President Reagan nd his executive power in foreign affairs - emerged victors inDthe United States Supreme Court yesterday when the high tribunal affirmed the President's right to restrict the travel of most Americans to Cuba.
The court, by a narrow 5-to-4 m'rgin, reversed the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which had rejected government authority to invoke the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA) under more recent 1982 regulations. The appellate court held that such executive restrictions could only be invoked after'a'declaration of a national emergency - and that Congress must determine the validity of such a declaration.
At issue were the 1982 riles issued by the Treasury Department, on behalf of the Reagan administration, which prevented ordinary US travelers from using American currency for Cuban travel. This directive was specifically aimed at American tourists and other visitors from the US who would spend their own money abroad.
But these restrictions did not apply to journalists, researchers, those engaged in government travel, or close relatives of Cubans. Travel under the auspices of the Cuban government was also allowed.
Plaintiffs - including university professors, a high school teacher, a minister, and several tourists - challenged the authority of the government regulations, saying these regulations ran counter to congressional intent under TWEA. They also said the Reagan ban on traveH deprived citizens of their constitutional right to engage in international travel, which is protected under the First and Fifth Amendments.
While the constitutional question was not specifically at issue, Associate Justice William H. Rehnquis4, writing for the majority, held that the travel restrictions are not abridgments of individual rights.
Instead, the court addressed itself to foreign relatiOo and nati fal-security questions, reasoning that the flow of US tourist dollars helps finance Cuban ''armed violence and terrorism'' in the Western Hemisphere.
Justice Rehnquist also said Cuba ''maintains close to 40,000 troops in various countries in Africa and the Middle East in support of objectives inimical to United States foreign policy interests.''
Dissenters, led by Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun, countered that the majoriti demonstrated ''utter confusion'' over congressional intent and that lawmaker approval was indeed required before the President could broaden the travel embargo with Cuba.