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Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on Interest Rates on Time Deposits of Foreign Governments

March 15, 1961

[Released March 15, 1961. Dated March 14, 1961]

Dear Mr.____________:

I am transmitting herewith a draft of legislation which would amend existing law by permitting banks in this country to pay different rates of interest on time deposits held here by foreign governments than are paid to domestic depositors. Also transmitted is a memorandum from the Secretary of the Treasury describing the draft bill and its impact in detail.

The draft bill implements a recommendation contained in my message to the Congress dated February 6, 1961, relating to the balance of payments problem. It also complements and supports my directive to the Secretary of the Treasury to issue securities at special rates for exclusive holding by foreign central banks or governments.

If commercial banks are permitted to offer foreign governments higher rates of interest in competition with those existing abroad, those governments will be encouraged to maintain dollar accounts in this country rather than require the United States to convert their dollar accounts to gold for withdrawal. In this connection, it is only these foreign governments and their agencies which can directly purchase gold from the reserve stocks of the United States. However, as stated in my message of February 6, the proposed amendment is hut one of a series of actions to be taken to alleviate the gold drain. Indeed, the factors which influence any central bank or government to prefer dollar accounts to gold are many and complex. Interest rates are only one. If we pursue policies of stability and growth inspiring world confidence, foreign governments should respond to higher interest rates on time deposits thereby aiding our gold outflow problem.

This inducement to foreign central bank deposits will have practically no impact on domestic market rates of interest. Moreover, any such impact would be confined to the short-term sector of the market and thus be consistent with national policy objectives.

In the interest of orderly procedure, the draft bill also permits similar treatment of deposits of international financial institutions of which the United States is a member.

I will appreciate it if you will lay the draft legislation before the House of Representatives (the Senate). A similar draft has been transmitted to the President of the Senate (the Speaker of the House of Representatives). I urge that the Congress act promptly and favorably on the proposal.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the Senate, and to the Honorable Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Secretary Dillon's memorandum, dated March 8, and the draft bill were released with the President's letter.

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House on Interest Rates on Time Deposits of Foreign Governments Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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