Kongres a kompetencje prezydenta Stanów Zjednoczonych do użycia sił zbrojnych poza granicami kraju

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Wydział Prawa i Administracji UAM

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The Congress and Competences of the President of the USA for Using Armed Forces Out of the Country


The text of the U.S. Constitution is the source of the controversies between two branches of American government over the war powers. Only five times in U.S. history war was declared but American armed forces were sent to foreign countries at least in 125 instances, in some of them participating in combats. After the World War II Congress has increased its interest in that problem and discussed constitutional issues. However, until 1973 no general rules of law regulating the use of armed forces have been passed. In the paper the following important resolution are discussed: Connally Resolution 1951, Formosa Strait Resolution 1955, Middle East Resolution 1957, Cuban Resolution 1962, Berlin Resolution 1962 and Tonkin Gulf Resolution 1964. As a matter of fact these resolutions were passed in order to solve rather particular political situation (and to authorize the president to use armed forces) than the general constitutional issue of the war powers. Next the paper presents opinions of several American scholars and politicians as well as the Supreme Court decisions denying certiorari in Vietnam war draft cases (Orlando-, Da Costa and other cases). Then the most important provisions of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 are examined in details. The Resolution was to be the first law establishing general rules of the use of American armed forces abroad and the means of the Congressional control over it. The proof of the inefficiency of the War Powers Act was the „Mayaguez" case: an American ship captured by the Cambodians in May 1975 and rescued by Marines after a quick action ordered by the president without consultations required by the Act. (In May 1980 the similar action driving to rescue American hostages in Tehran has been undertaken unsuccessfully — also without prior consultations with Congressional leaders). The cnclusions of the paper are following: The War Powers Resolution is an important step made by Congress toward establishing rules of the exercising war powers by the president and Congress. The „Mayaguez" and Tehran cases prove that in practice Congressional oversight does not cover every situation in which the U.S. president orders military action against foreign country. Nevertheless, the importance of the Act results from following: 1) Congress confirmed the president's power to use armed forces without consultations in certain circumstances (for instance, in case of a sudden attack on American territory), 2) Congress confirmed its power to authorize the president to wage „limited wars", 3) Congress expressed its power at least to be informed about any situation in which the U.S. armed forces would be used abroad.



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Ruch Prawniczy, Ekonomiczny i Socjologiczny 42, 1980, z. 4, s. 53-71



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Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Biblioteka Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
Ministerstwo Nauki i Szkolnictwa Wyższego