Treaty

Treaty

Overview
A treaty is an express agreement under international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

Treaties can be loosely compared to contract
Contract
A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...

s: both are means of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and a party to either that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.

A treaty is an official, express written agreement that states use to legally bind themselves.
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Encyclopedia
A treaty is an express agreement under international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.

Treaties can be loosely compared to contract
Contract
A contract is an agreement entered into by two parties or more with the intention of creating a legal obligation, which may have elements in writing. Contracts can be made orally. The remedy for breach of contract can be "damages" or compensation of money. In equity, the remedy can be specific...

s: both are means of willing parties assuming obligations among themselves, and a party to either that fails to live up to their obligations can be held liable under international law.

Modern usage


A treaty is an official, express written agreement that states use to legally bind themselves. A treaty is that official document which expresses that agreement in words; and it is also the objective outcome of a ceremonial occasion which acknowledges the parties and their defined relationships.

Bilateral and multilateral treaties


Bilateral treaties are concluded between two states or entities. It is possible however for a bilateral treaty to have more than two parties; consider for instance the bilateral treaties between Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) following the Swiss rejection of the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

 agreement. Each of these treaties has seventeen parties. These however are still bilateral, not multilateral, treaties. The parties are divided into two groups, the Swiss ("on the one part") and the EU and its member states ("on the other part"). The treaty establishes rights and obligations between the Swiss and the EU and the member states severally; it does not establish any rights and obligations amongst the EU and its member states.

A multilateral treaty is concluded among several countries. The agreement establishes rights and obligations between each party and every other party. Multilateral treaties are often regional. Treaties of "mutual guarantee" are international compacts, e.g., the Treaty of Locarno which guarantees each signatory against attack from another.

Reservations



Reservations are essentially caveat
Caveat
Caveat , the third-person singular present subjunctive of the Latin cavere, means "warning" ; it can be shorthand for Latin phrases such as:...

s to a state's acceptance of a treaty. Reservations are unilateral statements purporting to exclude or to modify the legal obligation and its effects on the reserving state. These must be included at the time of signing or ratification—a party cannot add a reservation after it has already joined a treaty.

Originally, international law was unaccepting of treaty reservations, rejecting them unless all parties to the treaty accepted the same reservations. However, in the interest of encouraging the largest number of states to join treaties, a more permissive rule regarding reservations has emerged. While some treaties still expressly forbid any reservations, they are now generally permitted to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the goals and purposes of the treaty.

When a state limits its treaty obligations through reservations, other states party to that treaty have the option to accept those reservations, object to them, or object and oppose them. If the state accepts them (or fails to act at all), both the reserving state and the accepting state are relieved of the reserved legal obligation as concerns their legal obligations to each other (accepting the reservation does not change the accepting state's legal obligations as concerns other parties to the treaty). If the state opposes, the parts of the treaty affected by the reservation drop out completely and no longer create any legal obligations on the reserving and accepting state, again only as concerns each other. Finally, if the state objects and opposes, there are no legal obligations under that treaty between those two state parties whatsoever. The objecting and opposing state essentially refuses to acknowledge the reserving state is a party to the treaty at all.

Amendments


There are three ways an existing treaty can be amended. First, formal amendment requires States parties to the treaty to go through the ratification process all over again. The re-negotiation of treaty provisions can be long and protracted, and often some parties to the original treaty will not become parties to the amended treaty. When determining the legal obligations of states, one party to the original treaty and one a party to the amended treaty, the states will only be bound by the terms they both agreed upon. Treaties can also be amended informally by the treaty executive council when the changes are only procedural, technical change in customary international law can also amend a treaty, where state behavior evinces a new interpretation of the legal obligations under the treaty. Minor corrections to a treaty may be adopted by a procès-verbal
Proces-verbal
Procès-verbal is a legal term with a number of meanings:-In law:...

; but a procès-verbal is generally reserved for changes to rectify obvious errors in the text adopted, i.e. where the text adopted does not correctly reflect the intention of the parties adopting it.

Protocols


In international law and international relations, a protocol is generally a treaty or international agreement that supplements a previous treaty or international agreement. A protocol can amend the previous treaty, or add additional provisions. Parties to the earlier agreement are not required to adopt the protocol; sometimes this is made clearer by calling it an "optional protocol", especially where many parties to the first agreement do not support the protocol.

Some examples: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 (UNFCCC) established a framework for the development of binding greenhouse gas emission limits, while the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

 contained the specific provisions and regulations later agreed upon.

Execution and implementation


Treaties may be seen as 'self-executing', in that merely becoming a party puts the treaty and all of its obligations in action. Other treaties may be non-self-executing and require 'implementing legislation'—a change in the domestic law of a state party that will direct or enable it to fulfill treaty obligations. An example of a treaty requiring such legislation would be one mandating local prosecution by a party for particular crimes.

The division between the two is often not clear and is often politicized in disagreements within a government over a treaty, since a non-self-executing treaty cannot be acted on without the proper change in domestic law. If a treaty requires implementing legislation, a state may be in default of its obligations by the failure of its legislature to pass the necessary domestic laws.

Interpretation


The language of treaties, like that of any law or contract, must be interpreted when the wording does not seem clear or it is not immediately apparent how it should be applied in a perhaps unforeseen circumstance. The Vienna Convention
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is a treaty concerning the international law on treaties between states. It was adopted on 22 May 1969 and opened for signature on 23 May 1969. The Convention entered into force on 27 January 1980. The VCLT has been ratified by 111 states as of November...

 states that treaties are to be interpreted “in good faith” according to the “ordinary meaning given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.” International legal experts also often invoke the 'principle of maximum effectiveness,' which interprets treaty language as having the fullest force and effect possible to establish obligations between the parties.

No one party to a treaty can impose its particular interpretation of the treaty upon the other parties. Consent may be implied, however, if the other parties fail to explicitly disavow that initially unilateral interpretation, particularly if that state has acted upon its view of the treaty without complaint. Consent by all parties to the treaty to a particular interpretation has the legal effect of adding an additional clause to the treaty – this is commonly called an 'authentic interpretation'.

International tribunals and arbiters are often called upon to resolve substantial disputes over treaty interpretations. To establish the meaning in context, these judicial bodies may review the preparatory work from the negotiation and drafting of the treaty as well as the final, signed treaty itself.

Consequences of terminology


One significant part of treaty making is that signing a treaty implies recognition that the other side is a sovereign state and that the agreement being considered is enforceable under international law. Hence, nations can be very careful about terming an agreement to be a treaty. For example, within the United States agreements between states are compacts
Interstate compact
An interstate compact is an agreement between two or more states of the United States of America. Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution provides that "no state shall enter into an agreement or compact with another state" without the consent of Congress...

 and agreements between states and the federal government or between agencies of the government are memoranda of understanding.
Another situation can occur when one party wishes to create an obligation under international law, but the other party does not. This factor has been at work with respect to discussions between North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 over security guarantees and nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

.

The terminology can also be confusing because a treaty may and usually is named something other than a treaty, such as a convention, protocol, or simply agreement. Conversely some legal documents such as the Treaty of Waitangi
Treaty of Waitangi
The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs from the North Island of New Zealand....

 are internationally considered to be documents under domestic law.

Withdrawal


Treaties are not necessarily permanently binding upon the signatory parties. As obligations in international law are traditionally viewed as arising only from the consent of states, many treaties expressly allow a state to withdraw as long as it follows certain procedures of notification. Many treaties expressly forbid withdrawal. Other treaties are silent on the issue, and so if a state attempts withdrawal through its own unilateral denunciation of the treaty, a determination must be made regarding whether permitting withdrawal is contrary to the original intent of the parties or to the nature of the treaty. Human rights treaties, for example, are generally interpreted to exclude the possibility of withdrawal, because of the importance and permanence of the obligations.

If a state party's withdrawal is successful, its obligations under that treaty are considered terminated, and withdrawal by one party from a bilateral treaty of course terminates the treaty. When a state withdraws from a multi-lateral treaty, that treaty will still otherwise remain in force between the other parties, unless, of course, otherwise should or could be interpreted as agreed upon between the remaining states parties to the treaty.

Suspension and termination


If a party has materially violated or breached its treaty obligations, the other parties may invoke this breach as grounds for temporarily suspending their obligations to that party under the treaty. A material breach may also be invoked as grounds for permanently terminating the treaty itself.

A treaty breach does not automatically suspend or terminate treaty relations, however. The issue must be presented to an international tribunal or arbiter (usually specified in the treaty itself) to legally establish that a sufficiently serious breach has in fact occurred. Otherwise, a party that prematurely and perhaps wrongfully suspends or terminates its own obligations due to an alleged breach itself runs the risk of being held liable for breach. Additionally, parties may choose to overlook treaty breaches while still maintaining their own obligations towards the party in breach.

Treaties sometimes include provisions for self-termination, meaning that the treaty is automatically terminated if certain defined conditions are met. Some treaties are intended by the parties to be only temporarily binding and are set to expire on a given date. Other treaties may self-terminate if the treaty is meant to exist only under certain conditions.

A party may claim that a treaty should be terminated, even absent an express provision, if there has been a fundamental change in circumstances. Such a change is sufficient if unforeseen, if it undermined the “essential basis” of consent by a party, if it radically transforms the extent of obligations between the parties, and if the obligations are still to be performed. A party cannot base this claim on change brought about by its own breach of the treaty. This claim also cannot be used to invalidate treaties that established or redrew political boundaries.

Invalid treaties


There are several reasons an otherwise valid and agreed upon treaty may be rejected as a binding international agreement, most of which involve problems created at the formation of the treaty. For example, the serial Japan-Korea treaties of 1905 1907 and 1910 were protested; and they were confirmed as "already null and void" in the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea
Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea
The Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea was signed on June 22, 1965 to establish basic relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea .-History:...

.

Ultra vires treaties


A party's consent to a treaty is invalid if it had been given by an agent or body without power to do so under that state's domestic law. States are reluctant to inquire into the internal affairs and processes of other states, and so a “manifest” violation is required such that it would be “objectively evident to any State dealing with the matter". A strong presumption exists internationally that a head of state has acted within his proper authority. It seems that no treaty has ever actually been invalidated on this provision.

Consent is also invalid if it is given by a representative who ignored restrictions he is subject to by his sovereign during the negotiations, if the other parties to the treaty were notified of those restrictions prior to his signing.

According to the preamble in The Law of treaties, treaties are a source of international law.
If an act or lack thereof is condemned under international law, the act will not assume international legality even if approved by internal law. This means that in case of a conflict with domestic law, international law will always prevail.

Misunderstanding, fraud, corruption, coercion


Articles 46–53 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is a treaty concerning the international law on treaties between states. It was adopted on 22 May 1969 and opened for signature on 23 May 1969. The Convention entered into force on 27 January 1980. The VCLT has been ratified by 111 states as of November...

 set out the only ways that treaties can be invalidated—considered unenforceable and void under international law. A treaty will be invalidated due to either the circumstances by which a state party joined the treaty, or due to the content of the treaty itself. Invalidation is separate from withdrawal, suspension, or termination (addressed above), which all involve an alteration in the consent of the parties of a previously valid treaty rather than the invalidation of that consent in the first place.

A state's consent may be invalidated if there was an erroneous understanding of a fact or situation at the time of conclusion, which formed the "essential basis" of the state's consent. Consent will not be invalidated if the misunderstanding was due to the state's own conduct, or if the truth should have been evident.

Consent will also be invalidated if it was induced by the fraudulent conduct of another party, or by the direct or indirect "corruption" of its representative by another party to the treaty. Coercion of either a representative, or the state itself through the threat or use of force, if used to obtain the consent of that state to a treaty, will invalidate that consent.

Peremptory norms


A treaty is null and void if it is in violation of a peremptory norm
Peremptory norm
A peremptory norm is a fundamental principle of international law which is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation is ever permitted.There is no clear agreement regarding precisely which norms are jus cogens nor how a norm reaches that status, but...

. These norms, unlike other principles of customary law, are recognized as permitting no violations and so cannot be altered through treaty obligations. These are limited to such universally accepted prohibitions as those against genocide, slavery, torture, and piracy, meaning that no state can legally assume an obligation to commit or permit such acts.

Role of the United Nations


The United Nations Charter
United Nations Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the foundational treaty of the international organization called the United Nations. It was signed at the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, United States, on 26 June 1945, by 50 of the 51 original member countries...

 states that treaties must be registered with the UN to be invoked before it or enforced in its judiciary organ, the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

. This was done to prevent the proliferation of secret treaties
Secret treaty
A secret treaty is a treaty between nations that is not revealed to other nations or interested observers. An example would be a secret alliance between two nations to support each other in the event of war...

 that occurred in the 19th and 20th century. Section 103 of the Charter also states that its members' obligations under it outweigh any competing obligations under other treaties.

After their adoption, treaties as well as their amendments have to follow the official legal procedures of the United Nations, as applied by the Office of Legal Affairs
United Nations Office of Legal Affairs
The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs is a United Nations agency, established in 1946, that performs several key functions in the area of international law....

, including signature
Signature
A signature is a handwritten depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a signature is a signatory. Similar to a handwritten signature, a signature work describes the work as readily identifying...

, ratification
Ratification
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principal. The term applies to private contract law, international treaties, and constitutionals in federations such as the United States and Canada.- Private law :In contract law, the...

 and entry into force.

In function and effectiveness, the UN has been compared to the pre-Constitutional United States Federal government by some, giving a comparison between modern treaty law and the historical Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

.

Brazilian law


The Brazilian federal constitution
Constitution of Brazil
During its independent political history, Brazil has had seven constitutions. The most recent was ratified on October 5, 1988.-Imperial Constitution :Background...

 states that the power to enter into treaties is vested in the president
President of Brazil
The president of Brazil is both the head of state and head of government of the Federative Republic of Brazil. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces...

 and that such treaties must be approved by Congress (articles 84, clause VIII, and 49, clause I). In practice, this has been interpreted as meaning that the executive branch is free to negotiate and sign a treaty, but its ratification by the president is contingent upon the prior approval of Congress. Additionally, the Federal Supreme Court has ruled that, following ratification and entry into force, a treaty must be incorporated into domestic law by means of a presidential decree published in the federal register in order to be valid in Brazil and applicable by the Brazilian authorities.

The Federal Supreme Court has established that treaties are subject to constitutional review
Judicial review
Judicial review is the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by the judiciary. Specific courts with judicial review power must annul the acts of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher authority...

 and enjoy the same hierarchical position as ordinary legislation (leis ordinárias, or "ordinary laws", in Portuguese). A more recent ruling by the Supreme Court in 2008 has altered that scheme somewhat, by stating that treaties containing human rights provisions enjoy a status above that of ordinary legislation, though they remain beneath the constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 itself. Additionally, as per the 45th amendment to the constitution, human rights treaties which are approved by Congress by means of a special procedure enjoy the same hierarchical position as a constitutional amendment
Constitutional amendment
A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitution of a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more stringent than that required of ordinary legislation...

. The hierarchical position of treaties in relation to domestic legislation is of relevance to the discussion on whether (and how) the latter can abrogate the former and vice versa.

The Brazilian federal constitution does not have a supremacy clause
Supremacy Clause
Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as "the supreme law of the land." The text decrees these to be the highest form of law in the U.S...

 with the same effects as the one on the U.S. constitution, a fact that is of interest to the discussion on the relation between treaties and state legislation.

United States law


In the United States, the term "treaty" has a different, more restricted legal sense than exists in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from executive agreements, congressional-executive agreements, and sole executive agreements. All four classes are equally treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal American law. The distinctions are primarily concerning their method of approval (only the President can ratify or veto a treaty). Whereas treaties require advice and consent by two-thirds of the Senate, sole executive agreements may be executed by the President acting alone. Some treaties grant the President the authority to fill in the gaps with executive agreements, rather than additional treaties or protocols. And finally, congressional-executive agreements require majority approval by both the House and the Senate, either before or after the treaty is signed by the President.

Currently, international agreements are executed by executive agreement rather than treaties at a rate of 10:1. Despite the relative ease of executive agreements, the President still often chooses to pursue the formal treaty process over an executive agreement in order to gain congressional support on matters that require the Congress to pass implementing legislation or appropriate funds, and those agreements that impose long-term, complex legal obligations on the U.S.

See the article on the Bricker Amendment for history of the relationship between treaty powers and Constitutional provisions.

Treaties and indigenous peoples


Treaties formed an important part of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an colonization and, in many parts of the world, Europeans attempted to legitimize their sovereignty by signing treaties with indigenous peoples. In most cases these treaties were in extremely disadvantageous terms to the native people, who often did not appreciate the implications of what they were signing.

In some rare cases, such as with Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, the local governments were able to use the treaties to at least mitigate the impact of European colonization. This involved learning the intricacies of European diplomatic customs and then using the treaties to prevent a power from overstepping their agreement or by playing different powers against each other.

In other cases, such as New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, treaties allowed native peoples to maintain a minimum amount of autonomy. In the case of indigenous Australians, unlike with the Māori of New Zealand, no treaty was ever entered into with the indigenous peoples entitling the Europeans to land ownership, under the doctrine of terra nullius
Terra nullius
Terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning "land belonging to no one" , which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished...

(later overturned by Mabo v Queensland, establishing the concept of native title
Native title
Native title is the Australian version of the common law doctrine of aboriginal title.Native title is "the recognition by Australian law that some Indigenous people have rights and interests to their land that come from their traditional laws and customs"...

 well after colonization was already a fait accompli). Such treaties between colonizers and indigenous peoples are an important part of political discourse in the late 20th and early 21st century, the treaties being discussed have international standing as has been stated in a treaty study by the UN.

United States


Prior to 1871 the government of the United States regularly entered into treaties with Native Americans of the United States but the Indian Appropriations Act of March 3, 1871 (ch. 120, 16 Stat. 566) had a rider attached that effectively ended the President’s treaty making by providing that no Indian nation or tribe shall be acknowledged as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty. The federal government continued to provide similar contractual relations with the Indian tribes after 1871 by agreements, statutes, and executive orders.

Rhetorical usage


The treaty name becomes a trope. As an instance of metonymy
Metonymy
Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept...

, the name of a "treaty" in an abstract sense can refer to the subject of the pact or the elements of the pact itself or something else – for example, the "Eulsa Treaty" is another name for the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905.


Treaties are often named after the place in which negotiations were concluded – for example, the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 is often called the "Schengen treaty" because it was signed near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg.

Schengen illustrates nuance and persistent metonymy in treaty names. It is a useful example despite or because the actually signing ceremony was held in the Moselle River
Moselle River
The Moselle is a river flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine, joining the Rhine at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is also drained by the Mosel through the Our....

 at the tripoint
Tripoint
A tripoint, or trijunction , is a geographical point at which the borders of three countries or subnational entities meet....

 border
Border
Borders define geographic boundaries of political entities or legal jurisdictions, such as governments, sovereign states, federated states and other subnational entities. Some borders—such as a state's internal administrative borders, or inter-state borders within the Schengen Area—are open and...

s of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

. This metonymic name has continued to be used, even after Schengen's official status as a treaty was lost and even after Schengen's express provisions were encompassed within subsequent EU treaties.

In other words, the term treaty conflates the explicit words of the treaty, the signing of the treaty, and the actual implementation and consequences intended by those who drafted the words and those who affixed signatures Sometimes the treaty is also known by a name which is not explicitly contemplated by those whose work created the treaty.

See also

  • Jus tractatuum
    Jus tractatuum
    Jus tractatuum is a Legal Latin term commonly used in public international law and constitutional law that refers to the right to conclude treaties....

  • List of intergovernmental organizations
  • List of special entities recognized by international treaty or agreement
  • List of treaties
  • Manrent
    Manrent
    Manrent refers to a Scottish mid 15th century to the early 17th century type of contract, usually military in nature and involving Scottish clans...

     (feudal Scottish Clan
    Scottish clan
    Scottish clans , give a sense of identity and shared descent to people in Scotland and to their relations throughout the world, with a formal structure of Clan Chiefs recognised by the court of the Lord Lyon, King of Arms which acts as an authority concerning matters of heraldry and Coat of Arms...

     treaty)
  • Treaty ratification
  • Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
    Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties is a treaty concerning the international law on treaties between states. It was adopted on 22 May 1969 and opened for signature on 23 May 1969. The Convention entered into force on 27 January 1980. The VCLT has been ratified by 111 states as of November...


External links