Recently the House passed, in slightly amended form, the National Emergencies Act, first passed by the Senate in 1974, under which most of the vast emergency powers delegated to the President by Congress during the past sixty years are to be restricted or eliminated and the various states of emergency now in effect terminated except in certain respects. One of the areas in which emergency power will still prevail, at lease in potential, is that of the regulation of foreign investment in the United States. While popular and legislative attention has been focused on the alleged threat of a "petrodollar" invasion, and the supposed inability of the United States Government adequately to meet such danger,' little notice has been given the opposite problem that foreign investment may already have been deterred by the spectre of "freezing" or "vesting" of foreign assets subject to U.S. jurisdiction.
If, for example, the Arab states had reason to fear that their acquisitions of controlling interests in the respective national oil concessions in return for compensation set by net book value might be regarded as expropriations in violation of international law,' might they not also fear that the United States Government would deal with them as it has with several confiscating governments in the past, namely, by freezing them and their citizens' U.S. assets? If they were concerned about an executive branch determination of the international illegality of any future oil embargo, might the same fear not arise? Indeed, even if the only injurious action conceivable were a modest increase in the price of oil, might they not feel alarm at the precedent established by President Franklin Roosevelt in blocking the assets of Norway and Denmark after those countries had been overrun by German forces in April 1940?
Sawyier, Michael T.
"Encouraging Foreign Investment in the United States by Limiting the President's Emergency Authority Under the Trading With the Enemy Act,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 27:
3, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol27/iss3/6