I have confidence in G. Edward Griffin as a careful historian.
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
Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress:
"What E.O. 11110 did was to modify previous Executive Order
to the Secretary of the Treasury various powers of the
delegated powers, E.O. 11110 added the power to alter the
supply of Silver
Certificates in circulation. Executive Order 11110, therefore,
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
repealing the Silver Purchase Act. With this repeal, the
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
Executive Order 11110.
"Ironically, the purpose of the order and the legislation was
circulation of Silver Certificates, with Federal Reserve Notes
place. As economic activity grew and prices rose in the 1950s
the need for small-denomination currency grew at the same time
of silver increased. The Treasury required silver for the
Silver Certificates and coins needed for transactions. But the
silver was rapidly approaching the point that the silver in
reserve for the certificates was worth more than the face
value of the
"To conserve on the silver needs of the Treasury, President
legislation needed to bring the issuance of Silver
Certificates to an
to authorize the Fed to issue small denomination notes (which
that time). The Fed began issuing small denomination notes
after the legislation was passed. And in October 1964, the
issuing Silver Certificates altogether. If anything, E.O.
Reserve power and did not in any way reduce it." (See "Money
Reserve System: Myth and Reality," by G. Thomas Woodward,
Macroeconomics, Economics Division, Congressional Research
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
through the Federal Register and Library of Congress. We can
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
Order was stated as "Elimination of unnecessary Executive
amendments to others." It did not affect EO 11110 directly but
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
entirety in the Federal Register 52 FR 34617.
"The picture is blurred by the fact that the Treasury did
Notes in the same year as EO 11110 (1963) but, as discussed
U.S. Notes are not the same as Silver Certificates.
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
Notes outstanding at a fixed level. This did not originate
with JFK and,
he probably had no deep understanding of it. It was a routine
by the Treasury merely to replace worn and damaged specimens
in order to comply with the 1868 law. Apparently some of these
get into circulation but were quickly snapped up by private
never became a significant part of the money supply and, in
intended to. (For a more complete analysis, see my book, The
Island, pp. 569, 570.)
Silver Certificates vs U.S. Notes
These facts alone should be enough to settle the matter, but
more point of confusion to be cleared up, and that involves
between Silver Certificates and United States Notes. In
means a promissory note. A Note is any financial instrument
clear and unambiguous terms who is to pay what to whom on what
elements must be included. [See Ewart, James E., Money
Publishing, 1998), pp. 27-29.] Therefore, any paper currency
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
Note. Other forms existed in the past and included Bank Notes,
Notes, Gold Certificates, and even Federal-Reserve Notes in
when they were backed by gold.
Earlier issues of U.S. Notes displayed printed statements to
(1) the bearer could redeem them (2) at the Treasury (3) on
for dollars or a specified weight of gold or silver. During
dollar was defined by law as 371.25 grains of pure silver,
contained in a One-Dollar silver coin. The law also provided
could be in the form of coins, dust, nuggets, plate, or
whether the phrase printed on the currency promised dollars,
or gold, it
ultimately meant precious metal in one form or another -
there was nothing ambiguous about that, those U.S. Notes were
legal sense because they contained all four elements of a
This tradition began to change in the late 1960s and, since
Notes have become very ambiguous, indeed, about what can be
The former clearly written contracts have now been replaced by
unconnected phrases such as The United States of America;
is legal tender for all debts, public and private. These words
and impressive but, in terms of a contract to redeem the
of intrinsic value, they have no meaning at all.
Silver Certificates once were a promise to deliver silver.
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.
were not used interchangeably. Regulations pertaining to the
Certificates could not be applied to the issuance of U.S.
versa. When EO 11110 authorized the issuance of Silver
nothing about U.S. Notes. The subsequent issuance of U.S.
nothing to do with EO 11110. And that is the point of this
understanding, one cannot grasp the significance of the JFK
I do not claim to have the final answers on these issues, but
our research has led so far. I am open to additional
interpretation. I would especially welcome a response from the
G. Edward Griffin