The President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, has the power to make treaties. After negotiation of the treaty by the executive branch, the treaty-making process involves signing and approval by the Senate, ratification by the President, deposit or exchange of ratifications with the other party, and proclamation by the President.
The President transmits the treaty text, letters of submittal by the Secretary of State, memoranda of understanding, and other related materials to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. This Presidential message is printed as a Senate Treaty Document (from 1946 to 1980 it was called a Senate Executive Document).
Upon consideration of the treaty, which may include the hearings process and even participation by other committees, the Committee on Foreign Relations reports the treaty to the full Senate and accompanies it with a Senate Executive Report.
To track the progress of treaties under consideration by the Senate, use the CCH Congressional Index. This index gives a cumulative legislative chronology and references to Treaty Document and Executive Report numbers. The Senate's treaty website is also useful in tracking treaties. Treaties, unlike proposed legislation, do not die at the end of a Congress. Look for treaties in Thomas.
To identify the Treaty Document or Executive Report, use the CIS Annual or the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. For materials from 1818 to 1969, use the CIS Index to U.S. Senate Executive Documents and Reports, 1818-1969. From 1818 to 1969, the texts of these Treaty Documents and Executive Reports are filed after the CIS microfiche; from 1970 to 1980, as CIS fiche. From 1980 to date, they are found in the Superintendent of Documents microfiche collection under the classification numbers Y 1.1./4: (treaty document) and Y 1.1/6: (executive report). They are also found in the Serial Set since 1980.
To determine if a treaty is in force and whether the U.S. is a party to a treaty, first use Treaties in Force (T.I.F.) which is issued annually on January 1. T.I.F. gives citations to sources where the treaty text is published, dates of the treaty, and signatories. T.I.F. is divided into two parts: bilateral treaties, listed by country, and multilateral treaties, arranged by subject. T.I.F. is available on LexisNexis in the intlaw library, ustif file. T.I.F. is updated by "Treaty Actions" published by the Department of State.
The Dispatch continued the Department of State Bulletin (1939-89). In addition to "Treaty Actions", the Dispatch contained the text of speeches, essays, ambassadorial appointments, and news conferences. The Dispatch (September 1990 - December 1999) appears in the genfed and other libraries on LexisNexis as the dstate file.
Use of T.I.F. is assisted by the publication A Guide to the United States Treaties in Force. Part I is a numerical list of treaties and a subject index; part II contains a numerical guide, chronological index, and directory of countries and international organizations.
Finding the text of a recent treaty in print is often challenging. Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.) is the publication of the slip treaty after ratification. The T.I.A.S. series is several years behind in publication.
The United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (U.S.T.) is the bound chronological compilation of treaties since 1950. Because of the time lag in publication for T.I.A.S., U.S.T. is also several years behind. Prior to 1950, treaties were published in the Statutes at Large.
In accordance with 1 U.S.C. sec. 112a(d) the Department of State now must post online international agreements that it intends to publish in T.I.A.S. within 180 days of their entry into force. These agreements are being posted on the web as part of the State Department's International Agreements Collection.
Hein's United States Treaties and Other International Agreements-Current Microfiche Service provides the full text of treaties not yet published by the Department of State and those most recently assigned a T.I.A.S. number. The Hein series covers 1984 to date.
Consolidated Treaties and International Agreements (CTIA) contains the text of ratified treaties too current for T.I.A.S. It has country and subject indexes.
Earlier collections of United States treaties have been issued. The most useful is Bevans, Treaties and other International Agreements, 1776-1949.
Unperfected Treaties of the United States, 1776-1976 is an annotated set of treaties that did not receive Senate approval or ratification by the President.
United States Treaty Index: 1776-1990 Consolidation is a comprehensive index to treaties, unpublished international acts from 1776 to 1950, and current treaties not yet published in the T.I.A.S. pamphlets from 1950 to 1990. Current Treaty Index: a Cumulative Index to the United States Slip Treaties and Agreements updates the Consolidation by providing a cumulative index to treaties not yet in U.S.T. or T.I.A.S. and indicates if the texts of those treaties have been included in the Hein microfiche service.
Westlaw's principal treaty file is ustreaties. LexisNexis provides the full text of treaties beginning in 1783 in the intlaw library, ustrty file. Both LexisNexis and Westlaw have specialized treaty files, such as the iel database (selected economic treaty texts) on Westlaw and the intlaw library, bdiel file on LexisNexis.
The U.S.T., T.I.A.S., T.I.F., Bevans and numerous other sources of treaties are available electronically through HeinOnline. The HeinOnline Treaties and Agreements Library is located through a link on the Library Resources page on the ANGEL web or BEN.
Recent full-text treaty documents and reports can be found at gpoaccess.