(June 8, 1938, ch. 327, § 1,52 Stat. 631; Aug. 7, 1939, ch. 521, § 1,53 Stat. 1244; Apr. 29, 1942, ch. 263, § 1,56 Stat. 249; Proc. No. 2695, July 4, 1946, 11 F.R. 7517, 60 Stat. 1352; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 20(a),64 Stat. 1005; Aug. 1, 1956, ch. 849, § 1,70 Stat. 899; Pub. L. 87–366, § 1,Oct. 4, 1961, 75 Stat. 784; Pub. L. 89–486, § 1,July 4, 1966, 80 Stat. 244; Pub. L. 91–375, § 6(k),Aug. 12, 1970, 84 Stat. 782; Pub. L. 104–65, § 9(1),Dec. 19, 1995, 109 Stat. 699.)
References in Text
For definition of Canal Zone, referred to in subsec. (m), see section
of this title.
Words “including the Philippine Islands,” omitted from definition of “United States” in subsec. (m) pursuant to Proc. No. 2695, which granted independence to the Philippines under the authority of section
of this title, under which section Proc. No. 2695 is set out as a note.
1995—Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 104–65
, § 9(1)(A), struck out subsec. (j) which read as follows: “The term ‘political propaganda’ includes any oral, visual, graphic, written, pictorial, or other communication or expression by any person (1) which is reasonably adapted to, or which the person disseminating the same believes will, or which he intends to, prevail upon, indoctrinate, convert, induce, or in any other way influence a recipient or any section of the public within the United States with reference to the political or public interests, policies, or relations of a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party or with reference to the foreign policies of the United States or promote in the United States racial, religious, or social dissensions, or (2) which advocates, advises, instigates, or promotes any racial, social, political, or religious disorder, civil riot, or other conflict involving the use of force or violence in any other American republic or the overthrow of any government or political subdivision of any other American republic by any means involving the use of force or violence. As used in this subsection the term ‘disseminating’ includes transmitting or causing to be transmitted in the United States mails or by any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce or offering or causing to be offered in the United States mails;”.
Subsec. (o). Pub. L. 104–65
, § 9(1)(B), substituted “any activity that the person engaging in believes will, or that the person intends to, in any way influence” for “the dissemination of political propaganda and any other activity which the person engaging therein believes will, or which he intends to, prevail upon, indoctrinate, convert, induce, persuade, or in any other way influence”.
Subsec. (p). Pub. L. 104–65
, § 9(1)(C), substituted a period for semicolon at end.
Subsec. (q). Pub. L. 104–65
, § 9(1)(D), struck out subsec. (q) which read as follows: “For the purpose of section
of this title, activities in furtherance of the bona fide commercial, industrial or financial interests of a domestic person engaged in substantial commercial, industrial or financial operations in the United States shall not be deemed to serve predominantly a foreign interest because such activities also benefit the interests of a foreign person engaged in bona fide trade or commerce which is owned or controlled by, or which owns or controls, such domestic person: Provided, That (i) such foreign person is not, and such activities are not directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in substantial part by, a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party, (ii) the identity of such foreign person is disclosed to the agency or official of the United States with whom such activities are conducted, and (iii) whenever such foreign person owns or controls such domestic person, such activities are substantially in furtherance of the bona fide commercial, industrial or financial interests of such domestic person.”
1970—Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 91–375
substituted “file with the United States Postal Service information in compliance with section
3611 of title
” for “file with the Postmaster General a sworn statement in compliance with section 2 of the Act of August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. 553
), as amended”.
1966—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 89–486
, § 1(1), redesignated former pars. (3) and (4) as (2) and (3), substituted in such par. (3) “combination of persons” for “combination of individuals” and struck out from definition of “foreign principal” former pars. (2), (5), and (6) which included “(2) an individual affiliated or associated with, or supervised, directed, controlled, financed, or subsidized, in whole or in part, by any foreign principal defined in clause (1) of this subsection”; “(5) a domestic partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of individuals, subsidized directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, by any foreign principal defined in clause (1), (3), or (4) of this subsection”; and “(6) a domestic partnership, association, corporation, or other combination of individuals, supervised, directed, controlled, or financed, in whole or in substantial part, by any foreign government or foreign political party”.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 89–486
, § 1(2), amended provisions generally to redefine “agent of a foreign principal” by specifying four categories of activities creating the agency relationship where person acts as agent, employee, representative, or servant or at the order of, or under the control of, a foreign principal, by requiring a showing not only of foreign connections but also of certain activities performed by the agent for foreign interests, by making change as it relates to problem of indirect control exerted by foreign principals over their agents, by including political activities and actions as political consultant, by excluding attorneys from the relationship, by incorporating provisions of former par. (3) in par. (2) where a person assumes or purports to act as an agent of a foreign principal, and by eliminating the separate category for military or governmental officials contained in former par. (4).
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 89–486
, § 1(3), struck out “clause (1), (2), or (4) of” before “subsection (b)”.
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 89–486
, § 1(4), inserted “public relations” before “matter pertaining to” and “of such principal” after “or relations”.
Subsecs. (o) to (q). Pub. L. 89–486
, § 1(5), added subsecs. (o) to (q).
1961—Subsec. (b)(6). Pub. L. 87–366
added par. (6).
1956—Subsec. (c)(5). Act Aug. 1, 1956, repealed par. (5) which included within definition of “agent of a foreign principal” any person trained in foreign espionage systems with certain exceptions. See sections
, War and National Defense.
1950—Subsec. (c)(5). Act Sept. 23, 1950, added par. (5).
1942—Act Apr. 29, 1942, amended section generally to redefine terms used in this subchapter.
1939—Act Aug. 7, 1939, amended section generally to redefine terms used in this subchapter.
Effective Date of 1995 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 104–65
effective Jan. 1, 1996, except as otherwise provided, see section 24 ofPub. L. 104–65
, set out as an Effective Date note under section
, The Congress.
Effective Date of 1970 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 91–375
effective within 1 year after Aug. 12, 1970, on date established therefor by Board of Governors of United States Postal Service and published by it in Federal Register, see section 15(a) ofPub. L. 91–375
, set out as an Effective Date note preceding section
, Postal Service.
Effective Date of 1966 Amendment
Section 9 ofPub. L. 89–486
provided that: “This Act [enacting sections
, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, and amending this section and sections
of this title] shall take effect ninety days after the date of its enactment [July 4, 1966].”
Effective Date of 1942 Amendment
Section 3 of act Apr. 29, 1942, provided that: “This Act [amending this subchapter] shall take effect on the sixtieth day after the date of its approval, except that prior to such sixtieth day the Attorney General may make, prescribe, amend, and rescind such rules, regulations, and forms as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act [amending this subchapter].”
Section 7 of act June 8, 1938, provided that: “This Act [enacting this subchapter] shall take effect on the ninetieth day after the date of its enactment [June 8, 1938].”
Section 14 of act June 8, 1938, as added by act Apr. 29, 1942, § 1, provided that: “This Act [enacting this subchapter] may be cited as the ‘Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as amended’.”
Separability; Effect on Existing Law
Sections 12 and 13 of act June 8, 1938, as added by act Apr. 29, 1942, § 1, provided that:
“Sec. 12. If any provision of this Act [enacting this subchapter], or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the remainder of the Act, and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.
“Sec. 13. This Act [enacting this subchapter] is an addition to and not in substitution for any other existing statute.”
Transfer of Functions
Section 2 of act Apr. 29, 1942, provided that: “Upon the effective date of this Act [see Effective Date of 1942 Amendment note above], all powers, duties, and functions of the Secretary of State under the Act of June 8, 1938 (52 Stat. 631
), as amended [this subchapter], shall be transferred to and become vested in the Attorney General, together with all property, books, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations used by or available to the Secretary of State for carrying out the functions devolving on him under the above-cited Act. All rules, regulations, and forms which have been issued by the Secretary of State pursuant to the provisions of said Act, and which are in effect, shall continue in effect until modified, superseded, revoked, or repealed.”
Policy and Purpose of Subchapter
Act Apr. 29, 1942, amending generally act June 8, 1938, added an opening paragraph preceding section 1 of the latter act and reading as follows: “It is hereby declared to be the policy and purpose of this Act [enacting this subchapter] to protect the national defense, internal security, and foreign relations of the United States by requiring public disclosure by persons engaging in propaganda activities and other activities for or on behalf of foreign governments, foreign political parties, and other foreign principals so that the Government and the people of the United States may be informed of the identity of such persons and may appraise their statements and actions in the light of their associations and activities.”