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The Philippine-American War Documents

The Bates Treaty of 1899
Conditional Agreement Between Brig.-General John C. Bates,
Representing the United States, and the Sultan of Jolo (Sulu)

August 20, 1899


Between Brigadier-General John C. Bates, representing the United States, of the one part; and his Highness, the Sultan of Jolo, the Dato Rajah Muda, the Dato Attik, The Dato Calbi, and the Dato Joakanain, of the other part: it being understood that this agreement will be in full force only when approved by the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands and confirmed by the President of the United States, and will be subject to future modifications by the mutual consent of the parties in interest.

Article I.

The sovereignty of the United States over the whole Archipelago of Jolo, and its dependencies, is declared and acknowledged.

Article II.

The United States flag will be used in the Archipelago of Jolo, and its dependencies, on land and sea.

Article III.

The rights and dignities of His Highness the Sultan, and his Datos, shall be fully respected; the Moros are not to be interfered with on account of their religion; all religious customs are to be respected, and no one is to be persecuted on account of his religion.

Article IV.

While the United States government may occupy and control such points in the Archipelago of Jolo as the public interests demand, encroachment will not be made upon the lands immediately about the residence of His Highness the Sultan, unless military necessity requires such occupation in case of war with a foreign power; and, where the property of individuals is taken, due compensation will be made in each case.

Any person can purchase land in the Archipelago of Jolo and hold the same by obtaining the consent of the Sultan and coming to satisfactory agreement with the owner of the land, and such purchase shall immediately be registered in the proper office of the United States Government.

Article V.

All trade in domestic products of the Arrchipelago of Jolo, when carried on by the Sultan and his people with any part of the Philippine Islands, and when conducted under the American flag, shall be free, unlimited, and undutiable.

Article VI.

The Sultan of Jolo shall be allowed to communicate direct with the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands in making complaint against the Commanding Officer of Jolo or against any Naval Commander.

Article VII.

The introduction of firearms and war material is forbidden, except under specific authority of the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands.

Article VIII.

Piracy must be suppressed and the Sultan and his Datos agree to heartily cooperate with the United States authorities to that end, and to make every possible effort to arrest and bring to justice all persons engaged in piracy.

Article IX.

Where crimes and offenses are committed by Moros against Moros, the government of the Sultan will bring to trial and punishment the criminals and offenders, who will be delivered to the government of the Sultan by the United States authorities if in their possession. In all other cases persons charged with crimes or offenses will be delivered to the United States authorities for trial and punishment.

Article X.

Any slave in the Archipelago of Jolo shall have the right to purchase freedom by paying to the master the usual market value.

Article XI.

In case of any trouble with subjects of the Sultan, the American authorities in the islands will be instructed to make careful investigation before resorting to harsh measures, as in most cases serious trouble can thus be avoided.

Article XII.

At present, American or foreigners wishing to go into the country should state their wishes to the Moro authorities and ask for an escort, but it is hoped that this will become unnecessary as we know each other better.

Article XIII.

The United States will give full protection to the Sultan and his subjects in case any foreign nation should attempt to impose upon them.

Article XIV.

The United States will not sell the island of Jolo or any other island of the Jolo Archipelago to any foreign nation without the consent of the Sultan of Jolo.

Article XV.

The United States government will pay the following monthly salaries:

    To the Sultan $250.00
    (Mexican dollars)
    To Dato Rajah Muda $ 75.00
    To Dato Attik $ 60.00
    To Dato Calbi $ 75.00
    To Dato Joakanain $ 75.00
    To Dato Amin Hussin $ 60.00
    To Dato Puyo $ 60.00
    To Hadji Butu $ 50.00
    To Hadji Mura $ 10.00
    To Serif Saguin $ 15.00

Signed in triplicate, in English and Sulu, at Jolo, this 20th day of August, A.D. 1899 (13 Arabmil Ahil 1317).

(Signed)

    John C. Bates,
    Brigadier General, United States Volunteers

(Signed)

    Hadji Mohammed Jamalol Kiram
    Sultan of Jolo

(Signed)

    Datu Rajah Muda
    Datu Attik
    Datu Kalbi
    Datu Joakanain

Source of Treaty Texts: The Statutes At Large of the United States of America from March 1897 to March 1899 and Recent Treaties, Conventions, Executive Proclamations, and The Concurrent Resolutions of the Two Houses of Congress, Volume XXX, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office, 1899. Copy courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Asian Division.


Document copy researched by Madge Kho of Somerville, MA

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