Why does the United States have air bases in Spain?

The Defensive Agreement Spain-United States of September 26, 1953, signed by Alberto Martín Artajo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of General Francisco Franco and the Ambassador of the United States of President Eisenhower, Clement Dunn, It is one of the three Agreements signed in the so-called Madrid Pacts with those who The United States manages to install military bases in Spain and close the ring in the Mediterranean Sea.


The agreement was shown to the public by Franco’s dictatorial regime as a model of mutual aid, military and economic, between “two powers.” The secret clauses of the United States reserved the unilateral initiative and the use of the facilities and kept the space under US law, beginning to invest in and build military bases and facilities. The American power had the sovereignty of the bases and, despite the participating personnel from both countries, they were governed by American law. The impact of the agreements gave Spain the duty to automatically go to war if the United States did.

In 1963, with the sign of the “Joint Declaration”, the bases passed to Spanish sovereignty. It ends in the recognition of Spain as a “strategic ally”, confirmed by the construction of the satellite monitoring and espionage center of the POT in Robledo de Chavela, Madrid, and the construction of the first nuclear power plant, in Zorita, Guadalajara. However, the bases maintain US jurisdiction. The American plans for Spain were great, judging by the investment.


Starting in 1973, with the arrival of satellite technology, most of the bases and control points became obsolete and were gradually transferred to the Spanish army. In 1986, after decades of joint maneuvers, Spain definitively joined NATO. The novelty of the pact is that the Atlantic organization controls the military bases and installations, not the United States.. Although if the United States controls NATO to a large extent, it was not a substantial change.

We all know the large US military bases and then NATO in Spain, such as Torrejon de Ardoz, which is now used for civil services such as NASA, the Spanish air base in Zaragoza that supports US logistical needs, and Rota and Morón as permanent military bases for NATO and the United States.

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