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Treaty Research Guide: Sources

Recommended Sources for Treaty Research

U.S. Resources

To identify treaties to which the U.S. is currently a party, or determine whether a known U.S. treaty is in force, consult the most recent version of Treaties in Force (TIF), published on the U.S. State Department website.  (Prior years are available in HeinOnline).  TIF is an index, providing lists, organized by subject (and for bilateral treaties, jurisdiction) of treaties in force in a particular year, and provides information regarding the treaties listed, such as the depositary of the treaty and citation information to full-text publication, but it does not provide their full text. 

To locate the full text of a treaty to which the U.S. is a party, researchers may need to consult several sources.  In theory, all treaties to which the U.S. is a party are published in Text of International Agreements to which the U.S. is a Party (TIAS).  In practice, there are often gaps in State Department publication.  HeinOnline's U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library is a good place to search for full-text treaties, as it compiles a number of official and commercial treaty publication in a single platform.

World Treaty Collections 

In seeking full-text treaties to which the U.S. is not a party (or U.S. treaties that evade State Department publication), you might first consult, for multilateral treaties, the website of the depositary of that treaty, and for bilateral treaties, available web materials offered by the state party governments.  Additional resources include:

Historical Treaty Collections Online

Treaty Indexes

Treaty Indexes

Indices help researchers find treaties on a particular subject. The congress.gov treaty search allows researchers to search for U.S. treaties by topic using the subject filter. The HeinOnline World Treaty Library Index does the same for both U.S. & non-U.S. treaties. 

International Legal Materials (Unofficial Treaty Text)

This American Society of International Law (ASIL) publication covers significant developments in international law, including reports on cases from both international and domestic courts and arbitral bodies, treaties, resolutions and reports from intergovernmental organizations, and domestic legislation impacting international law and relations.  In many cases, ILM includes a full-text version of the primary document along with any editorial summary.