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Constitutional Law

Executive Power Over Foreign Affairs

Executive Power Over Foreign Affairs

Learn about the powers the Constitution confers upon the president with respect to foreign affairs, including the president’s role in the treaty-making process, presidential control of ambassadors, and the president’s power to recognize foreign countries, among others.


The Constitution says surprisingly little about the president’s central role in supervising U.S. foreign policy and the conduct of military operations. As with the president’s power over domestic affairs, some of the president’s most important powers over foreign affairs do not appear on the face of the Constitution’s text, but instead have been inferred into the text and structure of Article II. The harder questions concerning these powers don’t go to whether they exist in the first place,...