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Executive Agreements Examples

A total victory of the United Nations and the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers would eliminate any need for a peace conference such as the one held at Versailles after the end of the last war and any need to sign peace treaties with Germany, Italy or Japan. Post-war political and economic agreements can only be drawn up by the United Nations. To be binding on the United States, such agreements – if concluded in the form of executive agreements – may not need to be submitted to the legislative branch at all; At most, they would require simple majorities in both houses of Congress. Most executive agreements were concluded in accordance with a treaty or an act of Congress. However, presidents have sometimes reached executive agreements to achieve goals that would not find the support of two-thirds of the Senate. For example, after the outbreak of World War II, but before the Americans entered the conflict, President Franklin D. Roosevelt negotiated an executive agreement that gave the United Kingdom 50 obsolete destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on some British naval bases in the Atlantic. Second, while it is widely accepted that, under the “executive power” clause, the president has the power to enter into exclusive executive agreements that are not inconsistent with legislation in areas where the primary responsibility lies with Congress, the question arises as to whether the President alone can enter into an agreement incompatible with an act of Congress or whether a single executive agreement may succeed previous laws of Congress. The prevailing idea, which is rooted in the assumption that it would be unacceptable for an act of one person – the president – to cancel an act of Congress, is that the only executive agreements in the United States are ineffective, insofar as they conflict with an earlier act of Congress in an area of congressional jurisdiction. This is the position of a federal appels court in the United States against Guy W. Capps, Inc.

(4th Circuit, 1953) and by the American Law Institute. However, the Supreme Court has not yet made a final decision on this matter.