This chapter argues that currency areas are a means of economising on foreign currency reserves, and they arise in order to overcome a scarcity of such reserves that inhibits international payments. The failure of the conference gave way to tariffs and bilateral payment agreements between governments. At the start of the Second World War, regulations were introduced in Britain to give the government control over foreign assets and payments. E. F. Schumacher underlined the dependence of free trade on the international payments system. In the summer of 1943, a special supplement of the Oxford Institute’s Bulletin, on international payments, was prepared by economists at Oxford University. Multilateralism represented an ideal international payment system, in which revenue from trade with one country could be used to pay for trade with any other country at a stable and convenient rate of exchange between the currencies.