Page images

Executive Orders Issued Parsuant to the First and Second War Powers Acts



SECOND WAR POWERS ACT (56 STAT. 176; 50 O. 8. C., APP. 631-645a)





1138 1140 I1H 1131 1151 1135 1167


1042 9127 Apr. 10 Defensa contractors, agencia designated to inspect plants and sadit books. 9129 Apr. 13 Marittmo Commission authorized to acquire and dispose of property. 0188 Apr. 17 Reynisitioning of property required for prosecution of the wa... 9150 Apr, 23 National Housing Agency autborised to acquire and dispose of property. 01:52 Apr. 29 Census reports, directions and regulations.... 9167 May 0Secretary of Commerce to make evillable records, schedules, reports, returns, etc... 0178 May 30 Hellam program of Lotarior Department, Secretary wthorized to acquire and dispose of

property. 9179 Janos Federal Works Agency, Commissioner of Public Roads natborized to acquire and dispose

of property. 0186 June 27 Federal Works Administrator sothorized to soqatre and dispose of property..... 019 July 7 Navy Department, acquisition and disposal of real estate, functions transferred to Chiel

of Bureau of Yards and Docbs. mu Aug. 1 omoo for Emergency Management, Division of Central Administrative Services author.

isod to acquire and dispose of property. 9217. Aug. 7 Reconstruction Finance Corporation authorized to acquire and dispose of property..... 218 | Aug. 11 Scientifc Research and Development, Omco of, aatborized to acquire and dispose of

property. von Sept. 16 War Shipping Administration, establishment order amended.. 9249 Oct. 1 Secretary of Agriculture authorized to acquire and dispose of property 9200

Dec. 3 Food program, control to be exercised by Secretary of Agriculture....

1171 1178


1192 1193

1200 1213 In

Mar. 25 | Attorney General suthorized to acquin and dispose of property.

[ocr errors]


37-998 O - 74 - 4


A Brief History of Their Use and the

President's Power to Issue Them

Legislative Attorney
American Law Division

Revised February 26, 1974

1. Background of the Executive Order.

A. General

From 1789 Presidents have issued orders and directives which in

general terms may be termed and described as Executive Orders.


orders in the early years of the Republic differed extensively as to form and

substance from what we know as Executive Orders today.

Essentially, an Executive Order is a written document issued by

[ocr errors]

the President and titled as such by him or at his direction. The subject matter

of each Executive Order must be ascertained from an examination of the order


The Executive Order in the last fifty years has become a govern

mental instrument of broad and increasing importance, a fact which has been

made particularly obvious since 1933.

Since Executive Orders are directives or actions by the President

and when such documents are founded on the authority of the President de

rived from the United States Constitution or a Federal Statute they have the

force and effect of law.

Executive Orders may be repealed or modified by the President

issuing them or by a following President even if many years have passed.

Executive Orders may be repealed or modified by an act of the Congress or by

a decision of the Judiciary.

Some Executive Orders become obsolete by the

passage of time, as when it bears an expiration date or when the purpose for

which it was issued no longer exists.

Otherwise, an Executive Order once

issued remains in effect until repealed or modified or expires.

There is no law or even an Executive Order which attempts to define the term "Executive Order". In the narrower sense Executive Orders

are written documents denominated as such,

Generally, Executive Orders are directed to, and govern actions by Government officials and agencies. They usually affect private individuals

only indirectly.

B. Form

AU Presidents beginning with George Washington in 1789 have issued

orders which in general terms can be described as Executive Orders.

During the early period of the Republic there was no set form with

which such orders were required to comply and consequently such orders varied

widely as to form and substance.

Often a President would merely write "approved", "Let it be done",

or "I

approve the accompanying recommendation and order that it would be


or similar words, at the end of a recommendation drawn up by a

Cabinet member.

Many times such an order was not signed by the President

but by a Secretary at the order of the President.

In fact, seven of the first

33 Executive Orders in the numbered series were signed by the Secretary of State. An example is Executive Order No. 2 dated April 4, 1865, which offered

a reward for the capture and conviction of certain felons and their abettors.

Executive Order 113, dated February 8, 1899, which ordered the

flying of the flag at half-mast during the removal of the remains of John A. Rawlins to Arlington National Cemetery, was signed by J.A, Porter who was.

a secretary to President McKinley.

Some orders that have been considered Executive Orders have been

signed and issued during the absence of both the President and the Vice President. For example, Executive Order 7 was issued and signed by Secretary of State William H. Seward on July 28, 1868. This Executive Order certified


« PreviousContinue »