PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 88th CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION
Vol. 110 WASHINGTON, FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 1964 No. 52
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I
have been interested in the debate about
financial stability, the flight of the dollar,
and the outflow of gold.
The distinguished Senator from Virginia
l Mr. RoBERTSoN) is chairman of
the Committee on Banking and Currency,
and is also chairman of the Appropriations
on Treasury and Post Office Appropriations.
I wish some serious consideration
could be given to the inflow of silver.
Montana is a silver-dollar-using State.
There is a great scarcity of silver dollars
in Montana; and we would like to see
something done, by means of which an
appropriation would be made, so that
the Director of the Mint could mint some
more silver dollars. As I understand It,
paper money is turned in on the average
of about every 3 months because It wears
out and becomes useless. A silver dollar
lasts for decades. It is something solid,
something one can throw on the counter-
or perhaps on the bar.
Mr. President, a man knows he has
something in his pocket when he has a
silver dollar there.
Furthermore, the Govenunent does
not lose any money on the minting of
silver dollars; in fact, I believe that, under
seigniorage, the Government makes
a little money, a reasonably good profit.
I understand that at the present time
the mint is dipping into the last silver
dollars it has, and is even releasing those
under date of 1880. I also understand
that those silver dollars have a value in
excess of $1, insofar as collectors are concerned.
At the start of 1963, there were
94 million silver dollars in the Treasury;
today there are only 28.5 million silver
dollars remaining and they are going
There is a great deficiency of silver
dollars in the State of Montana. Montana,
along with Nevada, is the only State
which looks upon the silver dollar as a
far better and more durable item of cu1·rency
than a paper bill.
So I would hope, and I would plead
with the distinguished chairman of the
Subcommittee on Appropriations for the
Treasury and of the Banking and Cur-
FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 1964
(Legislative day of Monday, March 9, 1964)
rency Committee, that the necessary
funds be allowed, so that up to $150 million
of silver dollars can be minted so
that the demands of the people-not only
those in my State, although primarily
the ones there, so far as I am concerned,
but also the people in the other Statescan
Mr. ROBERTSON. Mr. President, I
assure the Senator from Montana that
he has touched on a very vital issue.
When he refers to the fact that paper
money wears out, but that silver dollars
will last, he reminds me of the ScotchIrishman
in the valley of Virginia who
told me, "Senator, I like money that the
dog can't chew up." He was so right;
and all of us like every now and then to
put our hands in our pockets and feel
I show to my colleagues a Chinese
penny which I obtained in Hong Kong
in 1935. It is made of copper. The inscription
on the penny has long since
worn off, but I still keep the penny. I
got it when I visited Hong Kong, where
the people have an average income of
only $90 a year. This is only a penny,
but a penny is important to them. I
have kept it in my pocket to remind me
of the fact that the many people who are
not under our form of government and
our free enterprise system would be very
glad to get that penny. So I carry it
In reference to the silver situation, I
should like to point out that there has
been such a demand for the memorial
Kennedy coins that they are being offered
for $2 and $3 apiece before the coins
have even come from the mint.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, will
the Senator yield?
Mr. STENNIS. I yield.
Mr. MANSFIELD. I would hope that
in his dual capacity as a chai1·man of
that particular subconunittee of the
Conunittee on Appropriations and as
chairman of the Committee on Banking
and Currency, the Senator from Virginia
would undertake an investigation
into the subject of the accumulation or
the taking of orders before the Kennedy
silver half-dollars are made available.
I understand, also, that they are being
offered. when they become available, for
$2.50 to $3 each when the coins have a
value of only 50 cents.
Mr. ROBERTSON. That is true.
Mr. MANSFIELD. I hope that an investigation
of that subject will be undertaken.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Some people believe
that a silver dollar will be worth
more than $1.29 for the value of the silver
in the coin. When the value rises above
$1.29 an ounce, which is the price we
have now fixed, the silver in a silver
dollar will be worth more than a dollar.
So collectors are buying up the coins and
holding them, speculating that prices will
My friend has brought up a vital issue
and, if the distinguished majority
leader would Jay aside the civil rights
blll, the chairman of the Committee on
Banking and Currency would go into
the investigation immediately.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, I do
not intend to be diverted from my main
theme. I am not being facetious about
the silver dollar. It is solid and durable.
It is something that we know represents
money, in contrast to paper. I would
most certainly hope· that to supply the
deficiency which we are feeling in my
own State, which along with Nevada, I
repeat, is the only silver-dollar-using
State in the Nation, and in which we desire
to continue to use silver in prefer
·ence to paper, I would hope that the distinguished
Senator from Virginia, in
his dual capacity, would see to it that
the necessary funds are forthcoming to
continue the minting of this vitally
needed coin, because solid silver to us
is most important and needed. Even
some of our banks are out of or running
out of silver dollars. The situation is
Mr. ROBERTSON. The Senator from
Virginia fully recognizes the importance
of the subject, both to the State of Montana
and to the Nation. He also admits
a dual capacity in committee assignment.
But he is not twins, unfortunately. When
he is required to sit here for one reason,
he cannot be in a committee room
Mr. MANSFIELD. That is understood.
I know that the distinguished chairman
will give the subject his most serious
Mike Mansfield Papers, Series 21, Box 42, Folder 42, Mansfield Library, University of Montana
cons1aeratlon, not only so far as funds
for the minting of sliver dollars are concerned,
but also In the matter of Investigating
the exorbitant prices now being
suggested for the Kennedy half dollar.
Mr. LAUSCHE. Mr. President, will
the Senator yield?
Mr. STENNIS. Mr. President, I ask
unanimous consent that I may yield to
the Senator from Ohio under the same
conditions previously stated.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without
objection, It Is so ordered.
Mr. LAUSCHE. The Senator from
V!rg!n!a [Mr. RoBERTSON] and the Senator
ftom Iowa [Mr. MILLER] have mentioned
that If we are to cope with the
problem of fleeing gold, we had better
do something domestically. The record
will show that dollars spent by foreign
visitors coming to the United States
amount to between $1 ,200 mllllon and
$1,400 million a year less than the dollars
spent by American tourists In foreign
countries. In other words, we suffer
an Imbalance adverse to us in the
amount of about $1,300 million a yea.r,
which Is spent by tourists from our country
going around the world.
Our Department of Commerce Is carryIng
on an intensive campaign to urge
foreigners to visit our country. In my
judgment, a far more effective service
could be rendered if the the Department
of Commerce began to appeal vigorously
to the people of the United States that
In this hour of peril, with respect to the
gold reserves, they could render a patriotic
service to our country by visiting
the scenic and historic sites within our
boundaries rather than visiting those of
foreign nations. They can visit the
Rockies, the Appalachians, the Great
Lakes and other places, and they w111 behold
grandeur exceeding that of the Alps.
They will find historic sites within our
Nation, inspirational and enriching to
the mind. My appeal would be that
probably the Congress ought to do something
to encourage people to visit areas
of the United States and abstain, for the
time being, while our gold reserve problem
Is so serious, from going on tourist
expeditions to foreign nations.
Mr. ROBERTSON. Mr. President,
will the Senator yield at that point?
Mr. STE:NN!S. I yield.
Mr. ROBERTSON. The Senator has
made a good point. I wish to mention
for the benefit of our distinguished
majority leader that the first national
park in the entire world was established
In Montana. That is the Yellowstone
Mr. MANSFIELD. Mr. President, will
the Senator yield?
Mr. STENNIS. I yield, under the
Mr. MANSFIELD. In addition to Yellowstone
Park and Glacier National
Park, we have the Custer Battlefield
Monument. We have the Rockies and
rangeland. We have high plains, at the
average elevation of 3,000 feet. Fewer
than 700,000 people live in 148,000 square
miles. If people wish to go somewhere
and see something, I suggest that they
come to , iGntann, nnd we w.ll even give
them some si!\er dollars, lf we a.re
Mr. LAUSCHE. VIsitors wlll not make
a mistake if they come to Ohio.
Mr. MANSFIELD. I point out also
that the headwaters of the Missouri
River and the Columbia River are In
TO REDEFINE THE SILVER CONTENT
IN SILVER COINS
Mr. METCALF. Mr. President: inasmuch
as the House Appropriations Commlttee
today recommended against further
coinage of silver dollars and suggested
that study be given to melting
down the existing supply, I, on behalf of
myself and my colleague, the senior
Senator from Montana [Mr. MANSFIELD],
Introduce the following bill:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United State• of
America in Congress assembled, To amend
section 321 o! title 31, U.S.C., by changing
"nine" to "eight" and "one" to "two" to
read as follows :
"The standard !or silver coins o! the
United States shall be such that of one
thousand parts by weight eight hundred shall
be of pure metal and two hundred o! alloy.
The alloy or the sll ver coins shall be o!
The intrinsic value of the silver in the
dollars is such that it is almost profitable
for silversmiths to melt them down for
metallic uses. Passage of my bill will
make it possible for the Federal Government
to make a profit from the coinage
of silver dollars, and to permlt the continued
use of silver dollars as a medium
of exchange in Montana and other Western
States where they a.re the traditional
and the accepted monetary unit.
I ask unanimous consent that the blll
be held at the desk through Friday,
March 27, for additional cosponsors.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr.
WALTERS in the chair). The bill will be
received and appropriately referred; and,
without objection, the bill will lie on the
desk, as requested by the Senator from
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