711.922/53

The Minister in Siam ( Baker ) to the Secretary of State

No. 119

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 12, of August 20, 1934, 11 a.m. As the various State Councillors have been unable to function because of disagreements among themselves, I am led to the conclusion that any changes in the treaty to which the Department is willing to assent, especially with reference to Article 3, should be held in abeyance until the next session of the Assembly, which meets December 10, 1934, and adjourns March 31, 1935, is completed. At that time the Department will be in a position to know more definitely the policies of the Siamese Government. However, if the Department desires to proceed without regard to the future economic policies of the Siamese Government, there is no need for further suspension of the treaty negotiations.

When the King left here on January 12th he had succeeded in harmonizing to some extent the contending political elements within the State Council. This situation continued until the Assembly adjourned March 31st. The State Council is sharply divided into the following groups:

1.
The dominant group, led by the Premier, Phya Bahol, and having military support, which stands for the state operation of industries under monopolies; it is supposed to be controlled by the King.
2.
The legalistic group (composed of lawyers), who have not been able to agree upon a judicial system and promulgate codes of civil and criminal procedure and a plan for the organization of the courts of justice, which are not provided for by the constitution.
3.
The group led by Luang Pradit, whose economic plans seek nationalization of wealth, land, labor, etc.
4.
A small group who desire restoration of the rights and privileges of the nobility.

The foregoing dissension, together with removal of many former officials and employees of the Government, high taxes, increases in military expenditures, the discussion of high inheritance and income taxes, along with the sentences pronounced by the Special Court on offenders in the October insurrection, has brought about so much unrest that criticism of the Government has grown severe, and it has led to the imprisonment of many persons antagonistic to the present Government.

The absence of the King9 has added to the uncertainty of the future policies of the Government. So much so, that the question of his return here, permanently, is a subject of serious consideration, as he has set no definite date for his return.

In view of this general situation, my own judgment is that the stability of the present Government will be maintained so long as it has the loyal support of the Army.

Respectfully yours,

James M. Baker
  1. The King’s absence in Europe led to his abdication in March 1935.