Today in Philippine History, August 20, 1899, an agreement was signed in Jolo between United States and the Sultan of Sulu

Sunday August 19, 2012 ()

Sultan of Sulu, Hadji Mohammed Jamalul Kiram II
Sultan of Sulu, Hadji Mohammed Jamalul Kiram II

On August 20, 1899, an agreement was signed in Jolo between United States General John C. Bates and the Sultan of Sulu, Hadji Mohammed Jamalul Kiram II.

Known as the "Bates Treaty", it promised to uphold mutual respect between the U.S. and the Sultanate of Sulu to respect Moro autonomy, and to not give or sell Sulu or any part of it to any other nation, as well as for the Sultan and his datus (tribal chiefs) to receive monthly payments in return for flying the American flag and for allowing the U.S. the right to occupy the islands.

The treaty, obviously for the U.S. authorities, was a way to stem resistance while they were fighting rebellion in Luzon.

As for the Muslims, who did not wish to come under American sovereignty, "recognizing the folly of armed resistance" exerted influence to prevent another useless and bloody war.

On March 1904, this treaty was abrogated unilaterally by the United States. In abrogating the treaty Secretary of War Taft sent the following cablegram to Governor General Wright on March 2, 1904.

"By order of the President, you are hereby directed to notify the sultan of Sulu and the dattos who signed the so-called Bates treaty of August 20, 1899, which was a modus vivendi and mere executive agreement that in view of the failure on the part of the sultan and signing dattos to discharge the duties and fulfill the conditions imposed upon them by said agreement, they have forfeited all rights to the annuities therein stipulated to be paid to them and all other considerations moving to them under the agreement; that the treaty is abrogated and held for naught and that as residents of the Moro province in the Philippine archipelago they are subject to the laws inacted therein under the sovereignty of the United States. Communicate this through to Leonard Wood, Governor of the province Moro, and advice me of the acknowledgement of the receipt and notification to the parties. Referring to telegram from this office of the 30th of January, if action have taken under the same, it is approved and should be immediately communicated to the Sultan of Sulu and the other parties as indicated above. The disturbances in the island of Jolo make necessary speedier action that was contemplated in the above dispatched. (Signed) Taft."

References:

  1. Philippines News Agency archives
  2. Boston Evening Transcript, March 15, 1904.


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