Benedetto Zaccaria

Debt and Conditionality? The Reagan Administration and Poland’s Admission to the IMF (1981-1986)

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This article focuses on Poland’s admission to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1986. Drawing on archival sources from the Ronald Reagan Library, it shows that the US Administration was reticent towards Warsaw’s request for re-admission to this organization (after its withdrawal in 1950), underestimating the «power of conditionality» of the IMF in the Polish scenario after the establishment of the martial law in December 1981. Eventually, Poland’s membership to the IMF was reluctantly accepted by the Reagan administration as a way to resolve Poland’s debt crisis upon the pressure of Washington’s Western European partners. This conclusion questions the traditional narrative about the deliberate use of IMF as a tool of US-inspired conditionality before the turn of 1989.


  • Poland
  • Debt
  • IMF
  • Reagan
  • Conditionality


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