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Research Guides

Foreign government information

A guide to major print and electronic foreign government information.

About treaties

The U.S. president proposes a treaty to the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate for consideration. The treaty then is designated a Senate Treaty Document (pre-ratificated treaty text, known as "Senate Executive Reports" before 1981) and is treated as a bill in the Senate.

After a treaty is approved by the Senate, signed and ratified by the president, it then can be made public by presidential proclamation.

Recent treaties are assigned KAV numbers until the State Department numbers them.

About six months after its effective date, the treaty is included in the Treaties and Other International Acts Series (TIAS).

The TIAS is later cumulated in the United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST).

To determine whether a treaty is still in effect, check the Treaty in Force (TIF).

Treaty text before UST are available in the Statutes at Large until 1950 and other early U.S. Treaties.

Recent or pending treaties (Unofficial treaties)

Locating a recent treaty text and determining its status can be tricky.

There is no official publications of U.S. treaties before TIAS.

Treaty status is hard to determine due to the fact that there are often three different dates: signed, ratified and entered into force. Check Treaty Actions for treaty status and actions.

To further complicate the situation, unlike bills, treaties do not die at the end of a Congress. They can be stagnated for years, even decades awaiting for senate action. Check Treaties pending in the Senate for list of treaties awaiting Senate action.

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (TIAS)

TIAS is a "slip" form of the first official publication of U.S. treaties.

It is a series of numbered pamphlets containing the text of treaties in the languages of the parties.

The contents of TIAS are indexed in Monthly Catalogs, Treaties in Force, Current Treaty Index, and United States Treaty Index 1776 - 1990 Consolidation.

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST)

Beginning in 1950, UST is a chronological arrangement of treaties with country and subject indexes.

UST is indexed by Current Treaty Index, United States Treaty Index, Treaties in Force.

Treaty in force (TIF)

TIF lists all treaties and other international agreements still in force on January 1 of each year.

Arranged in two parts, the first lists bilateral treaties by country and then by subject. The second part lists multilateral treaties by subject and then by parties.

TIF provides cites to the full treaty text in UST, TIAS, Statutes at Large and Bevans.

Indexes & finding aids

Early U.S. treaties