Carpenter Agreement, March 22, 1915

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It was widely reported by the Philippines media and in many other places that the self-styled “Sultan” of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III planned to use a 1915 treaty with the US to strengthen their claim over Sabah. However, we find it puzzling that this fake Sultan would want to rely on this treaty in the first place, since it was the very contents of this treaty which brought about the downfall of the Sulu Sultanate. This treaty, known as the “Carpenter Agreement of March 22, 1915” clearly states that — in return for accepting America’s sovereignty — the sultan is assured that the US won’t strip his nominal title or undermine his religious gravitas. In other words, the text signed is a document of capitulation to the sovereignty of the U.S. over the Sulu Sultanate, and not as recognition of the Sulu. It should also be noted that no mention of Sabah is contained within this Agreement. Continue reading