The Leasing of Guantanamo Bay

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Post-2002 events at the U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo Bay have generated a spate of books on its use as a detention center in the U.S. fight against terrorism. Yet the crucial enabling factor-the lease that gave the U.S. control over the territory in Cuba-has till now escaped any but cursory consideration. The Leasing of Guantanamo Bay explains just how Guantanamo Bay came to be a leased territory where the U.S. has no sovereignty and Cuba has no jurisdiction. This is the first definitive account of the details and workings of the unusual and problematic state-to-state leasing arrangement that is the essential but murky foundation for all the ongoing controversies about Guantanamo Bay's role in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts, charges of U.S. human rights violations, and U.S.-Cuban relations.

The Leasing of Guantanamo Bay provides an overview of territorial leasing between states and shows how it challenges, compromises, and complicates established notions of sovereignty and jurisdiction. Strauss unfolds the history of the Guantanamo Bay, recounting how the U.S. has deviated widely from the original terms of the lease yet never been legally challenged by Cuba, owing to the strong state-weak state dynamics. The lease is a hodge-podge of three U.S.-Cuba agreements full of discrepancies and uncorrected errors. Cuba's failure to cash the annual rent checks of the U.S. has legal implications not only for the future of Guantanamo Bay but of the Westphalian system of states. Compiled for the first time in one place are the verbatim texts of all the key documents relevant to the Guantanamo Bay lease-including treaties and other agreements, a previously unpublished U.N. legal assessment, and once-classified government correspondence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An excellent study of the historical, political, and legal arrangements of this remarkable piece of land."


Peace Palace Library

"[G]ives rare insight into the complicated nature of U.S.-Cuban relations and the agreement that led to the Guantanamo Bay facility. . . . Mixed with history of the facility, the book contains rarely reported insights on how the U.S. deviated from the lease terms and why Cuba made no challenge."


Digital Quill

"Strauss (international relations, Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques, Paris) has used unpublished and previously classified government correspondence to document the historical emergence of Guantanamo Bay as a US military base and center for anti-terrorist efforts. The author explores the somewhat 'murky' leasing arrangements that defy both sovereignty and jurisdiction rights and provides students and scholars with the facts concerning the objectives of the territorial lease and the recent and current debates concerning the future of Guantanamo Bay. Appendices include relevant documents such as the Treaty of Paris, the Platt Amendment and the Guantanamo Bay Expansion Treaty of 1912."


Reference & Research Book News

"Strauss brings international law to life with this technical yet accessible exploration of the U.S. naval station in southern Cuba."


Foreign Affairs

"The exhaustive analysis by Michael Strauss is the first that allows us to understand how the statute of Guantanamo . . . made this territory a detention center outside the standards which only Washington can put an end to. An excellent illustration of the arbitrary limits of international rights in this 21st century." - Translated from French


Le Monde Diplomatique

"This thoughtful work represents a major contribution to the broader study of territorial leasing as well as a comprehensive case-study of the Guantanamo lease. It will undoubtedly be widely consulted in the years ahead as the issue of the territory's possible return to Cuba remains firmly on the agenda."


International Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313377822
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/30/2009
  • Series: Praeger Security International Series
  • Pages: 313
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL J. STRAUSS is Lecturer in International Relations at the Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques, Paris, specializing in territorial leases as phenomena of international relations and international law for resolving sovereignty disputes. Prior to entering academia, he was an international journalist and served as bureau chief for Agence France-Presse's AFX News in Paris, Knight-Ridder Financial News in Madrid, and Dow Jones News Service in Geneva. He took his Ph.D. in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques and his M.Sc. in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was an International Fellow in the School of International Affairs. He is the author of The Viability of International Leases in Resolving International Sovereignty Disputes: A Comparative Study.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Sovereign States and Their Territory 4

2 The Nature of Territorial Leases 20

3 The Guantanamo Bay Lease 40

4 Objectives of the Lease 62

5 Jurisdiction at Guantanamo Bay 78

6 Duration of the Lease 104

7 The Annual Rent Payments 126

8 Recent and Current Issues 138

9 The Lease in U.S.-Cuban Relations 156

10 The Future of the Guantanamo Bay Lease 170

11 The Global Impact of the Lease 186


Appendix 1 Treaty of Paris (1898) 205

Appendix 2 The Platt Amendment (1901) 212

Appendix 3 Lease Agreement, First Part (1903) 214

Appendix 4 Treaty of Relations (1903) 219

Appendix 5 Lease Agreement, Second Part (1903) 223

Appendix 6 Guantanamo Bay Expansion Treaty (1912) 228

Appendix 7 Treaty of Relations (1934) 232

Appendix 8 U.S. Legal Arguments (1962) 234

Appendix 9 UN Assessment of Legal Arguments (1962) 240

Appendix 10 U.S. Rent Payment Instructions (1973, 1974) 246

Appendix 11 Libertad (Helms-Burton) Act (1996) 249

Appendix 12 U.S. Rent Payment Documents (2006) 251

Notes 255

Bibliography 291

General Index 307

Index of Cases 315

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