Treaties and Executive Agreements in the United States: Their Separate Roles and Limitations

Treaties and Executive Agreements in the United States: Their Separate Roles and Limitations

Treaties and Executive Agreements in the United States: Their Separate Roles and Limitations

Treaties and Executive Agreements in the United States: Their Separate Roles and Limitations

Excerpt

Much of the legal system existing among the members of the society of nations has its origin in treaties and agreements. A substantial share of the mutually-binding precepts governing the relations among independent nations flows from the engagements to which they subscribe. By crystallizing juridical relationships, this world-wide network of compacts helps to stabilize international affairs, and its growth and development are essential in the absence of an acceptable alternative law-creating institution.

From the standpoint of international practice, independent states are empowered to conclude commitments on virtually any subject of mutual interest. Not in all cases, however, does the national government of a country possess internally a treatymaking authority coextensive with that of the state under international law. Constitutional prescriptions may restrict the range of subjects respecting which treaties may be negotiated, and in addition, as in the case of the United States, the constitutive act may confine the government to a prescribed method of concluding international treaties.

The problem of American treaty authority and procedure has been under analysis and serious debate since the United States constitutional system was established in the late eighteenth century. As this country increased its participation in international affairs and augmented the network of international arrangements to which it became a party, this fundamental problem has become increasingly significant.

Because of constitutional restrictions respecting the treaty process, the Government of the United States has evolved a number of practices to facilitate its participation in international affairs. The chief of the devices that has come to be relied upon . . .

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