The U.S. Treasury Releases the Reagan Gold Commission Archives

The Reagan Gold Commission has an almost mythic status in the history of American monetary policy. As award-winning author and economic historian Brian Domitrovic, an advisor to thegoldstandardnow.org, observed in his Forbes.com column, “The First Gold Commission Scared the Dickens out of the Fed,”

“the minority report, that of Paul and Lehrman, did recommend gold, and it remains to this day one of the scintillating documents of recent public policy. It might as well be a blueprint for 21st-century monetary reform.”

The Commission’s Minority Report, The Case for Gold, signed by Reagan Gold Commissioners Lewis E. Lehrman, founder and chairman of the Lehrman Institute, and by the Honorable Ron Paul, then a rather junior Congressman, remains in print and available from multiple sources. The Majority Report, authored by Milton Friedman collaborator Anna Schwartz, mostly academic interest, also has been available in PDF form, thanks to its posting to the Web by GoldenSextant.com.

Most of the Commission’s archival records, including transcripts and copies of the testimony, however, have remained unavailable to the public. Until now.

The staff of the United States Treasury Department library now has digitized the full record of the Gold Commission. It is in ten volumes, comprising many thousands of pages. Now, for the first time, these materials are available to scholars and the general public.

This record is, so to speak, a gold mine of source documentation. It is certain to prove of keen interest to gold standard advocates, monetary policy experts, economists, historians, and all interested in the important subject of monetary integrity.

Volume One describes the contents:

Contents of the Commission's Permanent Record

Volume 1

I. Legislation and Legislative History

II. Record of Meetings

III. Press Releases

Here is a sample from the record of the November 12, 1981 Meeting of the Gold Commission in the Cash Room of the U.S. Department of Treasury:

Commission Members:

Secretary Regan
Chairman Weidenbaum

Mr. Coyne
Senator Dodd
Congressman Neal

Governor Partee
Congressman Paul
Congressman Reuss
Governor Rice
Senator Schmidt
Governor Wallich
Congressman Wylie
Mr. Costamagna
Senator Jepsen
Mr. Jordan
Mr. Lehrman
Mr. McCracken

It includes the official testimonies before the Commission:

Presentation By:

Dr. Robert Aliber
Professor, Economics & Finance
University of Chicago

Dr. Henry Mark Holzer
Professor of Law
Brooklyn Law School

Dr. Allan H. Meltzer
Maurice Falk Professor of
Economics & Social Science
Carnegie-Mellon University

Mr. Andrew G. E. Racz, President
Racz & Co., Inc.

Mr. Robert E. Weintraub
Senior Economist
Joint Economic Committee
U.S. Congress

Ralph Benko, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Pattison, Sampson, Ginsberg & Griffin, P.C.
Troy, New York

Dr. Bernstein

David B. Bostian, Jr.
President, Bostian Research Associates
100 Park Avenue
New York, New York

Peter B. Kenen
Professor of Economics and International Finance
Director of International Finance Section
Princeton University


Dr. Rothbard

Dr. Solomon

As Treasury Under Secretary Beryl Sprinkel, chairing this hearing on behalf of Secretary Regan, observed in opening the meeting:

[W]e have had three meetings to date. I think we're making good progress in identifying problems and objectives and in defining the ideas to be considered by the Commission.

It is clear from our early discussion that the Commission members agree fundamentally on the essential need to deal with inflation and restore stability to the U. S economy.

In justice, though, there is a diversity of views about whether gold can and should play a role in this effort and, indeed, about the role gold has played in the U.S. economic history. So, we are pleased this morning to have the opportunity to hear the views and analyses of a number of private experts on these questions.

It was a high honor for this writer to have been invited, at the behest of Commissioner Lehrman, to testify on the Constitutional history of American monetary policy.

Another hearing was held the following day, with presentations by:

Dr. Alan Greenspan
President
Townsend-Greenspan, Inc.
New York, New York

Dr. William Fellner
Resident Scholar
American Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Roy Jastram
School of Business Administration
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California

Dr. Marc Miles
Associate Professor
Department of Economics
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Dr. Earl A. Thompson
Professor of Economics
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California

Dr. John Williamson
Senior Fellow
Institute for International Economics
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Richard Cooper
Maurits Boas Professor of International Economics
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mr. Richard Davies
Managing Director
The Gold Institute
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Rudiger Dornbusch
Department of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ms. Helen Junz
Vice President
International Economics
Townsend-Greenspan, Inc.
New York, New York

Mr. Alan Reynolds
Vice President and Chief Economist
Polyconomics
Morristown, New Jersey

Dr. Hans F. Sennholz
Chairman, Cepartment of Economics
Grove City College
Grove City, Pennsylvania

The U.S. Treasury library staff has performed an act of significant public service by digitizing this extensive, and fascinating, record. The Lehrman Institute’s Thegoldstandardnow.org is honored to be the first venue from which these materials readily will be available for access by monetary scholars and the public at large.

We hereby provide you the archives of the Reagan Gold Commission.


 

 

Kathleen M. Packard, Publisher
Ralph J. Benko, Editor

In Memoriam
Professor Jacques Rueff
(1896-1978)

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