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Tower of Basel by Adam LeBor

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CHAPTER TWO

A COZY CLUB IN BASEL

          “The hangover of secrecy was, indeed, so strong that the attendants would not permit a look into that sacred room even after all the directors had left.”

           — Clarence K. Streit, on the BIS boardroom after the directors’ meeting, writing in the New York Times Magazine, July 1930

In September 1930, a few months after the BIS opened for business, an American lawyer named Allen Dulles sat down in his office at 37 Rue Cambon, in Paris, to write a letter to Leon Fraser. Fraser, a fellow American, was also a lawyer. A former reporter for the New York World newspaper, Fraser had served as general counsel for the execution of the Dawes Plan and had taken part in the negotiations at Baden-Baden on the ...

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