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Thai-US Relations

The Presidency & Monarchy

Buffalos Abroad

on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Thai-US Relations

The Presidency and Monarchy

Thai-US Relations:

Chang & Eng Bunker tour nation as famous sideshow
Foundational Period

March 20, 1833
Siamese-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce
Edmund Roberts
USS Peacock
“There shall be a perpetual Peace between the Magnificent King of Siam and the United States of America.”
- Article I
"Yesterday and today a variety of presents was sent to the Envoy, from the Chao Phia Phra Klang. They consisted of elephant's teeth (sic) [tusks], sugar (nam tan), sugar-candy, pepper, cardammus [Amomum krervanh, or Elettaria sp.] (krawan) gambooge (sic) [Garcinia hanburyi] (rong tong), agila [Aquilaria agallocha] (maykrisana), sopan [sapanwood (Caesalpinia sappan) used for red and violet dye, but also used medicinally throughout Southeast Asia] wood (sic) [Caealpinia sappan] (mayfang), etc. "

May 29, 1856
Harris Treaty
“Siam produces many things which cannot be grown in the United States, and the Americans will gladly exchange their products, their gold and their silver for the surplus produce of Siam.  A commerce so conducted will be beneficial to both nations, and will increase the friendship happily existing between them.”

Townsend Harris

May 1859
The Elephant Gifting Extravaganza
Writes letter including 192 books that are US government publications
Letter includes sword with a golden scabbard inlaid with silver, a pair of elephant tusks, along with a portrait
Writes letter addressed to James Buchanan or ‘to whomsoever the people have elected anew as Chief ruler in place'
James Buchanan
King Mongkut (Rama IV)
Townsend Harris
King Mongkut (Rama IV) & Queen Debsirindra
King Mongkut (Rama IV) & future King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)
‘Your majesty’s letters show an understanding that our laws forbid the President from receiving these rich presents as personal treasures. They are therefore accepted in accordance with Your Majesty’s desire as tokens of your good will and friendship for the American People…”

“Our political jurisdiction, however, does not reach a latitude so low as to favour the multiplication of the elephant, and steam…has been our best and most efficient agent of transportation in internal commerce.”

- President Abraham Lincoln
May 17, 1877
Former President Ulysses S. Grant's World Tour
King Nangklao (Rama III)
Engagement Period
Edward Henry Strobel
King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
Siamese Expeditionary Force
Becomes the advisor in Foreign Affairs to the government of King Chulalongkorn of Siam
Lays foundation for nationalism within Thailand
Thailand's participation in World War I allowed Siam to later negotiate with Western Powers on 'unfair' treaties previously agreed upon
Treaty and Protocol between the United States and Siam revising Treaties Hiterto Existing
December 5, 1927
His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts
December 8, 1941
Japan invades Thailand an hour and a half before bombing of Pearl Harbor
April 29, 1931
King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambhai Barni visit America
Various officials and millitary aides outside the White House
Field Marshal Luang Phibunsongkhram continues nationalistic ideologies
Changes name from Siam to Muang Thai (Land of the Free); Thailand
Grant meeting King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), age 25
Takes leave of absence from position as professor of International Law at Harvard to represent Siam in the Hague
Established mandates that encouraged all Thais to salute the flag in public places, know the national anthem, and use the Thai language, not varying regional dialects
Encourages an economic form of nationalism
Thailand Nationalistic Propaganda
January 25, 1942
FM Luang Phibunsongkhram declares war on Britain and the United States
Seni Pramoj
Thai ambassador to the United States
Refused to deliver declaration of war to Washington
United States refrains from declaring war on Thailand
Death railway built under Japanese occupation that stretches from Bangkok to Yangon, Myanmar
Seri Thai; Free Thai Movement
Pridi Banomyong
Seni Pramoj
50,000+ Thais trained and armed to fight the Japanese
Thai students were recruited in the United States to work covertly for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)
Japan surrenders to Allies
Secretary of State James Byrnes
Accepts Peace Proclamation from Thailand
Advocates that Thailand not be treated as an enemy combatant postwar peace negotiations
Postwar Period
December 16, 1946
Thailand joins the United Nations
Jim Thompson
Founds Thai Silk Company
Former Station Chief with the OSS
Formerly assigned to assist with Seri Thai Movement
Thai-US Educational and Cultural Exchange Agreement, Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement, and Military Assistance Agreement signed
May 5, 1950
Coronation of Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) in Bangkok
September 8, 1954
Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) established; Manila Pact
FM Luang Phibunsongkhram visits America for moral support and to gain world exposure

Friendship Highway is constructed
Saraburi Province to Nakhon Ratchasima Province
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit visit America with their four children
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on June 29, 1960
March 6, 1964
Thanat-Rusk Joint Communique
Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations
June 1967
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit visit America for a second time
President Richard Nixon visits Thailand
Presented key to the city by Bangkok mayor Chalit Kulkanthorn
Cooperation Period
Rosalyn Carter visits Thailand to assess the refugee situation at the Sa Kaeo camp
"It's like nothing I've ever seen. It's overwhelming, emotionally overwhelming."
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn receives military training at United States Army Institute for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
November 9, 1981
Queen Sirikit receives the first Save the Children Federation's Distinguished Service Award in New York
"For 90 minutes after dinner, King Bhumibol and Benny led a foot-stomping, starch-melting jam session."

- New York Times; June 18, 1960
Cobra Gold military exercises commence
Nancy Reagan visits Thailand and receives award for anti-drug efforts
President Clinton and Hillary visit Thailand on the 50th anniversary of the accession of His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej to the throne
International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) established in Bangkok
May 8, 2000
CIA honors nineteen surviving Seri Thai vetarans
Thailand becomes first Asian country to send troops to Iraq to assist with reconstruction

Designated Major non-NATO ally (MNNA)

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
'War on Drugs'

"Victory in the war on drugs is good. They may blame the crackdown for more than 2,500 deaths, but this is a small price to pay. If the prime minister failed to curb [the drug trade], over the years the number of deaths would easily surpass this toll."

- HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej
"... For drug dealers if they do not want to die, they had better quit staying on that road... drugs suppression in my time as Interior Minister will follow the approach of [former Prime Minister] Thaksin. If that will lead to 3,000-4,000 deaths of those who break the law, then so be it. That has to be done ... For those of you from the opposition party, I will say you care more about human rights than drug problems in Thailand."

Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to parliament
August 11, 2003
Joint CIA-Thai police capture of Riduan Isamuddin
'Osama Bin Laden of Southeast Asia
Former leader of Jemaah Islamiyah
Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami devastates the coast of Thailand

Kills over 230,000 people in fourteen countries
Free Trade Agreement
Provides political and economic incentives for those that assist with America’s war on terror
Multiple visits by US officials to provide relief aid
Negotiations begin in 2003
Unfinished due to deposition of PM Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006
Aimed to eliminate steep tariffs as well as substantially reduce Thailand's significant non-tariff barriers, creating new and substantial opportunities for American businesses
Search & rescue and aid delivered via U-Tapao

Heavily strengthens the US military presence within the region through the regional naval air base
U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield
The 'War on Terrorism'
Southern Islamic insurgency
Buddhism versus Islam
Krue Se Mosque
Tak Bai
Association and collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency
September 2006
Army Commander Sonthi Boonyaratkalin was granted an extraordinary increase in executive powers to combat the unrest by PM Thaksin Shinawatra
7 killed from rounds discharged by military
78 die during transit from suffocation or injuries sustained from beatings
Vast majority had been shot in the head and there were signs that ropes had been tied around their wrists
Suggests they had been murdered 'execution-style' by military
Thailand allows the use of its airspace and airports for CIA detention and extraordinary rendition operations
4-5 day detention
Subjected to stress positions while blindfolded with sack over head
Kept in the nude
Deprived of solid food
Abu Zubaydah
Waterboarded 83 times
Arrested in Pakistan
Transferred through several CIA-operated prisons from Poland to Thailand
Currently at Guantanamo Bay
Has never been charged with any offense
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
Arrested in Dubai
Transferred through several CIA-operated prisons from Poland to Thailand
Waterboarded twice
Mock Execution
Currently held at Guantanamo Bay pending trail
92 films containing hundreds of hours of interrogative torture were made during time held in Thailand
December 2007
Films become public knowledge
November 9, 2005
Films are destroyed on the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., CIA Director of Clandestine Operations
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit Thailand and meet with His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
What the Future Holds
An ever-increasing participation in bilateral trade and investment
Over 600 American companies are operating businesses in Thailand
The United States is one of the largest foreign investors in Thailand
Stratfor Analysis
"Bangkok's support could prove pivotal for the United States in the years to come, as it presses war against militant Islamic groups in the region and prepares for the expansion of Chinese power”.
Shawn Crispin
"Thailand fails to share the US's threat perception of China's rapid regional rise."
Editor, Asia Times Online
Andrew Jackson
Symbols of Cooperation
Franklin Pierce
Thailand's participation in the War allowed Siam to negotiate with the Western Powers on generally 'unfair' treaties made before
"It's about time we took this picture down. These day, our country can also produce our own home furnishings and home decoration, with craftsmanship as good as any foreign country. In particular, the portrait of our leader. Any home without one should be utterly ashamed."
Thais were couraged to adopt Western, in lieu of traditionally worn attire
All who opposed the Japanese alliance were sacked from Luang's government
Nearly 100,000 deaths from poor working and living conditions
"The Thai proved to be masters at manipulating the Japanese occupiers and adept at collecting intelligence.”
- OSS Officer

Thais refer to him as Nai Luang or Phra Chao Yu Hua
'The King" or "Lord Upon Our Heads"
Primarily created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia
shortens the Bangkok-Korat drive by 150 kilometers
"...In the event of aggression, the United States will help Thailand unilaterally without prior agreement of all other parties to the Manila Pact.
Allows businesses within either country to access one another’s markets more fluidly and proficiently
Honorary President of the Thai Red Cross since 1956
. Particpating nations: Thailand, United States, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia
U.S. law enforcement officials instruct local police from participating countries in counter terrorism, narcotics interdiction, fraud detection, and border control practices
Richard Hecklinger, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, presented the medals of honor and citations
PM Thaksin Shinawatra launches campaign to rid "every square inch of the country" of drugs in three months.
Insurgents have murdered Buddhist monks peacefully collecting alms
Muslims have been beaten, killed, or "disappeared" during police questioning and custody
Thaksin's regime dismantled the Southern administrations and replaced them with a notoriously corrupt police force which immediately began widespread anti-Muslim crackdowns
Full transcript