Analysis of Treaty of Paris

"The United States will pay to Spain the sum of twenty million dollars ($20,000,000) within three months after the exchange of ratifications of the present treaty."
      • Article III, Treaty of Paris

During the negotiationg process for the Treaty of Paris, were the United States peace commissioners aware of th4e following:
  • that the Filipinos were paying personal cedula (individual tax certificate) during the Spanish colonial days?
  • that the Philippine ports were earning import and customs duties? and 
  • that the Philippines was a self-sustaining colony? 
For Spain to receive $20,000,000 from the United States, as reimbursement for her infrastructure investments in the Philippines, poses a big moral question for it was Spain's obligation to plough back the revenues to her colony for the betterment of its inahbitants. 

If Spain's desperate act to sell its  claim of sovereingty over the Philippines to the Unitd States was not immoral, Spain certainly profited from the deal !

        • P.A.W.C.I.

Index of Topics Relating To the Treaty

Chronology of Events Leading to the Signing of the Treaty
Date Event
August 12 Sigining of the Peace Protocol in Washington D.C. between the U.S. and French Ambassador M. Jules Cambon acting in behalf of Spain.
August 13 'Sham' land battle of Manila between the American forces commanded by Gen. Wesley Merritt and Spanish forces commanded by Gen. Fermin Jaudenes.
August 14 Capitulation of Manila by the U.S. forces, leaving out Aguinaldo and the Filipino forces from Manila occupation.
August 16 Gen. Wesley Merritt received copy of Peace Protocol in Manila after communication cable, previously cut by Commodore Dewey during the naval war, was restored.
September 9 Appointment of the members of the Peace Commission by President McKinley headed by the U.S. Secretary of State William R. Day. Other members of the commission: Senator Davis, of Minnesota; Senator Frye, of Maine; Whitelaw Reid, of New York; and Senator Gray, of Delaware.
September 17 The Peace Commissioners left New York for a 10-day voyage to Paris
October 1
  • First joint session attended by both Spanish and U.S. peace commssioners
  • Felipe Agoncillo, Aguinaldo's envoy visited President McKinley at the White House to plead for the cause of Philippine independence.
October 18 U.S. acceptance of the Cuban protocol except that of assumption of the Cuban debt.
October 27 Spanish commissioners accepted the view of theAmerican commissioners that the Cuban articles of the protocol should, without conditions, have a place in the final treaty of peace.
October 31 U.S. demanded annexation of the whole Philippine archipelago.
November 4 Spain flatly objected to U.S. demands particularly on the issue of Philippine annexation.
November 16 The Spanish commissioners reaffirmed Spain's claim over the sovereingty of the islands by insisting that the phrase "shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines" in the Article III of the Peace Protocol did not warrant any reference to Spain's withdrawal from the Philippines except on her own terms.
November 21 U.S. offered Spain $20,000,000 to Spain if it agrees to cede the Philippine Islands to the U.S.
November 28 Spanish commissioners delivered to the American commissioners the acceptance by Spain of the terms of the United States, accompanied by a memorandum that Spain yielded only to superior force.
November 30 Joint peace commission discussed the first eight articles of the peace treaty.
December 10 Signing of the Treaty of Paris, establishing peace between Spain and the United States
December 12 Felipe Agoncillo, Philippine's Extraordinary Plenipotentiary protested against the newly signed treaty, the protest made in Paris newspapers.
January 24 In a letter addressed to the U.S. Secretary of State, Felipe Agoncillo lobbied before the U.S. Senate not to vote for the Treaty of Paris.
February 4 Outbreak of the Philippine Independence War
February 6 Ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the U.S. Senate by a tight vote.
March 16 Queen Regent of Spain signed a decree dissolving the Spanish Cortes (Parliament) over opposition to the Treaty of Paris.
March 17 Queen Regent ratified the Treaty of Paris.
April 11 Exchange of treaty ratifications between the U.S. and Spain held in Washington.

Negotiating Arguments Held by the Two Countries
Argument Position
United States
 Peace Protocol The United States contended that Spain made an unqualified compact to leave the Philippine sovereignty to a commission by signing the Peace Protocol that hostilities was suspended. All terms of the protocol was accepted except that of the Cuban debt.
Assumption of Cuban Sovereignty American Commissioners declined to assume part of it asserting firmly to the terms of the intervention resolutions passed by Congress. Spain tried to induce the United States to assume sovereignty over Cuba and become responsible for the Cuban debt. 
An editorial cartoon of St. Louis Democrat depicts the U.S. departing the shores of Spanish Peninsula telling Spain:

"Adios, Señor; you keep the bag". The bag being the Cuban debt that Spain tried to induce the U.S. to assume in exchange for Cuban sovereignty.

"Click" thumbnail photo to view a larger image.

Claim over Philippine sovereignty The U.S. argued that no further discussion as to the right of the islands should be admitted, and that the only matter remaining for discussion was the manner of giving over the islands. Spanish commissioners reaffirmed their position as to a discussion of sovereignty of the islands, insisting that the phrase "shall determine the control, disposition and government of the Philippines" in the peace protocol did not warrant any reference to Spain's withdrawal from the Philippines except on her own terms.
Cuban Anarchy The American commissioners rejoined that, without accepting sovereignty, the United States considered themselves bound to maintain security for all the inhabitants. Spain having compelled to relinquish sovereignty over Cuba and that the U.S. had refused to accept it for herself, Cuba was therefore de facto in a state of anarchy.
U.S. Demands U.S. formulated its demands on October 31, 1898, comprising of:
  • Cession of the entire Philippine archipelago;
  • U.S. to reimburse Spain to the extent of her infrastructure expenditures in the Philippines such as ports and harbors, railroad, telecommunications, and other improvements.
On November 4, 1898, Spain flatly objected the U.S. demand, contending that:
  • The capitulation of Manila had occurred on the day following the signing of the Peace protocol, thus voiding the American land battle victory;
  • The imprisonment of the Spanish troops in Manila after the suspension of the hostilities violated international laws;
  • The imprisonment of the Spanish troops had prevented Spain from quelling the local insurrection; 
  • The United States contributed to the violence against Spain after the cessation of hostilities;
  • The United States had wrongfully appropriated public moneys belonging to Spain by seizing the tariff duties at Manila to the extent of nearly $1,000,000;
  • The United States had no ultimate rights in the Philippine archipelago except by the consent of Spain during the peace negotiation, and upon terms satisfactory to her.
Final U.S. Offer The American commissioners made a final offer to Spain maintaining that they could not modify their proposal for the cession of the entire Philippine archipelago, but were authorized to offer Spain the sum of $20,000,000 as a lump sum to cover her colonial infrastructure investment. It was also stated that the U.S. was prepared to insert the following propositions:
  • That for a term of twelve years Spanish ships and merchandise should be admitted to the Philippines. 
  • To declare a U.S. policy to maintaining the Philippines and open door to the world's commerce. 
  • Mutual relinquishment of all claims for indemnity, national and individual, of every kind, of the United States against Spain, vice versa, that may arise since the beginning of the Cuban insurrection and prior to the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace.
On November 28, 1898, the Spanish Peace Commission delivered to the American Peace Commissioners the acceptance by Spain of the terms of the United States, accompanied by a memorandum indicating that Spain yielded only to superior force. An excerpt of a note by a Spanish official states:

"Recognizing the impossibility of further resisting their powerful antagonist tactic and to save greater loss and hurt to Spain, the Commissioners, acting on the advice and instructions of the Madrid Government, now feel that no other course is open to them but to accept the victor's terms, however harsh, order to have peace and not to break the Washington protocol."

Final Insertion Anticipating that it would be extremely difficult to get the treaty ratified by the Cortes, the American Commission required the insertion in the treaty of Article 17, that "the present treaty shall be ratified by the President of the United States by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by her Majesty, the Queen Regent of Spain." The treaty was presented to the Spanish Cortes but was not ratified claiming that the Queen Regent and Prime Minister Praxedes Mateo Sagasta had attempted to inject politics into the matter.

Favoring the Treaty

"Click" thumbnail 
to view larger image.
A cartoon by Minneapolis Tribune depicting McKinley holding a Filipino boy, with a caption at the top: "What will he do?"  The botton of the cartoon has a caption: "The eyes of the world are upon him", indicating that the editor may have made reference to Senator Cabot Lodge's fear that the Treaty of Paris might be disapproved by the U.S. Senate.
"humiliation of the whole country in the eyes of the world"
      • Henry Cabot Lodge, warning his colleagues on the consequence of the Treaty rejection


"the hardest, closest fight I have ever known,and probably we shall never see another like it in our time.

Opposing the Treaty

"that under the power is given to the Federal Gvernment to acquire territory to be held and governed permanently as colonies."

"...the people of the Philippine Islands of right ought to be free and independent."

Voting Influence of the War

"It is always the unexpected that happens,at least in my case.  How foolish these people are. This means ratificationof the treaty."

"Public sentiment throughout the country was greatly divided on the treaty and at one time its opponents felt sure of preventing ratification. One important factor in securing votes in favor of ratification as the news of the beginning of hostilities with the Filipinos on the previous day."

Voting Statistics of the Treaty
Political Group
Populists and Silverites
Two-thirds Vote Required
Number of Votes More Than Required

Territorial Boundary Established by the Treaty of Paris
Geographical Coordinate
20° 00' N
118° 00' E
North Western Boundary
20° 00' N
127° 00' E
Eastern Boundary
4° 45' N
127° 00' E
South Eastern Boundary
4° 45' N
119° 35' E
Western Boundary
7° 40' N
116° 00' E
West Mid-Western Boundary
10° 00' N
118° 00' E

[Note:  The above boundary was redrawn when the islands of Sibutu (4°45'N, 119°30'E) and Cagayan de Sulu (7°00 N, 118° 30'E) were purchased by the U.S. for $100,000 from Spain in a Treaty of November 7, 1900, proclaimed by President McKinley on March 23, 1901. ]


Felipe Agoncillo's Protest Against the Treaty of Paris

December 12, 1898

If the Spaniards have not been able to transfer to the Americans the rights which they did not possess;  if the latter have not militarily conquered positions in the Philippines;  if the occupation of Manila was a resultant fact, prepared by the Filipinos; if the international officials and representatives of the Republic of theUnited States of America offered to recognize the independence and soveriegnty of the Philippines, solicited and accepted their alliance, how can they now constitute themselves as arbiters of the control, administration and future government of the Philippine Islands?

If the Treaty of Paris there had simply been declared the withdrawal and abandonement by the Spaniards of their domination --if they had such --over Filipino territory,  if America, on accepting peace, had signed the Treaty, without prejudice to the rights of the Philippines, and with a view to coming to a subsequent settlement with the existing Filipino National Government, thus recognizing the sovereignty of the latter, their alliance and the carrying out of their promises of honor to the said Filipinos, no protest against their action would have been made. But in view of the terms of the Article III of the Protocol, the attitude of the American Commissioners, and the imperative necessity of safeguarding the national rights of my country, I take this protest, for the before-mentioned reasons but with the proper legal reservations, against the action taken and the resolutions passed by the Peace Commissioners at Paris and in the Treaty signed by them.

1. Exciting Experiences in Our Wars Wtih Spain and the Filipinos. Edited by Marshall Everett, The Educational Co., Chicago, 1900.
2. The Philippine Revolution. Teodoro M. Kalaw, Jorge Vargas Filipiniana Foundation, Mandaluyong, Rizal, 1969.


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Philippine-American War CentennialInitiative (PAWCI)