Symposium : The Impact of International Law on Foreign Policy-Making: The Role of Legal Advisers

Remarks on the Role of the Legal Advisor of the US State Department


There is a great deal of impressionism about the degree to which States apply considerations of international law in their policy-making and implementation, but there is very little precise information on the matter. In any substantial issue of complexity in international relations, this one included, (i.e. the impact of international law on foreign policy-making), isolating the elements of that issue and understanding how government decision makers dealt with it can be a daunting process. Many issues have political elements, economic elements, social elements, legal elements, and security elements; it is almost impossible to say what influence a single component has on the final outcome. This is, unfortunately, a subject that does not lend itself to confident specificity.

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