The Heritage Foundation

Backgrounder #719

July 18, 1989

July 18, 1989 | Backgrounder on

Innocents Abroad: How the President Can Discourage CongressionalDiplomacy

(Archived document, may contain errors)

I I 719 July 18, 1989 INNOCENTS ABROm HOW THE PRESIDE CAN DISCOURAGE CONGRESSIONAL DIPLOMACY INTRODUCTION The President is the sole organ of the nation in its externd relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations So spoke Congressman John Marshall several years before he became Chief Justice of the United States.

When Marshall uttered these words two centuries ago, American leaders understood the need for the young nation to speak with one vo ice in world affairs and to present a united front to friend and foe alike negotiations and executive direction of diplomacy are as essential as ever to let allies and enemies know where the U.S. stands. And unity is even more important to prevent foreign governments from manipulating divisions within the U.S. government Shared Enteprise. Although John Marshall called for an executive monopoly in the actual conduct of diplomacy, he recognized that, in the formulation of foreign policy in general, Congress a nd the President share some responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution. As Henry Kissinger announced a little more than a decade ago, Congress must have both the sense and the reality of participation; foreign policy must be a shared enterprise The U.S. faces different threats today, but unity in the conduct of This is the second in a series of studies from The Heritage Foundations US. Congress Assessment Project It was preceded by Buckgounder No. 701, A Presidential Strategy for Repealing the War Powers Resolution April 20,1979).

Kissingers words merely restate what successful Presidents have always known that congressional support is essential to the success of long-term foreign policy initiatives. Thus Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg, the powerful Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, advised President HarryTruman If you want us in on the landing, you have to let us in on the take-off.

Yet congressional deference toward the Executive in the day-to-day conduct of foreign policy is jus t as important as presidential attempts to secure the support of Congress. Congress must not infringe on the Presidents constitutional and practical powers to negotiate with foreign nations. The reason: When individual Congressmen or Senators attempt to c u t deals with foreign governments, independently of and even in opposition to the diplomacy of an Administration, foreign regimes are able to play off one part of the U.S. government against another Dangerous Precedent. The communist dictatorship in Nicara gua recently pursued such a divide-and-conquer policy, encouraged by the independent diplomacy of Texas Democrat Jim Wright, then Speaker of the House.

Wrights attempt to act as an unofficial Secretary of State from 1987 until just recently undermined the credibility of U.S. diplomats in Central America and set a dangerous precedent for future confrontations between the branches.

Although unprecedented in degree, Wrights maverick negotiations were only the latest and worst example of congressional diplomac y, which typically has taken the more subtle form of letters by Congressmen to foreign leaders or attempts by ideological and ethnic lobbies in Congress to influence American diplomacy in favor of particular foreign governments.

Presidents can take a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of congressional diplomacy and to mitigate the damage that it causes.

First, the President should keep Congress accurately informed. This will reduce the possibility that individual Congressmen can justify congressi onal diplomacy as part of their fact-finding function gauge opposition and secure support for his conduct of U.S. diplomacy. He should deputize formally those congressmen he selects to undertake particular diplomatic missions.

Third, the President should insist that Congressmen allow State Department officials or other Administration representatives to be present at meetings between Congressmen and-foreign-leaders. This would reduce the possibility that such meetings will provide foreign governments with an incentive to play one branch of the U.S. government against another.

Some would-be congressional diplomats, however, probably will be deterred only by retaliation: presidential political retaliation against particular Congressmen, and in some cases, legal retaliation against foreign governments and agents who attempt to co r rupt the Ameriian policy-making process for their own ends Second, the President should consult with Congress, when appropriate, to 2 The President should expel or deny visas to foreign diplomats who meddle in domestic politics, and he should push for leg i slation to stiffen the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act to deter foreign encouragement of congressional diplomacy. Firm presidential action to curb congressional diplomacy will be good for the country and for Congress SECRETARY OF STATE JIM WRIGHT At b est unseemly, and at worst unconstitutional, was the verdict of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican. Guerrilla theater and unbelievable melodrama is what an unnamed senior Reagan Administration official called it. An intervention into the day-to-d ay running of foreign policy that was breathtaking in its scope and whose like is hard to recall, was The Washington Posts characterization in its November 16, 1987, editorial.

What both the conservatives and the liberal newspaper were condemning was the u nauthorized diplomacy of then House Speaker Jim Wright. When Ronald Reagan refused to receive Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega during his trip to Washington in 1987, Wright, without notifying the White House or the State Department, met with 0rtega.The S p eaker, who has since resigned while being investigated for ethics violations, engaged in what amounted to full-scale negotiations with Ortega, even volunteering the services of congressional staff to facilitate proposed negotiations between the Sandinista s and the U.S.-backed rebels.

Meeting with Friends. Claiming that he merely was acting in a private capacity in talking with people from foreign countries whom I regard as friendsT2 Wright asserted: Im not trying to replace Secretary [of State George] Shul tz. Yet, others such as Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, Wrights fellow Democrat, thought that the Speaker was trying to play Secretary of State. Quipped Dukakis sarcastically to an audience of supporters: I hope every single one of you has called o r written Jim Wright to thank him for taking over as Secretary of State, pro When Wright was not claiming that he was acting as a private citizen I dont need to get permission from anybody to talk to any human being he was attempting to justify his exerci s e of the diplomatic authority of the President and the Secretary of State on dubious constitutional grounds. I regard the relationship between the executive and legislative branch as a co-equal. relationship, he said, and I think its my responsibility to u phold the dignity of the legislative branch 1 The Washington Post, November 15,1987, p. Al 2 The Washington Times, November 17,1989, p. Al 3 The Washington Post, November 17,1987, p. Al 4 The New York Ties, January 4, 1988, p. A12 3 Critical Distinction. I n offering such a justification, Wright ignored the long-established constitutional tenet that, while the branches of the U.S government are coequal, the Constitution unequivocally assigns them distinctly different powers. The President, for example, cann ot supervise the daily business of the House of Representatives, decide which Congressmen shall be allowed to speak, or appoint members to congressional committees.

These are duties that the Constitution assigns to the Speaker of the House.

Similarly, the Speaker has no authority to conduct foreign diplomacy.

This critical distinction was brushed aside by Wright, who proclaimed that Congress should not be subservient and subordinate to the Administrative branch on these issues. This prompted even The Wash ington Post to warn that: the proprieties of the American system come under heavy assault when the Speaker uses such power as though the actual conduct of diplomacy in this delicate passage were his responsibility. By inserting himself into a negotiation in a way that keeps the president out, he over-reaches recklessly?

The Speakers foray into diplomacy had real consequences. It reduced significantly the Administrations leverage in dealing with Nicaragua. One Sandinista official boasted that Ortegas strate gy of playing Wright off against Reagan would leave the administration totally isolated THE CONGRESSIONAL FOOT IN THE FOREIGN POLICY DOOR The Speakers-adventures in congressional diplomacy are but the latest in a series of independent congressional diplom a cy initiatives by members of Congress. In early May 1985, for example, less than a week after the House had rejected an Administration request for humanitarian aid for the Nicaragua Freedom Fighters, known as the Contras, Sandinista leader Ortega flew to Moscow to seek more military aid. The next weekend Representatives George Miller of California, and David Bonior of Michigan, both Democrats flew to Managua, the Nicaraguan capital, to talk with Sandinista officials.

U.S. Embassy officials were excluded fr om the meetings. According to press reports, the Congressmen asked the Nicaraguan Marxists to help them (the Democrats in Washington) out of a difficult political situation by making concessions to opposition groups in Nicaragua. Ortegas trip to Moscow ha d embarrassed Democrats by seeming to prove Reagans point that the Sandinista regime was a Soviet client state 6 5 The Washington Post, November 16,1987 6 Evans and Nod, The Washington Post, May 15,1985 4 Central America is not the only region of the world in which maverick congressional diplomats take an interest. In January 1985, during a visit to Washington, Belgian Prime Minister Wilfried Martens was handed a letter signed by thirteen House Democrats. They urged Martens to reverse his position supportin g the immediate deployment of cruise missiles in Belgium The Congressmen were asking the Belgian leader to repudiate the policy of the U.S. government and NATO.

Congressional diplomacy was not an innovation of the Reagan years or of congressional Democrats . In the Carter Administration, for example, during the controversy over the Panama Canal Treaty, Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, Minority Leader Howard Baker, and other Senators travelled to Panama and negotiated changes in the treaty with Panamanian officials.

George Hansen the former Republican Congressman from Idaho, traveled toTehran in November 1979 and attempted to negotiate the release of 52 Americans held hostage in the,U.S. Embassy. Hansen reported that the purpose of his ten-day visit was to get in on an unofficial basis and do business. During the 1980s, however, maverick diplomacy by Congressmen has become more aggressive, and with greater consequences for U.S. policy FOREIGN LOBBIES IN CONGRESS -A PATIERN OF MANIPULATION Highly visible ve ntures in unofficial diplomacy by leaders of Congress are still relatively rare. Much more common is behind-the-scenes negotiation between Congressmen and domestic lobbies and agents for foreign states.

Congress is far too susceptible to lobbying by specia l interests to be a reliable participant in the conduct of U.S. diplomacy. Just as pork-barrel politics dominates the contemporary federal budget process, congressional foreign policy-making often serves the interests of powerful, yet narrow constituencie s Worldwide Pressure Groups. Such constituency pressures are not new.

Examples: In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Congress often acted upon the demands of German-American and Irish-American lobbies to oppose the pro-British foreign policies of U.S. Pre sidents. Since the 195Os, Congress has been especially responsive to the demands of American citizens with relatives in the captive nations of Eastern Europe. East Asian countries also have been powerful lobbyists on Capitol Hill, from the days of the pos twar China Lobby to the Koreagate of the 1970s.

The pro-Israel lobby is the most powerful domestic pressure group devoted to the national interest of a foreign power. The Eisenhower Administrations Middle Eastern diplomacy suffered an embarrassing defeat in 1956 when 7 2704.

John Felton, Iran, Tensions Mount as Crisis Continues, Congressional Quuteffy, December 1,1979, p 5 Congress, under pressure from American advocates of Israeli interests refused t o fund the Administrations proposed loan to Egypt for the Aswan Dam.This congressionally imposed reversal in policy contributed in part to Egyptian strongman Gamal Nassers decision to nationalize the Suez Canal which provoked war between Egypt and Britain , France, and Israel as well as a rift between these allies of the U.S. and the U.S. government. It was also a factor in the drift of Egypt into the Soviet camp for more than a decade.

In 1975, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) authored the letter of seventy-six Senators protesting the Ford-Kissinger position in the delicate negotiations about the future of the Israeli-occupied Sinai?

During the Reagan Administration, pro-Israel groups pressured Congress to oppose Reagans sale of the adv anced technology of the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) to Saudi Arabia and to prevent his visit to the military cemetery in Bitburg, West Germany.

Extreme Actions. Under pressure from Greek-American lobbyists Congress defied presidential requests and imposed an embargo of arms sales toTurkey in 1975 because of the Greek-Turkish conflict over Cyprus.

Congress has imposed even harsher measures against the South African government.The anti-British policies of the Ad Hoc Committee on Irish Affair s, which now includes 122 Congressmen, have been too extremist even for the Republic of Ireland; its former Prime Minister, Jack Lynch, appealed to members of Congress in the 1970s not to join the Ad Hoc Committee.

Although American citizens clearly have the right to. express themselves on any issue they choose, the success of ethnic lobbies in Congress suggests that Congress is too vulnerable to special interest pressure to be trusted with the formulation of a coherent foreign policy in the American inte r est. Said former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Clement Zablocki, the Wisconsin Democrat, in 1978, Congress is too responsive to the lobbies of ethnic and special interests in the U.S. to be able to take the lead in foreign policy without endang e ring the national intere~t DIPLOMACY AND THE CONSTITUTION Although no general foreign affairs power explicitly is granted either the President or Congress by the Constitution, the President is granted far more diplomatic authority than Congress. One sourc e of presidential authority in diplomacy is found in Article I1 of the Constitution 8 Sen. Charles McC. Mathias, Jr Ethnic Groups and Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Summer 1981, p. 993 9 Thomas M. Frank and Edward Weisband, Foreign Poky by Congress (New Y ork Oxford University Press 1979 p. 165 6 He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to makeTreaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur Additional authority has been derived from the Presidents power to receive ambassadors and other public ministers and the power to] nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls Inasmuch as treaties have the force of laws, the President is responsible for 1 0 11 12 their execution.The Constitution in Article 11, Section 3, provides that He shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed. This take care clause also gives the President the power to enter into executive agreements with foreign governments, w ithout Senate ratification, in the course of carrying out the obligations of laws or treaties. Congress and the courts always have recognized the customary right of the President to appoint executive agents who may be private citizens, to carry out partic ular diplomatic missions.

Presidents Unqualified Right. The President also is given constitutional authority over executive foreign affairs agencies by his power to require the Opinion in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departmen ts, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices In the Department of Foreign Affairs Act of July 27,1789, creating what later became the Department of State, the First Congress many of whose members had helped to draft the Constitu t ion, ordered U.S diplomats to conduct diplomacy in such manner as the President of the United States shall from time to time order or instruct. The same act gives the President an unqualified right to remove the Secretary of State demonstrating the intent of the Founders to make the Secretary the Presidents agent in foreign affairs T.HE ROLE OF CONGRESS I Thesenate Under the Constitution, the treaty power is a concurrent power, shared by the President and the Senate. Controversy has arisen from time to tim e over the scope of the Senates share in the treaty power.

George Washington believed that the Constitution permits Senate advice on treaties in the negotiation as wellas the ratification stage. Although Washington, after a visit to the Senate in 1789, nev er returned in person to 10 Article 11, Sec. 2 11 Article 11, Sec. 3 12 Article 11, Sec. 2 7answer questions (a duty he considered undignified and unpleasant), he continued to consult the Senate at most stages of negotiation. He submitted the names of tre a ty negotiators to the Senate for confirmation, and (except in the case of the Jay Treaty with Britain) he submitted the instructions given to the negotiators for Senate approval Consulting the Senate. Over time, the Senate ceased insisting on its right to approve treaty negotiators or their instructions and acquiesced to more presidential discretion in treaty-making. As the great presidential scholar Edward Corwin noted, The wording of the Constitution itself visualizes treaty-making as one continuous proc ess to be performed by a single authority, the President acting throughout in consultation with the Senate.

The Senate, over time, split the constitutional authority into two authorities a Presidential function of formulation and negotiation followed b a S enatorial function of critiGism and amendment or rejection set by Washington: consulting with key Senators during negotiations appointing Members of Congress to negotiating teams, and occasionally seeking Senate confirmation for important negotiators. The 1945 United Nations Participation Act, for example, requires Senate confirmation of the U.S. representative and other delegates to the United Nations. Congress, of course, by statute, created the State Department and other federal agencies engaged in dipl o macy, and defines the duties of subordinate officials in the executive branch. The Senate can influence the Presidents selection of ambassadors by refusing to confirm his nominees. All of this may be considered the diplomatic policy making for which Congr ess has a cons ti tu t ional role.

The House of Representatives 2i Nevertheless, subsequent chief executives followed many of the precedents 1 Although the Senate has a concurrent if not clearly defined share with the President in diplomatic policy making, the House has but an indirect role.

The distinction was dramatized in 1796, when George Washington notified the House that the Senate had ratified JaysTreaty with Britain. When the House demanded a copy of the negotiators instructions, Washington (who ha d shared the instructions with the Senate) refused, citing the need for secrecy and the exclusive role of the Senate as the Presidents partner in diplomatic policy making.

Although the Constitution does not give the House a role in treaty formulation or ratification, the power to appropriate funds and pass legislation executing a treaty gives the Houseconsiderable indirect influence.

It can also use its exclusive power to appropriate funds to render executive agreements meaningless. Example: During the Fo rd Administration 13 Edward Corwin, The Constitution and World Organization (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1944 p. 36 8 Congress in 1974 refused to enact legislation to carry out an executive agreement withTurkey which would have ended the embarg o on U.S. arms sales to that country Its appropriations power means that the House in practice is a participant in diplomacy. And with the Senate, the House has a role in creating the State Department and defining its duties No theory, however, justifies o r condones participation by members of the House in the conduct of diplomacy, rather than in diplomatic policy-making Wilsons Approach vs. Washingtons presidential leadership in diplomacy came with Woodrow Wilson, who as a professor urged the President not to consult with the Senate at all, but to pursue unilateral, independent negotiations. Wilson suggested that the President force the Senate to comply with his actions by getting the U.S. into such scrapes so pledged in the view of the world to certain cou rses of action that the Senate hesitates to bring about the appearance of dishonor which would follow its refusals to rat

the rash promises or to support the indiscreet threats of the Department of State.

Although this view has no basis in the Constitution or the practice of the Founders who became Presidents, Wilson, who sought to replace the system of checks and balances in America with a European-style executive/party government, followed his own advice in connection with the League of Nations treaty, which he presented as afdt accompZi to the Senate, refusing to permit the amendments that probably would have ensured its passage.

After Wilson, successive Presidents, without returning to Senate approval o f instructions to treaty negotiations or other early practices, have been careful to secure Senate (and sometimes House) support during the negotiation of treaties Congressional Diplomacy at the Presidents Request A drastic break with the Washingtonian tr a dition of cooperative Certain activities, however, are forbidden to Congress under the Washingtonian as well as the Wilsonian view. Example: Neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives may appoint agents to carry on actual negotiations with foreig n powers, nor may individual Senators or Congressmen carry on such negotiations themselves. The only exception is when the President appoints Members of Congress to diplomatic teams under his supervision. The President has t.he power to appoint Senators or Congressmen as diplomats to negotiate treaties or to undertake other diplomatic activities.

Congressional Negotiators. As early as 1814, James Madison appointed Senator James A. Bayard of Delaware and House Speaker Henry Clay of Tennessee to negotiate a p eace treaty with Britain. William McKinley appointed three members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to negotiate the 1898 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish-American War 9 DISCOUR Theodore Roosevelt, in 1903, appointed Senator Henry Cabot L o dge of Massachusetts to an Alaskan boundary tribunal. Warren G. Harding, in 1921 appointed Lodge, then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament.To encourage bipartisan support, Harding also appoin t ed Senate minority leader Oscar W Underwood of Alabama to the same disarmament conference. Herbert Hoover followed Hardings example in appointing Congressmen to the London Naval Conference in 1930 Franklin Roosevelt appointed congressional commissioners f or the World Monetary and Economic Conference in 1933 and the International Refugee Conference in 19

43. More important wasTrumans appointment of Members of Congress to the 1945 United Nations conference in San Francisco.

Recalling the dismal fate of Wils ons projected League of Nations, Truman wanted to ensure that congressional opposition would not torpedo his plans for U.S. participation in international organizations. This strategy of securing congressional support for the U.N. was furthered by the sta t utory requirement that two Senators and two Representatives be alternate members of the U.S. delegation to the U.N 4GING CONGRESSIONAL DIPLOMACY Congressional diplomacy can take many forms. It can be unauthorized negotiations between individual Congressme n and foreign representatives; it can be letters to foreign leaders by Members of Congress dissenting from the official U.S. diplomatic line; or it can be congressional efforts on behalf of foreign states motivated by the desire of Congressmen to please po werful domestic lobbies.

To reduce the likelihood of congressional diplomacy, the President should 1) Keep Congress accurately informed.

Congressional diplomacy, in the form of off-the-record negotiation with foreign governments and intermediaries, is oft en disguised as fact finding by Congressmen and Senators. The President cannot easily prevent such abuses, but he can remove the ostensible justification for them by asking executive branch foreign affairs agencies to provide accurate and timely briefings to Congressmen. The Constitution gives the President a limited executive privilege in foreign affairs, which he should use only when absolutely necessary. If an Administration unreasonably withholds information which Congress needs to make informed decisi o ns about its own duties in foreign policy making, Congress will have no choice except to try to obtain accurate information about foreign affairs from sources other than the President, including foreign governments. In such circumstances, reasonable fact- f inding meetings or travel may provide a cover for an extension of unreasonable congressional diplomacy 10 2) Consult with Congress Some Members of Congress may be tempted to engage in congressional diplomacy to remind the Executive that they belong to a c oequal branch.

Some Senators and Representatives who do not care about a particular policy on a given issue may want the President to show respect either to them or to their branch of government.These legislators can sometimes be convinced of a pkicular po licy if the President and his policy makers simply keep them informed foreign policy the most consistent opponents of presidential foreign policy in recent decades. Reforms of the 1970s that dispersed power in the House have increased the power of ethnic a nd ideological foreign policy lobbies. In addition, ethnic lobbies can have more impact on House than on Senate races, because of the smaller amounts of money that can prove decisive in a congressional district campaign. This makes Representatives more re s ponsive to these groups even if the groups do not represent the members constituencies.The President can minimize the effect of such pressure group politics in the House by publicly reaffirming the unique responsibilities in diplomacy that the Constitutio n assigns to the Senate. He can do this by following the example of George Washington: share some information with the Senate that is not shared with the House 3) Insist that the Senate has greater prerogatives than the House in Members of particular facti o ns in the House of Representatives have been 4) Deputize Congressmen as diplomats formally, not informally The Reagan Administration mistakenly solicited the cooperationof Speaker Wright in diplomacy without defining a formal and limited role for him. Whe n ever possible a President who seeks to enlist congressional help in the details or conduct of diplomacy should formally appoint Members of Congress as part of a diplomatic team, with a defined mission of a limited duration.This will tend to persuade the p u blic and Members of Congress that the Presidents solicitation of a Congressmans aid is neither the beginning of an indefinite congressional partnership with the President in negotiations nor the recognition of inherent congressional prerogatives in the co n duct of diplomacy. Another advantage: the presence of Administration officials on the team might impose discipline on congressional members speak for the U.S. government communicate with foreign officials as part of their legislative duties, as long as th e y advise the foreign officials that they cannot negotiate on behalf of the U.S. The Bush Administration should advise all foreign embassies in the U.S of this policy 5) Insist that Members of Congress notify foreign leaders that they cannot The State Depa r tment recognizes that Members of Congress can 11 6) Insist that a member of the Department of State or other Administration official be present at meetings between Members of Congress and foreign leaders Rather than announce such a policy during a conflic t with Congress and risk having the policy labeled a political move in a particular controversy, the President should consistently insist on the presence of Administration officials at all significant meetings between foreign leaders and Members of Congres s Stiffer Measures. Sometimes these measures to limit congressional diplomacy may not be enough. A Congressman may be determined to embarrass the Administration or to pursue his or her goals or those of a constituency through independent, informal negotiat i on with foreign governments. In such cases, the President should punish the congressional diplomat politically In rare instances, as when foreign agents attempt to manipulate the U.S. political process, legal penalties may be appropriate If necessary, the President should 1) Expel foreign diplomats who meddle in U.S. domestic politics Foreign diplomats, who engage in attempts to manipulate policy divisions between the President and Congress, should be declaredpersona non grata and sent out of the country 2 ) Deny visas to foreign leaders who show contempt for Americas constitutional processes The Administration should deny visas to foreign heads of state and other foreign agents who clearly come to the U.S. to meet with Members of Congress without including a ny Administration officials. In extreme cases the Administration should bring criminal prosecutions against foreign agents who impermissibly interfere in the constitutional processes of U.S. foreign policy making 3) Stiffen the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act14 should be amended to stiffen the penalties for foreign inducements to congressional negotiation. The Act requires U.S. organizations that engage in activities on behalf of foreign countries and groups to ide ntify themselves and disclose their activities and finances. The Act should be amended to increase specific requirements for disclosure of all lobbying efforts directed at Members of Congress by foreign agents.The President also should direct the Justice D epartment to use its discretion according to the present act to prosecute Americans who have not registered as foreign agents, even though their political activities on behalf of foreign governments would come under the Act 14 Foreign Agents Registration A ct of 1938, Sex. 1 et seq as amended 22 U.S.CA. and 611 et seq 12 CONCLUSION Congressional diplomacy weakens the ability of the U.S. to carry out a consistent and effective foreign policy. The Constitution, which gives Congress as an institution important roles in foreign policy-making, does not give individual Members of Congress any authority to engage in diplomacy with foreign countries or their agents As the success of the Nicaraguan government in exploiting divisions between the White House and Congre s s showed, the practice of maverick diplomacy by members of Congress encourages foreign regimes to try to take advantage of Americas uniquely open and decentralized government Speaking with a Single Voice. Countries that attempt to play one branch of the U . S. government against another, whether dramatically as in the case of the Wright-Ortega affair, or quietly through influence over domestic pressure groups, need to be firmly discouraged by the Executive. So do Congressmen who abuse the powers of the legis lative branch. The President should use all the means at his disposal and request additional, new measures, to ensure that the U.S. government speaks in the diplomatic arena with a single voice.

Michael E. Lind Visiting Fellow 13

About the Author