The United States is likely to be asked to participate in a 1984 "bridging" loan of $7 billion to the International Monetary Fund, it was disclosed yesterday by Miguel Boyer, chairman of the joint annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank.
Boyer, the Spanish minister of finance, confirmed in a meeting with reporters that the IMF would need to borrow the $7 billion from leading industrial nations and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the $6 billion it is now seeking from a group of European nations and the Saudis for this year.
German Central Bank President Karl Otto Poehl had revealed the IMF borrowing intentions for 1984 in an interview Wednesday. Poehl put the probable total at $6 billion to $7 billion.
The determination that a total of $13 billion would be needed over two years, in addition to money supplied by member quota increases, was discussed at last weekend's Interim Committee, Boyer said, once the agency decided to maintain 1984 lending limits at the same level as 1983.
He said that the 1983 $6 billion package would not be forthcoming until after Congress passes the controversial $8.4 billion appropriation bill. Until then, other sources said, the IMF moratorium on significant new loan negotiations will remain in effect.
Boyer conceded that it will be "a difficult matter" to find additional large sums for 1984. But he said it would be logical to assume that the United States--which is not participating in the 1983 loan by the Europeans and Saudis--will be asked to take a 15 percent to 20 percent share of the 1984 loan.
Such an amount--$1 billion to $1.5 billion--would be roughly equal to American participation in the regular IMF quotas. Boyer said that another $1.5 billion might be obtained from the Saudis, and the balance from the rest of the Group of Ten rich countries. Although he said that nothing had been decided, he agreed that part of the General Agreements to Borrow crisis fund--which could total $18 billion next year--might be tapped for a piece of the $7 billion.
Boyer acknowledged that an effort to borrow $1.5 billion more from the United States might receive an adverse reaction in Congress, inasmuch as it would come on top of the $8.4 billion IMF appropriation still hanging in a tender balance.
"Yes, there is a great deal of concern that those figures might seem to be excessive, at a time when there is also a great deal of concern with respect to the U.S. fiscal deficit--which creates quite a reaction among the legislators," he said.
"But I feel that on the basis of President Reagan's speech to the opening session that the message was rather strong, that he sounded very committed to preserving the role of the IMF and the World Bank. And I feel that that statement and commitment might put pressure on the legislators in Congress."
A very different reaction to the president's speech came from Bartholomew Ulfa'Alu, minister of finance and governor for the World Bank for the Solomon Islands.
In a speech to the joint session yesterday, the minister challenged the president to fulfill his world leadership role, and sharply rebutted Reagan's appeal to all nations to follow "the magic of the marketplace."
Ulfa'Alu said that in his Melanesian society, power and influence are acquired by "big men" who, to keep their status, "must perform to the satisfaction of their communities."
He continued: "One of the things we expect our 'big men' to do is to help the younger male members of the family to acquire wives. The 'big man' will contribute to the price of the bride to be paid by his young male relatives. In this way, he secures their continuing allegiance, and enables them to acquire healthy, desirable brides, capable of bearing many children.
"Statistics tell is that 52 percent of these children will be girls. In due course they will be married, and the family will receive a 'bride price' for them. A substantial share of this incoming transfer of assets will find its way to the 'big man,' who for sound reasons of enlightened self-interest, started the process off."
The lesson, he said, is not only that the "investment" is repaid many times over, but that "if you want to go on being a leader, you have to behave like one."