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Guides & Glossary


The United States enters into agreements with other nations on topics such as the ozone layer of the atmosphere, the future of Antarctica, nuclear proliferation, taxes, and copyrights, to name a few. International agreements can be in the form of "treaties", "executive agreements", or other more informal agreements. The president can enter into certain international agreements on his authority alone. These are referred to as executive agreements. Treaties must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senators present. Unfortunately treaties are often not printed until several years after they are ratified and have gone into effect. What follows is a partial list of sources useful in tracking down treaty information.

Treaty Texts & Actions

Department of State Home Page
Information about new treaties as well as possibly the text of such treaties will be included here.

Treaty Actions - US treaty actions back to 1997 are available at this site.

Treaties and Other International Acts Series - (TIAS) - S 9.10
These "slip treaties" are the first printing we get from the Government Printing Office of a treaty. Unfortunately slip treaties are published as much as several years after a treaty is ratified by the Senate. A citation to a slip treaty would appear as TIAS 4048, which would be filed as S 9.10:4048.

US Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST) - S 9.12
This annual publication includes the full texts of treaties to which the U.S. is a party from 1950 to the present. A citation such as 29 UST 5756 refers to volume 29 page 5756 of this work.

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949 (Bevans)
S 9.12/2
This set compiles the texts of treaties and agreements prior to 1949, and renders it unnecessary to look up early treaties in the Statutes at Large (the compilation of laws of the U.S.) where they were originally printed. A citation to Bevans appears as 10 Bevans 841, which is a citation to volume 10 page 841. Citations to early treaties and agreements may also be given to the Statutes at Large, in which case the citation would appear as 56 Stat. 1545.

Treaty Documents - Y1.1/4
In order for the Senate to consider a treaty the President must transmit the text to the Senate. This is done in the form of a "treaty document" which contains a brief message with supporting materials for the treaty and the complete text of the, as yet, unratified treaty. Prior to the 97th Congress these executive documents were given letters and the number of the Congress and session - Executive S, 81-1 (Y1.81/1:S). With the 97th Congress these treaty documents are numbered like other documents - Y1.1/4:97-6.

United Nations Treaty Series - UN 5/T 71/no. - Ivy Stacks & Ivy Annex
The official title of this large set is Treaty Series: Treaties and International Agreements Registered or Filed and Recorded with the Secretariat of the United Nations . It prints all international agreements and treaties, whether bilateral or multilateral, which are filed with the United Nations. Most agreements are eventually filed with the UN. As with other compilations of treaties this source prints treaties substantially after they go into effect, for example, the 1982 volume prints 1977 agreements. A citation to this set appears as 701 UNTS 277 (volume 701, page 277). This set is important because the United States does not have to be a party to the treaty for it to be printed here.

United Nations Treaty Collection
This UN internet site Includes the following types of UN treaty information:
* Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General
* The United Nations Treaty Series
* Texts of Recently Deposited Multilateral Treaties
* Titles of the Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General in the UN official languages
* Summary of Practice of the Secretary-General as Depositary of Multilateral Treaties
* Treaty Handbook
* United Nations Treaty Series Cumulative Index

League of Nations Treaty Series - LN V.164
UVA owns the League of Nations Treaty Series in microfilm. It contains some treaties which pre-date the League's formation. A citation to it appears as 90 LNTS 171.