Participation by Congress in Control of Foreign Policy

November 9, 1939

Report Outline
Plan for Executiv Consulation with Congress
Struggle for Control of Foreign Policy
Need for Executive-Legislative Cooperation
Special Focus

Plan for Executiv Consulation with Congress

Roosevelt's Scheme for Committee on Foreign Policy

Whether President Roosevelt's plan for between-session consulation with legislative leaders on questions of foreign policy is carried into effect during the eight weeks that will elapse before Congress reconvenes for its 1940 session now appears to rest entirely with the President himself.

The plan was first advanced by the President at the “national unity conference” at the White House, September 20, attended by leaders of both the Democratic and the Republican parties. It was formally laid before Congress and the country in the President's message at the opening of the special session, September 21. In that message, he asked Congress to enact his proposals for revision of the Neutrality Act of 1937 and then to adjourn without taking up other legislative business. But he added that leaders of both parties had agreed to remain at the capital after adjournment and that he intended to “consult with them at frequent intervals on the course of events in foreign affairs and on the need for future action in this field, whether it be executive or legislative action.”

With the adjournment of the special session, after a complete victory for the administration in the neutrality fight, most of the legislative leaders who had been expected to remain at Washington departed for their homes. Several announced that they would hold themselves in readiness to respond to any summons from the White House and pointed out that rapid transportation facilities were available for that purpose. No such call has gone out to date, and no demand that the plan of consultation proposed by the President be put in operation has come from responsible leaders of either party.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Sep. 07, 2012  Re-examining the Constitution
Jan. 29, 1988  Treaty Ratification
Mar. 27, 1987  Bicentennial of the Constitution
Jan. 31, 1986  Constitution Debate Renewed
Mar. 16, 1979  Calls for Constitutional Conventions
Jul. 04, 1976  Appraising the American Revolution
Sep. 12, 1973  Separation of Powers
Jul. 12, 1972  Treaty Ratification
Apr. 19, 1967  Foreign Policy Making and the Congress
Mar. 05, 1947  Contempt of Congress
May 10, 1945  The Tariff Power
Jul. 01, 1943  Executive Agreements
Jun. 01, 1943  Advice and Consent of the Senate
May 24, 1943  Modernization of Congress
Jan. 18, 1943  The Treaty Power
Aug. 24, 1942  Congress and the Conduct of War
May 09, 1940  Congressional Powers of Inquiry
Nov. 09, 1939  Participation by Congress in Control of Foreign Policy
Apr. 21, 1937  Revision of the Constitution
Feb. 24, 1936  Advance Opinions on Constitutional Questions
Oct. 04, 1935  Federal Powers Under the Commerce Clause
Jun. 19, 1935  The President, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court
Sep. 10, 1928  The Senate and the Multilateral Treaty
Dec. 16, 1926  The Senate's Power of Investigation
Oct. 03, 1924  Pending Proposals to Amend the Constitution
Congress Actions
International Law and Agreements
Powers and History of the Presidency
War and Conflict