Friday, April 18, 2008

Return of annexed provinces to French Indochina

Provinces annexed during World War IIAt the end of World War II when Japan finally had to surrender, Thailand's alliance with Japan became a burden. Thanks to the fact that quite a lot of high-ranking officials had supported the Seri Thai underground movement against the Japanese occupation, and of course also a lot of diplomatic work, Thailand remained independent and without territorial losses. Well, except that the four provinces it won back from French Indochina in 1941 had to be returned to retain the status-quo before the war.

France considered itself to be at war with Thailand, while Thailand claimed to be at peace following the friendship treaty of 1941. In a diplomatic note of September 1945 France demanded the return of the territory, and even the return of the Emerald Buddha to Vientiane, from where it was won by Kind Rama I in 1784. This last demand was of course unacceptable by the Thai government, and was removed from the contract proposal relative quickly. On the other hand, the Thai suggestion of a referendum in these areas about their future status was also turned down. In May 1946 France started firing shells to the Thai cities Nakhon Phanom and Tha Uthen, and only thanks to the Thai side staying calm with did not turn into a full-scale conflict. After several further months of negotiations the final contract was signed on November 1 1946 in Washington. In part it were these open issues with France which delayed the membership in the United Nations till December 1946 as France vetoed until it regained the lost territory.

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