global monetary system was initiated by Anglo-American experts in April 1943. World War II was in full swing. Meanwhile, the economic aspect of world war, in essence, boiled down to a stream of gold flowing through the Lend-Lease program in American barns. For arms, machinery, metals and food products UK, USSR and others to anti-Hitler coalition had to pay American gold, as in a conventional war bills were not worth virtually nothing.
Here are some figures. In 1938, the U.S. gold reserve of 13 000 tonnes. In 1945 - 17 700 tonnes. And in 1949 - 21 800 tons. The absolute record! 70 percent of the world's gold reserves at that time. Accordingly, it was the dollar equivalent of the precious metal, only in respect of such currency is fully operated the gold standard. By 1944 the British and the Australians have completely exhausted their gold reserves. Only Stalin continued to send in boxes in Fort Knox gold mines in the Magadan namytoe and Kolyma. And so it went right up to the seventies, when the Soviet Union paid the last debt to Washington under the Lend-Lease. Paid, again, only with gold.
De Gaulle and his "elephant memory" - an expression of the general - possessed of this information. From a secret report known economists Robert Jacques Rueff Triffena and prepared in 1959, the General knew that the forced participation of France in the so-called Gold Pool was ruining it. This international structure created under the auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from the central banks of seven West European countries, including France, acting through the Bank of England. She not only supported in the interests of Washington's global gold prices at $ 35 per ounce (oz in slightly more than 31 grams), but also trade gold, reporting monthly to the U.S. financial authorities on their work. If you had to increase the amount of metal sales, the participants returned the pool of American gold reserves of their own. If the pool is more buying than selling, the difference was divided into a humiliating relationship: half Americans departed, half - all the rest. She got it from French, only 9 percent. The experts reported to de Gaulle that the damage from the activities of the Gold Pool, caused by the Europeans, has exceeded $ 3 billion.
Naturally, the general could not accept the "gold status quo", a legally issued on the Bretton Woods conference in the UN in 1944. Did not suit him and the Statute of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the cut on American patterns. "It is impossible to rule with a" but "- repeating de Gaulle. As imposed by the U.S. equivalent of gold and it was his nasty, annoying," but. "More so could not continue:" While Western countries of the Old World are subordinated to the New World , Europe can not become a European ... "And the man better than any other in the world who could say" No "to the Nazis and the Communists, collaborators and allies, superiors and subordinates, went to a" crusade "at Fort Knox.
Hold with bank notes
"The General has long-standing and very unique" friendship "with the American president - told the correspondent of" Results "shortly before his death, Pierre Messmer, one of the closest associates of de Gaulle, the former prime minister and defense minister of France. - Eisenhower, de Gaulle could not excuse that he was going to become military governor of France. Even in America, printed money from a special in the train drove ... not better developed, and relations with Kennedy. De Gaulle saw him as my father's son, and Verkhoglyad parvenu. The only advantage of a young U.S. president, General - quite seriously - considered Jacqueline, his wife, a Frenchwoman. "
How many stories Uninvented French talk about his meetings with Kennedy, de Gaulle! Here is one, told by Konstantin Melnikov, a former adviser to De Gaulle's security and intelligence.
During a visit to Paris Kennedy, General proposed to invite the American counterpart to hunt in the forest Rambouillet near Paris.
- And to whom Kennedy is going to hunt? - De Gaulle was surprised.
- In pheasants, my general.
- Oh, this is the fratricidal carnage! ..
Kennedy called it "high school" and Johnson and the trenchant - "slaughterhouse". General knew that irritated the American establishment, especially after France stepped up in the early sixties, developing their own nuclear weapons program. Not to mention that in January 1963, de Gaulle rejected the "Multilateral Nuclear Force," created by the Pentagon. And then brought out from under the command of NATO Atlantic fleet in France. By the time the start of the US-there were only two French divisions, instead of fourteen specified once. However, the Americans had no idea that it was just flowers!
In 1965 de Gaulle was officially proposed to his U.S. counterpart Lyndon Johnson exchanged for gold and a half billion dollars of cash from the French state reserves, "Surely the U.S. currency to exactly reversible, so long as it does not require invertibility?" Washington said that such an action in France can be regarded as unfriendly States - with all its consequences. "Politics is too serious thing to trust in his policies," - retorted the general, and announced to withdraw France from NATO's military organization.
In the future, Americans talked mostly Parisian financial professionals. "All formalities are complied with. The Bank of France is ready now to show exactly half the amount called the U.S. Treasury. Money is delivered," - read the official who came to Washington a dispatch from Paris. Exchange under the rules of the Gold Pool could only be in one place - the U.S. Treasury. In the hold of the first French "money" waiting for the ship unloading $ 750 million. At an exchange rate of 1.1 grams of gold per dollar flight from the dollar turned out to Paris with good results. 825 tons of gold - it's no joke. And the approach was the second ship in the same amount on the board. And it was only the beginning. By the end of 1965 from $ 5.5 billion French foreign exchange reserves in dollars was no more than 800 million.
Of course, de Gaulle was not alone, "threw" the dollar. But the French currency intervention has created a dangerous precedent for America. After the French pulled unpredictable change dollars into gold bars and zealous Germans. Only they were clever straight general. White House to the leadership of Federal Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, the economics professor and a staunch monetarist, pointedly criticized the French for "treachery." And the sly collected dollars from the treasury bundesrespubliki and put them in front of Uncle Sam: "We are allies, is not it? Swap, since promised!" Moreover, the amount was several times more than a half billion dollars of French. The Americans were amazed at such impertinence, but were forced to change their "green" into gold. And now to the real values ??of the central banks pulled in other countries, Canada, Japan ... The then reports on the state U.S. gold reserves are similar to front-line summary of incurred losses in the fighting. In March 1968, Americans for the first time restricted the free exchange dollars for gold. By the end of July 1971 the gold reserve of America fell to the lowest, according to U.S. authorities, the level - less than $ 10 billion. And then something happened that went down in history as the "Nixon shock". August 15, 1971, U.S. President Richard Nixon, speaking on television, today announced the complete abolition of the gold backing the dollar. The IMF had only to announce that from January 1978 Bretton Woods agreement is ordered to live long. Emission of world currencies began made on the basis of the financial pyramid, without checks and balances.
By the way, from the golden shock America has not recovered yet. According to the World Gold Council, the U.S. remains the world's largest holder of gold - their stock in 2003 exceeded 8.2 thousand tons. But before the recovery of the stock, which had in the States during the heyday of the gold standard, far away.
However, de Gaulle did not achieve the goals set before him, sets out wide-ranging exchange dollars for gold. Noble metal left for International Settlements, the dollar remained. With the abolition of the gold standard, he became the main reserve currency, replacing gold in essence as a universal equivalent. Replacement, though not quite adequate. In contrast to the gold dollar is subject to significant fluctuations.
Bank Merrill Lynch analysts have counted more dollar crises - in 1977-1978, then 1987-1988, 1990 and in 1994-1995. Now the situation has worsened the appearance of a new contender for the role of major world currencies - the euro. In 2007, the dollar has lost more than 10 percent of its value against a basket of convertible currencies. Euro also rose against the dollar by 12.5 percent, surpassing the recent level of 1.5 dollars per euro.
However, the system still works. The administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, even caught up in the trade and budget deficits, forcing the world to pay for American debt. Almost every year, the U.S. Congress forced the consideration of budget bills to raise the national debt ceiling, approached the mark of $ 9 trillion. Structural problems are growing, need more money. And they still come to the U.S. economy.
For Washington, it is imperative that countries with excess foreign currency, primarily China, Japan and Russia, continued to buy large amounts of U.S. debt. That is pointless to save money and save dollars. Because the size of dollar reserves of the three aforementioned countries are so great that buy them, in fact, nothing is impossible. On the whole this is not enough gold in the world. A purchase of, say, factories in the U.S. by foreign government can not - the U.S. law will not allow it. There is a tendency for the growing national debt devalues ??America's foreign exchange reserves of other countries and forces them to finance the U.S. deficit. At the same time Europe and Asian countries are not interested in the global financial crisis, central banks and, therefore, these countries tend to support the U.S., buying all the new debt.
However, unlike the gold standard virtual monetary system much less stable. Many central banks have deliberately reduced the share of U.S. securities in their reserves, and this trend is unlikely to be stopped. The dollar still remains the single conventional measure of value, being a national currency and the U.S.. And this fatal contradiction becomes more tangible. Thus, during the crisis all the resources you can throw on a potential strengthening of the dollar as the gold standard, but then things get worse in the U.S. economy or to support the American economy infusions of cheap dollars, but then begins to crumble the global equivalent of the cost. Republican President Bush isolationist, he favored the dollar as national currency. So, today, finally goes into oblivion as a unified idea of ??the dollar measure of value. You may have to return to some semblance of a gold standard, where the measure of value is, say, the average "basket of currencies". Or invent a new universal money, for example, based on unit of energy.