Executive Agreement in US History: A Brief Overview

Throughout the history of the United States of America, the executive branch has used executive agreements as a mechanism to conduct foreign policy. An executive agreement is a legally binding agreement between the US president and a foreign leader or government. Unlike treaties, which require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, executive agreements are made solely by the president, and they do not require congressional approval.

Executive agreements date back to President George Washington, who used them to conclude trade agreements with European nations. However, it was not until President Franklin D. Roosevelt`s administration that executive agreements became a widespread and accepted tool used in foreign relations with other nations, especially during World War II.

One of the first significant uses of executive agreements was the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, which allowed the US to lend or lease military equipment and supplies to Allied countries during WWII. This agreement helped the US support its allies without having to enter the war officially, allowing the country to maintain its policy of neutrality.

After World War II, executive agreements continued to play a significant role in US foreign policy. The US concluded executive agreements with Japan, Germany, and Italy to establish mutual security arrangements, as well as an agreement with Korea to provide economic assistance. The country also established the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) through an executive agreement with Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom. These agreements were crucial to the US`s post-war foreign policy and helped ensure its global dominance during the Cold War era.

During President Reagan`s administration, the use of executive agreements increased substantially as he sought to impose sanctions on the Soviet Union to promote democracy and human rights. The president used executive agreements to impose sanctions without seeking approval from Congress. These agreements were highly effective as they enabled the US to take swift action in response to Soviet actions.

Today, executive agreements continue to play an essential role in US foreign policy. President Obama used executive agreements to establish the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which was designed to limit Iran`s nuclear program. President Trump withdrew from the agreement, highlighting the importance of congressional support for such agreements.

In conclusion, executive agreements have a long history in US foreign policy. They are a critical tool used by the executive branch to conduct diplomacy with other nations. While executive agreements do not require congressional approval, their success relies heavily on congressional support. As the US continues to face new foreign policy challenges, executive agreements are likely to remain an essential tool in shaping the country`s global standing.

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