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Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917

The Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) of 1917 (40 Stat. 411, enacted 6 October 1917, codified at 12 U.S.C. §§ 95a95b and 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 1–44) is a United States federal law to restrict trade with countries hostile to the United States. The law gives the President the power to oversee or restrict any and all trade between the United States and its enemies in times of war.[1]

Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to define, regulate, and punish trading with the enemy, and for other purposes.
Acronyms (colloquial)TWEA
Enacted bythe 65th United States Congress
EffectiveOctober 6, 1917
Public lawPub.L. 65–91
Statutes at Large40 Stat. 411
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 4960
  • Passed the House on  
  • Passed the Senate on  
  • Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on October 6, 1917

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson used the Trading with the Enemy Act to establish the Office of Alien Property Custodian with power to confiscate property from anyone whose actions might be considered a possible threat to the war effort. Under A. Mitchell Palmer, the office confiscated the property of interned German immigrants and of businesses such as the Bayer chemical company.[2][3]

In 1933, the U.S. Congress amended the Act by the passing the Emergency Banking Relief Act which extended the scope of the Trading with the Enemy Act regarding the hoarding of gold to include any declared national emergency and not just those declared solely during times of war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt then used these new authorities to essentially outlaw gold ownership through the issuance of Executive Order 6102. These restrictions continued until January 1, 1975. The Act has been amended several other times.[1]

The Trading with the Enemy Act is sometimes confused with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which grants somewhat broader powers to the President, and which is invoked during states of emergency when the United States is not at war.

As of 2017, Cuba is the only country restricted under the Act. North Korea is the most recent country to be removed from the provisions of the Act, although the restrictions remain in effect under IEEPA authority.[4][5]

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  1. ^ a b Cornell Law School
  2. ^ Gross, Daniel A. (28 July 2014). "The U.S. Confiscated Half a Billion Dollars in Private Property During WWI: America's home front was the site of internment, deportation, and vast property seizure". Smithsonian. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  3. ^ Gross, Daniel A. (Spring 2015). "Chemical Warfare: From the European Battlefield to the American Laboratory". Distillations. 1 (1): 16–23. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "US to ease North Korea sanctions". BBC. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  5. ^ "Overview of Sanctions with North Korea". U.S. Treasury. Retrieved 22 November 2013.