And may I make here one observation about government bonds? Many trustees invest their trust funds in government bonds on the assumption that such bonds are the safest of all securities and that if they become worthless every other security will be worthless. But the whole history of the world, from the earliest, shows this assumption is erroneous, grossly so. Peoples, society, property exist and persist even though governments change or go down. A mere change of government does not destroy any of these, though all may suffer when the overturning revolution comes. The almost countless revolutions of the old world and the new prove this.
As the world has gone in the past, our own government could fall—which, pray God, may never come—but the bulk of the property would remain, and the bulk of the people would be here; and if the succeeding government recognizes the ownership of private property, then some one will own it, and the laws of private ownership will require some recognition of the security encumbrance. This has been the experience of all modern history.
Of course, where socialism or communism come in, as in Russia, all the bonds of the preceding government are not only repudiated—or not paid—but private property is abolished. That follows not from a change of government, but from an overturning of the whole economic system, the new government being set up to carry out the new ideology. Thus it can be that government bonds are not the safest and soundest security in which to put trust funds or private funds.
Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr., LDS Church News, 25 September 1949. J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961), served as a member of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1931–1961. Prior to his full-time church service he was assistant solicitor to the State Department, worked in the Attorney General’s office, Under Secretary of State, the author of the classic study, the “Clark Memorandum on the Monroe Doctrine” and U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Among those who knew his work best, J. Reuben Clark was recognized as the foremost constitutional scholar of the 20th Century.