The Siamese Minister ( Karavongse ) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: In continuation of my reply of March 6th, to the letter of the Acting Secretary of State, received the same date, relating to the retro-cession to Siam of the jurisdiction over Americans in my country now exercised by the Consul of the United States, I beg to state that having conveyed to my government the contents of that letter, I have now received their views, which I have the honour to communicate to you.

My government express their appreciation of the willingness of the United States to terminate the existing system of jurisdiction for Americans in Siam upon the exchange of ratifications of the new treaty now being negotiated. They are, also, prepared to endeavor to meet, before promulgation, any objection which the United States may find to the new Codes but much to their regret they find themselves unable to give their adherence to the proposal [Page 863] for evocation by the Consul from Courts of First Instance and the Court of Appeal after the promulgation of the Codes.

Evocation, under the treaties which at the present provide for it, comes to an end upon the promulgation of the Codes and has never been conceded except from the so-called International Courts of First Instance, which, notwithstanding their name, are strictly Siamese Courts having jurisdiction by treaty over certain very large groups of foreigners. The application, therefore, of this privilege to the Court of Appeal and its continuance after the promulgation of the Codes, would mark a distinct innovation. My government, in appreciation of the friendly attitude of the United States, are willing, notwithstanding the novelty of the proposal and their objections to evocation generally, as involving an extraordinary interference with the processes of their courts by foreign officials, to concede that evocation may be applied to the Court of Appeal, particularly as the United States has declined to adhere to the existing system of foreign Legal Advisers, but they experience difficulty in accepting that part of the proposal of your government which involves the continuance of evocation after the promulgation of the Codes. The continuance of evocation after this time would raise very serious questions affecting existing arrangements with other powers and seems to serve no useful purpose from the standpoint of your government and would embarrass my government unnecessarily.

The agreement that the new Codes are to be submitted before promulgation to your government with the assurance that my government will endeavor to meet any objections which may be found in the Codes, furnishes an effective guarantee in itself.

For these reasons and taking into consideration the present satisfactory condition of the administration of Justice in Siam and the extensive participation in the Siamese judicial system of foreign Advisers and Judges, together with the fact that from 1828, when Americans first began to come to Siam, to 1857, when the present Treaty with the United States came into operation, tho throughout the whole of this period Americans were subject to the jurisdiction of Siamese tribunals without any guarantees whatever, there were no instances of injustice or oppression, my government feel that they are not without justification, in order to bring matters to a conclusion, in submitting the questions involved in the negotiation once more to the benevolent consideration of the President of the United States, for whose judgment they have the most profound respect, with a view, not only to the modification of the proposals as to the continuance of evocation after the promulgation of the [Page 864] Codes, but also for the purpose of confirming the oral assurances given me by the Secretary of State on December 18th last as to the willingness of the United States to restore to Siam fiscal autonomy, the regaining of which is of the greatest importance to the future well-being of my country, as it will be enabled thereby to accomplish its program for the improvement of its administration.

With the expression [etc.]

Prabha Karavongse