Pote Sarasin

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Pote Sarasin
พจน์ สารสิน
Pote Sarasin 1957.jpg
9th Prime Minister of Thailand
In office
21 September 1957 – 26 December 1957
MonarchBhumibol Adulyadej
Preceded byPlaek Phibunsongkhram
Succeeded byThanom Kittikachorn
Secretary General of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
In office
5 September 1957 – 22 September 1957
Succeeded byWilliam Worth (Acting)
In office
10 January 1958 – 13 December 1963
Preceded byWilliam Worth (Acting)
Succeeded byWilliam Worth (Acting)
Personal details
Born(1905-03-25)25 March 1905
Bangkok, Siam
Died28 September 2000(2000-09-28) (aged 95)
Bangkok, Thailand
Spouse(s)Thanpuying Siri Sarasin[1]
ChildrenPong Sarasin
Pao Sarasin
Bandit Bunyapana
Pimsiri Na Songkhla
Arsa Sarasin
Suphat Sarasin
Alma materWilbraham Academy
ProfessionLawyer, diplomat, politician

Pote Sarasin (Thai: พจน์ สารสิน, RTGSPhot Sarasin, pronounced [pʰót sǎː.rā.sǐn]; 25 March 1905 – 28 September 2000) was a Thai diplomat and politician from the influential Sarasin family. He served as foreign minister from 1949 to 1951 and then served as ambassador to the United States. In September 1957 when Sarit Thanarat seized power in a military coup, he appointed Pote to be the acting prime minister. He resigned in December 1957. Pote also served as the first Secretary General of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization from September 1957 until 1964.

Pote Sarasin came from an old family of merchants and landowners. His father was a doctor and rice dealer. Pote studied law at Wilbraham Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts and Middle Temple in London and was admitted to the English Bar. From 1933 to 1945, he practised as an attorney in Bangkok.

A close friend of the temporarily disempowered prime minister Phibunsongkhram (Phibun), Pote provided financial aid to the field marshal after his release from prison in 1946. In return Phibun had Pote appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs in 1948.

As foreign minister Pote was a wilful opponent of Phibun's attempts to recognise the French-backed Bảo Đại regime of Vietnam, a stance that had the full support of parliament, the press, and much of the government. Pote recognised Bảo Đại's lack of popular appeal and doubted the playboy-emperor's chance of success, and explained to a New York Times reporter that "if they [the Thais] backed Bảo Đại and he failed, the animosity of the people of the country Vietnam would be turned against the Siamese."[2] In the end Phibun discarded months of Foreign Ministry recommendations and on 28 February issued formal recognition of the royal governments of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.[3] Embittered, Pote resigned. It was the only time a Thai foreign minister resigned on a matter of principle.[4] Shortly afterward, he became ambassador to Washington once again.

On 21 September 1957, Sarit chose Pote to head the coup-installed government, mainly because the American-educated diplomat had good relations with the Americans. Under him largely free and fair elections were held in December.[5] He resigned from the premiership that same month to resume his post as Secretary General of SEATO.


Pote Sarasin (first row-center)

Pote was a scion of the Sarasin family,[6] one of Bangkok's oldest and wealthiest assimilated Chinese families. The Sarasins had always cultivated good relations with the bureaucratic elite of the 19th century, and by the early 1950s held substantial interests in real estate and rice trading.[7] His father, Thian Hee (Chinese: 黄天喜,[8] whose official title was Phraya Sarasinsawamiphakh), was the son of a traditional Chinese doctor and pharmacist who had immigrated from Hainan to Siam in the early 19th century.[9]

Pote's sons are Pong, a leading businessman, Police General Pao, who once served as the Chief of the Royal Thai Police,[10][11] and Arsa, who, like his father, was also one of the former foreign ministers of Thailand and was serving as the late King Bhumibol's Principal Private Secretary.[12] all three sons–Pong, Arsa and Pao Sarasin had all served as the Deputy Prime Ministers of Thailand.[13]


  1. ^ "Mr. Pote Sarasin". Government of Thailand. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  2. ^ The New York Times, 14 February 1950
  3. ^ Konthi Suphamongkhon. Thai Foreign Policy. Thammasat University Press (1984).
  4. ^ Konthi.
  5. ^ Fineman, Daniel. A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand 1947-1958
  6. ^ Sarasin Family
  7. ^ The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas, Thailand– Changes in its economic future, page 220
  8. ^ [泰国] 洪林, 黎道纲主编 (April 2006). 泰国华侨华人研究. 香港社会科学出版社有限公司. p. 17. ISBN 962-620-127-4.
  9. ^ Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit. A History of Thailand. Cambridge University Press. p. 98. ISBN 0-521-81615-7.
  10. ^ "Pao Sarasin dies at 83". Bangkok Post. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  11. ^ "Former deputy PM Pao Sarasin dies". The Nation (Thailand). 9 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  12. ^ Menues chroniques d'un séjour en Thaïlande (1989-1992)
  13. ^ [泰国] 洪林, 黎道纲主编 (April 2006). 泰国华侨华人研究. 香港社会科学出版社有限公司. pp. 185–6. ISBN 962-620-127-4.
Political offices
Preceded by
Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Prime Minister of Thailand
Succeeded by
Thanom Kittikachorn