Siamese–American Treaty of Amity and Commerce

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Roberts Treaty with Siam
Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Siam and the United States
Type Treaty
Drafted 20 March 1833
Signed 14 April 1836
Location Royal City of Sia-Yut'hia (commonly called Bangkok)
Effective 24 June 1837
Expiration 21 September 1921
Negotiators Chau Phaya-Phraklang, Minister of State
Edmund Roberts, Minister of the United States of America
Parties Flag of Thailand 1855.svg Siam
Flag of the United States (1822-1836).svg United States of America
Languages Thai, English
Portuguese and Chinese annexed
Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Siam and the United States, 1833 at Wikisource

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between His Majesty the Magnificent King of Siam and the United States of America, or Roberts Treaty of 1833, was the first treaty between the United States and an Asian nation.[1] It established peaceful and friendly relations and commerce between the two states that have generally persisted since then. The treaty was signed on March 20, 1833 and, after ratification by both parties, it entered into force April 14, 1836. The treaty is no longer in force, having been replaced starting in 1921 by a series of subsequent treaties, but the successor treaty signed in 1966 remains in force.[2][3]

Negotiation, Provisions, Signing, Ratification[edit]

The Treaty was negotiated by Edmund Roberts in his capacity as Minister of the United States on behalf of President Andrew Jackson, with the Chau Phaya-Phraklang in his capacity as Minister of State on behalf of His Majesty the Sovereign and Magnificent King in the City of Sia-Yut'hia (later known as Rama III.)

Roberts' first embassy arrived 18 February 1833 on the US Sloop-of-war Peacock, and was presented to His Majesty 18 March.[4] Peacock returned on the second embassy, along with Dr. W. S. W. Ruschenberger,[5][6] for exchange of ratifications 14 April 1836.

The Treaty exists in two original language versions, in Thai and English, with translations in Portuguese and Chinese. Portuguese and Chinese were apparently relied upon as languages understood by both parties' negotiators, because, as the preamble states, "the Siamese are ignorant of English, and the Americans of Siamese."

Its physical form is a scroll, about 90 inches (2.3 meters) long, with the four different language versions running next to one another for that entire length.[1]

The Treaty's preamble provides for commercial intercourse between the parties "as long as Heaven and Earth shall endure." Article I establishes "perpetual peace" between the parties; Article II stipulates free trade with few limitations; Article III, a measurement duty in lieu of import and export duties, tonnage, licence to trade, or any other charge whatever; Article IV (and X,) for most favored nation status; and Article V, relief for US citizens in cases of shipwreck. Article VI introduces early US concepts of bankruptcy protection. Article VIII provides that US citizens taken by pirates and brought within the kingdom, be set at liberty and their property restored.

The treaty potentially granted the Americans much better terms than the British had obtained in their treaty of 1826. Though treaty provisions are not as generous as those of the British Bowring treaty, the "most favored nation clauses" eased negotiation of the Harris modification to the treaty concluded about two decades later.

It was concluded on (as its preamble says) "Wednesday, the last of the fourth month of the year 1194, called Pi-marong-chat-tavasok, or the year of the Dragon, corresponding to" March 20, 1833, at the Royal City of Sia-Yut'hia, (commonly called Bangkok.[7]), pending final Ratification of the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Ratification was advised and ratified 30 June 1834, exchanged 14 April 1836 (bringing the treaty into force), and proclaimed 24 June 1837.

After the reign of King Rama V, the sensitive position of advisor on foreign affairs would be given to Americans and not to either English or French nationals.[8]

Subsequent History[edit]

The terms were modified by the Harris Treaty of 1856.[9][10]

It was further modified by an agreement in the form of exchange of notes of December 17 and 31, 1867, entered into force January 1, 1868.[11]

This 1833 treaty was replaced[12] in 1921 by a Treaty [13] between the United States and the Kingdom of Siam, signed at Washington December 16, 1920 and entered into force September 1, 1921.[14]

That treaty signed in 1920 was replaced[15] in 1938 by the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Siam, signed at Bangkok November 13, 1937 and entered into force October 1, 1938.[16]

That treaty signed in 1937 was replaced[17] in 1968 by the Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations (Thailand–United States),[18] signed at Bangkok May 29, 1966 and entered into force in 1968, which remains in force today.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "On display: Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce". National Archives blog: Pieces of History (Sep. 28, 2013). Retrieved 7 December 2017. 
  2. ^ Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (April 18, 2012). "Thailand". Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information Publications » Background Notes. Bureau of Public Affairs. Retrieved May 20, 2012. The 1966 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, the most recent iteration.... 
  3. ^ The 2017 edition of Treaties in Force, the official U.S. government report listing treaties and other international agreements to which the United States has become a party and which are carried on the records of the Department of State, includes the treaty signed in 1966 and does not include this 1833 treaty. See Treaties in Force 2017, at 431, available at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/273494.pdf
  4. ^ Roberts, Edmund (October 12, 2007) [1837]. Embassy to the Eastern courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat in the U. S. sloop-of-war Peacock during the years 1832-3-4. Harper & brothers. 432 pages. OCLC 12212199. embassytoeaster00unkngoog. Retrieved March 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ W.S.W. Ruschenberger, M.D. (1873). "A report on the origin and therapeutic properties of cundurango". Published by order of the Navy Department. G.P.O. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 26 April 2012. Commissioning with the USS Peacock in 1836, William Ruschenberger sailed with Edmund Roberts to Siam with the intention of winning a more favorable treaty between the United States and 'His Majesty the Magnificent King of Siam.' 
  6. ^ Ruschenberger, William Samuel Waithman (October 12, 2007) [1837]. A Voyage Round the World: Including an Embassy to Muscat and Siam in 1835, 1836 and 1837. Harper & brothers. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ Roberts, Edmund (October 12, 2007) [First published in 1837]. "Chapter XX―Division of Time". Embassy to the Eastern courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat : in the U. S. sloop-of-war Peacock ... during the years 1832-3-4 (Digital ed.). Harper & brothers. pp. 310–311. Retrieved April 25, 2012. The Siamese have two epochs, sacred and popular. The sacred era dates from the death of Gautama, and the year 1833 corresponded to the 2376 year. The vulgar era was instituted when the worship of Gautama was first introduced; and the year 1833 corresponded with the year 1194, and was the fifth, or dragon year.... [T]he capital [is] called Si-a-Yuthia, (pronounced See-ah-you-té-ah....) 
  8. ^ Stephen B. Young (2003). "Book review" (Journal of the Siam Society, Volume 91). Two Yankee Diplomats In 1830's Siam by Edmund Roberts and W. S. W. Ruschenberger. Edited with an introduction by Michael Smithies. Orchid Press. Retrieved March 2, 2012. Also of some relevance for future Thai foreign policy are the various comments by Roberts and Ruschenberger as to how the Siamese seemed genuinely to like Americans and to prefer them over other Caucasian nations. 
  9. ^ William M. Malloy. "Siam. 1833" (PDF). United States, United States, William M. Malloy > Compilation of Treaties in Force. Washington, D.C.: Govt. print. off. Retrieved April 12, 2012. Revised ed. Prepared under the direction of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, by William M. Malloy. (Treaties and Conventions, 1889. p. 992.) (The provisions of this treaty were modified by the Treaty of 1856.) 
  10. ^ 11 Stat. 683; U.S. Treaty Series No. 322; 11 Bevans 982.
  11. ^ 17 Stat. 807; U.S. Treaty Series No. 323; 11 Bevans 992.
  12. ^ Article XVI of the 1920 treaty states, "The present Treaty shall, from the date of the exchange of ratifications thereof, be substituted in place of the Convention of Amity and Commerce concluded at Bangkok on the 20th day of March, 1833, of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded at Bangkok on the 29th day of May, 1856, and of the Agreement regulating liquor traffic in Siam concluded at Washington on the 14th day of May, 1884,and of all arrangements and agreements subsidiary thereto concluded or existing between the High Contracting Parties, and from the same date, such conventions, treaties, arrangements and agreements shall cease to be binding."
  13. ^ Sources differ on its name. In Bevans it is titled simply "Treaty," under the heading "Amity and Commerce." In Westlaw it is headed "Treaty between the United States and Siam revising treaties hitherto existing." In the Protocol signed the same day and attached as an Annex, it is described as a "Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation," which is what the treaty signed in 1937 calls it.
  14. ^ 42 Stat. 1928; U.S. Treaty Series No. 655; 11 Bevans 997; 1921 WL 19645
  15. ^ Article 18 of the 1937 treaty states, "The present Treaty shall, from the date of its entry into force, be substituted for the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States of America and Siam signed at Washington on the 16th December 1920, and from this date the said Treaty of 1920 and all arrangements subsidiary thereto concluded or existing between the High Contracting Parties shall cease to be binding."
  16. ^ 53 Stat. 1731; U.S. Treaty Series No. 940; 11 Bevans 1016; 1938 WL 34363.
  17. ^ Article XIV(2) of the 1966 treaty states that upon its entry into force, "it shall replace and terminate the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation signed at Bangkok on November 13, 1937."
  18. ^ TIAS No. 6540; 19 U.S.T. 5843; 1968 WL 89463; 652 UNTS 253 (I-9345).

External links[edit]