Minister King to
the Secretary of State.
Sir: I have the honor to inclose a copy of the
convention between Siam and France concluded February 13, 1904, together
with a copy of the protocol bearing the date of June 29, 1904. The
consummation of this treaty, which is the outgrowth of previous
negotiations concerning a convention between Siam and France, abandoned
in 1902, is largely due to the efforts of Mr. Edward H. Strobel, the
general adviser of His Siamese Majesty’s Government, an American
citizen, both while he was in Paris previous to his coming to Siam and
during his residence in Bangkok since March 19, 1904.
The conditions of this convention have now been largely fulfilled, and on
the return to Bangkok of the commission appointed to delimitate the
boundaries between the Great Lake and the sea—Battambong and Krat on the
south—I have deemed it an opportune time to report on the same.
Taking up the treaty by its several points of importance: First. It
provides for a redelimitation of the entire frontier between the Siamese
and French territory, as set forth in Articles II and III. This gives to
France the new territory of Luang Prabang, on the right bank of the
Mekong River, abolishes the 25 kilometer neutral zone which was
established along the right bank of the Mekong in the 1893 treaty, and
further gives to France the new territory of Bassac and Meloupey, on the
right bank of the Mekong and to the east of the Great Lake, and Krat on
the south. The part of the delimitation of the frontier as outlined in
Articles I and II of the treaty has not yet been accomplished, but as it
is already as definitely defined as a crudely surveyed area well can be
it is expected that no serious questions will arise therefrom.
As soon as Mr. Strobel arrived in Siam, March 19, 1904, he set about
consummating an understanding to fix the principal points of the
delimitation in the region between the Great Lake and the sea, which in
the form of a protocol also fixed the point, that ten days after the
territories ceded by the Siamese were placed at the disposal of the
French the French troops should evacuate Chantaboon (Art. V). This
protocol was dated June 29, 1904. On December 30, 1904, the Siamese flag
was lowered at Krat and the French flag raised, and the French were
notified that all the above-named territories were at their disposal. On
January 9, 1905, the last French soldier left Chantaboon, the French
flag came down and the Siamese flag was raised, twenty-four hours before
the stipulated time had expired.
The delimitation boundary commission having completed their work between
the Great Lake and the sea the Siamese portion of the commission have
reported at Bangkok with their data. Later the entire commission will
meet in this city, where the several questions arising will be settled.
* * *
The lists of protégés mentioned in Article X have been compared and all
questions arising from this article have already been settled.
Heretofore decedents of all French protégés have claimed French
protection without a well-defined limit as to time or generation. This
arrangement is a decided advantage to the Siamese Government, for from
the undefined condition of her French protégé question was as constantly
springing a brood of pin pricks and annoyances as the various occasions
might demand. * * *
Following the lines of the British treaty as regards jurisdiction in the
far northern provinces by recognizing to a large degree the so-called
international court of Siam, * * * France further agrees to recognize
the Bangkok Siamese court of appeal in all cases of appeal from the
northern courts, thus giving all the French cases arising in these
northern provinces entirely into the hands of the Siamese for final
decision, while it is worthy of note that the power of final decision in
British cases coming from these provinces is vested in the British
consular court. In the attempt to relieve this feature of the treaty and
to allay the opposition raised by the French upon the ground an
agreement was made whereby it was provided that a French legal adviser
should be appointed by the Siamese Government, which adviser should sit
as one of the judges in the Bangkok Siamese court of appeal when French
interests were involved. This point concerning jurisdiction in itself is
a large advance for Siam and is sure to have a large influence on the
further treaties now in contemplation.
The French advantages arising from this treaty may be summed up as
- Siamese territory ceded to France: Luang Prabang, Bassac,
Meloupey, and Krat.
- French influence in questions of public improvements in the
territory of Korat.
- A French legal adviser to sit in the Bangkok Siamese court of
The Siamese advantages arising from this treaty may be summed up as
- Chantaboon returned to Siam.
- The neutral 25 kilometer zone abolished.
- Siam’s French protégé question favorably settled.
- Reduction in the jurisdiction accorded the French courts in
- A truce in which Siam has her first opportunity to evidence
her ability to govern herself.
* * * * * * *
* * * Notwithstanding the hindrances that have been placed in her way
growing out of her extraterritorial relations with the world * * * Siam
has made marked advancement during the last ten years. The spirit of
progress is in the air. The general adviser to His Majesty is proving a
splendid force in directing governmental affairs. One of the results
already to be seen is the confidence shown in Slam’s credit abroad, her
loan of £1,000,000, divided [Page 835]
between England and France, having been subscribed eight times over in
forty-five minutes at the figures of 95½ at 4½ per cent. European
governments are showing a willingness to revise their antiquated
treaties with the country. Denmark has just negotiated a new treaty.
Italy is expected to sign a new treaty this week, and others are under
Mr. Riffault, the recently arrived envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary for France, is in harmony with his government’s friendly
attitude toward Siam. These friendly relations are daily improving. * *
A truce at such a time as this, if it be for a few years only, in which
time Siam may have the opportunity to show the stuff of which she is
made, must prove of large value to the country.
This is the first real opportunity ever given to Siam to go forward, and
coming at just such a time I consider this treaty, if favorably
completed, as the open door of opportunity for large things in Siam, and
on her ability to take advantage of the opportunity will depend largely
the character of her government in the future.
This treaty was ratified December 9, 1904.
I have, etc.,
Convention between Siam and France, concluded
February 13, 1904.
His Majesty the King of Siam and the President of the French
Republic, desirous of strengthening the relations of friendship and
mutual confidence which exist between their respective countries,
and of arranging certain difficulties which have arisen regarding
the interpretation of the treaty and of the convention of October 3,
1893, have decided to conclude a new convention. For this purpose
they have appointed as their plenipotentiaries:
His Majesty the King of Siam, Phya Suriya Nuvatr, his envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, accredited to the
President of the French Republic, grand cross of the most honorable
Order of the Crown of Siam, grand officer of the Legion of Honor,
etc.; and the President of the French Republic, Mr. Théophile
Delcassé, deputy minister for foreign affairs, etc.,
Who, having communicated to each other their full powers, which were
found to be in due and proper form, have agreed on the following
The frontier between Siam and Cambodia starts on the left bank of the
Great Lake, from the mouth of the river Stung Roluos and follows the
parallel from this point in an easterly direction till it meets the
river Prec Campong Thiam; then, running northward, it unites with
the meridian of the point of the above-mentioned meeting as far as
the mountain range of Pnom Dang Rak; thence it follows the ridge of
the watershed between the basins of the Nam Sen and of the Mekong on
the one side and of the Nam Moun on the other side and joins the
Pnom Padang range, the crest of which it follows toward the east as
far as the Mekong. Upward from this point the Mekong remains the
frontier of the Kingdom of Siam, in conformity with Article I of the
treaty of October 3, 1893.
With regard to the frontier between Luang Prabang, on the right bank,
and the provinces of Muang Pichai and Muang Nan, it starts from the
Mekong at its confluence with the Nam Huong, and following the
thalweg of that river as far as its confluence with the Nam Tang;
then ascending the course of the said Nam Tang, it reaches the ridge
of the watershed between the basins of the Mekong and of the Menam
at a point situated near Pou Dène Dine. From that point the frontier
runs northward, following the watershed between the two basins as
far as the sources of the river Nam Kop, the course of which it
follows till it meets the Mekong.
The delimitation of the frontier between the territories forming
French Indo-China and the Kingdom of Siam shall be carried out. This
delimitation shall be effected by mixed commissions composed of
officers appointed by the two contracting countries. The work will
have as its object the frontier determined by Articles I and II, as
well as the region comprised between the Great Lake and the sea.
With a view to facilitate the labors of the commissions and with a
view to avoid every possible difficulty in the delimitation of the
region comprised between the Great Lake and the sea, the two
governments will come to an understanding before the appointment of
the mixed commissions to fix the principal points of the
delimitation in this region, especially the point at which the
frontier will reach the sea. The mixed commissions shall be
appointed and shall commence their work within four months after the
ratification of the present convention.
The Siamese Government renounce all prerogatives of suzerainty over
the territories of Luang Prabang situated on the right bank of the
Mekong. Trading vessels and rafts of wood, belonging to Siamese,
shall have the right to navigate freely that, portion of the Mekong
traversing the territory of Luang Prabang.
As soon as the understanding provided for in paragraph 2 of Article
III, relative to the delimitation of the frontier between the Great
Lake and the sea shall have been established, and as soon as it has
been officially notified to the French authorities that the
territories resulting from this understanding and the territories
situated to the east of the frontier, as indicated in Articles I and
II of the present treaty, are at their disposal, the French troops
which occupy provisionally Chantaboon in virtue of the convention of
the 3d of October, 1893, shall leave that town.
The provisions of Article IV of the treaty of October 3, 1893, shall
be replaced by the following:
His Majesty the King of Siam undertakes that the troops which he will
send or maintain in the whole of the Siamese basin of the Mekong
will always be troops of Siamese nationality commanded by officers
of this nationality. There is only one exception to this rule in
favor of the Siamese gendarmerie, at present commanded by Danish
officers. In case the Siamese Government should wish to replace
these officers by foreign officers belonging to another nationality,
they should previously come to an understanding with the French
With regard to the provinces of Siem Reap, Battambong, and Sisophon,
the Siamese Government undertake to maintain there only contingents
of police necessary for the maintenance of order. These contingents
shall be recruited exclusively on the spot from among the
In the future, in the Siamese part of the basin of the Mekong, if the
Royal Government desire to undertake the execution of ports, canals,
railways (particularly railways destined to connect the capital with
any point whatever in this basin), they will come to an
understanding with the French Government if such works could not be
executed exclusively by a Siamese personnel and with Siamese
capital. This would naturally also apply to the working of the said
With regard to the use of ports, canals, railways in the Siamese part
of the basin of the Mekong, as well as in the remainder of the
Kingdom, it is understood that no differential dues shall be
established contrary to the principle of commercial equality
stipulated in the treaties signed by Siam.
In the execution of Article VI of the treaty of October 3, 1893,
plots of land of a superficial area to be determined shall be
conceded by the Siamese Government to the Government of the Republic
at the following points situated on the right bank of the
Chieng Khan, Nong Khay, Muang Saniabouri, mouth of the Nam Khan
(right or left bank) Bang Mouk Dahan, Kemmarat and mouth of the Nam
Moun (right or left bank).
The two governments will come to an understanding in order to clear
the course of the Nam Moun between its confluence with Mekong and
Pimoun of the obstacles which hinder navigation. In case of these
works being found impossible to execute or too costly, the two
governments will concert together for the establishment of
communication by land between Pimoun and the Mekong.
They will also come to an understanding for the establishment between
Bassac and the frontier of Luang Prabang, as it results from Article
II of the present treaty, of railroads which might be recongized as
necessary to make up for the defects of the navigability of the
From the present it is agreed that the two governments will
facilitate the establishment of a railway connecting Pnom Penh with
Battambong. The construction and the working shall be undertaken
either by the two governments themselves, each undertaking the
portion which is on its territory, or by a Franco-Siamese company
agreed upon by the two governments.
The two governments are agreed on the necessity of carrying out the
work for the improvement of the course of the river of Battambong
between the Great Lake and that town. For this purpose the French
Government are ready to place at the disposal of the Siamese
Government the technical agents they may need for the execution as
well as for the maintenance of the said works.
The Government of His Siamese Majesty accept the lists of French
protégés such as they exist at present, with the exception of
persons whose inscription may be recognized by both parties as
having been unduly obtained. A copy of these lists shall be
communicated to the Siamese authorities by the French
The descendants of the protégés thus maintained under French
jurisdiction shall have no right to claim their inscription if they
do not fall under the category of persons described in the following
article of the present convention.
Persons of Asiatic origin born on a territory subject to the direct
domination or placed under the protectorate of France, except those
who have established their residence in Siam before the time when
the territory of their origin was placed under such domination or
under such protectorate shall have the right to French
French protection will be granted to the children of those persons,
but will not be extended to their grandchildren.
With regard to the jurisdiction to which in the future, without any
exception, all French subjects and French protégés in Siam will be
subjected, the two governments agree to substitute for the existing
provisions the following provisions:
- In criminal matters French subjects and French protégés
shall be amenable only to French judicial authority.
- In civil matters all cases brought by a Siamese against a
French subject or a French protégé shall be heard before the
French consular court.
All cases in which the defendant is a Siamese shall be heard before
the Siamese court of foreign causes instituted at Bangkok.
As an exception in the provinces of Chieng Mai, Lakhon, Lampoon, and
Nan all civil and criminal cases involving French ressortissants
shall be heard before the Siamese international court.
It is, however, understood that in all these cases the French consul
shall have the right to be present at the trial or to be represented
there by a duly authorized delegate, and to make any observations
which he may deem proper in the interest of justice.
In case of the defendant being a French subject or a French protégé,
the French consul may at any moment in the course of the
proceedings, if he thinks it opportune, and by means of a written
requisition, evoke the case before him.
This case shall then be transferred to the French consular court,
which from this moment shall alone be competent and to which the
Siamese authorities shall be bound to give their assistance.
The appeals against judgments delivered by the court of foreign
causes, as well as by the international court established for the
above-mentioned four provinces, shall be brought before the court of
appeal of Bangkok.
With regard to the admission in the future to French protection of
Asiatics who are not born on a territory subject to the direct
authority or to the protectorate of France, or who are not legally
naturalized, the Government of the Republic shall enjoy rights equal
to those which Siam may grant to any other power.
The provisions of the former treaties, agreements, and conventions
between Siam and France, not modified by the present convention,
remain in full force.
In case of difficulties arising from the interpretation of the
present convention, which is drawn up in French and Siamese, the
French text shall govern.
The present convention shall be ratified within a period of four
months beginning from the day of signature, or sooner if
In witness whereof the respective plenipotentiaries have signed the
present convention and have affixed their seals.
Done at Paris in
In the execution of Article III, paragraph 2, of the convention of
February 13, 1904, and desiring to complete and rectify Articles I
and II of the said convention, the Government of His Majesty the
King of Siam and the Government of the French Republic have agreed
1. Krat.—The frontier from the Great Lake
shall continue the section of the delimitation marked in 1867 by
following the river Prac Kampong Prac to its source. From this point
the frontier shall follow in a western direction the line of
watershed between the basin of the tributary rivers flowing toward
the northern part of the Great Lake and the basin of the Strung
Krevanh or Pursat River up to the mountain which is the source of
this last river. The frontier shall then run toward the direction of
the source of the river Barain, or HuayReng, the course of which it
will follow until its junction with the Tungyai River, which flows
into the estuary of Kratt. It shall then follow the said river to
its junction with the Klong Dja River. This junction is about
halfway between the junction of the Barain River with the Tungjai
River and the mouth of this last river. The frontier shall then
follow the Klong Dja to its source, which is supposed to be situated
on the mountain called Kao Mai See. From this point it shall follow
the range of mountains to the mountain called Kao Kanun, and from
this point the range of mountains until it reaches the sea at the
extremity of Cape Lem-Ling.
This frontier establishes a natural boundary, according to which the
port of Kratt and the territories situated to the south are
attributed to French Indo-China.
In consequence the islands situated near the coast from the said Cape
Lem-Ling (such as Koh-Chang and the following), as well as the
territories to the south of the frontier thus determined, will
belong to French Indo-China. It must besides be well understood that
the above-mentioned delimitation shall leave to French Indo-China
the territories which might be actually occupied by her on the north
of the said line.
Ten days after the French authorities have been officially notified
that the territories above mentioned, as well as all those to which
refer the Franco-Siamese convention of February 13, 1904, and the
present agreement are at their disposal, the French troops will
leave Chantaboon in execution of Article V of the said
2. Luang Prabang.—With regard to the
frontier of Luang Prabang, described in Article II of the convention
of February 13, 1904, the two contracting powers have agreed by
common consent upon the following modifications:
Southern frontier.—The frontier
shall leave the junction of the Mekong and of the Nam-Huang,
and instead of following the Nam-Tang shall follow the
thalweg of the Nam-Huang, called in its upper part Nam-Man,
until it reaches the line of watershed between the basins of
the Mekong and of the Me-Nam at the point where the source
of the Nam-Man is situated.
- From this point and following that line it shall ascend
toward the north, in conformity with the convention of
February 13, 1904.
Northern frontier.—Instead of
following the course of the Nam-Kop the frontier shall wing
round the sources of that river in order to follow the first
of mountains on the left bank of the Nam-Kop.
In witness whereof the undersigned, Phya Suriya, envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary of His Majesty the King of Siam
accredited to the President of the French Republic, and M Delecassé,
deputy, minister for foreign affairs of the French Republic, duly
authorized to this effect, have drawn up the present protocol, to
which they affix their seals.
Done in Paris in
duplicate the 29th
of June, 1904.