National Archives-Thai Friendship

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Visit the National Archives website for more information and related resources.

In March 2018, a new exhibit opened in Bangkok, Thailand, featuring more than 40 records and gifts from the National Archives. “Great and Good Friends: 200 Years of U.S.-Thai Friendship” runs from March 21 through June 30, 2018, at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles. It highlights 200 years of United States and Thai friendship.

The National Archives itself has had a long friendship with Thailand.

In May 1955, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Plaek Phibunsongkhram, and his wife visited the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. They saw the Charters of Freedom in the Rotunda, met with school children, and viewed several historic documents related to Thai-U.S. relations. 

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Thailand Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram and his wife visiting with children during their visit to the National Archives, May 5, 1955. (National Archives Identifier 74228921)

Just days later, the FDR Library hosted the couple. During their visit, Library Director Herbert Kahn and Eleanor Roosevelt gave them a tour of the Roosevelt home, grave site, and library.

In March 20, 1956, Pote Sarasin, Ambassador of Thailand, visited the National Archives. Future Archivist of the United States Robert Bahmer showed Sarasin Thai-related documents in the collections at the National Archives.

In 1960 the King of Thailand himself, Bhumibol Adulyadej, visited the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, during his state visit to the United States. 

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Archivist of the U.S. Wayne Grover and King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand at the National Archives, June 30, 1960. (National Archives Identifier 12169883)

He toured the exhibits and viewed facsimiles of the 1833 Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and the King of Siam. 

In 1963, Ambassador Visutr Arthayukti  of Thailand visited with Archivist of the United States Wayne Grover and viewed documents related to the history of both countries

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Archivist of the United States Wayne Grover shows a reproduction of a photograph of King Mongkut to Visutr Arthayukti, Ambassador of Thailand, January 8, 1963. (National Archives Identifier 12170412)

More recently in 2004, the National Archives hosted Uthai Pimchaichon, the President of the National Assembly and Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand. Archivist of the U.S. John Carlin presented him a facsimile of a letter that King Mongkut of Siam wrote to President Buchanan in 1861, offering a gift of elephants to the United States.

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Uthai Pimchaichon, the President of the National Assembly and Speaker of the House of Representatives of Thailand, with Archivist of the United States John Carlin at the National Archives, June 8, 2004. (Photo by Earl McDonald, National Archives)

See more historic photos of these visits in our online catalog, and visit the National Archives News page for resources on Asian Pacific American heritage.

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