Following the election in November 1952 of Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower as President, Senator Bricker and his adviser, Frank E. Holman, former President of the American Bar Association, considered plans to introduce a version of S.J. Res. 130 when the 83d Congress convened in January. In a letter to Senator Bricker, dated November 6, Holman said that he believed President-elect Eisenhower’s reaction to the proposed constitutional amendment would “depend somewhat on who becomes his Secretary of State”. He remarked that if “Dewey or John Foster Dulles is Secretary of State we may have almost as much opposition from them as from Acheson, et al.” (Ohio Historical Society, John W. Bricker papers)
Sherman Adams, who became the Assistant to President Eisenhower, recalled in his memoirs that in early January 1953, when the President-elect’s staff had been meeting at the Commodore Hotel in New York City preparatory to the inauguration, he had received a message from Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles regarding the possible introduction in the new Congress of a constitutional amendment pertaining to the President’s treatymaking powers. He quoted Dulles as having said, [Page 1778]
“while a case can be made for some amendment to meet the theoretical possibility that the President might negotiate, the Senate might ratify and the Supreme Court might sustain a treaty to deprive the American citizens of their Constitutional rights, the actual amendment, as drawn [apparently a reference to S.J. Res. 130], would go far beyond this and might seriously impair the treaty making power and the ability of the President to deal with current matters, notably U.S. troops abroad, etc., through administrative agreements. I think this whole matter needs to be carefully studied before there is any action.”
Adams indicated that, after consulting with General Eisenhower, he had wired Wilton B. (Jerry) Persons in Washington, who was also to become an Assistant to the President, and had asked Persons to convey to Senator Bricker the President-elect’s wish that the Senator consult with him before submitting his resolution to the Senate. (Adams, Firsthand Report (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1961), page 105) No record of a meeting at this time between the two men has been found at the Eisenhower Library.
On January 7, 1953, Senator Bricker introduced S.J. Res. 1, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of
the United States relative to the making of treaties and executive
agreements,” which was then referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
Cosponsored by 63 other Senators, including 44 of the 47 Republicans in
the Senate, the wording of the resolution differed somewhat from that of
S.J. Res. 130 which had been
introduced the previous year. S.J.
Res. 1 proposed the following article as an amendment to the
In letters to Dulles and Attorney General-designate Herbert Brownell on January 7, Senator Bricker stated that he had no intention of “hamstringing the President in the conduct of the Nation’s foreign policy.” (Ohio Historical Society, John W. Bricker papers) On the same day, Senator McCarran, joined by Senator Bricker, introduced S.J. Res. 2, “To impose limitations with regard to Executive Agreements,” which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
On February 16, Senator Arthur V. Watkins (R.–Utah), introduced S.J.
Res. 43, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the
United States, relating to the effect of certain treaties,” which, like
S.J. Res. 1, was referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary. S.J. Res.
43 proposed the following article as an amendment to the Constitution:
At the Legislative Leaders Conference at the White House on February 16, there was no discussion of the Watkins resolution, but S.J. Res. 1 and 2 were discussed. Secretary of State Dulles urged that Congress go slowly on the Bricker Amendment, which he said was very complicated and which would seriously curtail executive agreements. Senator Robert A. Taft (R.–Ohio) assured the Secretary of State that there would be no hasty action. Senator Leverett Saltonstall (R.–Mass.) referred to S.J. Res. 2 as a dangerous one which had to be watched closely. According to the memorandum by Adams describing this meeting, the general trend of the discussion indicated that the legislators “were not ready to make a stand against the Bricker amendment, although neither did they make a strong stand in favor of it.” (Memorandum of February 16 to Joseph M. Dodge, Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Eisenhower Library, Staff Secretary Office records, “Legislative Leaders Conference”)