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International Legal Research: Citing to Treaties

This Guide covers essential print and electronic resources for researching international and foreign law.

Treaty Citation

A citation to a treaty should include the agreement’s name, date of signing, parties and the sources in which the treaty can be found. As stated earlier, whenever possible, cite to the official source of the treaty, such as UST, TIAS or UNTS. Note that unfortunately, there is a long lag in publication of the official sources. Check Table T.4 of the Bluebook for alternatives. It contains a very handy list of official and unofficial treaty sources, including older treaty sources like Bevans and Statutes at Large. Note that citation to a Senate Treaty Document is acceptable, when no other official U.S. source is available.

Sources: U.S. Treaties

Official: U.S.T.; TIAS; Senate Treaty Document (in that order of preference)

If available, TIF will provide an official cite to U.S.T. or TIAS. If not, there are a number of ways to find the Senate Treaty Document citation, including the following:

FD Sys: The full text of authentic U.S. government documents are available at this website. Selected Senate Treaty Documents are available from the 104th Congress (1995-6) forward.

Thomas: This website is hosted by the Library of Congress and is another reputable source for Senate Treaty Document information back to the 90th Congress (1967-8) forward. Selected coverage is available for earlier Congresses. Full text is not available at this website but a link is provided to GPO's FD Sys collection above.

Senate website: The Senate itself provides access to treaties received from the President, treaties on the Executive Calendar, treaties approved by the Senate, and listings of other recent treaty status actions in the current Congress.   

PQ Congressional: A search for subject "Treaties and Convention" and words from the treaty title limited to the House and Senate Documents should retreive a reference to the Senate Treaty Document. The default setting is the last Congress (two years) so be sure to switch to all Congresses, if unsure of the year. Index coverage dates back to the 1st Congress. Full text coverage varies. In addition to citation purposes, this resource is useful for researching ratification history.

Senate Treaty Document citation information is also available via Lexis in its US Treaties on Lexis file.

Nonofficial: KAV

Igor Kavass created his own system for locating U.S. treaties not yet published in UST or TIAS. The so called KAV Agreements are available via HeinOnline's Treaties and Agreements Library.

Sources: World Treaties






U.S. Treaty Citation Examples

Patent Cooperation Treaty, June 19, 1970, 28 U.S.T. 7645, 1160 U.N.T.S. 231 reprinted in 9 I.L.M. 978 (1970).

Treaty Concerning Pacific Salmon, U.S.-Can., Jan. 28, 1985, TIAS 11091, 1469 U.N.T.S. 357.

U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, May 9, 1992, S. Treaty Doc. 102-38, 1771 U.N.T.S. 107. (Hein’s No. KAV 3339)

World Treaty Citation Examples

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Dec. 18, 1979, 1249 U.N.T.S. 13; 19 I.L.M. 33(1980)

Citation Guides

As mentioned earlier, the Bluebook is one of the best guides for treaty citation.The NYU Guide below is also a helpful resource.


The University of Minnesota's Frequently Cited Treaties website is a great shortcut for finding important treaty citations quickly.