Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Treaties Rejected by the Senate

In 1933, W. Stull Holt (1896-1981), a historian at the University of Washington, published a work entitled Treaties Rejected by the Senate: A Study of the Struggle between President and Senate over the Conduct of Foreign Relations. The textbook I used in my undergraduate American diplomatic history course in 1978--American Diplomacy: A History (3rd ed.) by Robert H. Ferrell--called Holt's book "still the best work on the subject" (p. 446).

One of the reasons Holt's book could stand as "the best work on the subject" for over forty years is that the Senate has defeated very few treaties since its publication. In fact, three out of every four treaties rejected by the Senate in the entire history of the United States were available for Holt to investigate by 1933. (The Senate rejected two other treaties in the two years after the book's publication.)

Here are a few questions for the diplomatic historians out there to ponder:

  1. How many treaties have been defeated by the Senate?
  2. How many treaties have been defeated by the Senate since World War II?
  3. What was the last treaty to be defeated by the Senate?

(Treaties that remain on the calendar of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee do not count.)

Answers are posted in the comments.

And, by the way, Holt's book is available online at Questia.