Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Prussia–United States)

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Frederick the Great
Reichsgraf und Graf Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
John Quincy Adams

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the Kingdom of Prussia and the United States of America (September 10, 1785) was a treaty negotiated by Count Karl-Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein, Prussian Prime Minister, and Thomas Jefferson, United States Ambassador to France, and signed by Frederick the Great and George Washington. The treaty established a commercial alliance between the Kingdom of Prussia and the United States of America and was the first one signed by a European power with the United States after the American Revolutionary War. The Kingdom of Prussia became therefore one of the first nations to officially recognize the young American Republic after the Revolution.

The Treaty was signed to promote free trade and commerce and became a benchmark for subsequent free trade agreements and treaties. Additionally, the Treaty demanded the unconditionally humane custody for war prisoner, a novelty at the time.

The Treaty was renewed in 1799 after negotiations with United States Ambassador to Prussia John Quincy Adams (1797 -1801).

Main Provisions[edit]

  • Peace and friendship between the Kingdom of Prussia and the U.S.
  • Mutual Most Favored Nation status with regard to commerce and navigation
  • Mutual protection of all vessels and cargo when in U.S. or Prussian jurisdiction
  • Mutual right for citizens of one country to hold land in other's territory
  • Mutual right to search a ship of the other's coming out of an enemy port for contraband
  • Mutual right to trade with enemy states of the other as long as those goods are not contraband
  • If the two nations become enemies nine months protection of merchant ships in enemy territory
  • Novelty: Mutual ban letter of marque (Article 20)
  • Novelty: Unconditionally humane custody for war prisoner (Article 24)
  • Mutual right to have Counsuls, Vice Counsuls, Agents, and Commissaries of one nation in the other's ports


See also[edit]


  • Karl John Richard Arndt, ed. (1977). Der Freundschafts- und Handelsvertrag von 1785 zwischen Seiner Majestät dem König von Preussen und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika: erstmals in deutscher Übersetzung mit den französischen und amerikanischen Originaltexten und Kommentaren zur Ursprungsgeschichte. München: H. Moos. ISBN 3-7879-0101-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)