For four years, from 2001 to 2005, I served as the Under Secretary of the United States Treasury for International Affairs. This collection of speeches and testimony were all given during that period. They have been annotated and organized by topic, but for the reasons stated below, they have not been edited at all.


These four years turned out to be a remarkable and unique period to have had the job as Under Secretary, to be responsible for international finance issues in the United States.  Not only did the period start with a global downturn and a continuation of the crises of the 1990s, but the Bush Administration came into government with a strong desire to implement reforms in the international financial institutions and in development policy more generally. The story of the downturn and recovery, the crises, and the reforms would have been enough to entice students of international finance for years to come.  But on top of all that the United States was struck by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and we were faced with the financial implications of the resulting war on global terror: first the battle against terrorist financing, then the war and reconstruction in Afghanistan, then the war and reconstruction in Iraq, and then the efforts to spread political and economic freedom around the world and especially in the Middle East.  The financial history of these four years has yet to be written, but I believe it will rival the financial histories of World War I or World War II in interest and scope.


My job as Under Secretary was a highly operational job.  Every day, decisions had to be made in coordination with the other foreign policy agencies of government and frequently with the foreign policy agencies of other governments. Orders had to be given and “on-the-ground” follow-up was needed to be sure they were executed.  Communication outside of the executive branch—to the Congress, to the financial markets, to voters, to policy makers in other countries—was essential. 


So my job required much public speaking, testifying, and travel. I gave abut 200 speeches and made about 120 trips to foreign countries. Over 100 of these speeches were written down.  Thus, as a result of all these speeches and testimonies, a real time chronological written record of many of the events has been created.  Because most of the speeches were made available at the time, it is possible to compare what was said to what was done, to see where our plans were successfully implemented and where they were not. And like all writing about events in real time as they unfold, there is a need for perspective and a connection to other people and other events. I plan to work on that now that I have returned to Stanford University and the Hoover Institution.


In the meantime the real-time record of these four years contained in these speeches may be useful to students of international finance and policy. For ease of use, I have organized the collection into 16 chapters.  For each chapter I have written a short piece describing the items and providing the reader with some brief background. An appendix gives all the speeches in chronological order. I have decided to make these available on this web site rather than publish a book so they are immediately and broadly available to students and other interested readers.


The hard work (frequently under pressure) of the highly-skilled International Affairs staff at Treasury was essential for the creation of these speeches. I am grateful to them for their hard work and for their dedicated service to our country.



John B. Taylor

Stanford, California

May 15, 2005