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Why and How Executive Agreements Are Made

Executive agreements are a form of international agreement that are made by the executive branch of the government in the United States. These agreements are becoming increasingly popular in today’s globalized world, and are often used as an alternative to treaties. In this article, we will explore the reasons why and how executive agreements are made.

Why Executive Agreements?

Executive agreements are a useful tool for the executive branch of the government for several reasons. Firstly, they are an effective way to manage international relations without the need for Senate approval. Unlike treaties, executive agreements do not require Senate ratification, and can be put into effect immediately after they are signed.

Secondly, executive agreements are often used when the subject matter is of a relatively minor nature, or when the treaty-making process is too cumbersome. This is because treaties require a large amount of time and resources to negotiate and ratify, whereas executive agreements can be made quickly and easily.

Finally, executive agreements are often used when the subject matter is sensitive or confidential. Because executive agreements do not require Senate approval, they can be kept confidential and away from the public eye.

How are Executive Agreements Made?

The process of making an executive agreement varies depending on the subject matter and the parties involved. However, there are some general steps that are typically followed:

1. Negotiation – The first step in making an executive agreement is negotiation. This involves discussions between the executive branch of the US government and the foreign government or international organization.

2. Drafting – Once an agreement has been reached, it is drafted into a legal document. This document outlines the terms and conditions of the agreement, and is reviewed and revised as necessary.

3. Signature – Once both parties are satisfied with the terms of the agreement, it is signed by the relevant officials. In the case of the US government, executive agreements can be signed by the President, the Secretary of State, or other high-level officials.

4. Implementation – After the agreement has been signed, it is put into effect. This may involve changes to US law or policy, or the provision of aid or other resources to the foreign government or organization.


Executive agreements are an important tool for managing international relations in today’s complex and interconnected world. They allow the US government to quickly and easily negotiate agreements with foreign governments and international organizations, without the need for Senate ratification. By understanding why and how these agreements are made, we can gain a deeper understanding of the role they play in shaping US foreign policy.