What Is the Definition of the Teller Amendment?

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The Teller Amendment, passed by the United States Senate on April 19,1898, relinquishes any American jurisdiction or control over Cuba following the Spanish-American War. The stated objective of the amendment indicates America's willingness to allow Cuba the freedom to self-govern following a period in which the United States works only in a conciliatory role to restore stability in Cuba.

The promise made to Cuba in the Teller Amendment was fulfilled when the Spanish troops left Cuba in 1898. The Americans occupied the island until 1902. According to an article published by the Library of Congress, the Platt Amendment superseded the Teller Amendment and granted the United States the right to intervene if it was necessary for the preservation of freedom in Cuba. The amendment claimed the right for the United States to adequately provide for Cuban citizens in areas such as personal freedom if the Cuban government did not adequately fulfil this role. In 1902, in return for the withdrawal of American armed forces, the Platt Amendment became part of the Cuban constitution. It was nullified on May 29, 1934.

In 1903, as the result of a 1934 formal treaty, permission was granted to the U.S. to maintain a naval base at Guantánamo Bay. Mutual consent is required to break that treaty.