Robert A. Taft: “The Place of the President and Congress in Foreign Policy”

(1951)

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No one can question the fact that the initiative in American foreign policy lies with the President. But … the American people certainly do not believe or intend that his power shall be arbitrary and unrestrained. They want a voice in the more important features of that policy, particularly those relating to peace and war. They expect their Senators and Congressmen to be their voice. … I shall try to define the place of Congress and the President under our Constitution. The debates in the Senate in early 1951 had even more to do with the question of who shall determine policy than with policy itself.…

The fundamental issue in the “great debate” was, and is, whether the President shall decide when the United States shall go to war or whether the people of the United States themselves shall make that decision.…

The matter was brought to an issue by the intervention of the President in the Korean War without even telling Congress what he was doing for several weeks. And it...


Source: From A Foreign Policy for Americans by Robert A. Taft, copyright 1951 by Robert A. Taft. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

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Robert A. Taft (Library of Congress)

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