Phraya Manopakorn Nitithada

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Phraya Manopakorn Nitithada (Thai: พระยามโนปกรณ์นิติธาดา; IPA: [pʰrá.jaː má.noː.pà.kɔːn ní.tì.tʰaː.daː]; born Kon Hutasingha (Thai: ก้อน หุตะสิงห์; IPA: [kɔ̂ːn hù.tà.sǐŋ]); 15 July 1884 – 1 October 1948) was the first Prime Minister of Siam after the Siamese Revolution of 1932 as he was selected by the leader of the People's Party – the party that instigated the revolution. However, in the following year, Manoparkorn was ousted by a coup in 1933 due to the conflicts between members of People's Party.[1]

Manopakorn Nitithada
มโนปกรณ์นิติธาดา
Phraya Manopakorn Nititada.jpg
1st Prime Minister of Siam
In office
28 June 1932 – 20 June 1933
MonarchPrajadhipok
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPhraya Phahon
Minister of Finance
In office
10 December 1932 – 24 June 1933
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byPosition established
Himself as Treasury Minister
Succeeded byChao Phraya Srithammatibet
Minister of Royal Treasury
In office
29 June 1932 – 10 December 1932
Preceded bySuphayok Kasem
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Himself as Minister of Finance
Personal details
Born
Kon Hutasingha

(1884-07-15)15 July 1884
Bangkok, Siam
Died1 October 1948(1948-10-01) (aged 64)
Penang, British Malaya
NationalityThai
Political partyKhana Ratsadon
Spouses
  • Nit Sanasen (Deceased)
  • Choei Hutasingha
ChildrenTum Hutasingha

Early lifeEdit

 
A group of Siamese barristers in 1903/04. Phraya Manopakonnitithada (Kon Hutasing) first in the back row
 
Phraya Manopakorn Nitithada

Kon Hutasingha was born on 15 July 1884 in Bangkok to Huad and Paew Hutasingha (Thai: นายฮวด กับนางแพ้ว หุตะสิงห์), both of whom were of Chinese extraction.[2] He received his primary education at Suankularb Wittayalai School in Bangkok. He pursued his law education at Assumption College and at the Law School of the Ministry of Justice. He then continued his studies abroad. It is claimed that he was a member at the Middle Temple, in London, England, but no evidence of his membership can be found in the Inn's admission registers.[3] After he had finished his education, he began to work for the Ministry of Justice and climbed the traditional career ladder and was eventually granted the title Phraya and received his honorary name: "Manopakorn Nitithada". In 1918, he gained a seat in the Privy Council of King Vajiravudh (or Rama VI).[4]

Revolution and premiershipEdit

 
Phraya Manopakorn Nitithada addressing the crowd at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall after the 1932 revolution

Following the Revolution of 1932, King Prajadhipok (or Rama VII) consented to a Provisional Constitution on 27 June 1932. The first People's Assembly of Siam, composed entirely of appointed members, met for the first time on 28 June. The revolutionary Khana Ratsadon Party, not wanting to appear as if it had instigated the revolution for self-aggrandizement, chose Phraya Manopakorn as President of the Committee. He was considered a largely neutral and clean figure, but at the same time respected enough to take the position.

As a result, the Assembly with the advice of Pridi Panomyong, one of the leaders of the Khana Ratsadon offered Manopakorn the post of "President of the People's Committee", an early version of the post of Prime Minister.

The first mission of Phraya Manopakorn's Cabinet was to draft a permanent constitution. King Prajadhipok made an observation that the term "President of the People's Committee" sounded like a communist or republican post. After a debate, the office was eventually changed to "prime minister". The first constitution of Siam was promulgated under Phraya Manopakorn's watch on 10 December 1932, now celebrated as the Thai Constitution Day.

Soon after, Phraya Manopakorn became the head of the first constitutional government of Siam. The Manopakorn cabinet, or People's Committee, composed of members, half from the People's Party and half from senior civil servants and military officers, was appointed under the guidance of the party. Phraya Manopakorn in essence became the Khana Ratsadon's puppet, and the country a single-party state.

Yellow Cover Dossier incident and CoupEdit

In 1933, Pridi Panomyong, by then a Minister of State, presented his Draft Economic Plan or Yellow Cover Dossier to King Prajadhipok. The dossier was an economic plan, which advocated socialist solutions to the country's many financial and economic problems. Prajadhipok even branded the dossier "communist" and attacked Pridi publicly about it. When Pridi's dossier was rejected, his status fell and caused a major disruption among the members of People's Party and the People's Committee itself.

Phraya Mano rallied those who opposed the socialist plan of Pridi including Phraya Songsuradet and dissolved his own cabinet to oust Pridi, who had great support within the People's Party. To regain some stability and silence domestic critics, Phraya Manopakorn had some articles in the constitution suspended. Manopakorn barred the People's Assembly from any further meetings and the judiciary was shut down. Pridi was forced to flee to France. It was said that Manopakorn "led the coup with his pen", this event is known in Thailand as the "April 1933 Coup" (or the "Silent Coup") (Thai: รัฐประหารในประเทศไทย เมษายน พ.ศ. 2476). Phraya Manopakorn then approved the Anti-Communist Act, which empowered him to arrest those suspected of having communist sentiments: the entire Central Committee of the Communist Party of Siam was arrested and imprisoned.

After the Yellow Dossier Incident, the degree of political freedom was greatly reduced by Phraya Manopakorn's policies. He censored many leftist activities including shutting down newspapers and publications. However the People's Party, which gave him the premiership, would eventually be his downfall. On 16 June, Phraya Pahol Polpayuhasena, the country's most powerful military leader and member of the People's Party, together with three other senior officers retired from the People's Committee, for "health reasons".

Death and legacyEdit

 
Phraya Manopakorn Nitithada's memorial in Wat Pathum Wanaram, Bangkok, Thailand

The 1933 Siamese coup d'état happened on 20 June, led by Phraya Pahol and other military leaders. Phraya Manopakorn was immediately removed as prime minister. Phraya Phahol appointed himself the country's second prime minister and took over the government. King Pradhipok duly accepted his appointment. Manopakorn was then exiled to Penang, British Malaya, and lived there until his death in 1948, aged 64.

Phraya Manopakorn was Siam's first prime minister and the first to be ousted by a coup. He would not be the last civilian prime minister to be ousted by a military coup. His legacy is mixed: on the one hand he took over the reins of government at a difficult time (Wall Street Crash of 1929), but on the other he exceeded his powers and was not able to counter the powers of the Khana Ratsadon which became increasingly dictatorial.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ “รักที่จากไปไกล” ของพระยามโนปกรณ์นิติธาดา นายกฯ คนแรกของไทย
  2. ^ Preston et al. (1997), p. 464; 51. Phya Manopakarana Nitidhada. He spoke perfect English and was always very friendly to England. Is three parts Chinese. His wife, who was a favourite lady-in-waiting to the ex-Queen, was killed in a motor accident in 1929 when on an official visit to Indo-China.
  3. ^ Sturgess, H.A.C. (1949). Register of Admissions to the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Vol. 2.
  4. ^ ความขัดแย้งภายในคณะราษฎรที่มีผลต่อหนังสือพิมพ์

BibliographyEdit

  • Paul Preston, Michael Partridge, Antony Best, British Documents on Foreign Affairs--Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print, Volume 6, University Publications of America, 1997, ISBN 1-55655-674-8
Political offices
First President of the People's Committee of Siam
1932
Succeeded by
Himself
as Prime Minister of Siam
Preceded by Minister of Treasury
1932
Succeeded by
Himself
as Minister of Finance
Preceded by
Himself
as President of the People's Committee of Siam
Prime Minister of Siam
1932–1933
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Himself
as Minister of Treasury
Minister of Finance
1932–1933
Succeeded by
Government offices
First Permanent Secretary for Commerce
1922–1926
Succeeded by