In the United States, executive agreements are made 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 view executive agreements as treaties of international law 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 contractual clause of the U.S. Constitution, which requires the Council and the approval of two-thirds of the Senate to be considered a treaty. 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. The U.S. Supreme Court Pink (1942) found that international agreements, which were concluded in law, have the same legal status as treaties and do not require Senate approval.
To Reid v. Concealed (1957), the Tribunal, while reaffirming the President`s ability to enter into executive agreements, found that such agreements could not be contrary to existing federal law or the Constitution. An executive agreement is an agreement between heads of government of two or more nations that has not been ratified by the legislature, since the treaties are ratified. Executive agreements are considered politically binding to distinguish them from legally binding contracts. In the United States, executive agreements are binding at the international level when negotiated and concluded under the authority of the President on foreign policy, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces or from a previous congressional record. For example, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, negotiates and concludes Armed Forces Agreements (SOFAs) that govern the treatment and disposition of U.S. forces deployed in other nations. However, the President cannot unilaterally enter into executive agreements on matters that are not in his constitutional jurisdiction. In such cases, an agreement should take the form of an agreement between Congress and the executive branch or a contract with the Council and the approval of the Senate.  These sets of examples are automatically selected from different online sources of information to reflect the current use of the term “executive agreement.” The opinions expressed in the examples do not reflect the views of Merriam-Webster or its publishers.
Send us comments. The Case-Zablocki Act of 1972 requires the President to notify the Senate within 60 days of an executive agreement. The president`s powers to conclude such agreements have not been restricted. The reporting requirement allowed Congress to vote in favor of repealing an executive agreement or to refuse funding for its implementation.   Britannica.com: Encyclopedia Articles on Executive Agreements Some other nations have similar provisions for treaty ratification.Back to Blog