U.S. Relations With Spain

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Fact Sheet
July 22, 2016

More information about Spain is available on the Spain Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.


The United States established diplomatic relations with Spain in 1783. Spain severed diplomatic relations with the United States in 1898 at the start of the Spanish-American War, in which Spain lost Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States. U.S.-Spanish relations were reestablished in 1899.

Spain and the United States are closely associated in many fields. In addition to U.S. and Spanish cooperation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), defense and security relations between the two countries are regulated by the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and the Agreement on Defense Cooperation. Under this agreement, Spain has authorized the United States to use certain facilities at Spanish military installations. In 2011, Spain announced its intention to allow four U.S. ballistic missile defense-capable destroyers to be stationed at a base southern Spain. The United States and Spain are strong allies in the fight against terrorism. Since 2013, a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR) has been based in Spain.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology jointly operate the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in support of Earth orbital and solar system exploration missions. The Madrid Complex is one of the three largest tracking and data acquisition complexes comprising NASA's Deep Space Network. The two countries have a cultural and educational cooperation agreement. The U.S. Embassy conducts educational, professional, and cultural exchange programs. The binational Fulbright program for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting professors is among the largest in the world.

U.S. Assistance to Spain

The United States provides no development assistance to Spain.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Spain's accession to the European Union (EU) required the country to open its economy to trade and investment, modernize its industrial base, improve infrastructure, and revise economic legislation to conform to EU guidelines. Spain and the United States have a friendship, navigation, and commerce treaty and a bilateral taxation treaty. Many U.S. companies channel their Spanish investments and operations through third countries.

Spain's Membership in International Organizations

Spain and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Spain also is an observer to the Organization of American States. Spain holds a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to Spain is James Costos; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

Spain maintains an embassy in the United States at 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037 (tel. 202-452-0100).

More information about Spain is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Spain Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Spain Page
U.S. Embassy: Spain
History of U.S. Relations With Spain
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information