740.00115A Pacific War/1 Supplement: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle)

217. American interests—Thailand. Department’s 440, December 31, to which no reply has been received.

Department has recently received from reliable source a report that on December 9, Japanese troops occupied the American Legation at Bangkok where the American Minister and his staff have since been held prisoners and the following report concerning the treatment of non-official civilian American nationals in Thailand:

“All American citizens with the exception of the staffs of the Legation and Consulate General have been concentrated under the guard of the Thai authorities in the School of Political Science; also interned there are British and Dutch subjects. Living conditions are primitive but fairly comfortable. Priests and nuns are also confined in the same place. Food is scarce but food packages can be brought by visitors who are authorized to call at certain hours. Those interned were permitted to leave the camp for one day to gather up that portion of their personal belongings which had not been stolen. The large majority of homes, particularly those of American, English and Dutch residents are occupied by the Japanese. American firms have been sequestrated by the Thais and their administration has been placed under the direction of the Ministry of Economy.”

Please so inform Swiss Government in paraphrase and request that, if foregoing report is substantiated, it deliver to the Thai Government, with reference to the report, the following communication:

“The Government of the United States has learned with amazement that in Thailand, a country with which the United States is at peace,28 the inviolability of the Legation of the United States and the immunities of the Minister and his staff have been wantonly disregarded, citizens of the United States have been interned, and private property of such citizens has been seized and their business enterprises sequestrated.

In the United States there has been no interference with the Thai Government’s representatives, nor with Thai nationals (including the eldest son and a daughter of the Thai Prime Minister29), nor with Thai property. The Government of the United States expects the Thai Government immediately to take effective steps to remedy the unwarranted treatment now being accorded in Thailand to the officials and other nationals of the United States and to their property there.”

Please ask Swiss Government to inform you of the date of delivery to the Thai Government of the foregoing communication. Inform Department by telegraph.30
  1. In telegram No. 246, January 28, to the Chargé in Switzerland, the Secretary of State requested deletion of the words, “a country with which the United States is at peace”, Thailand having declared war on the United States on January 25 (740.00115A Pacific War/5).
  2. Luang Pibul Songgram.
  3. In telegram No. 537, February 12, the Chargé in Switzerland reported that the Swiss Consul at Bangkok had handed the American communication to the Thai Foreign Office on February 4 (740.00115A Pacific War/11).