Congress, the Presidency and American Foreign Policy: by John Spanier

By John Spanier

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Additional info for Congress, the Presidency and American Foreign Policy: Pergamon Policy Studies on International Politics

Sample text

As amended, the bill granted the President power to eliminate tariffs of 5 percent or less on goods imported by the United States and to reduce by 60 percent tariffs above 5 percent. The President was also granted the power to eliminate tariffs on goods imported from developing countries. The bill also provided the President with the authority to grant MFN and credit to the Soviet Union. Concurrent with its consideration of the Trade Reform Act, Congress also voted on an amendment by Senator Adlai Stevenson which placed a limit on Exim Bank credit to the Soviet Union of $300 million for a four-year period.

In his inaugural address, President Nixon told "adversaries as well as friends" that negotiation and not confrontation would be the hallmark of his administration. True to this promise, Nixon emphasized the development of improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Within a year of Nixon's inauguration, Soviet and American representatives had begun negotiations on the limitation of strategic arms, Berlin, and other matters; but negotiations on trade were not begun.

In addition to these actors, the staffs of Jackson, Javits, Ribicoff, and Vanik played a central role in getting the amendment passed. In recent years, congressional staffs have increased dramatically; during the past decade, House and Senate staff has grown from 10,700 to 18,400, an increase of 70 60 percent. This development, as this case illustrates, could very likely have an important impact on future American foreign policymaking. To be sure, the executive branch made some serious errors in dealing with Congress in this case.

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