Statement on Signing the Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985

December 17, 1985

I have given my approval today to S. 1639, the ``Gold Bullion Coin Act of 1985.'' I have previously indicated support for legislation to permit the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and sell gold bullion coins. Indeed, when I issued Executive Order No. 12532, concerning South Africa, on September 9, 1985, I specifically requested that the Treasury conduct a study ``regarding the feasibility of . . . expeditiously seeking legislative authority to accomplish the goal of issuing such coins.'' Legislation prepared pursuant to this directive was under review within the administration at the time S. 1639 was passed by the Congress. Although I would have preferred that the Congress defer action on S. 1639 until the administration's proposal could have been submitted and duly considered, I support the principal objectives of this legislation.

I must note, however, that certain provisions are troublesome. Specifically, enactment of this legislation may raise questions about the willingness of the United States to honor its international obligations. In this regard, my administration will strongly support the prompt enactment of appropriate legislative clarifications, should any prove to be necessary. In addition, I am also concerned about a provision of this legislation that would effectively prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from using gold held in the United States' reserves in producing gold coins. In my view, this restriction denies the United States a potentially major source of revenue. At a time when we have committed ourselves to eliminating the budget deficit over the next several years, a limitation of this nature is especially unfortunate. Therefore, I am instructing the Department of the Treasury to work closely with the Congress to provide the Secretary of the Treasury with authority in minting gold coins to use gold from sources, including the Nation's reserves, that the Secretary deems necessary or appropriate.

Note: S. 1639, approved December 17, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 185.