Note: see also Treaties in this Legal Encyclopedia.
Since there exists no complete collection of treaties in print or online, you must often conduct your research with a certain amount of creativity and perseverance, specially if you do not have a treaty citation. It is important to note that treaties may be referred to by variety of names (Agreements, Conventions, Protocols, Memorandums of Understanding, Exchanges of Letters, et cetera). This entry is designed to aid you in your treaty research.
Recent & Draft Treaties
- International Legal Materials. 1962 Many important draft treaties are published in this source. Each issue is indexed. The November issue contains the annual index. Cumulative Indexes have been published for 1962-1969, 1970-1979, and 1980-1989. This valuable source is also available in full text on Lexis in INTLAW;ILM and on Westlaw in ILM. ILS RR JX 68.I5.
- Hein’s United States Treaties and Other International Agreements Current Microfiche Service. Contains subject index to microfiche set of current unreleased international agreements and treaties. JX 235.9 .H45. A paper index of the most recent treaty releases is available at ILS RR JX 235.9 .H45
- Hein’s U.S. Treaty Index on CD-ROM. Indexes U.S. treaties 1776-present. This index cumulates information on over 14,000 treaties and provides numerical, geographical, chronological and subject indexes. Available at all Library public terminals under “Selected International Law Sources.”
- Guide to the United States Treaties in Force. Contains chronological, subject and country indexes to treaties in force. Cross-references are given for related and amending treaties. Treaties too recent to have a TIAS number are listed with a KAV number to the Hein’s U.S.
- TIARA (see online resources below)
- Consolidated Treaties and International Agreements. Includes the full text of treaties and executive agreements which have been ratified. Full text is usually available within 90 days of release. Indexes by country and topic are located at the end of each volume. ILS RR JX 235.9 .C66
- Congressional Index. Chicago: Commerce Clearing House, 1937- present. Provides information on the status of treaties being considered for ratification by the Senate. Look in the Senate volume under KF49.C6.
- CIS Index to U.S. Congressional Publications. Indexes Senate Executive Reports and Treaty Documents. Some documents reprints the draft treaties being considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Look in the index under the name of the treaty or under the appropriate subject. The abstracts may be browsed under Foreign Relations Committee, Senate-Prints S382 or under Foreign Relations Committee, Senate-Reports S383. Reference KF49.C62 For current status of Treaties at the Senate, also check https://www.senate.gov/legislative/legis_act_treaties.html.
Comprehensive Treaty Indexes
- Bowman and Harris, Multilateral Treaties: Index and Current Status. Provides the date of conclusion, location, entry into force, duration, reservations, language of authentic texts, depository responsibility, eligibility of parties, list of parties, territorial scope, amendments, signatories and notes. This index provides more parallel citations than the other indexes. There is a keyword and subject index. Unfortunately the annual cumulative supplement, although arranged chronologically, is not indexed. ILS RR and ILS Ref Desk JX 171 .B68x 1984
- Hein’s U.S. Treaty Index on CD-ROM. (see previous section)
- Hein’s United Nations Master Treaty Index on CD-ROM. Provides a cumulative index for citations to international treaties and agreements published in the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS). It presents the advantages of both indexing more recent volumes and of a growing cumulation of entries. However, given the slow pace of publication of the UNTS volumes themselves, coverage dates are still unavoidably slow.
- Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General.. Treaties are listed by broad subject areas. Information is provided on signatures, accessions, notifications, reservations, and declarations. The texts of declarations and reservations are reproduced. Latest developments are reported in the U.N. Chronicle (ILS JX 1977 .A1 U564). ILS and ILS Ref Desk JX 236.5 .M84
- Rohn, World Treaty Index. This five volume set covers 1900 to 1980. There are a reference volume and two main entry section volumes which list the treaties chronologically by signing state, a party index volume, and a keyword index volume. ILS RR and ILS Ref Desk JX 236.5 R64x 1997
- TIARA (see online resources below)
- Treaties in Force (TIF). Indexes bilateral and multilateral treaties of the United States and gives citations to the texts. Treaties which are in force for the United States as of January first of a particular year are listed. TIF is updated by the State Department Dispatch and tends to run approximately a year behind schedule. ILS and ILS RR JX236.5 .T7
- Some treaties may be included as the appendix of a work.
See section on “Online Databases” for additional sources.
Indexes and Collections of Older Treaties
- Bevans, Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949. Multilateral treaties are arranged in chronological order in volumes 1-4 and bilateral treaties are in order by country in volumes 5-12. Volume 13 is the index. ILS RR JX236 1776.B48 1968
- Catalog of International Law and Relations. This Harvard card catalog was established in 1947 and published in 1965. It combines author, title, and subject files into a single alphabetical order, and contains some 360,000 entries representing the various styles of catalog record and practice in effect in the Library during those years. There is a large section devoted entirely to treaties. In addition, certain treaties are classified under various headings, such as alliances, capitulations, commercial treaties, concordats, favored nation clause, international obligations, etc. ILS RR K40 H37x 1965
- Consolidated Treaty Series (CTS). Includes texts of treaties from 1648 to 1918. Treaties are published in their original language with either a French or English translation. ILS 49 235 Chronological and party name indexes are located in the ILS Reading Room. ILS RR JX 236.5 I52x 1979
- Malloy, Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols, and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers. This index covers treaties from 1776-1937. ILS RR JX 236 1910 and ILS JX 236 1910.
- Miller, Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. This covers agreements from 1776-1863. The texts of the treaties are in English and in other official languages. It includes annotations but no index. ILS RR JX236 1931a
- Nouveau recueil de traitÃ©s d’alliance, de paix, de trÃ¨ve:…et de plusieurs autres actes servant Ã¡ la connaissance des relations Ã©trangÃ¨res des puissances…de l’Europe…despuis 1808 jusqu’Ã prÃ©sent. This three-part series contains many treaties that may not be found in the collections mentioned above. Bilateral treaties, for example, passed over by other collections can often be found here. Treaties are usually published in their original language with a French translation. There also exists a supplement with treaties that date back to 1746. ILS Storage 49 12.3
Specialized Treaty Collections:
- International Environmental Law: Multilateral Treaties. Berlin, 1974–. Regularly updated looseleaf services of multilateral treaties related to environmental law. ILS RR K 3583.I57x 1974
- International Human Rights Instruments. ILS RR K3238 .A1 I536
- International Labour Conventions and Recommendations. ILS K1703.I57 1996
- International Protection of the Environment. (RÃ¼ster & Simma) ILS RR K3583.4 .I575x 1990 (second series)
- International Tax Treaties of All Nations: Containing English Language Texts of All Tax Treaties Between Two or More Nations in Force on July 1, 1975 [edited] by Walter H. Diamond, Dorothy B. Diamond. (with looseleaf supplement). Contains English language texts of tax treaties. ILS RR K4473.A1 I56 1975
- The Official Journal of the European Communities Part L, “acts whose publication is obligatory,” reprints current EC treaties. ILS RR KJE 908.L43. Current issues are available through the EU’s official Web site: https://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/en/index.html. Also see Westlaw’s EU-LEG database for 1952-present.
- The basic treaties of the European Communities are compiled in Treaties Establishing the European Communities (ECSC, EEC, EAEC): Single European Act, Other Basic Instruments. ILS RR KJE 918 .A1x 1987
Electronic resources will often be more up-to-date than print collections. However, authenticity may remain unsure in this somewhat unstable format. Some treaties, such as NAFTA and GATT, for example, have been put online by a variety of hosts. It is important to try to gauge their authenticity as best you can. A misspelling of “Tarrifs” in GATT or the fact that the entire title of a treaty is not included are examples of warnings.
- TIARA. TIARA contains U.S. treaties and international agreements in force since 1783. This database contains specific fielded data and the full-text of over 10,000 bilateral and multilateral treaties signed by the United States.
- From the start menu on any public terminal in the Harvard Law School Library, go to the Selected International Law Sources.” Click on “Treaties and International Agreements Online” and follow the instructions.
- The UN Treaty Collection is the largest single collection of treaties on the internet. Approximately 30,000 treaties and related actions already published in the 1,450 volumes of the UNTS are available in English, French and any other authentic language used. Treaties can be located with relative ease using such information as type of agreement, date of signature, entry into force, names of the parties, and popular names.
- The INTLAW library BDIEL file contains treaties on international trade, international finance, foreign investment, international arbitration, intellectual property, GATT, and the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement.
- ILMTY includes treaties and other international agreements published in International Legal Materials.
- The FEDTAX library IBFDTR file contains U.S. tax treaties.
- The file TNIMAG provides tax treaty updates for all new and pending treaties from Tax Notes International Magazine.
- The ECTY file includes European Community Treaties.
- The SENATE file in the GENFED library is useful for locating any reservations to a recently ratified treaty.
- The USTREATIES database provides complete full-text coverage of international and Native American treaties to which the United States is a party from 1778 to present. Some useful fields for searching this database are: CTR for COUNTRY NAME -Foreign country that is party to the document; and SI for AUTHOR -Name and title of all designated signers, if available. As many texts are loaded before official UST and TAIS citations are available, Westlaw citations (e.g. 1993 WL 82993) can be used instead.
- The IEL database (International Economic Law Documents) contains documents selected by the International Economic Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law. It includes the texts of international agreements. Once you have chosen the database, to view its Table of Contents, enter the query: ci (contents). The Environmental Law Reporter (ELR) includes the treaties portion of the Environmental Law Reporter Statutes binder. Federal Taxation International Acts (FTX-IA) includes tax agreements between the United States and foreign governments.
- Westlaw also provides information for locating citations to treaties or information about recent treaties by using the full-text law reviews and newspaper sources. A useful place to look is INT-NEWS which contains documents from newspapers, magazines, journals, newsletters, transcripts and wire services from around the world. This resource would rarely produce the full text of treaties but rather information and commentary about them.
- Multilaterals Project (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ). Extensive Collection of Multilateral Treaties organized by Subject and Date of Signature. Covers Atmosphere and Space; Flora and Fauna-Biodiversity; Cultural Protection; Diplomatic Relations; General; Human Rights; Marine and Coastal; Other Environmental; Trade and Commercial Relations; War and Arms Control; Gulf Area Border. Also contains List of Treaty Secretariats with Known Internet Servers; Other International Law Collections; Miscellaneous Historical Documents. The text files are searchable.
- Diplomatic and International Affairs Hypertext Information System (Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, Malta). Extensive Collection of Political and Legal Documents on the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership Process and Mediterranean Affairs in general. Includes Treaties; U.N. Resolutions; I.C.J. and Other Decisions; Various Materials. Searchable by Topic, Name, Date and Other Parameters.
- United Nations Treaty Collection (see above). United Nations Treaty Series and Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General. Includes Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General and Reservations. Free Access to this Important Resource until the Annual Subscription is fixed.
- Treaties (Saarbruecken). U.S. House of Representatives. Very Extensive List of Treaty Links.
- The Avalon Project (Yale Law School). Pre 18th. Century, 18th. Century, 19th. Century and 20th. Century Documents in Law, Economics, Politics and Government. Twentieth Century Documents include Balfour Declaration; Israel’s Declaration of Independence; European Parliament Tibet Resolution 1992; Hamas Covenant 1988; Kellogg-Briand Pact; League of Nations Covenant; NATO Treaty; Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941; Nuremberg War Crimes Trial; Palestinian National Charter 1968; Tonkin Gulf Incident 1964; U2 Incident; United Nations Charter; World War II Documents.
- Australian Treaty Series (DFAT/AustLII). Treaty List Index; Full Text Treaties (Searchable); Current Treaty Action; Senate Committee Report on Power to Make Treaties; Links.
- South African Cyber Treaty Series (Pronto). Full Text of South African Treaties; Recent Treaty Activity; Parties.
- KONTERM (Universiy of Vienna/Erich Schweighofer). Research Project for Analysis and Search for Selected Treaties and Documents. Includes Treaties; State Practice in Diplomatic Relations; State Practice re Treaties; Reservations to Human Rights Treaties.
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s