Interpreting the Withdrawal Clause in Arms Control Treaties

This Note argues that although a danger to future arms control may exist, a treaty clause must be susceptible to interpretation and boundaries of use which are in harmony with general international law principles. As Professor Schwelb has stated: “[I]t cannot have been… the intention of the parties to throw the principle of pacta sunt servanda overboard in favor of the anarchic idea of the unfettered right of a sovereign state to free itself unilaterally from a treaty obligation.” Although Schwelb admits that the Clause itself is subject to “auto-interpretation” by the states parties to the treaty, he adds that “[t]he decision must nevertheless be made in good faith.”