Private Ownership of Gold
During the period of economic stress and depression of the early 1930´s the GOLD RESERVE ACT OF 1934 was passed by the Congress. This Act arbitrarily required all persons in the United States to exchange their privately owned gold and bullion for so-called lawful (paper) money. By this Act it became illegal for a citizen of the United State to own gold coin or bullion. This law, together with related legislation, regulations, and the licensing of gold buyers coupled with the increasingly unrealistic and arbitrarily fixed price of gold in effect destroyed the market for gold for the small miner.
Prior to the passage of this act it was common practice for the gold miners to ship their gold to the nearest United State Mint where it would be graded, refined, and purchased or minted into coin or bullion for the owners. This free coinage of gold by the United States Treasury provided a ready marked for the producers of gold so long as the arbitrarily fixed price was in balance with other segments of the economy. There was no question concerning the private ownership of gold at that time. Ownership, in the usual sense, was assumed and taken for granted.
On August 14, 1974, President Ford signed Public Law 93-373 of the 93rd Congress which repealed the GOLD RESERVE ACT OF 1934 and made it legal for any person in the United State to buy, sell, hold, or otherwise deal in gold either in this Country or abroad as of December 31, 1974. Thus, a right which was taken from United States citizens over forty years ago was restored. This historic action officially legalized the private ownership of gold.
This Bill, S.2665, in its final form, was attached to an amendment to a Bill relating to participation of the United State in the International Development Association. This is a subject unrelated to the ownership of gold and illustrates the peculiar manner in which the Congress sometimes makes Known its will.
To provide for increased participation by the United States in the International Development Association and to permit United States citizens to purchase, hold, sell, or otherwise deal with gold in the United States or abroad.
Be it enacted by the senate and House of Representative of the United State of America in Congress assembled, That the International Development Association Act (22 U.S.C 284 et seq) is amended by adding at the thereof the following new section:
“sec. 14. (a) The United State Government is hereby authorized to agree to the Association four annual installments of $375,000,000 each as the United State contribution to the Fourth Replenishment of the Resources of the Association.
“(b) In order to pay for the United State contribution, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated without fiscal year limitation four annual installments of $375,000,000 each for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury.”
Sec.2. subsections 3 (b) and (c) of public Law 93-110 (87 Stat. 352) are repealed and in lieu thereof add the following:
“(b) No provision of any law in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, and no rule, regulation, or order in effect on the date subsections (a) and (b) become effective may be construed to prohibit any person from purchasing, holding, selling, or otherwise dealing with gold in the United States or abroad.
“(c) The provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall take effect either on December 31, 1974, or at any time prior to such date that the President finds and reports to Congress that international monetary reform shall have proceeded to the point where elimination of regulations on private ownership of gold will not adversely affect the United States´ international monetary position.”
Sec.3. The International Development Association Act (22U.S.C.284et seq.) is amended by inserting at the end thereof the following:
“sec. 15. The United State Governor is authorized and directed to vote against any loan or other utilization of the funds of the Association for the benefit of any country which develops any nuclear explosive device, unless the country is or becomes a State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (21UST 483).”
Approved August 14, 1974.
This legislation was largely the result of the untiring efforts and dedication of Senator James A. Mc Clure and his aide Al Timothy, from Idaho, in the Senate, and Congressman Philip M. Crane of Illinois, aided by fifty co-sponsors of the Bill, in the House of Representative.