December 1, 2017

Megan Donaldson on the “Survival of the Secret Treaty”

Megan Donaldson, Junior Research Fellow in the History of International Law at the University of Cambridge and a former Institute Fellow at the IILJ, has published her article ‘The Survival of the Secret Treaty: Publicity, Secrecy, and Legality in the International Order’ in the latest issue of the American Journal of International Law. The article offers the first detailed history of the norm of treaty publication as it has evolved over the last century. Drawing on both public debates and archives of foreign ministries, it traces how, and why, secret treaties have persisted, even in liberal democracies. It challenges assumptions of ever-greater transparency over time, and complicates the associations made—by interwar reformers and international lawyers today—between the norm of treaty publication and ideals of legality in the international order. The full article is available here.