President Dwight D. Eisenhower rejected the amendment on the grounds that it would obstruct the presidency`s conduct of foreign policy. In a letter to his brother Edgar, a lawyer who supported the resolution, Eisenhower said it would “paralyze the executive to the point of disempowering us in world politics.” The Eisenhower administration was well aware that most Republicans accepted the proposal and that its opposition was therefore carefully measured. After failing to reach a compromise with Bricker troops, Eisenhower sought the support of Democrats in the Senate. Georgian Senator Walter George introduced his own amendment, which confirmed the constitutional supremacy over treaties and executive agreements. In a key passage that reflected widespread opposition to the widespread use of unilateral executive agreements, De George`s proposal would have necessitate the implementation of legislation on executive agreements (but not for treaties) in the United States. The Eisenhower administration was strongly committed to defeating the Bricker and George proposals, in part because the councillors believed they would remove important prerogatives from the president and transfer foreign affairs authority from the executive to the legislature. The Bricker Amendment was defeated by 50 votes to 42 in the Senate on February 25, 1954. But George`s amendment did better; it was only one vote below the two-thirds required for probate.
Executive agreements are often used to circumvent the requirements of national constitutions for treaty ratification. Many nations that are republics with written constitutions have constitutional rules on treaty ratification. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is based on executive agreements. The implementation of executive agreements increased considerably after 1939. Prior to 1940, the U.S. Senate had ratified 800 treaties and presidents had concluded 1,200 executive agreements; From 1940 to 1989, during World War II and the Cold War, presidents signed nearly 800 treaties, but concluded more than 13,000 executive treaties. Dependence on contractual power has declined since World War II, as presidents increasingly turn to the use of executive agreements as a means of ensuring unilateral control of U.S. foreign relations. If the president acts unilaterally, the agreement is called a “single executive agreement.” If the president acts with the agreement of a simple majority of both houses of Congress, the agreement is called “legislative and executive agreement.” Presidents have a “margin of appreciation” in deciding whether they wish to pursue an international agreement in the form of a treaty, a single executive agreement or in the form of a legislative and executive agreement.
The Speaker`s decision generally depends on political factors, including the likelihood of obtaining Senate approval. Presidents have often chosen to exclude the Senate from concluding some controversial and historic international pacts on the channel of executive agreements, including the basic destructive agreement with Britain in 1940, the Yalta and Potsdam accords of 1945, the Vietnam Peace Agreement of 1973 and the Sinai Accords of 1975. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly give a president the power to enter into executive agreements.