A gentlemen`s agreement, or gentleman`s agreement, is an informal and legally non-binding agreement between two or more parties. It is usually oral, but it can be written or simply understood as part of a tacit agreement by convention or by mutually beneficial label. The essence of a gentlemen`s agreement is that it depends on the honour of the parties for its achievement, rather than being enforceable in one way or another. It differs from a legal agreement or a contract. Gentlemen`s agreements between industry and the U.S. government were common in the 1800s and early 1900s. The Bureau of Corporations, a predecessor of the Federal Trade Commission, was established in 1903 to investigate monopolistic practices. In some cases, these are gentlemen`s agreements in which Wall Street financiers, such as J.P. Morgan and his “House of Morgan,” would meet with the bureau to obtain prior authorization for mergers and acquisitions. One such example was the gentlemen`s agreement in which regulators and the president ignored the Sherman Antitrust Act, which allowed united States Steel Corp. to become the world`s first multi-billion-dollar company. A gentleman`s agreement, which is rather a point of honour and etiquette, relies on the indulgence of two or more parties for the performance of pronounced or unspoken undertakings. Unlike a binding contract or a legal agreement, there is no legal remedy for violation of a gentlemen`s agreement.
Similarly, in 1907 Morgan again collaborated with Roosevelt to create a gentlemen`s agreement that would allow US Steel to acquire its greatest competitor, Tennessee Coal and Iron, in a tacit and unspoken rule that violated the Sherman Act. Gentlemen`s agreements were a widespread discriminatory tactic, which would have been more common than restrictive alliances in maintaining the homogeneity of upper-class neighborhoods and suburbs in the United States.  The nature of these agreements made it extremely difficult to prove or follow them, and they were long after the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Shelley/. Kraemer and Barrows v. Jackson.  A source indicates that the gentlemen`s agreements are “probably still in place” but that their use has declined sharply.  Until Jackie Robinson was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946, a gentlemen`s agreement ensured that African-American players were excluded from organized baseball.  Gentlemen`s agreements have come to regulate international activities such as the coordination of monetary or trade policy.
 According to Edmund Osmasczyk in the United Nations Encyclopedia and International Agreements, it is also defined as “an international term for an oral and unwritten but fully valid agreement.”  This type of agreement may allow a nation to circumvent national legal requirements to enter into a formal contract or it may be useful for a government to want to enter into a secret agreement that does not engage the next government.  According to another author, all international agreements are gentlemen`s agreements because, just before the war, they are all unenforceable.  Osmaczyk noted that there was a difference between gentlemen`s open agreements and secret diplomatic agreements.  In the United States, in 1890, the prohibition of gentlemen`s agreements was introduced in interstate trade relations because the secrecy of these agreements was beyond anyone`s control.  This is the anti-Semitism of post-war prosperous America and the insidious way of excluding Jews from high-level social clubs, resorts and, of course, jobs.
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