An Unwanted War: The Diplomacy of the United States and Spain over Cuba, 1895-1898

By John L. Offner | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 13
THE PEACE
PROTOCOL

When peace negotiations began, the general positions of both sides were known. The McKinley administration wanted to remove Spain from Cuba and Puerto Rico; it did not expect a financial indemnity, and it rejected the Cuban debt. It wished to treat directly with Spain, opposing European interference. But there were uncertainties about the future of the Philippine Islands and Cuba. The United States had the military initiative. It was poised to invade Puerto Rico and to assault Manila, and Watson's fleet menaced Spain's other colonies and coasts. 1

Spain could accept many of Washington's positions. The Spanish government was prepared to cede Cuba, and it wanted American protection of Spanish subjects and property. Spain was relieved that the United States did not expect a financial indemity. It also was wary of conducting peace negotiations through a third government, which might expect compensation for its efforts. The Spanish government, however, worried about the Cuban debt and wanted to keep the Philippine Islands and Puerto Rico, the latter still untouched by the war. Although on the defensive, the Spanish government had some military assets that it hoped to trade. Its army occupied most of Cuba and the Philippine Islands including Manila. It could fight a defensive war for many months and inflict

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