Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Mark B. Feldman

First Page



In principle, the Reagan Administration should support measures that strengthen the international trading system and that help secure United States investment abroad, as such measures encourage the flows of capital, technology and know-how from the private sector, which the Administration recognizes to be essential to successful economic development in the Third World. However, the responsible attorneys in the State Department and the Justice Department are particularly sensitive to the reactions of foreign governments and to the interests of United States agencies as potential defendants in foreign courts.

The Executive finally defined its position in hearings in the House of Representatives on May 20, 1986. The Administration supported the substance of the ABA proposals on the enforcement of arbitral agreements and awards and the technical amendments removing certain problems in admiralty cases. It also indicated a disposition "to support a change which would place the state owned essentially commercial enterprise in the same position regarding prejudgment attachment as its privately owned counterpart, except to the extent of its governmental activities, if any. The Administration did not support the ABA's proposals concerning execution of judgment or the act of state doctrine, although it expressed interest in studying the act of state doctrine further. "We are prepared to look carefully at the possibility of legislation limiting the use of the doctrine by broadly adopting the 'reverse Bernstein' approach." Unfortunately, the ninety-ninth Congress concluded before any of these proposals could be brought to fruition.