The Sherman Act applies to trade or commerce "with foreign nations." Are there differences in the act's application to foreign trade compared with its application to domestic commerce? The Attorney General's National Committee to Study the Antitrust Laws was constituted at a time when this question was pressing for an answer.

During the 1920's and 1930's, the international cartel movement was in full Hood. American companies participated in some of these international arrangements, often in the belief that they were a necessary condition for world trade and upon the legal premise that restrictions adjunctive to patent and know-how licenses were lawful. During the 1940' s, a barrage of antitrust cases struck at these agreements. Cartels were criticized as economically and politically harmful.