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. Spain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1982. In addition to U.S. and Spanish cooperation in 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 2012 and 2015, Spain and the United States amended this agreement to permit the basing of additional U.S. personnel and equipment at bases in southern Spain. Spain is an active participant in the Coalition to Defeat ISIS, with over 500 personnel deployed in Iraq in 2019 to support the training of the Iraqi security forces.
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. Spain is the third most popular destination for U.S. students worldwide. The binational Fulbright program for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting professors is among the largest in the world. The U.S.-Spain Fulbright Commission celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018.
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) in 1986 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 is the fifth-largest economy in the EU and the fourth-largest economy in the Eurozone. 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 began its current term as a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2018.
The U.S. Ambassador to Spain is Richard Duke Buchan III; 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:
CIA World Factbook Spain Page
History of U.S. Relations With Spain
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies