• Congress's Role in Foreign Diplomacy

    Pages: 12

    A 12 page research paper, plus a 2 page abstract, that analyzes the interplay of power between Congress and various Presidents during the Vietnam era, demonstrating the power of the Legislative Branch of government in regards to determining the course of foreign diplomacy. The writer specifically looks at the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and the War Powers Act. Bibliography lists 9 sources.

    File: D0_khconfd.rtf

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    of the Legislative Branch of government in regards to determining the course of foreign diplomacy. History shows that, with the institution of the War Powers Act, Congress began to take  an active role in foreign policy decision-making. While it is true that the Constitution gives the majority of the power for determining foreign policy to the Executive Branch, Congress does  possess real power in this regard. The parameters of that power is explored in the first section of the paper. Congressional power includes the power to create new foreign policy  agencies, abolish old ones, withhold confirmation to presidential appointees; remove existing powers from those appointees; investigate any agency, action or crisis; declare war; control the budget; reject, ignore, amend, or  impose conditions on presidential proposals; and ratify treaties. Drawing on primary source material, such as John F. Kennedys letter to the President of South Vietnam on December 14, 1961,  the writer argues that in previous decades, congressional leadership generally deferred to the judgement of the President and the Secretary of State, allowing the President to act independently of Congress.  However, this changed with the Vietnam Era and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. After Johnson and the military misrepresented the facts in regards to the incident in the Tonkin Gulf in  order to obtain the power to act unilaterally in Southeast Asia, Congress felt compelled to assume the full power granted that body by the Constitution, which they did by adopting  the War Powers Act. Drawing on the original documents, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and the War Powers Act are both discussed as pivotal points in the interplay of  power between the Executive Branch and Congress. Then, a brief history of the use of congressional power since the Vietnam era is offered, which stresses how congressional intervention in foreign 

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