Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Siam, 1882-1906

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Retrieve imperfect matches to accommodate spelling variations or approximate spellings sometimes found in historical documents.


Despatches from U.S. Ministers to Siam, 1882–1906

This collection comprises nine volumes that consist, for the most part, of despatches addressed to the State Department by American diplomatic representatives to Siam between July 15, 1882, and August 4, 1906. The initial documents in this collection are selected pages from seven State Department registers of correspondence, which, taken as a unit, constitute a register of despatches from Siam from July 15, 1882, through November 9, 1906.

From July 13, 1882, the date John A. Halderman was appointed both minister resident and consul general, until February 19, 1903, the ranking U.S. official in Siam held this dual position. His communications to the Department of State were therefore divided into two series, one relating to his activities as minister resident (the Diplomatic Series), the other relating to his activities as consul general (the Consular Series). Each of these series was bound separately by the State Department for this entire period.

This collection reproduces the Diplomatic Series as well as later diplomatic communications through August 4, 1906. Communications in the Consular Series were bound, along with consular despatches of earlier and later dates, in the series of despatches from American consuls in Bangkok. From April 27, 1903, the date of the appointment of Hamilton King as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, the chief of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Siam held that title.

Most of the communications are original despatches, usually accompanied by enclosures. Many of these enclosures are notes from officials of the Siamese Foreign Office. Such notes, in turn, often transmit enclosures, including royal orders, announcements of court ceremonies, or complaints against citizens and officials of the United States. Other enclosures relate to the activities of American citizens or officials. Pamphlets, issues of newspapers, and other printed materials are sometimes enclosed.

In addition to numbered despatches and their enclosures, these volumes contain many unnumbered communications, some of which are marked “Private” or “Confidential.” These unnumbered communications, more informal than despatches, report official matters that required secrecy or that were not fully covered in the despatches, or they may convey personal news, acknowledgments of appointment or recall, announcements of arrival or departure, and bills for official expenses.

Collection Facts

Date Range:
9 manuscripts; 1,094 items; 6,259 pages
Source Institution:
National Archives (United States)
Symbol of the Siamese king; watercolor illustration from a manuscript on elephant training, nineteenth century.
© Luca Tettoni/National Library, Bangkok, Thailand/The Bridgeman Art Library