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Treaty Research Guide: S. Treaty Docs. & S. Exec. Rpts.

Focus: Bluebook-compliant treaty sources.

U.S. Senate Treaty Documents and Senate Executive Reports

Representatives of the executive branch negotiate a treaty. The President, or a designated representative, signs the treaty. A Senate Treaty Document  (S. Treaty Doc.) includes: the text of the treaty as transmitted to the Senate; a message from the President; and often, a Department of State report.   Sometimes the Senate Treaty Document includes interpretive notes (travaux préparatoires) regarding the treaty's negotiation. Before 1981, a Senate Treaty Document had a different name: Senate Executive Document (S. Exec. Doc.).

If the President transmits a treaty to the U.S. Senate, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will review the treaty. This committee may propose reservations, understandings or declarations to the treaty in a Senate Executive Report (S. Exec. Rep.). (Definitions of "reservations" and "declarations" to treaties appear in sections 3.5 and 3.6 of the UN's Treaty Handbook.) As Prof. Duncan Hollis noted, post-Medellin, Senate Executive Reports contain recommended declarations that treaties are self-executing. Sometimes, a Senate Executive Report includes transcripts of hearings about issues pertaining to the treaty.

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations may “report a treaty” back to the Senate, or it may choose not to act concerning the treaty. If this committee reports a treaty back to the Senate, the Senate might give its advice and consent to the treaty. The Senate gives its advice and consent by voting to approve a resolution of advice ard consent to ratification. If the President ratifies the treaty, years later, the treaty will appear, in slip form, in the Treaties and Other International Acts Series (T.I.A.S.).

For additional information, consult the reports Senate Consideration of Treaties and Treaties and Other International Agreements: The Role of the Senate.  See also the Congressional Research Service report: Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements, Rather than as Treaties.

In the left frame of this web page, there are links to websites that provide: Senate Treaty Documents; Senate Executive Documents; and Senate Executive Reports.  Also, BLS Library subscribes to a database of the U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1789-present).

If U.S. treaty material is not available through the web links on this page, BLS Library owns selected Senate Treaty Documents, Senate Executive Documents, and Senate Executive Reports in microfiche. Location: lower level Main Collection.   

Senate Executive Documents and Reports: Covering Documents and Reports Not Printed in the U.S. Serial Set, 1817-1969

Microform cabinet #26, drawer #8. Call number: KF 40 .C572 1987 (MICRO).

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Companion print CIS Index to U.S. Senate Executive Documents & Reports: Covering Documents and Reports Not Printed in the U.S. Serial Set, 1817-1969

Lower level Main Collection, electric stack labelled: Government Documents Reference. Call number: KF 40 .C57 1987.

Congressional Information Service: Hearings, Prints & Reports (1970-1980) (Includes Senate Executive Reports + Senate Executive Documents.)

Microform cabinet #40. Call number: KF 49 .C622. Arranged by CIS Accession number. A BLS researcher can obtain a document's CIS Accession number by conducting a search (by a document's title or by keywords) in subscription database Proquest Congressional.   

Senate Treaty Documents (97th Congress (1981-1982)-present)

Microform cabinets #41-44. Shelved by Congress, under Superintendent of Documents classification number: Y 1.1/4.

Senate Executive Reports (97th Congress (1981-1982)-present)

Microform cabinets #41-44. Shelved by Congress, under Superintendent of Documents classification number: Y 1.1/6.