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World of 1898: International Perspectives on the Spanish American War

Treaty of Paris of 1898

Commissioners from the United States and Spain met in Paris on October 1, 1898 to produce a treaty that would bring an end to the war after six months of hostilities. The American peace commission consisted of William R. Day, Sen. Cushman K. Davis, Sen. William P. Frye, Sen. George Gray, and the Honorable Whitelaw Reid. The Spanish commission was headed by Don Eugenio Montero Rios, the President of the Senate. Jules Cambon, a French diplomat, also negotiated on Spain's behalf. The American commissioners negotiated in a hostile atmosphere because all of Europe, except England, was sympathetic to the Spanish side.

Although the Conference discussed Cuba and debt questions, the major conflict concerned the situation of the Philippines. Admiral Dewey's victory had come as a great surprise and it marked the entrance of the United States into the Pacific. Spanish commissioners argued that Manila had surrendered after the armistice and therefore the Philippines could not be demanded as a war conquest, but they eventually yielded because they had no other choice, and the U.S. ultimately paid Spain 20 million dollars for possession of the Philippines. The islands of Puerto Rico and Guam were also placed under American control, and Spain relinquished its claim to Cuba. The treaty was signed on December 10, 1898.