Washington Law Review


It has never been clear, however, which circumstances of negotiation and conclusion of international agreements contribute to new rules of customary law. The issues can be appreciated if one goes beyond generalities and explores the relationship of specific agreements to customary law. Such an examination has been facilitated by the American Law Institute's Restatement of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States (Revised) which contains a contemporary review of a wide range of public and private international law topics. This Restatement represents the views of some of the best international law experts of the United States and abroad. It is also an extremely important contribution to the law in its own right. For these reasons, this article will use the Restatement as a starting point for examination of the function served by international agreements in the development of customary law. This examination shows the difficulties that are presented when international agreements are so used. It may be possible, however, to identify some factors which would help to distinguish those agreements which may appropriately give rise to customary international law and those which may not.

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