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August 10, 1898, Felipe Agoncillo went to the US as representative of Filipino Government

Felipe Agoncillo was ordered to go to the United States on August 10, 1898 as representative of the Filipino Revolutionary Government. A member of the Executive body of the Revolutionary junta based in Hongkong, Agoncillo was to represent the Philippines in the peace conference in Paris between the United States and Spain.

Felipe Agoncillo (seated second from left) and other Filipino diplomats in Paris, 1898)

Agoncillo arrived in the US on September 27, and was privately received by US President McKinley on October 1. Although Agoncillo was well received, Pres. McKinley declined to recognize him as such. The commission met from October to December 1898, and agreed upon that some colonies of Spain including the Philippines be ceded to the United States. On 10 December 1898, without Filipino representation and consultation, the Treaty of Paris was concluded.

Agoncillo’s presence in Paris did not have any influence either on the peace conference itself or on the American commissioners. He was refused a hearing by both of them. The most that was done was the submission by General F. V. Greene his “Brief Notes by Señor Agoncillo”.

The Treaty of Paris was made up of thirteen articles that stipulate the conditions, obligations, as well as the benefits that the Governments of Spain and United States could enjoy over the ceded islands. The first three articles provided Spain’s relinquishment of her claims over its former colonies including Cuba, Puerto Rico and other islands in the West Indies, and the Philippine Islands. Article III stated that an amount of $20, 000,000 will be paid by the US to Spain after the treaty’s ratification. Meanwhile, In Article IV, US maintained that in a period of ten years after the treaty’s ratification, it would admit Spanish ships and merchandises with the same terms as that of American goods and vessels.

Through Articles V, the American government, in its own costs, assured Spain that all Spanish soldiers taken as prisoners of war will be freed and sent back to their country. It also provided that Spain would vacate the ceded territories in accordance with the Protocol of Peace signed on 12 August 1898, after the treaty’s ratification. The same article also confirmed that properties belonging to the naval forces of Spain in the ceded territories shall remain property of Spain. Article VI held assurance that the two governments by their own respective costs, would release prisoners of war, particularly insurgents of Cuba and the Philippines.

Read more: THE TREATY OF PARIS: An Instrument of Peace or an Insignia of Betrayal?


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