Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting, Held at the White House, 10 a.m., February 20, 19531

  • The following were present:
    • President Eisenhower
    • Vice President Nixon
    • Secretary of State Dulles
    • Secretary of Treasury Humphrey
    • Secretary of Defense Wilson
    • Attorney General Brownell
    • Secretary of Interior McKay
    • Secretary of Agriculture Benson
    • Secretary of Commerce Weeks
    • Secretary of Labor Durkin
    • Hon. Charles R. Hook, Acting Postmaster General
    • Federal Security Administrator Mrs. Hobby
    • Ambassador Lodge
    • Budget Director Dodge
    • Director for Mutual Security Stassen
    • Governor Adams
    • Mr. Cutler
    • General Persons
    • Mr. C. D. Jackson
[Page 1782]

[Here follows discussion of an upcoming meeting with the British regarding financial and economic matters.]

2. The Bricker Amendment

Mr. Dulles warned against the difficulties which would be caused by adoption of the Bricker Amendment to prevent the making of treaties which would affect American domestic laws. The amendment would seriously limit Executive authority and make impossible effective conduct of foreign affairs. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brownell substantiated this view. Mr. Benson noted that the amendment may be inspired by a desire to make impotent the Trade Agreements Act. Mr. Dulles is to prepare a memorandum for the President and certain Cabinet Members concerning the implications.2

The Vice President suggested that support for the amendment developed considerably from opposition to the U.N. Genocide Convention. Mr. Dulles reported a change in United States policy in regard to the Convention which can be helpful in combating the Bricker Amendment.

The Cabinet discussed the manner in which treaties have affected domestic rights, and the President stated his dislike for any changing of the Constitution except by regular procedures.

The President suggested, in connection with the Bricker Amendment, that the administration should act extensively to make known justifications for its position on various issues.

[Here follows discussion of eight other items, among which were the question of possible United States assistance to European countries suffering from the effects of a recent flood as well as a variety of domestic issues]

  1. Prepared by Minnich.
  2. Presumably a reference to the ten-page memorandum, not printed, which was attached to Dulles’ letter of Mar. 2 to the President, p. 1785.