711.923/127

The Siamese Minister ( Karavongse ) to the Acting Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Acting Secretary: I take pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your letter handed to me today by the Solicitor for the Department of State in which you inform me that the Government of the United States has accepted the principle of a definite termination of guarantees, by proposing that evocation from the Courts of First Instance and from the Court of Appeal shall last for five years after the codes are promulgated and put into force.

This gives me the greatest satisfaction and I shall not fail to inform my Government immediately so that I may be notified of its views as soon as possible.

As you refer to the new treaty of Commerce and Navigation, I take the liberty of calling to your attention a conversation on December 18th, 1919, with the Secretary of State, upon this subject and request you to be so good as to confirm the position therein taken by him. This confirmation will assist me in receiving my Government’s consent to the acceptance of the guarantee proposed by you, which in the application of evocation to the Court of Appeal, contains elements of novelty.

I had the honour to be received by him in company with Dr. James, Adviser in Foreign Affairs to my Government. The Secretary of State said in response to my question that the United States would be willing to abandon the restrictions upon the fiscal powers of Siam, [Page 862] contained in the treaty of 1856 and in the Spirits Agreement of 1884. The Secretary of State remarked that no country could get along with an import duty of three per cent, and that Siam should be given commercial autonomy. Dr. James asked if the Siamese Government might be informed that the United States was prepared to grant to Siam fiscal autonomy. The Secretary of State replied that that could be done but that the United States wished the admission of its citizens to the privilege of land ownership throughout the Kingdom, the acceptance of the clause with reference to religious toleration as it is now drafted, and acceptance of the tentative agreement as to the lands in the occupation of American Missions, and most favored nation treatment in all commercial matters. I stated that my Government was prepared to grant these things, in fact that they had been contained in the various proposals submitted by it in the past.

The securing of fiscal autonomy by Siam is a matter of the greatest importance to the future of my country, as it will, when finally secured from the Treaty Powers, enable her to effect many long-planned reforms.

The conversation with the Secretary of State was immediately communicated to my Government and received by it with feelings of the liveliest satisfaction.

I am [etc.]

Prabha Karavongse