The Spanish American War: The Treaty of Paris

When Spain perceived the hopelessness of further struggle overtures were made for peace. A protocol was drawn up, which through the medium of France, resulted in the formal submission of Spain to the terms ultimately stated in the treaty. The United States were in possession of Manila, which Spain contended should be restored to its former status. The destiny of the islands as fixed by the Peace Commissioners is sufficiently detailed in the final draft of the treaty of Paris, signed in December, 1898, which is given below in full, as frequent references to its terms occur in the pages which follow. General Merritt was ordered from Manila to Paris, as representing the United States army. Our Peace Commissioners were William R. Day, Cushman K. Davis, William P. Frye, George Gray and Whitelaw Reid. The Spanish Commissioners made a long struggle, and protracted their unhappy task for more than two months, using all arts of procrastination and persuasion, claiming that the United States should pay the Cuban debt, and striving for allowances of indemnity, but they yielded at last to the inevitable.

Text of the treaty of peace:

Article I. -- Spain renounces all right of sovereignty over Cuba. Whereas said isle when evacuated by Spain is to be occupied by the United States, the United States, while the occupation continues, shall take upon themselves and fulfil the obligations which, by the fact of occupation, international law imposes on them for the protection of life and property.

Article II.-- Spain cedes to the United States the Island of Puerto Rico and the other islands now under her sovereignty in the West Indies and the Isle of Guam in the archipelago of the Marianas or Ladrones.

Article III. -- Spain cedes to the United States the archipelago known as the Philippine Islands, which comprise the islands situated between the following lines: A line which runs west to east near the twentieth parallel of north latitude across the centre of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the 118th to the 127th degrees of longitude east of Greenwich, from here to the width of the 127th degree of longitude east to parallel 4 degrees 45 minutes of north latitude. From here following the parallel of north latitude 4 degrees 45 minutes to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 119 degrees 35 minutes east from Greenwich. From here following the meridian of 119 degrees 35 minutes east to the parallel of latitude 7 degrees 40 minutes north. From here following the parallel of 7 degrees 40 minutes north to its intersection with 116 degrees longitude east. From here along a straight line to the intersection of the tenth parallel of latitude north with the 118th meridian east, and from here following the 118th meridian to the point whence began this demarcation. The United States shall pay to Spain the sum of $20,000,000 within three months after the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty.

Article IV.--The United States shall, during the term of ten years, counting from the interchange of the ratifications of the treaty, admit to the ports of the Philippine Islands, Spanish ships and merchandise under the same conditions as the ships and merchandise of the United States.


Article V.-- The United States, on the signing of the present treaty, shall transport to Spain at their cost the Spanish soldiers whom the American forces made prisoners of war when Manila was captured. The arms of these solders shall be returned to them. Spain, on the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, shall proceed to evacuate the Philippine Islands, as also Guam, on conditions similar to those agreed to by the commissions named to concert the evacuation of Puerto Rico and the other islands in the Western Antilles according to the protocol of August 12, 1898, which shall continue in force until its terms have been completely complied with. The term within which the evacuation of the Philippine Islands and Guam shall be completed shall be fixed by both Governments. Spain shall retain the flags and stands of colors of the war-ships not captured, small arms, cannon of all calibres, with their carriages and accessories, powders, munitions, cattle, material and effects of all kinds belonging to the armies of the sea and land of Spain in the Philippines and Guam. The pieces of heavy calibre which are not field artillery mounted in fortifications and on the coasts shall remain in their places for a period of six months from the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, and the United States may during that period buy from Spain said material if both Governments arrive at a satisfactory agreement thereon.

Article VI. -- Spain, on signing the present treaty, shall place at liberty all prisoners of war and all those detained or imprisoned for political offences in consequence of the insurrections in Cuba and the Philippines and of the war with the United States. Reciprocally the United States shall place at liberty all prisoners of war made by the American forces, and shall negotiate for the liberty of all Spanish prisoners in the power of the insurgents in Cuba and the Philippines. The Government of the United States shall transport, at their cost, to Spain, and the Government of Spain shall transport, at its cost, to the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, conformably to the situation of their respective dwellings, the prisoners placed or to be placed at liberty in virtue of this article.

Article VII. -- Spain and the United States mutually renounce by the present treaty all claim to national or private indemnity, of whatever kind, of one Government against the other, or of their subjects or citizens against the other Government, which may have arisen from the beginning of the last insurrection in Cuba, anterior to the interchange of the ratifications of the present treaty, as also to all indemnity as regards costs occasioned by the war. The United States shall judge and settle the claims of its citizens against Spain which she renounces in this article.

Article VIII.-- In fulfilment of Articles I., II. and III. of this treaty Spain renounces in Cuba and cedes in Puerto Rico and the other West Indian isles, in Guam and the Philippine archipelago, all buildings, moles, barracks, fortresses, establishments, public roads and other real property which by custom or right are of the public domain, and as such belong to the crown of Spain. Nevertheless, it is declared that this renouncement or cession, as the case may be, referred to in the previous paragraph, in no way lessens the property or rights which belong by custom or law to the peaceful possessor of goods of all kinds in the provinces and cities, public or private establishments, civil or ecclesiastical corporations or whatever bodies have judicial personality to acquire and possess goods in the above-mentioned, renounced or ceded territories, and those of private individuals, whatever be their nationality.

The said renouncement or cession includes all those documents which exclusively refer to said renounced or ceded sovereignty which exist in the archives of the peninsula. When these documents existing in said archives only in part refer to said sovereignty, copies of said part shall be supplied, provided they be requested. Similar rules are to be reciprocally observed in favor of Spain with respect to the documents existing in the archives of the before-mentioned islands. In the above-mentioned renunciation or cession are comprised those rights of the crown of Spain and of its authorities over the archives and official registers, as well administrative as judicial, of said islands which refer to them and to the rights and properties of their inhabitants. Said archives and registers must be carefully preserved, and all individuals, without exception, shall have the right to obtain, conformably to law, authorized copies or contracts, wills and other documents which form part of notarial protocols or which are kept in administrative and judicial archives, whether the same be in Spain or in the islands above-mentioned.

Article IX.-Spanish subjects, natives of the peninsula, dwelling in the territory whose sovereignty Spain renounces or cedes in the present treaty, may remain in said territory or leave it, maintaining in one or the other case all their rights of property, including the right to sell and dispose of said property or its produces; and moreover, they shall retain the right to exercise their industry, business or profession, submitting themselves in this respect to the laws which are applicable to other foreigners. In case they remain in the territory they may preserve their Spanish nationality by making in a registry office, within a year after the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their intention to preserve said nationality. Failing this declaration they will be considered as having renounced said nationality and as having adopted that of the territory in which they may reside. The civil rights and political status of the native inhabitants of the territories hereby ceded to the United States shall be determined by Congress.

Article X.-The inhabitants of the territories whose sovereignty Spain renounces or cedes shall have assured to them the free exercise of their religion.

Article XI.-Spaniards residing in the territories whose sovereignty Spain cedes or renounces shall be subject in civil and criminal matters to the tribunals of the country in which they reside, conformably with the common laws which regulate their competence, being enabled to appear before them in the same manner and to employ the same proceedings as the citizens of the country to which the tribunal belongs must observe.

Article XII.-Judicial proceedings pending on the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty in the territories over which Spain renounces or cedes sovereignty shall be determined conformably with the following rules: First, sentences pronounced in civil cases between individuals or in criminal cases before the above-mentioned date, and against which there is no appeal or annulment conformably with the Spanish law, shall be considered as lasting, and shall be executed in due form by competent authority in the territory within which said sentences should be carried out. Second, civil actions between individuals which on the afore-mentioned date have not been decided, shall continue their course before the tribunal in which the lawsuit is proceeding or before that which shall replace it. Third, criminal actions pending on the afore-mentioned date before the supreme tribunal of Spain against citizens of territory which, according to this treaty, will cease to be Spanish, shall continue under its jurisdiction until definite sentence is pronounced, but once sentence is decreed its execution shall be intrusted to competent authority of the place where the action arose.

Article XIII.-Literary, artistic and industrial rights of property acquired by Spaniards in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and other territories ceded on the interchange of ratifications of this treaty shall continue to be respected. Spanish scientific, literary and artistic works which shall not be dangerous to public order in said territories shall continue entering therein with freedom from all customs duties for a period of ten years dating from the interchange of the ratifications of this treaty.

Article XIV.-Spain may establish consular agents in the ports and places of the territories whose renunciation or cession are the object of this treaty.

Article XV.-The Government of either country shall concede for a term of ten years to the merchant ships of the other the same treatment as regards all port dues, including those of entry and departure, lighthouse and tonnage dues, as it concedes to its own merchant ships not employed in the coasting trade. This article may be repudiated at any time by either Government giving previous notice thereof six months beforehand.

Article XVI.-Be it understood that whatever obligation is accepted under this treaty by the United States with respect to Cuba is limited to the period their occupation of the island shall continue, but at the end of said occupation they will advise the Government that may be established in the island that it should accept the same obligations.

Article XVII.-The present treaty shall be ratified by the Queen Regent of Spain and the President of the United States, in agreement and with the approval of the Senate, and ratifications shall be exchanged in Washington within a period of six months from this date or earlier if possible.

In faith whereof we, the respective plenipotentiaries, have signed this treaty and have hereunto affixed our seals.

Done in duplicate at Paris, the tenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight.


The treaty was signed in Paris December 10, 1898, and President McKinley transmitted it to the Senate January 4, 1899, where it was read in executive session and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. The committee reported it favorably January II, and after long and exhaustive discussion it was ratified (February 6) by a vote of sixty-one to twenty-nine.

The Queen Regent attached her signature March 17, 1899.

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