A second hypothesis that relates to some of these restrictions is that the treaty`s high legislative barriers contribute to resolving the commitment problems arising from executive rotation. They argue that strong legislative support, implicit in the treaty mechanism, reassures negotiating partners that the United States will likely work together in the long term, even if administrations change. Footnote 55 This rationale is based on the assumption that senators` preferences are more stable than the preferences of the Speaker, for example because the Senate represents a broader consensus among the voting population, less sensitive to political shocks, footnote 56 or because senators serve longer terms and avoid changing positions to avoid being considered fluctuating. Footnote 57 This would allow other countries to rely more on a treaty promise. 105 For example, HeinOnlines U.S. Treaty s. Treaty s Library provides access to the full text of a large number of international agreements. The United States is an international anomaly in that it has two largely interchangeable commitment mechanisms to conclude the vast majority of its agreements with other states. Footnote 1 An instrument is the treaty. The treaties follow the procedure of reclamation and approval under Article II of the Constitution, which requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate for a treaty to be ratified and internationally binding. Footnote 2 Instead of the treaty, commitments can also be made in the form of an agreement between Congress and the executive branch, which requires only a simple majority, both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Margolis, who analyzes all international agreements concluded from 1943 to 1977, provides empirical support and finds that the distribution of seats in the Senate is very predictable between the treaties and the executive agreements of Congress. Footnote 48 The findings form the basis of the circumvention hypothesis that the choice between contracts and executive agreements is exclusively the function of national legislative assistance.
Most executive agreements were concluded in accordance with a treaty or an act of Congress. However, presidents have sometimes reached executive agreements to achieve goals that would not find the support of two-thirds of the Senate. For example, after the outbreak of World War II, but before the Americans entered the conflict, President Franklin D. Roosevelt negotiated an executive agreement that gave the United Kingdom 50 obsolete destroyers in exchange for 99-year leases on some British naval bases in the Atlantic. Executive agreement, an agreement between the United States and a foreign government that is less formal than a treaty and is not subject to the constitutional requirement for ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. 80 Hathaway combines multiple sources, resulting in a total of 3,119 agreements over the 1980-2000 period. See Hathaway, supra note 1, at 1258-60. In contrast, the data set used here contains 6,148 agreements over the same period. The results can be best illustrated by comparing estimated survival curves or cumulative risk curves. The survival curve at the time shows the probability that a chord will last per t, depending on whether it lasted until t.