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Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Concerning Monetary Silver.

November 28, 1961

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On the basis of your recommendations and the studies conducted by the Treasury and other Departments, I have reached the decision that silver metal should gradually be withdrawn from our monetary reserves.

Simultaneously with the publication of this letter, you are directed to suspend further sales of free silver, and to suspend use of free silver held by the Treasury for coinage. In this way, the remaining stock and any subsequently acquired can be used, at your discretion, to contribute to the maintenance of an orderly market in silver and for such other special purposes as you may determine. In order to meet coinage needs, the amount of silver required for this purpose should be obtained by retirement from circulation of a sufficient number of five dollar and ten-dollar silver certificates.

Pursuant to this general determination, I intend to recommend to Congress, when it reconvenes, that it repeal the acts relating to silver of June 19, 1934, July 6, 1939, and July 31, 1946. The existing tax on transfers of interest in silver bullion has been necessary only to provide reinforcement for this legislation. I will therefore simultaneously propose that the relevant portion of the .Internal Revenue Code also be repealed.

These actions will permit the establishment of a broad market for trading in silver on a current and forward basis comparable to the markets in which other commodities are traded. Our new policy will in effect provide for the eventual demonetization of silver except for its use in subsidiary coinage.

Although the potential supply of silver now embodied in the outstanding five-dollar and ten-dollar certificates will be sufficient to cover coinage requirements for a number of years, I believe this is an appropriate time to provide for the gradual release of the silver now required as backing for one-dollar and two-dollar silver certificates. I shall therefore also recommend that legislation be enacted to accomplish this purpose and authorize the Federal Reserve Banks to include these denominations in the range of notes they are permitted to issue.

Sincerely,

JOHN F. KENNEDY

NOTE A letter from Secretary Dillon, dated November 27, was also released. The Secretary summarized the changes that had taken place in the world position of silver, and proposed measures to deal with the problems created by the large and growing industrial demand.,

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Concerning Monetary Silver. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235660

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