The researcher may need to find information related to the negotiation history and treaty
interpretation. Negotiation histories are generally not available for bilateral U.S. treaties and agreements because the
documents are never released to the public. A la Recherche des Travaux Préparatoires: An Approach to Researching the Drafting History of International Agreement is a very useful guide to finding the negotiating histories ( “travaux préparatoires”) of multilateral treaties.
- U.S. government documents, especially hearings, reports and prints, contain valuable history and intent information.
Some of the most important documents are
Senate Treaty Documents and Senate
Executive Reports. These documents are only available for treaties and not agreements. These and other
documents can be located using legislative history research tools, see a
Legislative History tutorial for assistance in using
- Other excellent sources for background information are journal articles and books. Start with a subject search using the
name treaty or agreement.
- Shepard’s United States Citations. Provides citations to cases and statutes that cite or
Generally speaking, the U.S. does not provide comprehensive access to large collections of treaties on the web. Here are a few