Foreign Policy Making and the Congress

April 19, 1967

Report Outline
Involvement of Congress in Foreign Policy
Changes in the Part Played by Congress
Goal of Legislative-Executive Coordination

Involvement of Congress in Foreign Policy

The ninetieth congress has begun to reassert the constitutional prerogatives of the Legislative Branch in the field of foreign policy. To the consternation of the White House and the State Department, a drive for Senate adoption of a House-approved resolution to strengthen President Johnson's hand at the recent Western Hemisphere summit meeting at Punta del Este had to be abandoned when it ran into unexpected resistance in the Foreign Relations Committee.

If the trend toward greater independence of Executive Branch pressure in matters of foreign policy continues, it will mark the end of a prolonged period in which Congress has been disposed to acquiesce routinely in presidential demands. Leaders of Congress seem to be growing wary of extending to the Chief Executive more of the blank-check brand of authority that facilitated escalation of the undeclared war in Southeast Asia. The resulting friction between the White House and Capitol Hill raises anew broad questions about the proper role of Congress in the making of foreign policy.

Senate Hassle With Johnson on Punta Del Este

In preparation for the April 12–14 summit conference in Uruguay, President Johnson in mid-March asked Congress to adopt a resolution pledging the United States to increase economic aid to Latin America, to support formation of a Latin American common market, and to finance various agricultural and health programs through the Inter-American Development Bank.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Constitution and Separation of Powers
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
General Defense and National Security
Separation of Powers