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Public International Law Research

A guide that highlights resources and recommended strategies for conducting research on international law topics.

Multilateral Treaties to Which the U.S. is Not a Party

Locating Citations for Multilateral Treaties

Multilateral treaties to which the U.S. is not a party can be easier to identify than bilateral treaties to which the U.S. is not a party. Use the following indexes to identify citations for full-text sources for a variety of multilateral treaties.

Cumulative Index to the United Nations Treaty Series

The United Nations is the depositary organization for over 500 multilateral treaties. The Cumulative Index to the United Nations Treaty Series provides both chronological and alphabetical indexes of all treaties deposited with the United Nations. The Cumulative Index is available through the following resources:

Multilateral Treaty Calendar

The Multilateral Treaty Calendar covers a period of almost 350 years, from the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 to the end of 1995. It lists chronologically all multilateral treaties concluded during that period, provides citation information for full-text copies of the treaties, and lists additional information on duration, depository arrangements, and status. You can access the Multilateral Treaty Calendar through HeinOnline.

Locating Full-Text Sources for Multilateral Treaties

The following is a list of full-text sources for multilateral treaties. Note that many of these treaty series are specific either to a region or an organization.

United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S. 1946-present)

The U.N.T.S. is a publication produced by the Secretariat of the United Nations containing all treaties and international agreements deposited with the U.N. since 1945. The U.N.T.S. is available through the following resources:

League of Nations Treaty Series (L.N.T.S. 1920-1946)

As the predecessor to the United Nations, the League of Nations produced its own treaty series for all multilateral agreements deposited with the organization. The L.N.T.S. series runs from 1920-1946. The L.N.T.S. is available through the following resources:

Council of Europe Treaty Series

The text of all Council of Europe treaties, their explanatory reports, the status of signatures and ratifications, and the declarations and reservations made by individual nations are all available via the Council of Europe's website.

Organization of American States Treaty Series

The OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the hemisphere. This organization serves as a depository for multilateral and bilateral agreements and produces its own treaty series, which can be viewed on their website.

Bilateral Agreements to Which the U.S. is Not a Party

Finding Citations for Bilateral Treaties

Locating bilateral treaties to which the U.S. is not a party can be difficult. If the two signatory nations are not English-speaking jurisdictions, the agreement may not be readily available in English. In addition, it can be more difficult to locate full-text sources for bilateral agreements, as many will not be readily available online. The following are suggested resources that can be used to identify English-language copies of bilateral agreements to which the U.S. is not a party.

Cumulative Index to the United Nations Treaty Series

The United Nations is also the depositary organization for bilateral agreements. The Cumulative Index to the United Nations Treaty Series provides both chronological and alphabetical indexes of all treaties deposited with the United Nations. The Cumulative Index is available through the following resources:

Rohn's World Treaty Index

This five-volume set includes both bilateral and multilateral treaties concluded between 1900 and 1980. The treaties are organized chronologically by date of signature. The fourth volume in the series contains a party index, and the fifth volume provides a keyword index for topical searching. Note that this resource has not been updated since 1983.

Locating Full-Text Sources for Bilateral Treaties

Many countries maintain comprehensive collections of treaties to which they are a party. Originally published only in print, many nations are now making their treaty collections available online. When running Google searches for these types of online collections, be sure to watch for indicators that you are visiting a government website. In the U.S., government websites are indicated by a .gov domain name; other countries have unique domain names

National Treaty Collections Online

The following are examples of national treaty collections that are searchable in English:

World Legal Information Institute

This website provides links to other national treaty collections. Note, however, that some of the links may lead to websites and databases that are not in English.

HeinOnline's World Treaty Library

This collection provides access to historical agreements, and it contains bilateral agreements from a handful of non-U.S. jurisdictions.