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Historical documents

363 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 835 WASHINGTON, 9 September 1949, 6.07 p.m.


FEC 120. Thai Ambassador called on the Ambassador this morning and
left a note of which the following is the summary:

The Thai Government has requested the United States to release to
the Bank of Thailand certain gold bars owned by the Bank and
deposited for safekeeping in Japan. The Bank of Thailand possesses
receipts issued by the Bank of Japan, weight lists, certificates
of inspection and other documents describing the bars by number
and fine gold content. The bars are physically segregated from
other gold in vaults in the Bank of Japan and suitably marked and
identified. The gold constitutes a major part of the Thai currency
reserve. Approximately one half of the gold purchased before the
end of 1941 i.e., 31st December. The remainder purchased with
balances which accrued in favour of Thailand during the war. The
gold was earmarked between 2nd August, 1941, and 27th October,
1944-gold acquired during the war was purchased in an effort to
maintain the integrity of the Thai currency system and avert
financial and economic collapses. The Thai Government was obliged
during the war to make available to Japan local currency
considerably in excess of gold earmarked by Japan for Thailand.

Local currency was for purchase of rice and other commodities
which were sent to Southern Regions occupied by Japan for civilian
and military consumption. Only to a small degree was the Thai
Government able to mitigate the acts of exploitation and
spoilation of the Thai economy by the Japanese Government. 60% of
the Thai currency reserve was accounted for by the gold held under
earmark in Japan. The Bank of Thailand acquired a valid tide to
the gold under established principles of both municipal and
international law. its prompt release will promote stability in

2. The Thai Ambassador requested that his representations be
sympathetically considered by the Australian Government. The
Ambassador took the opportunity of referring to Thailand's
outstanding obligations to Australia.

[AA:A1838, 451/3/1/21
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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