Abstract Citizens of foreign countries are increasingly using international treaties to assert claims against Federal and state governments. As a result, U.S. courts are being asked to determine whether treaties provide litigants with individually enforceable rights. Although courts have no consistent approach to determining whether a treaty gives rise to individually enforceable rights, they often apply the textualist methodology derived from statutory interpretation. However, instead of using textual theories of statutory interpretation, I argue that courts should use intentionalist theories developed from contract interpretation in determining individually enforceable rights under treaties. Two positive arguments and one negative argument support my approach. First, the question of whether a non-party can enforce a treaty is structurally similar to the question of whether a non-party can enforce a contract, but structurally different from the issue of whether there is a private cause of action under a statute. Second, Supreme Court jurisprudence supports the view that treaties are contracts even though they have the effect of statutes. As such, it is appropriate to apply theories of contract interpretation to understanding treaties. Third, arguments used to justify using textualism for purposes of interpreting statutes are not relevant to interpreting treaties.