Princeton University Library

Treaty Research Guide



By Duncan Alford

Last Updated 19 April 2004

This guide is based on a treaty research guide prepared by Simon Canick, Reference Librarian, at the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University, New York, NY. 

Table of Contents

Introduction to Treaty Research

The Princeton University  Library provides excellent resources for treaty research. We have access to nearly all of the resources described in this guide, and many others not mentioned. But even with the right tools, treaty research can be quite difficult and time consuming. This is especially true if you do not have a good understanding of treaties and how they are formed. 

A treaty (sometimes called a convention, covenant, protocol, charter, pact, etc…) is an agreement between two or more nations or international organizations. It may be bilateral (between two countries), or multilateral (between three or more countries). The treaty text may provide for the manner by which it takes effect. Often, the agreement will enter into force when it has been signed and ratified by a certain number of parties. Unless restricted by the terms of the treaty, parties may ratify a treaty with reservations or other declarations. A reservation is a country's attempt to modify certain terms of the agreement, as between itself and other countries. For a thorough discussion of the treaty making process, see Anthony Aust, Modern Treaty Law and Practice (2000). Firestone Library (F) KZ1301 .A93 2000.

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When the United States is a Party

In the United States, treaty-making power lies with the President, with consent of the Senate. The President (usually the President's representatives) negotiates, drafts, and signs all treaties. Until the Senate consents, however, the signed treaty has no force of law. The President may choose to submit the treaty to the Senate immediately, or wait until there is a greater likelihood of obtaining the necessary two-thirds vote. Many treaties signed by the United States have never been ratified, not because Senate rejected them, but because they were withdrawn from the Senate or never submitted by the President. If the Senate approves, the treaty is officially ratified and proclaimed by the President. Note that "executive agreements" (which are less formal than treaties) may be concluded by the President without consent of the Senate, under his constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs. For further information, see Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the United States Senate, 106th Congress (Comm. Print 2001), Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (DOCS) Y4.F76/2:S.PRT.106-71.  Also available on the Web here.

1. Databases

Services such as Lexis(commercial version) can be extremely useful in several situations. If you do not need an official source, databases offer quick access to the treaty texts. Or, you may need to search online to find the text of treaties not yet available in print.

Click here for a table comparing the contents of several treaty databases.

Treaties and International Agreements Online: This database published by Oceana includes the full-text (and where available, PDF versions) of U.S. treaties since 1778. The database is searchable full-text, by subject, by country and other characteristics. Includes an extensive collection of tax treaties, including non-U.S. tax treaties. Available from the Article Indexes and Research Databases list on the Library's home page.

Hein Online - Treaties and Agreements Library: This database contains the full-text (both PDF and text) of all U.S. treaties, both in force and out of force, since 1778. Publications included are the U.S Treaty Series, TIAS, Bevans, Miller and Malloy. Accessible from the Article Indexes and Research Databases list on the Library's home page.

U.S. Treaties on LEXISNEXIS Commerical Version (INTLAW; USTRTY): As of April 2000, this database is no longer licensed from Oceana. It remains, however, enormous in scope with over 13,000 full text documents. LexisNexis claims two important database features. First, it has broader coverage of historical, unratified treaties. Second, it is more frequently updated, and has more current information. All documents are obtained through official government sources, such as the State Department, the U.S. Senate, and publications like UST, TIAS, and Bevans. It allows for various searching options. This database has several relatively short gaps in coverage, so there's a chance you might not find existing documents.  You will need to access this commercial version of LexisNexis from the Telnet link on the Database list of the Library Web page or from the computers in the Social Science Reference Center, A Level, Firestone Library.

U.S. Treaties on Westlaw Commercial Version: Like LexisNexis, Westlaw also includes treaty databases. CMB-TREATIES includes U.S. treaties since 1778, Australian treaties, UK treaties, European Union treaties, and tax treaties. US-TREATIES includes only U.S. treaties from Statutes at Large, TIAS, UST, Senate Treaty Documents, and U.S. State Department documents.

Private International Law, U.S. State Department Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for Private International Law, This site includes links to the text of many U.S. treaties in force or under consideration. Subject areas include trade and business law, family law, judicial assistance, and wills, trusts and estates.

Avalon Project at Yale Law School, This site provides copies of selected bilateral and multilateral treaties to which the United States is or was a party, among many other historical documents.  Bilateral treaties:  Multilateral treaties:

2. Treaty Indexes

If the treaty is in force, use Treaties In Force: A List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of The United States (DOCS Reference, Social Science Reference Center, Firestone Library, S9.14). If it is out of force, try LexisNexis (commercial version).

Treaties in Force, DOCS Reference, Social Science Reference Center, S9.14: Published annually by the State Department, this is the official index to United States treaties in force. It has a single volume, comprised of two lists. The first is for bilateral agreements, and is organized by country. The second is for multilateral agreements, and is arranged by subject. There is no subject index for bilateral treaties. (Also online at, and on LexisNexis, INTLAW;USTIF).  Back issues: Firestone Library, Pitney, JX236.1929c.

United States Treaty Index, Firestone Library, Library Web Computers, CD-ROM: Published by Hein, this comprehensive tool covers U.S. treaties from 1776 to present, whether ratified or not. Most volumes are revised through 1995, but there is a consolidated, bound supplement. You can access the set by treaty number, subject, country, title, and date. The first five volumes contain the "master guide," organized by treaty number. For each treaty in this section, you will learn if there are parallel citations, when and where it was signed, when it entered into force, and subsequent activity. It does not tell you whether the treaty is currently in force (see Treaties in Force). The other indexes only provide enough information to lead you back to the Master Guide.

3. Pending / Recent Treaties

Recent U.S. treaties generally do not find their way into print for a year or more. There are, however, sources available that either provide full text or status updates. Many of these are electronic. For example,  LexisNexis (described above) tends to upload treaty documents relatively quickly. Another option is to search the web site of the Federal agencies affected by the subject matter of the treaty you're seeking. For instance, try the Commerce Department or U.S. Trade Representative's pages for commercial or free trade agreements (see Part 3 below). For recent U.S. agreements not available elsewhere, it may be possible to get assistance from the Treaty Affairs Staff in the Legal Advisor's Office of the U.S. State Department (202-647­2044). The following are some other options.

Congressional Index, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (SSRC), KF49 .C6. Holdings: 99th Congress (1985) - current. Current issue in Social Science Reference Center, Ready Reference.  The Congressional Index includes a "Treaties – Nominations" section that summarizes treaty documents, and provides citations to Senate Executive Reports when available. This section also includes a subject index. Published by CCH, the Congressional Index is regularly supplemented, and is currently less than two months out of date. 

U.S. Senate, Legislative Activities, Treaties, This site lists all treaties received, under consideration, or approved by the Senate during the current session of Congress.

Treaty Actions, The apparent successor to Dispatch (see below), this internet resource provides a chronological listing of recent U.S. treaty activity. Links to archived treaty actions beginning in 1997.

U.S. Department of State Dispatch, Donald Stokes Library, Periodicals, JX232 .U83 and DOCS located in Social Science Reference Center, Firestone Library: Published from 1990 – 1999, Dispatch contained status information on U.S. treaty actions, including date and place of signing, and ratification date. Continues the Department of State Bulletin. Back issues from 1993 – 1999 are available at

Thomas - Treaties, Includes treaties and related Senate documents on treaties presented to the Senate for ratification from the 94th Congress forward; selected documents are available from the 90th to 93rd Congresses.

GPO Access – Senate, House, and Treaty Documents, Here, you can try full-text searches for treaties sent to the Senate beginning with the 104th Congress (1995).

Congressional Record Online, available via LexisNexis, Congressional Universe, Thomas, or GPO Access. The Congressional Record is an excellent resource for finding out what activity, if any, the Senate has taken with respect to treaties signed, but not yet ratified, by the United States. Search by the name of the convention, and often you will find floor statements that shed some light.

4. Treaties in Print: Current

Consolidated Treaties and International Agreements (CTIA) Firestone Library, Pitney Collection, JX235.9 C66: This print set provides the most current print version of treaties of the United States. Princeton's holdings begin in 2002. The Oceana database Treaties and International Agreements Online includes the CTIA treaty number, referring to this set. Indexes by country and topic.

Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS) Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (DOCS) - S9.10: The first place where ratified U.S. treaties and executive agreements are officially published. Note that the treaties often include both English and the language of the other party or parties. They arrive in consecutively numbered, individually paginated pamphlets.  Periodically these are bound. TIAS is approximately five years out of date. According to the Bluebook, cite only to TIAS when the treaty has not yet been printed in UST. (Rule 20.4.5) Also in Hein Online.

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST) Firestone Library, PITNEY 013.921.62: This set is virtually the same as TIAS, except it comes out irregularly in annual, bound volumes. UST is woefully out of date – it is only now publishing treaties signed more than 15 years ago. According to the Bluebook, however, researchers should cite to UST whenever possible (Rule 20.4.5(a)(i)). When there are more than two parties, cite to UST and an inter-governmental source such as UNTS (Rule 20.4.5(a)(ii)). Also in Hein Online.

Senate Executive Documents and  Reports, Firestone Library, Microforms - Microfiche 2069: After signing, treaties are referred by the president to the Senate for ratification. This microfiche set contains the documents and reports by which the U.S. Senate acted on treaties.  Princeton University Holdings begin with the 15th Congress, Second Session (1818) through the 91st Congress, Second Session (1969).  Senate Executive Documents and Reports since 1970 are available through LexisNexis Congressional Universe. Prior to 1970, indexed in CIS Index to US Senate Executive Documents & Reports, in Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center,  Z1223.Z7 C574 1987.

Senate Treaty Documents, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center, DOCS Y1.1/4:  These documents contain the presidential transmittal letter to the Senate and the complete text of the (unratified) treaty.  This set was previously called Senate Executive Documents prior to the 97th Congress (1981).  Indexed selectively in the CIS Index which is part of LexisNexis Congressional Universe from 1970 to date.  Prior to 1970, indexed in CIS Index to US Senate Executive Documents & Reports, in Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center,  Z1223.Z7 C574 1987.  These unbound government documents become part of the bound volumes of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center, DOCS Y1.1/2:SERIAL. 

5. Treaties in Print: Historic

United States Statutes at Large (STAT) Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (LAW) – KF50 .xU5: Before 1950, Statutes at Large was the official source for United States treaties. Volumes 7 and 8 include all treaties from 1776-1845. From then on, treaties were published by session. With the inception of UST in 1950, Statutes at Large ceased publication of treaties. Also available in LexisNexis Congressional / Laws from 1789 to current. PDF versions available.

Treaties and Other International Agreements of the U.S.A. 1776-1949 (Bevans), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.922.75: This set replaces two earlier compilations (Malloy and Miller – see below) by reprinting all pre-UST, United States treaties. The first four volumes contain multilateral treaties in chronological order. Volumes 5-12 include bilateral treaties arranged by country. The index appears in volume 13. Also in Hein Online.

Treaties, Conventions, International Acts, Protocols, and Agreements Between the United States of America and Other Powers (Malloy), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.922.6: Contains the text of treaties, in English, from 1776-1923. Includes indexes in volume 4, and parallel citations to Statutes at Large and Treaty Series throughout. Superseded by Bevans. Also in Hein Online.

Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Miller), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.922.7: Covering treaties from 1776-1836, this set includes both English and other languages. For each treaty reprinted, there are parallel citations to Statutes at Large, and Treaty Series. Like Malloy, Miller has been superseded by Bevans. Also in Hein Online.

Treaty Series (TS), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.922.5: Covered U.S. treaties from 1913 (no. 578) to 1945 (no. 994), and included executive agreements until 1930. These individually numbered agreements were originally published as pamphlets, then bound. Ended in 1945 when TIAS began.

Executive Agreement Series (EAS), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.921.3: Another predecessor of TIAS, the EAS published individually numbered executive agreements from 1930 (no. 1) to 1945 (no. 506).

Unperfected Treaties of the United States of America, Firestone Library, Pitney - JX236.1776.U56: This nine volume set contains the texts of treaties that were signed between 1784 and 1975, but never ratified. All are in English, and some include the language of the other party.


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When the United States May Not Be a Party

Researching treaties to which the United States may not be a party can be challenging. Multilateral treaties are usually the easiest, as they are published in sets like the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), and on various web sites. Of course, only those treaties deposited with the UN Secretary General will become part of the UNTS. Although most multilateral (and many bilateral) treaties are deposited with the UN, states are under no obligation to do so. For more information on the role of the UN as a treaty depository, see, written by the Treaty Section of the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs.

Bilateral, obscure, or historic instruments are frequently more difficult. These agreements are often published only in the treaty series' or gazettes of the parties, or in commercially-produced, topical compilations. Before beginning to search, gather your information. What parties were definitely involved? When was the treaty signed? What was the subject matter? Is it in force? Whether you're seeking multilateral or bilateral treaties, the answers to these questions can streamline the process significantly. 

1. Databases -- Multilateral Treaties

United Nations Treaty Collection (available from electronic resources page, or This resource is useful both for finding citations, and for retrieving treaty text when you already have one. Including over 40,000 bilateral and multilateral treaties, the UN Treaty Series online is a vast and powerful tool. It allows searching by party, date, subject, popular name, type of agreement, and full text. The texts are provided as scanned images, rather than html, meaning that they are as "official" as the UNTS print series.

Fletcher Multilaterals Project, Tufts University, Includes well over 200 multilateral treaties and related instruments. Documents are divided into subject categories, such as human rights, trade and commercial relations, marine and coastal, and diplomatic relations. This site also allows full-text searching of all available treaties.


2. Treaty Indexes -- Multilateral Treaties

Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General, available (and frequently updated) online at Designed to give the status of multilateral treaties deposited with the United Nations (or League of Nations). For every treaty, there is a procedural history, citation to the UNTS or other sets, list of participants, dates of signature and ratification, and full text of each country's declarations and reservations.  The print version is also available in the U.N. Collection, Social Science Reference Center, Firestone Library, Section V, Law.

Multilateral Treaty Calendar, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (SSRC) - KZ118.W55 1998: This large volume lists basic information about multilateral treaties that were signed between 1648 and 1995. It is arranged in chronological order and provides citations to many of the sets we own at the Princeton University Library.


3. Treaty Indexes -- Bilateral / Multilateral Treaties

World Treaty Index, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center Ready Reference, JX 171 .R63 1983: This five volume set attempts to index all treaties signed worldwide from 1900-1980. The treaties are summarized in chronological order. Each summary contains good, basic information, including parties, dates of signing / ratification, and citations to UNTS or LTS if therein. Volumes 4 and 5 index treaties by party and keyword, respectively. Unfortunately, the World Treaty Index has not been supplemented since the 2nd edition was published in 1980.

Treaties and Alliances, 6th edition.  Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center Ready Reference, JX4005.T72 1995: This single volume provides summaries and excerpts of treaties, but no full text of treaties and few citations to official sources.  Very useful for a general overview of treaties in a certain subject area. 

4. Treaty Collections

United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) Firestone Library, Pitney 600.912.2: Over 2,000 volumes covering roughly 35,000 treaties registered, or filed and recorded with the UN. Contains treaty texts in the original languages, as well as English translations. A series of indexes is located at the end of the set. Each index volume covers a range of the UNTS, and allows searching by date, subject, and country. Also available through our Databases and Reference Tools page, or at: Cumulative index of the UNTS is at PITN 600.912.21.
The monthly publication, Statement of Treaties and International Agreements Registered or Filed and Recorded with the Secretariat, in Firestone Library, PITN 013.918, lists treaties that have been deposited with the U.N. Secretary General, and that are published in the UNTS.

League of Nations Treaty Series (LTS),  Firestone Library, Pitney 600.912: This set published bilateral and multilateral treaties deposited with the League of Nations. Most appear in English and French. The series is composed of 205 volumes, plus a nine volume general index. Also available in the United Nations Treaty Collection database available from the Article Indexes and Research Databases list on the Library's home page.

Consolidated Treaty Series (CTS), Firestone Library, Pitney 013.699: CTS spans 231 volumes, and reprints all available treaties signed between 1648 and 1919 (when the League of Nations Treaty Series began). All texts are in their original languages, with English and French translations whenever possible. Parallel citations are included, as are annotations to show later treaty modifications or terminations. The set is indexed by date and party, but not by subject. Index available at PITN 013.699.154.

International Legal Materials (ILM), Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center,  KZ64 .I58 : Published since 1962, ILM is dedicated to disseminating current international documentation. Treaties are published frequently, often as exact reproductions of the original documents. Some of the reprinted treaties are drafts, or signed but not yet ratified versions. Cumulative index volumes can be found at the end of the series, but are out of date. ILM is available on Hein On Line,  LexisNexis Academic (Legal Research, International Legal Research), LexisNexis  (INTLAW;ILM) and Westlaw Commercial Version.

Organization of American States Treaty Series (OEA): A collection of roughly 70 treaties approved within the framework of the Organization of American States. Available online at The web version allows searching by subject and within the text of agreements. 

Pan American Union, Law and Treaty Series, Firestone Library, Pitney PITN 013.691:  Contains copies of the constitutions of member nations of the Pan American Union (predecessor to the OAS) and treaties adopted at the various sessions of the International Conferences of American States in the first half of the 20th century.

European Treaty Series (ETS), Firestone Library, Pitney JX626 1971.C68: Treaties concluded within the Council of Europe are published in this set, formally known as European Conventions and Agreements. (We also bind advance sheets – these are located at Pitney 013.331). Documents are not in force until ratified by individual nations. The Council's web site,, has advanced searching, updated information on ratification and reservations, and the text of most treaties in the series.

International Legislation, Firestone Library, Pitney 010.481: A collection of multilateral treaties concluded from 1919 to 1945. There is some overlap with League of Nations Treaty Series and British and Foreign State Papers, but this set also includes treaties that never entered into force.

International Law and World Order: Basic Documents, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center, JX68.I496:  This seven volume set is organized by subject matter and contains the full-text of selected treaties.   Each volume has a table of contents and index, but no global index for the whole set.

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When You Know One of the Parties

If you know one of the countries involved in a treaty, then try its individual treaty series. This is an especially good strategy for bilateral treaties, as these are less likely to become a part of the UN Treaty Series. Selected, commonly used resources are mentioned below. For a more comprehensive list of country-specific, treaty materials, try using subject headings (e.g., "Dominican Republic – Foreign Relations – Treaties") in Pegasus.

1. Australia

Treaty Series. A  comprehensive source for Australian treaties is AustLII (Australasian Legal Information Institute), which has a vast database freely available on the web:


2. Canada

Treaty Series: Beginning in 1929, this series includes all of Canada's treaties in English and French.  Note: Princeton University Library does not own this set. 

3. European Union / European Communities

Europa, Selected EU agreements are posted on this web portal. Try these two addresses:, or

EU Treaties on LexisNexis Academic (Legal Research, EU Law) and EC Treaties of LexisNexis  (EURCOM;TREATY): Both of these databases include treaties relating to the formation or composition of the EU, and concluded between member states. 

Collection of the Agreements Concluded by the European Communities, Firestone Library (F) K4609.E87 C66: This 12 volume set contains the treaties of the European Economic Community (EEC), the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), from 1958 to 1982. Mostly these are bilateral, commercial agreements between the EEC and non-member countries or other international organizations.

Official Journal of the European Communities, C Series
Microfiche in Social Science Reference Center, A Level, Firestone Library
Holdings: 1952 - 1972 (in French), 1973 - 1999 (in English)
CD-ROM in Microforms, Firestone Library
Holdings: 1998 - current
Also available on the Web:
The O.J. C Series contains treaties and other international agreements between the European Union and foreign nations.

4. France

Journal Officiel de la République Française, Firestone Library, Microforms - Microfiche 594: This French gazette includes the texts of treaties. The Journal Officiel (from 1990) and a separate database of selected French treaties are also on the web:

5. Germany

Bundesgesetzblatt, Firestone Library (F) 7924.386.3 - Holdings 1949 - 1990. 
Teil I - Firestone Library (F) Oversize KK10.G475aq - Holdings 1991 - 2003
Teil II - Firestone Library (F) Oversize KK10.G475bq - Holdings 1991 - 2003
The Bundesgesetzblatt is divided into Teil I (for domestic legislation) and Teil II (for ratified treaties). The index to Teil II is the Fundstellennachweis, Firestone Library (F) 7924.386.33.

6. Great Britain

Treaty Series, Firestone Library, Microforms - Microfilm 09282: This series began in 1892, and is currently less than one year out of date. Some volumes include multi-year indexes.  Princeton University holdings are limited to 1894 - 1938.

British and Foreign State Papers, Firestone Library (F) 1011.406: Includes treaties, statements, and various diplomatic exchanges from 1812 to 1968. Each volume has an index, but there are periodic multi-year indexes as well.

Hertslet's Commercial Treaties, Offsite Annex A, PITN 013.263: A collection of mostly commercial treaties and related materials. The 31 volumes reprint documents that were created between 1354 to 1910. Indexes in volumes 22 and 31.

Clive Parry, Index of British Treaties, 1101 - 1968, Firestone Library (F), 1457.699:  This three volume set published in 1970 is a comprehensive index of treaties entered into by Great Britain.  Volume I contains a index of multilateral treaties by subject and an index of bilateral treaties both by country and by subject.  Volume II contains a chronological list of treaties from 1101 to 1925.  Volume III contains a chronological list of treates from 1926 to 1968.  The entries in the chronological lists describe the treaty, date of signature, and other descriptive information as well as citations to full-text sources, such as the League of Nations Treaty Series, the U.N.T.S., the British Treaty Series and the British and Foreign State Papers.  The subject and country indexes provide crossreferences to the detailed entries in the chronological lists.  Use the date of the treaty to locate the relevant entry in the chronological lists. 

House of Commons Sessional Papers - Index: Published by Chadwyck-Healey, this electronic index of British parliamentary papers from 1800 to the present is available on the Article Indexes and Research Databases list from Library Web Computers. Each British treaty is also published as a command paper, a type of British parliamentary paper, and has a command number. Therefore, because every British treaty is a parliamentary paper, it can be located in this index. The full-text is available in the accompanying microfiche set or in the print volumes located at the Richardson call number beginning 0844.___ on C Floor, Firestone Library (print holdings at Princeton end in 1985). Another useful index of British parliamentary papers is BOPCRIS, available free on the Web. However, BOPCRIS only indexes approximately 10% of the most important parliamentary papers and is therefore not nearly as comprehensive as the Sessional Papers Index.


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Subject Specific Treaty Research

1. Arms Control

Manual on International Humanitarian Law and Arms Control Agreements, Firestone Library (F) KZ5624 .M36 2000: This helpful compilation includes 84 arms control treaties concluded between 1863 and 2000. 

Bureau of Arms Control, U.S. Department of State, A collection of arms control treaties to which the United States is a party.

Council for a Livable World, This site provides links to many arms control treaties and related articles.


2. Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)

Foreign Trade Information System (SICE), Organization of American States, This site features the full text of well over 100 BITs concluded between nations in North, South, or Central America. Most agreements are in Spanish, many in English, and some in French. In addition, there is a link to "Investment Agreements in the Western Hemisphere: A Compendium." This report summarizes in English the key provisions of 58 BITs.

International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (World Bank Group), This is a useful resource, and the first place to start online if you’re looking for basic information about particular investment treaties. The site contains a directory (no full text) of every BIT signed between 1959 and 1996. First, there is a chronological list of BITs. Second is an alphabetical list of signatories, including the treaties which that State has concluded. Third is a bibliography of articles and books on the subject of BITs. The "introduction" page has good background material on the history of BITs.

Bilateral Investment and Related Treaties, U.S. Department of State, Links to a database of U.S. BITs in force, and a comprehensive list of U.S. BITs (as of January 2001) with dates of signature and entry into force. Many are offered as html or .pdf documents.

Bilateral Investment Treaties, Firestone Library (F), K3830.4 .D65 1995: Although somewhat dated, contains a chronological list of bilateral investment treaties.

3. Commercial / Trade Agreements

Trade Agreements Database, Trade Compliance Center, U.S. Department of Commerce, This database includes most of the active, binding, agreements relating to manufactured products and services, between the United States and other countries. Agreements are searchable by industry, subject, and country.

Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR): The USTR page includes the texts of many trade-related agreements in .pdf format. It is frequently updated to include recent treaty actions. Find agreements by region or subject. A good resource for WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) information. 

Foreign Trade Information System (SICE), Organization of American States, This site maintains what appears to be an exhaustive database of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements concluded between countries in North, South, and Central America. Most are in Spanish, many in English, some in French.

World Trade Organization, The 1986-1994 Uruguay round of trade negotiations resulted in the establishment of the WTO, as well as the completion of nearly 60 multilateral agreements, decisions, or understandings. All of these fall into the broad categories of goods, services, intellectual property, and dispute resolution. The agreements are downloadable in both .pdf and Wordperfect formats.

Basic Documents of International Economic Law. This two volume set remains a convenient resource for significant commercial treaties. Available on LexisNexis Commercial Version (INTLAW;BDIEL).


4. Environmental Law

The following web sites are comprehensive enough to get you started in your search for an environmental law treaty. But individual treaties or agreements may be scattered in other reliable print or internet resources. If you are looking for the Convention on the Law of the Sea, for example, you can find it on the web site for the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea,, or in various books on the subject. Your search engine of choice should help in finding web sites, and Princeton University Library's main catalog can do the same for books.

Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI), Funded by NASA, and operated by Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network, ENTRI holds the texts of hundreds of environmental treaties. The agreements are accessible by date, country, subject, and keyword searches. Other useful features include dates that treaties went into force, lists of treaties in force for each nation, and a list of treaties showing signatory nations for each.

United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), This site contains the text of various significant environmental conventions. It is unclear how often it is updated, however, so you may not find recent material here.

Fletcher Multilaterals Project, Tufts University, This site has divided over 200 multilateral treaties into subjects. These include atmosphere and space, flora and fauna, marine and coastal, and other environmental.

International Conventions on Protection of Humanity and Environment, Firestone Library (F), K3238.I58 1993: Contains the full text of selected treaties and conventions on the environment, human rights, and the protection of humanity during armed conflict.  Includes legal citations to various official treaty series.

5. Human Rights

Because interest in international human rights instruments has become so great, many excellent resources have been established. Several are listed below. If you need more information, I recommend the exhaustive Rights International guide to Research on International Human Rights Instruments, at:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, This extraordinarily useful web site compiles virtually all human rights-related treaties. Organized by subject matter.

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, An equally impressive collection of links to human rights related treaties. This site also provides full-text search capabilities for the treaties, or other related documents. Another search engine allows for searching across multiple human rights web sites, including the United Nations, European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International, and many others.

International Human Rights Instruments, Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (LAW), K3238.A1 I536 1990: A single volume loose-leaf service with roughly 50 human rights treaties (and other instruments) thought to hold special interest for the United States.

International Humanitarian Law Database,   --  The International Committee of the Red Cross based in Geneva maintains a database of international humanitarian treaties, principally the Geneva conventions.  The database provides convenient access to the full-text of over 91 treaties, treaty commentaries, and a list of signatures and ratifications for each treaty in the database.   The ICRC also maintains a related database that contains national laws and commentary on the implementation of international humanitarian law in selected nations:

6. Intellectual Property

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), An agency of the UN, WIPO administers over 20 intellectual property-related treaties. These can be found on this site in .pdf format, and are subdivided into three categories: intellectual property protection, global protection system, and classification.


7. Tax Treaties

a. United States is a Party

U.S. International Taxation and Tax Treaties (Matthew Bender) This is a loose-leaf service with current treaties and related information. The first two volumes address taxation of Americans operating abroad. Volume 3 begins with an analysis of U.S. tax treaties. The treaties themselves are arranged by country, and run from the middle of volume 3 through volume 6. Volume 6 concludes with the text of model tax treaties. Available on LexisNexis Commercial Version (INTLAW;INTTXT).

Income Tax Treaties, Internal Revenue Service,,,i1%3D2%26i2%3D16%26genericId%3D13330,00.html: .pdf versions of over 50 bilateral tax treaties appear on this IRS site. In many cases, Treasury Department technical explanations are also available.

Treaties and International Agreements Online (Oceana) This database located on the Article Indexes and Research Databases page of the Library's home page includes U.S. tax treaties in full-text.

b. United States May Not be a Party

Tax Analysts – Worldwide Tax Treaties (Available on LexisNexis Commercial Version 1828 to present, INTLAW; WWTRTY): Appears to be a comprehensive database of tax treaties, social security agreements, model tax treaties and related news. Also includes U.S.-specific material, especially documents associated with the legislative history of tax treaties. 

Treaties and International Agreements Online (Oceana) This database located on the Article Indexes and Research Databases page of the Library's home page includes U.S. tax treaties and tax treaties to which the U.S. is not a party. Oceana claims that its database is one of the most complete tax treaty collections available online.

8. Terrorism

International Terrorism: Multilateral Conventions (1937-2001), Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center (SSRC) K5256.A35 I584 2001 : A helpful compilation of UN and League of Nations treaties on terrorism and war crimes. Also includes a number of hard-to-find regional conventions.

United Nations Treaties Against International Terrorism, Collected texts of about 15 UN treaties and other documents relating to terrorism. Instruments date back to 1963. See also the UN Treaty Series page on the same subject. This slightly more comprehensive site includes links to each convention’s summary, status, and full text in PDF format. 

U.S. Department of State, Major Multilateral Terrorism Conventions, Summarizes 12 major multilateral conventions. Many links to PDF versions.

International Terrorism: A Compilation of Major Laws, Treaties, Agreements, and Executive Documents, 106th Congress (Comm. Print 2000), Firestone Library, Social Science Reference Center, DOCS Y4.In 8/16:T27/3, also available in the CIS microfiche set, CIS No. 2000-H462-9: Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, this 1,700 + page compilation reprints U.S. legislative and executive branch documents, as well as treaties relating to efforts to combat terrorism.

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Other Research Guides

For more information, you might try one of these excellent research guides:

The American Society of International Law: Guide to Electronic Resources for 
International Law: Treaties,

Georgetown University Law Center: Treaty Research

Columbia University, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Guide to Treaty Research

LLRX: Researching U.S. Treaties,

LLRX: Researching Non-U.S. Treaties,

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