Arab League Boycott – U.S. Legislative Response

The first statutory expression of concern over the Arab League boycott was made in 1960,<sub”>1 in the 1960 Douglass-Hays Amendment to the Mutual Security Act of 1954. Section 2 of the amendment provided that:

… the purposes of this Act are negated and the peace of the world is endangered when nations which receive assistance under this Act wage economic warfare against other nations assisted under this Act, including such procedures as boycotts, blockades, and the restriction of the use of international waterways…2

The U.S. Congress again took up the issue of the Arab League boycott in 1965, the boycott having begun to have a greater impact on American firms.  After hearings in the House of Representatives,3 the Export Control Act of 1949 was amended by Pub. Law 89-63, including among its provisions; (1) A statement of policy of the United States

(A) to oppose restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by foreign countries against other countries friendly to the United States and (B) to encourage and request domestic concerns engaged in the export of articles, materials, supplies, or information, to refuse to take any action, including the furnishing of information or the signing of agreements, which has the effect of furthering or supporting the restrictive trade practices or boycotts fostered or imposed by any foreign country against another country friendly to the United States;

(2) A requirement that all domestic concerns receiving requests for the furnishing of information or the signing of agreements as specified by the legislative policy must report this fact to the Secretary of Commerce, for such action as he may deem appropriate to carry out the purposes of the policy; and

(3) A directive to the Secretary of Commerce to expeditiously promulgate rules and regulations to carry out the legislative policy.

However, the law and regulations imposed no penalty for failure to comply with the reporting requirement, so compliance was desultory. 

Tax Reform Act of 1976 (Ribicoff Amendment).

Export Administration Act Amendments of 1977 (Pub. Law 95-52).

Anti-Boycott Act of 2018.



  1. Muted and passing reference to the boycott was made in Senate Resolution 84-323, approved in July 1956, but the focus of that resolution was on religious discrimination by countries that would not grant visas to U.S. military personnel for service on U.S. bases located in those countries.
  2. Mutual Security Act of 1960, Pub. L. No. 86-472, 74 Stat. 134 (amending the Mutual Security Act of 1954, 22 U.S.C. §§ 1750-1753a), repealed by Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, Pub. L. No. 87-195, Ch. 3, 75 Stat. 460.
  3. Continuation of Authority for Regulation of Exports and Amending the Export Control Act of 1949: Hearings on H.R. 7105, H.R. 627 and H.R. 4361 Before the Comm. on Banking and Currency and the Subcomm. on International Trade of the Comm. on Banking and Currency, 89th Cong., 1st Sess., May 5, 13, 20, and 21, 1965.  The record of the hearings can be viewed at the Hathi Trust Digital Library,