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
Negotiators Chau Phaya-Phraklang, Minister of State
Edmund Roberts, Minister of the United States of America
Parties Flag of Thailand 1855.svg Siam
US flag 24 stars.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 Siam and the United States, or Roberts Treaty of 1833, 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.) The treaty, in Thai and English, together with translations in Portuguese and Chinese, was concluded on Wednesday, the last of the fourth month of the year 1194, called Pi-marong-chat-tavasok, or the year of the Dragon, corresponding to the 20th day of March, in the year of our Lord 1833, at the Royal City of Sia-Yut'hia, (commonly called Bangkok.[1]) 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 and proclaimed 24 June 1837.

Roberts' first embassy arrived 18 February 1833 on the US Sloop-of-war Peacock, and was presented to His Majesty 18 March.[1] Peacock returned on the second embassy, along with Dr. W. S. W. Ruschenberger,[2][3] for exchange of ratifications 14 April 1836.

Treaty 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 terms were modified by the Harris Treaty of 1856.[4] As subsequently modified, the treaty is still in force.[5]

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 a month later.

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.[6]

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  1. ^ a b Roberts, Edmund (Digitized 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....)  Check date values in: |date= (help) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Roberts" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ 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.' 
  3. ^ Ruschenberger, William Samuel Waithman (Digitized October 12, 2007) [First published in 1837]. A Voyage Round the World: Including an Embassy to Muscat and Siam in 1835, 1836 and 1837. Harper & brothers. Retrieved April 25, 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ 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.) 
  5. ^ 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.... 
  6. ^ 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. 

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