Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917

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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

The Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) of 1917 (40 Stat. 411, codified at 12 U.S.C. §§ 95a95b and 50 U.S.C. App. §§ 1–44) is a United States federal law enacted on 6 October 1917 that 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]

The TWEA 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 2018, Cuba is the only country restricted under the Act. North Korea was recently removed from the provisions of the Act, although restrictions under IEEPA authority remain in effect.[2][3]


During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson used the TWEA to establish the Office of Alien Property Custodian (APC) 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.[4][5]

In 1933, the U.S. Congress amended the Act by the passing the Emergency Banking Relief Act which extended the scope of the TWEA 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, using these new authorities, issued Executive Order 6102 to essentially outlaw gold ownership. These restrictions continued until January 1, 1975. The TWEA has been amended several other times.[1]

On May 13, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson abolished the APC by Executive Order 11281, effective June 30 of that year.[6]

In December 1950, the United States imposed economic sanctions against North Korea under the TWEA,[7] which lasted until 2008.[2]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cornell Law School
  2. ^ a b "US to ease North Korea sanctions". BBC. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  3. ^ "Overview of Sanctions with North Korea". U.S. Treasury. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Gross, Daniel A. (Spring 2015). "Chemical Warfare: From the European Battlefield to the American Laboratory". Distillations. 1 (1): 16–23. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  6. ^ "Records of the office of Alien Property". National Archives. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Harry S. Truman, Proclamation No. 2914, December 16, 1950, 15 Federal Register 9029