Research Seminar | The Survival of the Secret Treaty: Publicity, Secrecy and Legality in the International Order
Available in video:
Drawing on both public debates and archives of foreign ministries in the US, UK and France, this presentation 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.
Megan Donaldson works in public international law, its theory and history. Her historical work has examined the development of the international legal order over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly foundational areas like the law of statehood, treaties and diplomatic relations. She is interested in methodological dimensions of the interaction between law and history: how each approaches texts and material evidence; how different scales (national, imperial, global) and strands (intellectual, social, cultural) of historical scholarship might engage differently with law; and the possibilities for more fruitful collaboration between these fields in future. Work on contemporary international law has explored the workings of international institutions, with a particular focus on transparency; public law and constitutional values; and the use of languages of public law in global governance.
*This activity has limited capacity. Registration is required to have a guaranteed seat and be able to attend the face-to-face modality. Virtual attendees will receive the access link by email.