Treaty Series No. 655

Treaty and Protocol between the United States of America and Siam, Signed at Washington, December 16, 1920 4

The President of the United States of America and His Majesty the King of Siam being desirous of strengthening the relations of amity and good understanding which happily exist between the two States, and being convinced that this cannot be better accomplished than by revising the treaties hitherto existing between the two countries, have resolved to complete such revision, based upon the principles of equity and mutual benefit, and for that purpose have named as their Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:

  • The President of the United States of America: Norman H. Davis, Acting Secretary of State of the United States,
  • His Majesty the King of Siam: Phya Prabha Karavongse, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Siam to the United States;

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Who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:

Article I

There shall be constant peace and perpetual friendship between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Siam. The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall have liberty to enter, travel and reside in the territories of the other, to carry on trade, wholesale and retail, to engage in religious, educational and charitable work, to own or lease and occupy houses, manufactories, warehouses and shops, to employ agents of their choice, to lease land for residential, commercial, religious and charitable purposes and for use as cemeteries, and generally to do anything incident to or necessary for trade upon the same terms as native citizens or subjects, submitting themselves to the laws and regulations there established.

They shall not be compelled under any pretext whatever, to pay any internal charges or taxes other or higher than those that are or may be paid by native citizens or subjects.

The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall receive, in the territories of the other, the most constant protection and security for their persons and property, and shall enjoy in this respect the same rights and privileges as are or may be granted to native citizens or subjects, on their submitting themselves to the conditions imposed upon the native citizens or subjects.

They shall, however, be exempt in the territories of the other from compulsory military service either on land or sea, in the regular forces, or in the national guard, or in the militia; from all contributions imposed in lieu of personal military service, and from all forced loans or military exactions or contributions.

The citizens and subjects of both of the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories and possessions of the High Contracting Parties entire liberty of conscience, and, subject to the laws, ordinances and regulations, shall enjoy the right of private or public exercise of their worship.

Article II

The dwellings, warehouses, manufactories and shops and all other property of the citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties in the territories of the other, and all premises appertaining thereto used for purposes of residence or commerce, shall be respected. It shall not be allowable to proceed to make a domiciliary visit to, or a search of, any such buildings and premises, or to examine or [Page 869] inspect books, papers, or accounts, except under the conditions and with the forms prescribed by the laws, ordinances and regulations for nationals.

Article III

There shall be reciprocally full and entire freedom of commerce and navigation between the territories and possessions of the two High Contracting Parties.

The citizens or subjects of either of the High Contracting Parties shall have liberty freely and securely to come with their ships’ cargoes to all places, ports and rivers in the territories of the other, which are or hereafter may be opened to foreign commerce and navigation; except as regards spirituous, distilled or fermented drinks or alcoholic liquors or alcohol, and opium and the derivatives thereof and cocaine, heroin and other narcotic drugs, included within the scope of the International Opium Convention signed at The Hague, January 23, 1912, and arms and ammunition, the trade in all of which may, subject to the principle of most favored nation treatment, be regulated and restricted at will by each of the High Contracting Parties within its territories and possessions, the sale and resale, by any person or organization whatsoever, of goods which are the produce or manufacture of one of the High Contracting Parties, within the territories and possessions of the other, shall be exempt from all governmental restrictions and limitations designed or operating to create or maintain any monopoly or “farm” for the profit either of the Government or of a private individual or organization.

Article IV

The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall have free access to the courts of justice of the other in pursuit and defense of their rights; they shall be at liberty, equally with the native citizens or subjects, and with the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation, to choose and employ lawyers, advocates and representatives to pursue and defend their rights before such courts. There shall be no conditions or requirements imposed upon American citizens in connection with such access to the Courts of Justice in Siam, which do not apply to native citizens or subjects or to the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation.

Article V

Limited-liability and other companies and associations, already or hereafter to be organized in accordance with the laws of either High Contracting Party and domiciled in the territories of such Party, are authorized, in the territories of the other, to exercise their [Page 870] rights and appear in the courts either as plaintiffs or defendants, subject to the laws of such other Party.

There shall be no conditions or requirements imposed upon American corporations, companies or associations, in connection with such access to the Courts of Justice in Siam, which do not apply to such native corporations, companies, or associations, or to the corporations, companies or associations of the most favored nation.

Article VI

The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories and possessions of the other a perfect equality of treatment with native citizens or subjects and with citizens or subjects of the most favored nation, in all that relates to transit duties, warehousing, bounties, facilities, and the examination and appraisement of merchandise.

Article VII

The United States of America recognizes that the principle of national autonomy should apply to the Kingdom of Siam in all that pertains to the rates of duty on importations and exportations of merchandise, drawbacks, and transit and all other taxes and impositions; and subject to the condition of equality of treatment with other nations in these respects, the United States of America agrees to assent to increases by Siam in its tariff to rates higher than those established by existing treaties,—on the further condition, however, that all other nations entitled to claim special tariff treatment in Siam assent to such increases freely and without the requirement of any compensatory benefit or privilege.

Article VIII

In all that concerns the entering, clearing, stationing, loading and unloading of vessels in the ports, basins, docks, roadsteads, harbors or rivers of the two countries, no privilege shall be granted to vessels of a third Power which shall not equally be granted to vessels of the other country; the intention of the High Contracting Parties being that in these respects the vessels of each shall receive the treatment accorded to vessels of the most favored nation.

Article IX

The coasting trade of both the High Contracting Parties is excepted from the provisions of the present treaty, and shall be regulated according to the laws, ordinances and regulations of the United States of America and of Siam, respectively. It is, however, understood [Page 871] that citizens of the United States of America in the territories and possessions of His Majesty the King of Siam and Siamese citizens or subjects in the territories and possessions of the United States of America shall enjoy in this respect the rights which are, or may be, granted under such laws, ordinances and regulations to the citizens or subjects of other nations.

Article X

Any ship of war or merchant vessel of either of the High Contracting Parties which may be compelled by stress of weather, or by reason of any other distress, to take shelter in a port of the other, shall be at liberty to refit therein, to procure all necessary supplies, and to put to sea again, without paying any dues other than such as would be payable by national vessels. In case, however, the master of a merchant vessel should be under the necessity of disposing of a part of his cargo in order to defray the expenses, he shall be bound to conform to the regulations and tariffs of the place to which he may have come.

If any ship of war or merchant vessel of one of the High Contracting Parties should run aground or be wrecked upon the coasts of the other, the local authorities shall give prompt notice of the occurrence, to the Consular Officer residing in the district, or to the nearest Consular Officer of the other Power.

Such stranded or wrecked ship or vessel and all parts thereof, and all furniture and appurtenances belonging thereto, and all goods and merchandise saved therefrom, including those which may have been cast into the sea, or the proceeds thereof, if sold, as well as all papers found on board such stranded or wrecked ship or vessel, shall be given up to the owners or their agents, when claimed by them.

If such owners or agents are not on the spot, the aforesaid property or proceeds from the sale thereof and the papers found on board the vessel shall be delivered to the proper Consular Officer of the High Contracting Party whose vessel is wrecked or stranded, provided that such Consular Officer shall make claim within the period fixed by the laws, ordinances and regulations of the country in which the wreck or stranding occurred, and such Consular Officers, owners or agents shall pay only the expenses incurred in the preservation of the property, together with the salvage or other expenses which would have been payable in the case of the wreck of a national vessel.

The goods and merchandise saved from the wreck shall be exempt from all duties of the customs unless cleared for consumption, in which case they shall pay ordinary duties.

In the case of a ship or vessel belonging to the citizens or subjects of one of the High Contracting Parties being driven in by stress [Page 872] of weather, run aground or wrecked in the territories or possessions of the other, the proper Consular Officers of the High Contracting Party to which the vessel belongs, shall, if the owners or their agents are not present, or are present but require it, be authorized to interpose in order to afford the necessary assistance to the citizens or subjects of his State.

Article XI

The vessels of war of each of the High Contracting Parties may enter, remain and make repairs in those ports and places of the other to which the vessels of war of other nations are accorded access; they shall there submit to the same regulations and enjoy the same honors, advantages, privileges and exemptions as are now, or may hereafter be conceded to the vessels of war of any other nation.

Article XII

The citizens or subjects of each of the High Contracting Parties shall enjoy in the territories and possessions of the other, upon fulfilment of the formalities prescribed by law, the same protection as native citizens or subjects, or the citizens or subjects of the nation most favored in these respects, in regard to patents, trade-marks, trade-names, designs and copyrights.

Article XIII

Each of the High Contracting Parties may appoint Consuls General, Consuls, Vice Consuls and other Consular officers or Agents to reside in the towns and ports of the territories and possessions of the other where similar officers of other Powers are permitted to reside.

Such Consular Officers and Agents, however, shall not enter upon their functions until they shall have been approved and admitted by the Government to which they are sent.

They shall be entitled to exercise all the powers and enjoy all the honors, privileges, exemptions and immunities of every kind which are, or may be, accorded to Consular Officers of the most favored nation.

Article XIV

In case of the death of any subject of Siam in the United States or of any citizen of the United States in Siam without having in the country of his decease any known heirs or testamentary executors by him appointed, the competent local authorities shall at once inform the nearest Consular Officer of the nation to which the deceased [Page 873] belonged, in order that the necessary information may be immediately forwarded to parties interested.

In the event of any citizens or subjects of either of the High Contracting Parties dying without will or testament, in the territory of the other Contracting Party, the Consul General, Consul, Vice Consul, or other Consular Officer or Agent, of the nation to which the deceased belonged, or, in his absence, the representative of such Consul General, Consul, Vice Consul, or other Consular Officer or Agent, shall, so far as the laws of each country will permit and pending the appointment of an administrator and until letters of administration have been granted, take charge of the personal property left by the deceased for the benefit of his lawful heirs and creditors.

Article XV

It is understood by the High Contracting Parties that the stipulations contained in this Treaty do not in any way affect, supersede, or modify any of the laws, ordinances and regulations with regard to trade, naturalization, immigration, police and public security which are in force or which may be enacted in either of the two countries.

Article XVI

The present Treaty shall, from the date of the exchange of ratifications thereof, be substituted in place of the Convention of Amity and Commerce concluded at Bangkok on the 20th day of March, 1833, of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded at Bangkok on the 29th day of May, 1856, and of the Agreement regulating liquor traffic in Siam concluded at Washington on the 14th day of May, 1884, and of all arrangements and agreements subsidiary thereto concluded or existing between the High Contracting Parties, and from the same date, such conventions, treaties, arrangements and agreements shall cease to be binding.

Article XVII

The present Treaty shall come into effect on the date of the exchange of ratifications and shall remain in force for ten years from that date.

In case neither of the High Contracting Parties should have notified twelve months before the expiration of the said ten years the intention of terminating it, it shall remain binding until the expiration of one year from the day on which either of the High Contracting Parties shall have denounced it.

It is clearly understood, however, that such denunciation shall not have the effect of reviving any of the treaties, conventions, arrangements or agreements mentioned in Article XVI hereof.

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Article XVIII

This Treaty shall be ratified and the ratifications thereof shall be exchanged, either at Washington or Bangkok, as soon as possible.

In witness whereof, the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Treaty and have thereunto affixed their seals.


Norman H. Davis
[seal]
Prabha Karavongse
[seal]

ANNEX

protocol concerning jurisdiction applicable in the kingdom of siam to american citizens and others entitled to the protection of the united states

At the moment of proceeding this day to the signature of the new Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States and the Kingdom of Siam, the Plenipotentiaries of the two High Contracting Parties have agreed as follows:

Article I

The system of jurisdiction heretofore established in Siam for citizens of the United States and the privileges, exemptions and immunities now enjoyed by the citizens of the United States in Siam as a part of or appurtenant to said system shall absolutely cease and determine on the date of the exchange of ratifications of the above-mentioned Treaty and thereafter all citizens of the United States and persons, corporations, companies and associations entitled to its protection in Siam shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Siamese Courts.

Article II

Until the promulgation and putting into force of all the Siamese Codes, namely, the Penal Code, the Civil and Commercial Codes, the Codes of Procedure and the Law for Organization of Courts and for a period of five years thereafter, but no longer, the United States, through its Diplomatic and Consular Officials in Siam, whenever in its discretion it deems it proper so to do in the interest of justice, by means of a written requisition addressed to the judge or [Page 875] judges of the Court in which such case is pending, may evoke any case pending in any Siamese Court, except the Supreme or Dika Court, in which an American citizen or a person, corporation, company or association entitled to the protection of the United States, is defendant or accused.

Such case shall then be transferred to said Diplomatic or Consular Official for adjudication and the jurisdiction of the Siamese Court over such case shall thereupon cease. Any case so evoked shall be disposed of by said Diplomatic or Consular official in accordance with the laws of the United States properly applicable, except that as to all matters coming within the scope of Codes or Laws of the Kingdom of Siam regularly promulgated and in force, the texts of which have been communicated to the American Legation in Bangkok, the rights and liabilities of the parties shall be determined by Siamese law.

For the purpose of trying such cases and of executing any judgments which may be rendered therein, the jurisdiction of the American Diplomatic and Consular officials in Siam is continued.

Should the United States perceive, within a reasonable time after the promulgation of said Codes, any objection to said Codes, namely, the Penal Code, the Civil and Commercial Codes, the Codes of Procedure and the Law for Organization of Courts, the Siamese Government will endeavor to meet such objections.

Article III

Appeals by citizens of the United States or by persons, corporations, companies or/and associations entitled to its protection, from judgments of Courts of First Instance in cases to which they may be parties, shall be adjudged by the Court of Appeal at Bangkok.

An appeal on a question of law shall lie from the Court of Appeal at Bangkok to the Supreme or Dika Court.

A citizen of the United States or a person, corporation, company or association entitled to its protection, who is defendant or accused in any case arising in the Provinces may apply for a change of venue and should the Court consider such change desirable the trial shall take place either at Bangkok or before the judge in whose Court the case would be tried at Bangkok.

Article IV

In order to prevent difficulties which may arise from the transfer of jurisdiction contemplated by the present Protocol, it is agreed,

(a)
All cases in which action shall be taken subsequently to the date of the exchange of ratifications of the above-mentioned Treaty, [Page 876] shall be entered and decided in the Siamese Courts, whether the cause of action arose before or after the date of said exchange of ratifications.
(b)
All cases pending before the American Diplomatic and Consular officials in Siam on said date shall take their usual course before such officials until such cases have been finally disposed of, and the jurisdiction of the American Diplomatic and Consular officials shall remain in full force for this purpose.

In connection with any case coming before the American Diplomatic or Consular officials under clause (b) of Article IV, or which may be evoked by said officials under Article II, the Siamese authorities shall upon request by such Diplomatic or Consular officials lend their assistance in all matters pertaining to the case.

In witness whereof the undersigned Plenipotentiaries have hereto signed their names and affixed their seals, this sixteenth day of December, in the nineteen hundred and twentieth year of the Christian Era, corresponding to the sixteenth day of the ninth month in the two thousand four hundred and sixty-third year of the Buddhist Era.

Norman H. Davis
[seal]
Prabha Karavongse
[seal]
  1. Ratification advised by the Senate, Apr. 27, 1921; ratified by the President, May 6, 1921; ratified by Siam, Apr. 29, 1921; ratifications exchanged at Bangkok, Sept. 1, 1921; proclaimed, Oct. 12, 1921.