The White House
November 18, 1983
MEMORANDUM FOR FRED F. FIELDING
FROM: JOHN G. ROBERTS
SUBJECT: H. R. 3348 – Gold Medal in Honor of the Late Congressman Leo J. Ryan
Richard Darman has asked for comments on the above-referenced enrolled bill as soon as possible. The bill directs the Department of the Treasury to strike a gold medal to honor former Congressman Leo J. Ryan, the Democrat from California who was killed for visiting the “People’s Church” settlement in Jonestown, Guyana. The bill would also authorize production and sale of bronze duplicates. The metal is to be in recognition of Ryan’s “distinguished service” and “untimely death by assassination.” The bill passed both Houses by voice vote. OMB [Office of Management and Budget] recommends approval; Treasury has no objection.
I am not certain I would have voted to give a gold medal to Ryan. The distinction of his service in the House is certainly subject to debate, and his actions leading to his murder can be viewed as those of a publicity hound. Nonetheless, I see no legal objection to the President signing this bill.