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

An agreement dubbed as the “Bates Treaty between Brigadier-General John C. Bates, representing the United States of America, 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, was signed on August 20, 1899.

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The treaty declares the sovereignty of the United States over the whole Archipelago of Jolo and its dependencies. It also further stipulates that mutual respect between the U.S. and the Sultanate of Sulu should be upheld, to respect Moro religion andautonomy, 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.

Apparently, the treaty was used by the U.S. government, to quell resistance while they were fighting rebellion in Luzon.

The President and Secretary Taft have decided that the so-called Bates treaty of Aug. 20, 1899, which provided salaries for the Sultan and certain of his dattos and at the same time, it is said, discharge the duties and fulfill the conditions imposed upon them by

On March 1904, this treaty was abrogated unilaterally by the United States. Secretary of War Taft sent the following cablegram to Governor General Wright on March 2, 1904 stating that the Sultan of Sulu and the dattos failed to discharge the duties and fulfill the conditions imposed upon them by the treaty and that they sustained polygamy and slavery. Thus the treaty was simply a modus vivendi and and mere executive agreement.


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