In testimony before the Iran-contra committee this week, Lt. Col. Oliver L. North twice mentioned a 1936 U.S. Supreme Court decision, U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. That decision upheld an embargo on arms for Bolivia, then at war with Paraguay. Those who appealed the case had conspired to sell 15 machine guns to Bolivia. The court's opinion, delivered by Justice George Sutherland, included a discussion of the president's role in negotiating treaties. North quoted Sutherland, who wrote: "The president alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation . . . . He has his confidential sources of information. He has his agents in the form of diplomatic, consular and other officials. Secrecy . . . may be highly necessary, and the premature disclosure of it productive of harmful results." North also recited a portion of the decision that quotes George Washington. The first president wrote: "The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success must often depend on secrecy; and even when brought to a conclusion, a full disclosure . . . would be extremely impolitic, for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconveniences, perhaps danger . . . . Caution and secrecy was one cogent reason for vesting the power of making treaties in the president." North cut this sentence off before reading the final passage, in which Washington stated a president makes treaties only "with the advice and consent of the Senate."