n American suggestion for a "crisis fund" to deal with the current international financial crisis was at least temporarily rejected tonight by the Interim Committee, the policy-making board of the International Monetary Fund.
Instead, in a communique issued after a day-long debate, the committee said there was "widespread support" from almost all the other representatives of the 144 member nations for "a substantial increase in quotas" -- the currency deposited by members to form the basis of the IMF's loan pool.
American officials did not give up hopes for their proposal. "It wasn't accepted, but it wasn't completely rejected," a member of the American delegation said.
The Interim Committee as well as the Group of Ten, representatives of the rich nations, met today before the joint annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank which begins here on Monday.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Allan J. MacEachen, who is also chairman of the Interim Committee, said that "there was a strong view in the committee" that any special fund "as floated by the Americans" should not be a substitute for quotas.
He added that Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan, U.S. governor for the IMF, had not endorsed the communique calling for a substantial increase in quotas.
Meanwhile, the American trial balloon calling for an alternative to a big jump in quotas is shot down for the balance of the meetings here. But it was referred to the IMF executive board where it can be discussed again and brought up at the next Interim Committee meeting in Washington April 27-28.
It had been understood that the actual size of the new IMF quotas would not be settled at this meeting, that the final determination might not be made until the end of 1983. But MacEachen called attention to the fact that the communique now sets a resolution of the problem "as a matter of high priority" for the April Interim Committee session.
Both the Interim Committee and the Group of Ten acknowledged that the poor nations that make up most of the membership of the IMF face very difficult economic problems.
But they also said that the poor countries themselves were in some measure to blame for the difficult conditions they face and that there is no way out of their present credit crunch unless they follow more prudent economic policies.
This means that the richer nations that control the IMF feel that the poor countries must follow a new period of austerity in which they will continue to stress anti-inflationary rather than expansionary economic policies.
Asked how the IMF could manage to meet the needs of its poor member nations if its resources run down or run out before new quotas go into effect in 1985, Jacques de Larosiere, managing director of the IMF, said that in such a situation the IMF would borrow money, adding to its existing lines of credit.
He discounted what he suggested were excessively pessimistic evaluations of the world financial situation, saying that, "I think the international financial system is sound, flexible, and has shown its resilience in the past and in recent months."
Others including Regan and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Geoffrey Howe also eschewed the apocalyptic terms used yesterday by the poor nations, which had warned that the financial system could "collapse" if the major powers failed to launch a recovery program.
Another highly placed official said in a conversation that the notion of crisis had been "overblown." Some banks, he acknowledged, are overextended, as in Mexico, and are looking for governments to bail them out. "There is a liquidity squeeze in a few countries that will affect a few banks that's all. The wealth of the world doesn't disappear. One bank disappears -- so what? Its deposits will be taken over by another bank."
In a report that de Larosiere gave to the Interim Committee, but which was not released, the IMF official said that his agency "is adequately equipped to meet its needs . . . but there may come a time in 1983 when we may have to replenish our borrowing arrangements." At the moment, the fund has unused standby credits from rich nations of about $6 billion, but expects these to be exhausted by next spring.
According to IMF sources, the American suggestion for a special fund was devised at the Treasury as a way of diverting attention from the need for a major quota increase. The IMF and some other nations had suggested an increase from $67 billion to $125 billion and even higher.