Presidential Executive Agreements

Yonamine, Ann
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Under the Constitution of the United States, the President has the "power by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties." A treaty is defined as "a compact made between two or more independent nations." The definition for an executive agreement is "(an) understanding or agreement of the United States, (made by the President), with other nations which can lead to and obligate the United States to significant commitments with foreign parities without the advice and consent of the Senate.” Both treaties and executive agreements are the means through which international bonds are made. In fact, executive agreements may even be considered as treaties for "the mere designation of the instrument by another name does not prevent its being a treaty if it is such in substance." There are three categories of executive agreements: the first involves those agreements which are created pursuant to an existing treaty; the second are agreements produced under the joint authority of the President and Congress; and the last division consists of agreements concluded based on the independent authority of the President – these agreements are known as "presidential executive agreements." With the exception of the last category, executive agreements are very similar to the treaties in that the agreements which are made by the President incorporates Senate participation.
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