Federalism, as a basis of state organization, involves a distribution of powers between two levels of government. Ideally, the distribution involves internal and external affairs. Although the federal principle has been adopted as a basis of internal administration by many states, the international dimension of federalism is evident in only a handful of states, the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, the United States of America and Canada

The thesis considers the theory and practice of international agreement making by the component units of these latter states. It deals with the type of treaties concluded, the parties to the agreements, and the organs entitled first to negociate and then to conclude such treaties. Among the theoretical issues discussed are the location and source of treaty making capacity in federal states, the law applicable to agreements concluded by component units, international responsibility, validity, and the binding character of component unit agreements