The JFK Myth


I have confidence in G. Edward Griffin as a careful historian.


Don Stacey




The JFK Myth


This is in reply to an e-mail Mr. Griffin received that pointed out differences between his views and those of the Christian Common-Law Institute regarding an alleged conflict between JFK and the Federal Reserve.


On their website, dated August 9, 2000, the CCLI stated:


"On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was  signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve  Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business. President Kennedy's Executive Order 11110 gave the Treasury Department the explicit authority:"to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the treasury."... Perhaps the assassination of JFK was a warning to all future presidents not to interfere with the private Federal Reserve's control over the creation of money."   


This is what I refer to on page 569 of my book as "The JFK Rumor." I cannot accept this interpretation of history because of the following facts:


The executive orders


If you look at a copy of EO 11110 you will find that it does not order the issuance of Silver Certificates. It orders an amendment to EO 10289.  If you then look up EO 10289, you will find that it says: "The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby designated and empowered to perform the following-described functions of the President without the   approval, ratification, or other action of the President."


Those functions did not include the power to issue Silver Certificates. The purpose of EO 11110 was to add that power to the list. The exact wording of the Order was: "Executive Order No. 10289 of September 19, 1951, as amended, is hereby further amended (a) By adding at the end of paragraph 1 thereof the following subparagraph (j): (1) 'The authority to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury.'"


Therefore, my statement in The Creature from Jekyll Island is correct. EO 11110 did not order the printing of Silver Certificates. It ordered the amendment of a previous executive order so that the United States Code would authorize or "empower" the Secretary of the Treasury to issue Silver Certificates if the occasion should arise. The occasion never arose. According to the Comprehensive Catalog of U.S. Paper Money by Gene Hessler, and also the Blackbook Price Guide to United States Paper Money, 33rd edition, the last issuance of Silver Certificates was in 1957. That was five years prior to Kennedy's EO 11110."


   The following additional explanation was contained in a 1996

   report from


   Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress:

   "What E.O. 11110 did was to modify previous Executive Order

   10289, delegating


   to the Secretary of the Treasury various powers of the

   President. To


   delegated powers, E.O. 11110 added the power to alter the

   supply of Silver


   Certificates in circulation. Executive Order 11110, therefore,

   did not

   create any

   new authority for the Treasury to issue notes; it only

   affected who could


   the order, the Secretary or the President.

   "The reason for the move was that the President had just

   signed legislation


   repealing the Silver Purchase Act. With this repeal, the

   Treasury Secretary


   could no longer control the issue of Silver Certificates on

   his own authority.


   However, the issuance of certificates could be controlled

   under the President's


   authority. Hence, for administrative convenience, President

   Kennedy issued


   Executive Order 11110.

   "Ironically, the purpose of the order and the legislation was

   to decrease


   circulation of Silver Certificates, with Federal Reserve Notes



   place. As economic activity grew and prices rose in the 1950s

   and early


   the need for small-denomination currency grew at the same time

   that the


   of silver increased. The Treasury required silver for the


   number of

   Silver Certificates and coins needed for transactions. But the



   silver was rapidly approaching the point that the silver in

   the coins

   and in

   reserve for the certificates was worth more than the face

   value of the


   "To conserve on the silver needs of the Treasury, President

   Kennedy requested


   legislation needed to bring the issuance of Silver

   Certificates to an

   end and

   to authorize the Fed to issue small denomination notes (which

   it could

   not at

   that time). The Fed began issuing small denomination notes

   almost immediately


   after the legislation was passed. And in October 1964, the

   Treasury ceased


   issuing Silver Certificates altogether. If anything, E.O.

   11110 enhanced


   Reserve power and did not in any way reduce it." (See "Money

   and the


   Reserve System: Myth and Reality," by G. Thomas Woodward,



   Macroeconomics, Economics Division, Congressional Research


   Library of

   Congress, CRS Report for Congress, No. 96-672 E, July 31,


   The CCLI makes the following claim in its report:

   "The Christian Common Law Institute has exhaustively

   researched this


   through the Federal Register and Library of Congress. We can

   now safely


   conclude that this Executive Order has never been repealed,


   or superseded by

   any subsequent Executive Order. In simple terms, it is still



   This is not supported by the facts. The power granted to the



   Treasury to issue Silver Certificates was rescinded on

   September 9, 1987,


   Executive Order 12608, signed by President Reagan. The

   official purpose

   of the

   Order was stated as "Elimination of unnecessary Executive

   orders and


   amendments to others." It did not affect EO 11110 directly but

   did affect


   parent EO 10289 - along with 62 other executive orders. That

   is how paragraph


   (j) was amended to remove the power in question. This Order

   can be found

   in its

   entirety in the Federal Register 52 FR 34617.

   "The picture is blurred by the fact that the Treasury did

   issue United


   Notes in the same year as EO 11110 (1963) but, as discussed

   further along,


   U.S. Notes are not the same as Silver Certificates.

   Furthermore, their


   had nothing to do with EO 11110. It was mandated by an 1868

   act of Congress


   which required the Secretary of the Treasury to maintain the

   amount of


   Notes outstanding at a fixed level. This did not originate

   with JFK and,

    in fact,

   he probably had no deep understanding of it. It was a routine



   by the Treasury merely to replace worn and damaged specimens

   of older


   in order to comply with the 1868 law. Apparently some of these

   new Notes


   get into circulation but were quickly snapped up by private



   never became a significant part of the money supply and, in

   fact, were


   intended to. (For a more complete analysis, see my book, The


   from Jekyll

   Island, pp. 569, 570.)

   Silver Certificates vs U.S. Notes

   These facts alone should be enough to settle the matter, but

   there is

   yet one

   more point of confusion to be cleared up, and that involves

   the difference


   between Silver Certificates and United States Notes. In

   monetary terms,

    a Note

   means a promissory note. A Note is any financial instrument

   which states


   clear and unambiguous terms who is to pay what to whom on what


   All four

   elements must be included. [See Ewart, James E., Money

   (Seattle, Principa


   Publishing, 1998), pp. 27-29.] Therefore, any paper currency

   which displays


   statement such as "The United States Treasury will pay to the


   on demand twenty

   dollars in silver coin" is a Note. A Silver Certificate is

   just one form

   of a

   Note. Other forms existed in the past and included Bank Notes,



   Notes, Gold Certificates, and even Federal-Reserve Notes in

   those by-

   gone days

   when they were backed by gold.

   Earlier issues of U.S. Notes displayed printed statements to

   the effect


   (1) the bearer could redeem them (2) at the Treasury (3) on

   demand (4)


   for dollars or a specified weight of gold or silver. During

   those years,


   dollar was defined by law as 371.25 grains of pure silver,

   which was

   the amount

   contained in a One-Dollar silver coin. The law also provided

   that the


   could be in the form of coins, dust, nuggets, plate, or

   bullion. Therefore,


   whether the phrase printed on the currency promised dollars,


   or gold, it

   ultimately meant precious metal in one form or another -

   usually coin.


   there was nothing ambiguous about that, those U.S. Notes were

   true Notes

   in the

   legal sense because they contained all four elements of a



   This tradition began to change in the late 1960s and, since

   about 1971,


   Notes have become very ambiguous, indeed, about what can be


   for them.

   The former clearly written contracts have now been replaced by



   unconnected phrases such as The United States of America;

   Twenty Dollars:

   This note

   is legal tender for all debts, public and private. These words

   look official


   and impressive but, in terms of a contract to redeem the

   currency for


   of intrinsic value, they have no meaning at all.

   Silver Certificates once were a promise to deliver silver.

   U.S. Notes

   now are

   a promise to deliver taxes and inflation. Even in 1963 when EO



   issued, there were important legal and technical differences

   in the regulations


   that governed the issuance of Silver Certificates and U.S.

   Notes. These


   were not used interchangeably. Regulations pertaining to the


   of Silver

   Certificates could not be applied to the issuance of U.S.

   Notes, and


   versa. When EO 11110 authorized the issuance of Silver


   it said

   nothing about U.S. Notes. The subsequent issuance of U.S.

   Notes, therefore,


   nothing to do with EO 11110. And that is the point of this


   Without that

   understanding, one cannot grasp the significance of the JFK



   I do not claim to have the final answers on these issues, but

   this is


   our research has led so far. I am open to additional

   information or

   interpretation. I would especially welcome a response from the


   Common Law



   G. Edward Griffin