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International Organizations/Foreign Governments
Guide to Treaty Research
This guide to treaty research is aimed at introducing users to some of the basic sources for locating treaties. Treaties are referred to by names such as convention, covenant, agreement, pact, accord, protocol, etc. They may be bilateral or multilateral. Executive agreements are agreements made between the President and the executive of another country that do not require Senate approval. Sources and indexes for specialized treaties are briefly listed under Specialized Treaty Sources.
Information on the status of pending or recent treaties is available through the U.S. Senate (http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/d_three_sections_with_teasers/treaties.htm) and through the Department of State's Office of Treaty Affairs (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/).
Treaties to which the United States is a Party
Recent or Pending Treaties (Pre-ratification or official publication).
- Senate Treaty Documents, Senate Executive Reports, and hearings are indexed in the CIS Index.
- Senate Executive Reports are a valuable source for treaty interpretation. They are issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and contain the Committee's analysis and recommendations concerning proposed treaties and agreements.
- Treaties and other International Acts Series (TIAS)
- Uncatalogued Govt. Docs. Stacks (United States. Treaties, etc.) No. 9701-
TIAS is a series of consecutively numbered, individually paginated pamphlets containing the text of treaties in the language of the parties. TIAS is the first official publication of UST.
They appear in this "slip" form and then eventually appear in bound volumes of United States Treaties and Other International Agreements. TIAS continues the Treaty Series and the Executive Agreement Series.
TIAS begins with pamphlet #1501. There is currently a long delay between the date of proclamation and publication in TIAS. A TIAS number is not assigned until the treaty has been ratified. TIAS is indexed by the following sources: LNTS, CTS and the United States Treaty Index.
- United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST).
- Govt Doc Ref: 1950-, JX231 A34 v. 2, 1951-
- After appearing in slip form in the TIAS, US treaties and agreements are published in this bound chronological set which began in 1950. Treaty texts are in English and the other official languages of the treaty. UST is indexed by the following sources: LNTS, CTS, United States Treaty Index, Multilateral Treaties: Index and Index to Multilateral Treaties.
Early U.S. Treaties
- United States Statutes At Large (STAT)
Microcopy Room: KF50 U55 mf11 (vols. 1-65, 1789-1951);
Govt Docs Ref: KF50 U55 [v. 54-64, 1939-51]; 66, 1952-.
- The text of all U.S. treaties from 1776 through 1950 appear in this chronologically arranged set. Volume 8 contains the text of all treaties from 1776-1845. From 1846 on, treaties were published in the sessional volumes. Executive agreements are included in volumes 47-64. Volume 64 part 3 includes a list of all treaties and agreements in volumes 1 - 64. The list is arranged by country and then by topic. Indian treaties were included through volume 16. After 1950, the official publication for U.S. treaties became UST. Indexes that cite to treaties in U.S. Statutes at Large include LNTS, CTS, United States Treaty Index, and the Index to Multilateral Treaties.
- Treaties and Other International Agreements of the U.S.A. 1776-1949 (Bevans)
- Govt Docs Ref: JX236.1968D
- This 13 volume set contains pre-UST treaties and agreements in English text only. Volumes 1-4 are multilateral treaties arranged chronologically; volumes 5-12 are bilateral treaties arranged by country; volume 13 is the index to the set. This set supersedes two earlier compilations by Malloy and Miller.
- Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers (Malloy)
- Govt Docs Ref: JX236 1910
- Volumes 1-2 covering 1776-1909 were compiled by Malloy. Volume 3 covers 1910-1923 and was compiled by Redmond. Volume 4 covers 1923-1937 and was compiled by Trenwith. The set is cited as Malloy. Treaty texts are in English only and are annotated. Citations to treaties in U.S. Statutes at Large and the Treaty Series are provided. Volume 4 contains an index to the set, a list of treaties by date of proclamation and other useful tables and lists.
- Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Miller, ed.)
- Govt Docs Ref: JX236 1931
- This set covers the period 1776-1863. Treaty text is in English and other official languages of each agreement. The texts are also annotated with citations to U.S. Statutes at Large and the Treaty Series). There is no index to this set. Volume 1 provides some explanation on how the set is arranged.
- Treaty Series (TS)
- Not held by Government Documents Department.
- Originally an unnumbered pamphlet series, the TS covers the 1800's to 1945. Until 1930 it included Executive agreements. Numbered pamphlets begin with no. 489 (1908) and continue through no. 994 (1945). The earlier unnumbered pamphlets are published in Bevans. TS was replaced by TIAS in 1945.
- Executive Agreement Series (EAS)
- Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged (U.S. Dept of State) 1995 (1946) only.
- EAS contains the texts of international agreements from Oct. 1, 1929 to March 16, 1945. The series ended with no. 506. EAS was replaced by TIAS in 1945.
International Treaties: Sources of Treateis to which the U.S. is not Necessarily a Party
- International Legal Materials (ILM)
- Law Library: JX68 I58 1, 1962-
- ILM is a bi-monthly publication that began in 1962. It provides timely access to current documents concerning international relations. The texts of official foreign and US international agreements and other documents are reprinted along with useful background notes. Each issue has its own index and each November issue contains an annual index. Cumulative indexes covering a range of years are published occasionally.
- United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS)
Shields Stacks: JX170 U35 v. 472-1092, 1963-1978
Microcopy Room: JX170 U35 mf11 v. 851-879; (1972-1973)
Law Library: JX170 U35 1, 1946-
- This comprehensive treaty series began in 1946 and contains the text of all treaties registered or filed with the UN Secretariat by member states or international organizations and some filed by nonmember states. Texts are given in their official languages and in English and French. There is currently a significant delay in publication of treaties in UNTS. Under a 1978 Resolution the Secretariat may selectively exclude treaties of "limited interest" from publication in UNTS. They are however included in the UN's Statement of Treaties and International Agreements and are marked by an asterisk. Treaty texts are in the original language as well as English and French. Occasionally there is non-sequential publication of volumes (especially the unbound volumes); skipped volumes are published later. Indexes are provided every fifty volumes, however there is considerable delay in their publication.
- League of Nations. Treaty Series (LNTS)
- Shields Stacks: JX170 L4 1-205, 1928-46
- This set covering the period 1920 through 1945 is similar to UNTS in that it contains treaties of the League's members registered with the League's Secretariat. English and French translations accompany reprints of the official texts. Each volume has its own index. Cumulative indexes covering 3 or more years each are also provided. LNTS is also indexed by nos. 17-19, 21.
- Consolidated Treaty Series (CTS)
- HSSGIS Reference: JX120 P35 v. 1, 1969-
- Coverage in this 243 volume set begins in 1648 and continues to 1920. Treaty text is reprinted in the language of one of the signatories and often accompanied by a French or English translation or summary. The set has a chronological list and party name index but no subject index. CTS is also indexed by Multilateral Treaties: Index, Index to Multilateral Treaties, and World Treaty Index.
Indexes and Finding Aids
US Treaty Collections
- United States Treaty Index 1776-1990 Consolidation
- Law Library: JX231 U55
- It provides extensive background information for each treaty.
- Treaties in Force (TIF)
- Govt Docs Ref: JX235.9 A34 1958-
- Issued annually by the US State Department this index lists US treaties and agreements in force as of January 1 of each year. Arranged in two parts, the first part lists bilateral treaties by country and then by subject; the second part lists multilateral treaties by subject and indicates the parties.
International Treaties: Recent or Pending Treaties
- International Legal Materials
- Law Library: JX68 I58 1, 1962-
- ILM has its own index in each issue and an annual issue in each November issue. ILM is also indexed in PAIS and in Current Law Index (available at the Law Lib. K33 C875 1, 1980-).
UN and Other Multilateral Treaty Indexes
- Multilateral Treaties: Index and Current Status
- Govt Docs Ref: JX171 M8 1984
- This is one of the most comprehensive and current indexes for multilateral treaties. The main index volume has a chronological list of treaties with entries that give detailed status and other valuable information. The main index volume also features a subject index and keyword index. The supplement is arranged in two parts. Part A is a chronological list of new treaties with full entries. Part B provides updated status and other information treaties already in the main volume.
- United Nations. Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General
- Shields Stacks: JX171 A2 1987- (Latest in Govt Docs)
- This annual UN publication continues an earlier publication titled Multilateral Treaties in Respect of Which the Secretary-General Performs Depository Function (Govt Docs Ref: JX171 A2 1979). It provides information on the status of treaties deposited with the UN Secretary-General. Information on treaties deposited with the League of Nations that were transferred to the custody of the UN are covered as well as pre-UN agreements that were amended by UN protocols. The full text of any reservations and declarations are conveniently reprinted. Citations to treaty text in UNTS or the UN document citation are given. Entries are arranged in subject categories and then listed chronologically. This index is supplemented by Statement of Treaties and International Agreements, a monthly UN publication.
- Index to Multilateral Treaties
- Shields Stacks: JX171 H35
- This is one of the best indexes for finding obscure historical treaties, amendments and drafts. It consists of a chronological list of multilateral treaties from 1596 through 1963. The entries provide citations to the text in a variety of language sources. A subject and regional index are also provided.
Bilateral and Multilateral Treaty Indexes
- Statement of Treaties and International Agreements Registered or Filed with the Secretariat
In United Nations documents and publications. St/Leg/Ser.A
Microcopy Room: JX1977 A2.U4 mf11 1982
This monthly UN publication serves as a supplement to Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General. It is the only published listing of all bilateral and multilateral treaties registered or filed with the UN Secretariat. It provides information in English and French concerning original treaties and agreements. It also provides information such as ratifications, accessions and subsequent agreements concerning treaties and agreements already registered or filed with the Secretariat. Each issue has a cumulative subject index and numerical index, (by registration or filing and recording numbers).
A major problem with this index is that there is a substantial delay in publication. Therefore it is not a useful source of current information. It is also not as comprehensive as some other indexes because it is based on the submissions of member states.
- World Treaty Index
- Govt Docs Ref: JX171 R63 1983
- This is a comprehensive multi-volume index to multilateral and bilateral treaties from 1900 to 1980. Citations to treaty texts appearing in LNTS, UNTS and numerous other sources are provided. Volume 1 (Reference Volume) has a helpful "User's Guide" on page 12 of the introduction. A sample entry is reproduced with an explanation of the various categories of information provided. The abbreviations used in the entries are listed and explained in the Thesaurus in volume 1. Volume 2 and 3 contain the main entries in chronological order by date of signature. Volume 4 is an extensive party index arranged in alphabetical order. Volume 5 is a keyword index.
Specialized Treaty Sources and Finding Aids
Listed below are some treaty collections and finding aids for particular subject areas. Many of the treaties and agreements found in these sources may also be found in the collections and indexes described in the entries above. The advantage of the subject specific sources listed below is that they gather together the treaties, agreements etc. for a particular topic in one source. They may also contain documents that are not published in the more general treaty research sources. This list is not exhaustive but represents many of the sources available on this campus. The location of items not held in the Government Documents Department is given along with the call number.
Native American Sources
- Indian Affairs, Laws and Treaties by Charles J. Kappler.
- Govt Docs Ref: KF8203 1975
- United States Statutes at Large.
- Microcopy Room: KF50 U55 mf11 (Indian treaties are included through vol. 16).
- List of Indian treaties...
- House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Committee print. 88th Congress, Sept. 8, 1964.
- Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged
Regional Organization Sources
- European Treaty Series (Council of Europe)
- Entered under individual titles in Documents Card Catalog.
- European Conventions and Agreements (Council of Europe)
- Law Library: JX626 C68 1971
- Directory of Community Legislation in Force and Other Acts of the Community Institutions
- Microcopy Room: KJE920.5 D57 mf11 (current edition only).
- Continues: Register of Current Community Legal Instruments. (Law Library: HC241.2 A18 1-2, 1982-83).
- Treaties Establishing the European Communities
- Shields Stacks: KJE4442.3 T75 1987
- Basic Documents of African Regional Organizations
- Govt Docs Ref: JX1582 A2.S64
- Treaty Series. (Organization of American States).
- Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged, no. 1-48, 1968-1979
- Continues: Treaty Series (Pan American Union) (Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged no. 1-C- no. 34).
- The Inter-American System: Treaties, Conventions and Other Documents (Organization of American States)
- Law Library: JX1404 I57
- Instruments of Economic Integration in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Law Library: KZZCO.I6117i
- Basic Documents of Asian Regional Organizations
- Shields Stacks: JX1569 A2.H33
- Canadian Treaty Calendar, 1928-1978
- Law Library: JX357.5 W54 1983
- Treaty Series (United Kingdom)
- This series is part of the Command Papers. Use the annual indexes to the Parliamentary Papers to locate the "Index to the Treaty Series" and "General Index to the Treaty Series" (3-4 year cumulative indexes). These indexes give both the Treaty Series and Command Paper numbers needed to locate a treaty.
- An Index of British Treaties, 1101-1968
- Shields Stacks: JX636.1892 Index 1101-1968
- Agreements of the Peoples Republic of China
- Shields Stacks: JX926.1981.C48
- A Calendar of Soviet Treaties
Shields Stacks: JX756 1917 (1917-1957);
Law Library: KZZCO LH15e v.33(1974-1980)
Arms Control and Disarmament and Rules of War
- Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements: texts and histories of negotiations
- Shields Stacks: JX1974 A1.A72 1990
- International Treaties Relating to Nuclear Control and Disarmament
- Shields Stacks: K3989 I6 no. 9
- Multilateral Agreements (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Shields Stacks: K3989 I6 no. 1
- A Collection of Neutrality Laws, Regulations and Treaties of Various Countries
- Law Library: JX5355 D4
- Documents on the Laws of War
Shields Stacks: JX4505 D62 1982;
Law Library: JX4505 D62 1989 (2nd ed.)
- Transnational Terrorism: conventions and commentary: a compilation of treaties, agreements and declarations of especial interest to the United States
- Shields Stacks: JX5420 T7 1982
Atomic and Nuclear Energy
- Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral Agreements Relating to Cooperation in the Field of Nuclear Safety.
- Shields Stacks: K3989 I6 no. 15
- International Conventions on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage
- Govt Docs Ref: K3989 I6 no. 4, 1976
- Register of international treaties and other agreements in the field of the environment
- United Nations Environment Programme, 1985
- Govt Docs Desk: DOC-INT UN/EP R43
- International Protection of the Environment: treaties and related documents
- Law Library: JX4171 E5.I47
- International Environmental Law: basic instruments and references
- Govt Docs Stacks: K3583 W45 1992
Intellectual Property, Copyright, Patents, etc.
- Copyright Laws and Treaties of the World (UNESCO & WIPO)
- Law Library: K1420.5 U55
- Laws and Treaties of the World on the Protection of Performers and Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
- Law Library: K1447.2 A48 1969
- United Nations Legislative Series
- Govt Docs Stacks: ST/LEG/SER.B/[no. ]
- This series includes volumes titled, "National Legislation and Treaties Relating to the Law of the Sea".
- Index to Marine Treaties
- Shields Stacks: JX4419 G3
- Limits in the Seas (Geographer of the U.S. Dept. of State)
- Map Collection: JX4131 L54
- (This publication includes the texts of maritime boundary agreements.)
Tax and Commerce
- Tax Treaties (CCH)
- Law Library: KF6306 U54 1990
- Tax Treaties...
- Law Library: KF6306 C62
- Full texts of U.S. treaties with foreign countries covering income and estate taxes...
- Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades)
- Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged 25th (1979)-
- Bilateral Investment Treaties (U.N. Centre on Transnational Corporations)
Govt Docs Stacks: shelved as unnumbered publication;
Law Library: K3830.4 B55 1988
- Human Rights Documents: compilation of documents pertaining to human rights...
- Govt Docs Stacks: Uncataloged, 98th Congress Sept. 1983 House Committee on Foreign Affairs Comm. Print
- International Labour Conventions and Recommendations, 1919-1981: arranged by subject-matter
- Shields Stacks: K1702 I5.I562 1982
- UNESCO's Standard-Setting Instruments
- Govt Docs Ref: AS4.U8.A62
- International Narcotics Control: a source book of conventions, protocols and multilateral agreements 1909-1971
- Wash. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs 1972
- Govt Docs Stacks: Shelved as its SCID-TR [series] no. 5 (vol.4)
- Design Laws and Treaties of the World
- Bureau of National Affairs
- Law Library: K1500 B65
Additional Information Sources
- U.S. Dept. of State, Office of Treaty Affairs
- (202) 647‑1345
- UN Office of Treaty Affairs
Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the UN Secretary-General:
Treaties not deposited with the Secretary-General but with a Government or Organization: (212) 963‑7833
Guides to Treaty Research
- Cohen, Morris L., Robert C. Berring and Kent C. Olson. How to Find the Law, 9th ed. 1989
- Law Library: KF240 C538 1989
- See chapter 15 "International Law" for a good detailed discussion of treaty research including treaty interpretation.
- Jacobstein, Myron J. and Roy M. Mersky. Fundamentals of Legal Research, 5th ed. (1990)
- Law Library: KF240 J3 1990
- See Chapter 20 "International Law" for a good discussion of treaty research sources.
- Zwirn, Jerrold. Congressional Publications, 1983
- Shields Stacks: JK1067 Z85 1988 2nd. ed.
- See chapter 11 "United States Treaties" for a good detailed discussion of the treaty making process. Figure 15 on page 160 is a good outline of the "Key Steps and Decision Points in the Life of a Treaty".
- "Post-World War II Treaty Research Sources, Finding Tools and Status Information Sources". Debora Cheney
- Government Publications Review, Vol. 12, pp. 1-23, 1985
- Govt Docs Ref: Z688 G6.G583
- A bit dated but still a good discussion of the sources covered. Many of the specialized subject sources listed in section IV above are discussed in more detail in this article.
- "Research Tips in International Law". John W. Williams
- George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics, vol. 20, pp. 1-403, 1986.
- Law Library: K7.E57
- "Researching treaty information: an annotated guide to key reference sources". Miller
- RQ, vol. 25, pp. 204, 1985
- Shields Stacks: Z711 R2
Commonly Used Abbreviations and Terms
Listed below are some of the commonly used abbreviations with their full titles. In addition several glossaries and dictionaries for treaty research are provided.
- Treaties and Other International Agreements of the USA 1776-1949.
- Consolidated Treaty Series.
- International Legal Materials.
- League of Nations Treaty Series.
- Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers.
- Treaties and Other International Acts of the USA.
- Redmond is the compiler of volume 3 of the Malloy set.
- United States Statutes at Large.
- Treaties and Other International Acts Series.
- Treaties in Force.
- Trenwith is the compiler of volume 4 of the Malloy set.
- United Nations Treaty Series.
- United States Treaties and Other International Agreements.
- Treaties and Other International Agreements: the role of the United States Senate
- Shields Stacks: KF4989 A25 1984 — see Appendix 6 "Glossary of Treaty Terminology."
- International Relations Dictionary (US Dept. of State. Library)
- Govt Docs Ref: JX1226 U5 1978
- The International Relations Dictionary
- HSSGIS Reference: JX1226 P55 1988
- Glossary of International Treaties, 1970
- Law Library: JX1226 R45