711.922/98: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Siam (Neville)

24. Your No. 30, October 26, noon. Department has given long and careful study to the question of immovable property and proposes the following provisions for Article 1 of the treaty as being the sole practical formula embodying strict reciprocity. Acceptance of the first paragraph is deemed necessary to secure ratification of the treaty by the Senate without reservations.

“In all that relates to the acquisition, possession and disposition of immovable property the nationals, including corporations, partnerships, associations and other legal entities, of each high contracting party shall in the territory of the other high contracting party be subject exclusively to the applicable laws of the situs of such immovable property. The applicable laws of the situs of immovable property as herein used shall in reference to the nationals of Siam be understood and construed to mean the laws applicable to immovable property of the state, territory or possession of the United States of America in which such immovable property is situate; and nothing herein shall be construed to change, affect or abrogate the laws applicable to immovable property of any state, territory or possession of the United States of America.

It is expressly agreed that the nationals of the United States of America, including corporations, partnerships and associations, who are legal residents of or are organized under the laws of any state, territory or possession of the United States of America which accords to nationals of Siam the right to acquire, possess and dispose of [Page 872]immovable property, shall be accorded all the rights respecting immovable property which are or may be accorded in Siam to Siamese nationals, including corporations, partnerships and associations.”

In an effort to conclude negotiations by November 6 the Department agrees to Siamese proposal to modify slightly the existing exchange of notes as to real property. The first paragraph of the notes to be exchanged creates only a moral obligation on the part of Siam to settle equitably the existing title problems. In so far as you are able to do so you should indicate the specific cases at the time you present these proposals, and add that your list of cases is not necessarily complete.

The words “of which they are the rightful owners” have been added to the existing exchange of notes. The Department would have preferred to say “of which they are the legal or equitable owners” but has not done so in view of the fact that the Siamese law does not recognize a distinction between law and equity. The phrase would cover mortgages held by the Socony-Vacuum Corporation on lands registered in the name of employees or others.

Introduction and second paragraph of new exchange of notes same as existing notes. New first paragraph as follows:

1. With respect to lands of which American nationals, partnerships, corporations or associations are the rightful owners, for which they now possess papers of any kind, or of which they are otherwise in legal occupation, they should apply to have title papers issued in the regular way.

Would it not be more appropriate to insert monopoly article at end of protocol?

Welles