‘Hidden Truths Stripped From the National Dialogue’ – The president’s power over foreign policy

From the book “Hidden Truths Stripped From the National Dialogue” by Bruce Herschensohn

MOST OFTEN REPORTED AND TAUGHT: “IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL FOR THE PRESIDENT TO KEEP NATIONAL SECURITY SECRETS FROM THE CONGRESS”

THE TRUTH: THE SUPREME COURT WROTE DIFFERENTLY

The most pertinent excerpts follow from the decision of United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corporation in which the “external realm” and “external relations” are terms used at times for what is now more frequently called foreign affairs, foreign relations, or foreign policy:

“In this vast external realm, with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude; and Congress itself is powerless to invade it. As [U.S. Congressman, later to become U.S. Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John] Marshall said in his great argument of March 7, 1800, in the House of Representatives, ‘The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations’…The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at a very early day in our history [February 15, 1816], reported to the Senate, among other things, as follows:

“The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign nations. He manages our concerns with foreign nations and must necessarily be most competent to determine when, how, and upon what subjects negotiation may be urged with the greatest prospect of success. For his conduct he is responsible to the Constitution. The committee consider(s) this responsibility the surest pledge for the faithful discharge of his duty. They think the interference of the Senate in the direction of foreign negotiations calculated to diminish that responsibility, and thereby to impair the best security for the national safety. The nature of transactions with foreign nations, moreover, requires caution and unity of design, and their success frequently depends on secrecy and dispatch.

“It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations – a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution. It is quite apparent that if, in the maintenance of our international relations, embarrassment – perhaps serious embarrassment – is to be avoided and success for our aims achieved, congressional legislation which is to be made effective through negotiation and inquiry within the international field must often accord to the President a degree of discretion and freedom from statutory restriction which would not be admissible were domestic affairs alone involved. Moreover, he, not Congress, has the better opportunity of knowing the conditions which prevail in foreign countries, and especially is this true in time of war. He has his confidential sources of information. He has his agents in the form of diplomatic, consular and other officials. Secrecy in respect of information gathered by them may be highly necessary, and the premature disclosure of it productive of harmful results. Indeed, so clearly is this true that the First President refused to accede to a request to lay before the House of Representatives the instructions, correspondence and documents relating to the negotiation of the Jay Treaty – a refusal the wisdom of which was recognized by the House itself and has never since ben doubted…

“When the President is to be authorized by legislation to act in respect of a matter intended to affect a situation in foreign territory, the legislator properly bears in mind the important consideration that the form of the President’s action – or, indeed, whether he shall act at all – may well depend, among other things, upon the nature of the confidential information which he has or may thereafter receive, or upon the effect which his action may have upon our foreign relations. This consideration, in connection with what we have already said on the subject, discloses the unwisdom of requiring Congress in this field of governmental power to lay down narrowly definite standards by which the President is to be governed.”

Bruce Herschensohn is a preeminent foreign policy expert, political commentator and author. He advised the greatest foreign policy presidents of our time, serving in the Nixon Administration and on the Reagan Presidential Transition Team. Herschensohn is a Senior Fellow in International Relations at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy.

Comments

  1. Chad Miller says

    “I hadn’t heard of this before. They clearly trusted the president more than the members of congress and right now I am in agreement with them.”

  2. Polosie, did you miss this in Speaker of the House school?

  3. I liked this post and thought others might as well—Copied from someone else:
    “I didn’t really know much about President Trump when he first ran for President. I admit I voted for him ONLY because I felt he was better than the alternative. The past 3.5 years of the Dems relentless, attacks (that have been proven unfounded) have inspired me to ALWAYS be informed before voting again. I didn’t write this, but these are the things I ponder about why.
    “Subject: Why Don’t You Like Him ?
    So, you say you just don’t like him. Well, tell us — what is it about him that you dislike?
    Do you dislike that he directed the brokering of the first meaningful Mideast peace deal in decades?
    Do you dislike that he made cruelty to animals a felony?
    Do you dislike that he earmarked billions to stop the opioid crisis?
    He destroyed ISIS, killed countless terrorists without going to war (even though everyone said we’d be in World War III by now) and kept the peace.
    Does it bother you that we’re now energy independent and the largest producer of energy in the world?
    Do you dislike him because he started to build a wall to keep criminals and drugs from coming into our country and because he respects, honors and defends our country’s borders?
    Do you dislike him because he just slashed the price for prescription drugs (In some cases by 50%)
    Do you dislike that he met with the leader of North Korea, averted war with that country and brought a halt to their aggressive missile testing? Was that wrong?
    Do you dislike that he signed a law ending the gag-order on pharmacists that prevented them from sharing money-saving options on prescriptions?
    Do you dislike that he signed the Save Our Seas Act which funds millions per year to clean tons of plastic and garbage from the ocean? Does that bother you?
    Do you dislike that he signed a bill for airports to provide breast-feeding stations for nursing moms?
    Do you dislike that he signed the biggest wilderness protection and conservation bill in a decade designating 375,000 acres as protected land, making him the most significant conservation president since Teddy Roosevelt?
    Does it irk you that he loves America, and puts Americans first? Is that the problem?
    Do you dislike that he made a gay man the ambassador to Germany and then asked him to clean up national security, declassifying as much of it as possible for transparency?
    Do you dislike that he works for free, donating his salary to a different charity each quarter?
    Do you dislike that his economic policies have produced the lowest Black unemployment rate ever?
    Do you dislike that he listened to Senator Tim Scott and created opportunity zones to help minorities?
    Do you dislike that he passed prison reform, which gives people a second chance and has made quite a huge difference for minorities in particular?
    Do you dislike that he produced the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate ever?
    Do you dislike that he passed VA reforms to benefit the very people who served our country and defended our freedom?
    Do you dislike that he got rid of the job-killing NAFTA trade deal, got tough on trade with China and negotiated new trade deals with Mexico, Canada and other countries that benefit American workers?
    Do you dislike that he loves our flag and embraces a policy of unabashed, non-apologetic patriotism? Do you have a problem with that?
    Do you dislike that he calls out the media and attempts to correct them when they are wrong?
    Do you dislike that he’s bringing troops home and ending America’s longest war? Do you want the war to continue?
    Do you dislike that he has made a commitment to end child-trafficking and crimes against humanity and his policies have brought about thousands of arrests already?
    Do you dislike that he extended the offshore drilling ban along both Florida coasts as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina? Are you bothered by that?
    Do you dislike he’s brought home over 40 Americans held captive, the last one from Iran?
    Or do you dislike that he’s making the world pay their fair share to the United Nations?
    Do you dislike that he respects cops, veterans, ICE and all first responders?
    Do you dislike that he does not sell out America to other countries, like the leaders prior to him have done?
    Do you dislike that he’s forced our NATO allies and others to finally pay their fair share to support important multi-national alliances?
    Do you dislike that he moved our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem which is the rightful capital of the Jewish state?
    Do you dislike that he signed the Right To Try law allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental therapies?
    This list is hardly a complete list of what President Trump has accomplished in four years.
    There’s actually more — a lot more.
    But hopefully, you get the idea.
    Nobody is asking you to love President Trump. Nobody is asking you to be his best friend. In fact, you don’t even have to like him.
    But just take a moment to give this some thought and you’ll find that you’d be less than fair and honest if you did not recognize all that he’s accomplished for America — often against overwhelming odds and with powerful special interests aligned against him.
    Vote the platform and direction not the personality.”

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