Eisenhower Library, Dulles papers, “Bricker Amendment”

Memorandum of Meeting With Congressional Leaders on the Bricker Amendment, December 19, 1953 1

confidential
personal and private

It appeared that Attorney General Brownell had met with Senator Bricker the night before in an effort to arrive at a compromise. The Attorney General came away with the impression that a compromise could be reached on the basis of

(1)
Retention of Article I which is common to both the Bricker and Knowland Amendments.
(2)
Retention of the Knowland Amendment provision with reference to a record vote.
(3)
Dropping the “which” clause and providing in substance that, except in their application to aliens, treaties should not become law of the land except through act of Congress, but should be “international law”.
(4)
Dropping wholly the clause about Executive agreements.

Senator Bricker produced a formula which had been written after his meeting with Brownell. This, however, in substance retained the “which” clause by saying treaties should only become law of the land through “appropriate” legislation.

It was left that a committee, composed of the Attorney General and myself and Senators Bricker and Wiley, would meet between now and the opening of Congress in an effort to arrive at a compromise. The suggestion of the inclusion of Senator Wiley was made by Senator McCarthy.

Several Senators present indicated their very strong hope that a compromise would be reached, pointing out that otherwise there would be a very ugly and divisive debate which might have bad repercussions on the whole program.

  1. Drafted by Secretary Dulles.