U.S. Foreign Relations

This is an introductory guide for students studying U.S. Foreign Relations

Constitution, United States Code, Code of Federal Regulations

Articles I and II of the United States Constitution govern Congressional and Executive powers.

Title 22 of the United States Code -- KF62 -- is entitled Foreign Relations and Intercourse.

While the United States Code is the official version, both the United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service are annotated versions of the code, including brief summaries of and citations to decisions interpreting provisions of the code, along with citations to some secondary sources discussing code sections and their applications. The last volume for Title 22 in both the USCA and the USCS includes an index to foreign relations topics. Electronic annotated versions of the United States Code are available on both Lexis and Westlaw.

Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations -- KF70 .A3 -- is entitled Foreign Relations. The CFR is available in print and in digital format on Lexis, Westlaw, and Hein Online.

SCU Libraries

OSCAR -- the SCU Library Catalog -- includes materials from the Heafey Law Library, the University Library, and some internet links. OSCAR will link to SCU databases by title, but rarely includes links to articles within those databases.

Relevant OSCAR Subject Searches for U.S. Foreign Relations materials include:

  • United States -- International Relations
  • United States -- Foreign Relations
  • Treaty-Making Power
  • War and Emergency Powers
  • War, Declaration of
  • Judicial Power [and related Subjects]
  • Alien Tort Claims Act

and many subheadings (e.g., United States -- Foreign Relations -- 1775-1783; United States -- Foreign Relations -- 21st century -- Bibliography)

Examples of relevant books you will find searching OSCAR with the subject headings are:


If you find a relevant Library of Congress call number searching OSCAR, you can usually find related materials by browsing the Heafey and University Library shelves at that call number. For example, the Library of Congress call number for the Restatement of Foreign Relations (above) is KF4651. It is shelved on the second floor of the law library. Other materials with call numbers from KF4650 - KF4651 also deal with U.S. foreign relations law.

This doesn't always work. The Library of Congress call number for the Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations is E183.7 .B745 2003. Other materials in the University Library with the Library of Congress call number E183 are about American history, rather than U.S. Foreign Relations.

Information about U.S. Foreign Relations may be found in more general treatises about Public International Law shelved at KF1242 and following. Thomas Buergenthal's Public International Law in a Nutshell includes a chapter on Foreign relations law in the United States, which introduces the topic, identifies some leading cases, and cites relevant secondary sources.

Also, much of the material about U.S. foreign relations in OSCAR will be U.S. government documents. Many U.S. documents are now available electronically; others may be in microform -- both here and at the University Library. At the University Library, many U.S. government documents are arranged according to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) numbering system. For example, the SuDocs number for a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Foreign Policy and Global Financial Crisis is Y 4.F 76/2:S.HRG.111-329. If you have the SUDocs number for a particular document, you can search OSCAR using that government document number. You will often be able to link to the full text of the document from the OSCAR record. If no electronic version of the doucment is available, ask for help at Research Services or Information Services.