Memorandum by the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs in the Department of State (Bevans)

Meeting of Committee to Coordinate Views of Executive Agencies on S.J. Res. 1, 2, and 431

Mr. Herman Phleger (Code 191—Ext. 4242), Legal Adviser of the Department of State, who had been designated Chairman of the Committee, conducted the meeting.

Others who participated in the meeting were:

Mr. Bernard M. Shanley, Acting Special Counsel to the President, The White House

Mr. Gerald Morgan, Special Assistant on the White House Staff

Mr. J. Lee Rankin (Code 197—Ext. 9), Assistant Attorney General, and Mr. Herzel H. E. Plaine (Code 197—Ext. 50), Department of Justice

Mr. Elbert P. Tuttle (Code 172—Ext. 312), General Counsel, and Mr. John Carlock, Treasury Department

Mr. Roger Kent (Code 131—Ext. 54157), General Counsel, and Mr. Robert Haydock (Code 131—Ext. 7–1200), Department of Defense

Mr. Harold B. Corwin (Code 164—Ext. 4774), Deputy General Counsel, Department of Commerce

Mr. Robert B. Eichholz (Code 189—Ext. 3305), Counsel for Director of Mutual Security

Mr. Roger W. Jones (Code 189—Ext. 425), Assistant Director for Legislative Reference, Bureau of the Budget

The Committee agreed that:

Each Executive agency head would communicate to the White House on Monday, March 2, 1953 its general views on the proposals involved and would indicate any need for additional time;2
In view of the hearings being scheduled to reopen Wednesday March 4, General Persons and Mr. Morgan of the White House Staff would informally approach the Senate Committee immediately (on February 27) and seek postponement, leaving the exact length of time to be determined later.

In the course of the discussions it was brought out that:

There are rumors that the Secretary of State might not appear in person
The Executive branch of the Government needs to get its position on the proposals clearly before the public
It would be very helpful to have the proposals considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but there was some question as to whether that was possible from a procedural standpoint
The Attorney General feels that the President would like to go along with Section 1 of S.J. Res. 1 if that is possible; the Department of Justice being of the opinion that Section 1 could be accepted if the language were improved
Section 1 as now written is susceptible of many far-reaching implications, particularly that, if adopted, it may result in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution preventing the negotiation of many treaties containing provisions contrary to State laws
Mr. George Finch, who is working with the Committee in connection with the hearings, urges the proposition that Congress possesses so many powers, such as the power to regulate commerce, declare war, et cetera, that the “which” clause in S.J. Res. 43 would affect the treaty-making power very little
Of the three resolutions S.J. Res. 2 constitutes the most immediate danger because it would become law as soon as it is adopted
The articles by Mr. Zechariah Chafee and Mr. Arthur J. Sutherland, Jr., were good statements in opposition to the proposals, Mr. Chafee’s article being printed in the Louisiana Law Review, May 1952, and Mr. Sutherland’s in the Harvard Law Review, June 1952.

Charles I. Bevans
  1. The source text indicates that the meeting took place at the White House on Feb. 27.
  2. For the views of various executive agencies and departments regarding the three resolutions, see the undated paper prepared in the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs, p. 1786.