A treaty is an international agreement concluded in writing between two or more sovereign States and subject to international law, whether contained in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments. Treaties have many names: conventions, agreements, alliances, pacts, charters and statutes, among others. The choice of name has no legal significance. Treaties generally fall into one of two broad categories: bilateral (between two countries) and multilateral (between three or more countries). In recent decades, presidents have often included the United States in international agreements without the advice and approval of the Senate. These are called “executive agreements”. Although they have not been submitted to the Senate for approval, executive agreements are still binding on the parties under international law. In the United States, executive agreements are internationally binding when negotiated and concluded under the authority of the president in foreign policy, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, or under previous law of Congress. For example, the president negotiates as commander-in-chief and enters the status of Armed Forces Agreements (TAFAs), which govern the treatment and disposition of U.S.
forces stationed in other countries. However, the President may not unilaterally take executive action on matters that do not fall within his constitutional powers. In such cases, there should be an agreement in the form of an executive agreement of Congress or a treaty with the advice and approval of the Senate.  Congressional Executive Agreement, a binding agreement between the United States and a foreign country that is easier to implement than a formal treaty, but technically more limited. Most executive agreements were entered into under a treaty or an act of Congress. Sometimes, however, presidents have made executive arrangements to achieve goals that would not have the support of two-thirds of the Senate. For example, after the outbreak of World War II, but before America came into conflict, President Franklin D. Roosevelt negotiated an executive agreement that gave the United Kingdom 50 aging destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases for some British naval bases in the Atlantic. An executive agreement is an agreement between the heads of government of two or more countries that has not been ratified by the legislature when treaties are ratified. Executive agreements are considered politically binding to distinguish them from legally binding contracts. The use of executive agreements increased considerably after 1939. Prior to 1940, the U.S.
Senate had ratified 800 treaties and presidents had concluded 1,200 executive agreements; From 1940 to 1989, during World War II and the Cold War, presidents signed nearly 800 treaties but negotiated more than 13,000 executive agreements. In addition, there are many collections of free online contracts that focus on a specific jurisdiction, region, or item. Depending on the type of contract you`re looking for, it may be faster to use one of these online contract collections as a starting point instead of following the traditional four-step contract search process. This applies in particular to important multilateral treaties and to certain types of bilateral treaties, in particular bilateral investment treaties. Executive agreements are often used to circumvent the requirements of national constitutions for treaty ratification. Many nations that are republics with written constitutions have constitutional rules for ratifying treaties. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is based on executive agreements. The U.S. Constitution provides that the President “has the power to enter into treaties by and with the counsel and consent of the Senate, provided that two-thirds of the senators present agree” (Article II, Section 2).
Treaties are binding agreements between nations and are part of international law. Treaties involving the United States also have the power of federal legislation and are part of what the Constitution calls “the highest law in the land.” Executive Agreement, an agreement between the United States and a foreign government that is less formal than a treaty and is not subject to the constitutional requirement to be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. In part because the enumerated powers of Congress and the President have been interpreted broadly, most of the agreements proposed as treaties could also have been proposed as executive agreements of Congress. For this reason, the U.S. government has often chosen to use executive agreements of Congress instead of treaties for controversial agreements that are unlikely to achieve the required super-majority in the Senate. Examples of controversial proposals that take the form of agreements between Congress and the executive include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1992 and the agreement that made the United States a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The U.S.
Constitution does not explicitly give the president the power to enter into executive agreements. However, it may be authorized to do so by Congress, or it may do so on the basis of the authority conferred on it to conduct foreign relations. Despite questions about the constitutionality of executive treaties, the Supreme Court ruled in 1937 that they had the same power as treaties. Since executive agreements are concluded by order of the outgoing president, they are not necessarily binding on his successors. Although congressional treaties and executive agreements are international agreements, the two are legally separate instruments. For example, agreements between Congress and the executive branch cannot deal with matters that do not fall within the enumerated powers of Congress and the President (the powers expressly granted to Congress and the President in Article I, Section 8 and Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, respectively), while treaties may. Moreover, according to the constitution, a treaty is ratified only if at least two-thirds of the Senate votes in favor of it. On the other hand, an agreement between Congress and the executive branch becomes binding with only a simple majority in both houses of Congress.
Congressional executive agreements should not be confused with executive agreements made by the president alone. In the United States, executive agreements are concluded exclusively by the President of the United States. They are one of three mechanisms through which the United States makes binding international commitments. Some authors consider executive treaties to be international treaties because they bind both the United States and another sovereign state. However, under U.S. constitutional law, executive agreements are not considered treaties within the meaning of the treaty clause of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the Council and the approval of two-thirds of the Senate to be considered a treaty. In United States v. Pink (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that validly concluded international executive treaties had the same legal status as treaties and did not require Senate approval.
Also in Reid v. Covert (1957), while affirming the president`s ability to enter into executive agreements, the court ruled that such agreements could not conflict with existing federal law or the Constitution. The Case-Zablocki Act of 1972 requires the President to notify the Senate within 60 days of the conclusion of an executive agreement. The Powers of the President to conclude such agreements have not been limited. The notification requirement allowed Congress to vote on cancelling an executive agreement or refusing to fund its implementation.   The Senate does not ratify treaties. After review by the Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate approves or rejects a ratification decision. If the resolution is passed, ratification will take place when the instruments of ratification are formally exchanged between the United States and foreign powers.
Related Reports Senate Treaty Review (CRS) (PDF) Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role in the Senate (GPO-govInfo) (PDF) The four steps of the contract search process are described below. The sources you consult vary depending on whether the treaty is bilateral or multilateral and whether or not the United States is a party to the treaty. Since the print resources have migrated online, it is now possible to perform the first two or three steps of the contract search process using an online contract database such as HeinOnline`s U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library, HeinOnline`s Global Treaty Library, or the United Nations Online Treaty Series. Executive calendar Current past calendars About the executive calendar Some other countries have similar provisions regarding the ratification of treaties. .