A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Cuba


Cuba gained its independence from Spain in 1898 following a 30-year struggle that culminated in the Spanish-American War, which compelled Spain to relinquish sovereignty over Cuba. Following the war, U.S. forces occupied Cuba until 1902, when the United States allowed a new Cuban government to take full control of the state’s affairs. The United States, however, forced Cuba to grant a continuing U.S. right to intervene to preserve Cuban independence and stability in accordance with the Platt Amendment. The amendment was repealed in 1934 when the United States and Cuba signed a Treaty of Relations. The United States and Cuba cooperated under the rule of Fulgencio Batista through the 1950s. Following the revolution of 1959 and the rise of Fidel Castro to power, relations steadily deteriorated. As a result of Castro’s reforms and the Cuban government’s increased cooperation with the Soviet Union, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961.

Modern Flag of Cuba

Modern Flag of Cuba


U.S. Recognition of Cuban Independence, 1902.

The United States recognized Cuba’s independence from Spain on April 20, 1898, when President William McKinley approved a Joint Resolution of Congress that declared “the people of Cuba to be free and independent.” The resolution also paved the way for U.S. military intervention in Cuba. Following the defeat of Spain in 1898, the United States remained as an occupying power until the Republic of Cuba was formally installed May 19, 1902. On May 20, 1902, the United States relinquished its occupation authority over Cuba, but claimed a continuing right to intervene in Cuba to preserve the state’s independence and stability.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the American Legation in Cuba, 1902.

Diplomatic relations and the American Legation in Havana were established on May 27, 1902, when American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Herbert Goldsmith Squiers presented his credentials to the Government of the Republic of Cuba.

Elevation of American Legation to Embassy Status, 1923.

Following an act of Congress, the United States Legation in Havana, Cuba was raised to Embassy status on February 10, 1923, when General Enoch H. Crowder was appointed Ambassador.

Diplomatic Relations Severed, 1961.

The United States severed diplomatic relations with Cuba on January 3, 1961, citing unwarranted action by the Government of Cuba that placed crippling limitations on the ability of the United States Mission to carry on its normal diplomatic and consular functions.

Treaties and Agreements

Treaty of 1934.

Although the United States had recognized Cuba’s independence in 1898, the United States retained the right to intervene to preserve Cuban independence and stability in accordance with the Platt Amendment. In 1934, the Platt Amendment was repealed. The United States and Cuba concluded a Treaty of Relations in 1934 which, among other things, continued the 1903 agreements that leased the Guantanamo Bay naval base to the United States.


  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Cuba
  • Department of State Country Information: Cuba


  • Cuba in World Wide Diplomatic Archives Index