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September 27, 2013

Citing Treaties and Other International Agreements

by APA Style Staff

APAStyleKittyA treaty is a formal arrangement regarding relationships and standards for behavior among sovereign states and international organizations. The parties may have called it a treaty, a pact, a convention, an understanding, a protocol, or an agreement—but at its heart, a treaty defines cooperation, friendship, alliances, and negotiations.
 
The APA Publication Manual doesn’t include guidelines for citing and referencing treaties. That’s because APA follows The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation for preparing citations and references to legal materials. Such citations and references are more useful to readers when they are provided in conventional legal format.

If you need to cite and reference treaties and other international agreements in APA papers and articles, here are some guidelines from The Bluebook.
 
Basic Elements of a Treaty Reference
 
1. Title of the agreement. Start the reference with the full title of the treaty. Examples:

Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate 
     Change

Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War


2. Names of the parties. If there are only two parties to the agreement (a bilateral treaty; for example, France and Germany), include the names of both parties. If the agreement is multilateral, you can choose to omit or include the parties’ names. Abbreviate names of countries. As you can see in the example below, when the United States is a party to the treaty, the United States is listed first and the other party or parties afterward. If there are two or more other parties (Canada and Mexico in the example), list them in alphabetical order. All parties are connected by hyphens.

Fr.-Ger.
U.S.-Can.-Mex.


You’ll find a full list of abbreviations for geographic names in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

3. Date of signing. Give the month, date, and year that the treaty was signed. Use abbreviations for the longer month names (Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sep., Oct., Nov., Dec.).

June 25, 1902
Dec. 12, 1984


4. Treaty source. A number of sources publish texts of treaties. Some sources use volume and page numbers; other sources use only item numbers. So provide volume and page numbers if your source has them; otherwise, provide the item number. Abbreviate the title of the source, and present the information in this order:

volume source page 
63 Stat. 2241

or

source item number
T.I.A.S. No. 832


Here are a few official sources for U.S. treaties that use volume and page numbers: 

United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (U.S.T.; 
contains treaties from 1950–now)
Statutes at Large (Stat.; contains treaties from 1778–1949)

And here’s one that uses item numbers:

Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.; 
contains treaties from 1945–date)

For intergovernmental treaties, here are the main sources that use volume and page numbers:

United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.; contains treaties from 
1946–date)

League of Nations Treaty Series (L.N.T.S.; contains treaties from
1920–1945)

Pan-American Treaty Series (Pan-Am. T.S.; contains treaties from
1949–date)

And one that uses just item numbers:

European Treaty Series (E.T.S.; contains treaties from 1948–2003)

Reference and Citation Formats

1.  Bilateral treaties. Here are the reference and citation formats, along with examples, for a bilateral treaty.

Reference 
Title of Agreement, Party A-Party B, date, volume number volume name
page number.

Treaty of Neutrality, Hung.-Turk., Jan. 5, 1929, 100 L.N.T.S. 137.

Agreement on Defense and Economic Cooperation, U.S.-Greece, Sept. 8,
1983, T.I.A.S. No. 10,814.

Text citation
Title of Agreement (Year) or (Title of Agreement, Year)

Treaty of Neutrality (1929) or (Treaty of Neutrality, 1929)

2. Multilateral treaties. Here are the reference and citation formats for multilateral treaties.

Reference with party names omitted
Title of Agreement, date, volume number volume name page number.
Police Convention, Feb. 29, 1920, 127 L.N.T.S. 433.

Text citation with party names omitted

Title of Agreement (year) or (Title of Agreement, year)
Police Convention (1920) or (Police Convention, 1920)

Reference with party names included

Title of Agreement, Party A-Party B-Party C, date, volume number
volume name page number.
Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of
Fiscal Evasion With Respect to Taxes on Estates, Inheritances, and
Gifts, U.S.-Fr., Nov. 24, 1978, 32 U.S.T. 1935.

Text citation for treaty with party names included

Title of Agreement (year) or (Title of Agreement, year)
Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of
Fiscal Evasion With Respect to Taxes on Estates, Inheritances, and
Gifts (1978)
or (Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of
Fiscal Evasion With Respect to Taxes on Estates, Inheritances, and
Gifts, 1978)

To learn more about treaties, check out the State Department’s treaty website (http://www.state.gov/s/l/treaty/index.htm). It features frequently asked questions about treaties and hosts an online version of Treaties and Other International Acts.

For more information on formatting treaty references, abbreviating party names, and working with treaty sources that don’t fit the basic reference format, consult The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

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