American University Law Review, Vol. 18, No. 4 (August 1969), pp. 709-738


Federal regulation of industry is employed frequently to protect the consumer, frustrate extensive concentrations of power, and safeguard the national interest. History demonstrates that the effectiveness of regulatory provisions involving independent regulatory agencies is substantially affected by congressional and presidential attitudes and actions. The President's actions may be premised on his congressionally delegated powers over particular regulatory activities, his prestige and strategic leverage, or his own constitutional powers. How the President's constitutional and congressionally delegated powers over foreign relations and national security interact with the activities of independent regulatory agencies with respect to international commerce, especially concerning communication by satellite, will be examined herein.

To isolate some basic principles applicable to the President's interaction with independent regulatory agencies in matters involving foreign affairs and national security, attention is focused on three types of international commerce that reflect the diverse approaches to such functional interaction: air transport, gas transmission, and communication via satellite. An analysis of the three regulatory areas illustrates the substantial qualitative differences in the allocation of responsibilities between the President and the independent regulatory agency cognizant over each form of commerce. Study of these differences in the regulation of international air transport and gas transmission provides several insights concerning the past, present, and future regulation of communication by satellites.