History of the U.S. and El Salvador

  1. U.S.- El Salvador Relations
  2. History of the U.S. and El Salvador
  3. Memorials

A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: El Salvador


In 1821, El Salvador and the other Central American provinces declared their independence from Spain. In 1823, the United Provinces of Central America was formed of the five Central American states under Gen. Manuel Jose Arce. El Salvador declared itself an independent republic in 1839, although the next several decades were marked by frequent revolutions. Following a coup in 1931, normal relations between the United States and El Salvador were interrupted. During the 1980s, the United States supported the Salvadoran Government against Socialist forces.


U.S. Recognition of Salvadoran Independence, 1824 & 1849.

The United States recognized the independence of the Federation of Central American States from Spain on August 4, 1824, when President James Monroereceived Mr. Canaz as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. The Federation consisted of the States of Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Salvador. After the breakup of the Federation from 1838-1840, the United States recognized Salvador (El Salvador) as a separate, independent state on May 1, 1849, when E. George Squier, U.S. Chargé d’affaires to Guatemala, was issued a full power and letter of credence to negotiate a treaty with Salvador.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1863.

Diplomatic relations were established on June 15, 1863, when James R. Partridge presented his credentials in San Salvador as U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.

Establishment of the American Legation in San Salvador, 1863.

The American Legation in San Salvador opened on June 15, 1863, under Minister Resident James R. Partridge.

Diplomatic Relations Handled through Greater Republic of Central America, 1896-1898.

In September 1896, the Republics of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Salvador agreed to form the Greater Republic of Central America to exercise their external sovereignty. The United States adjusted its diplomatic relations accordingly by receiving a minister from the organization on December 24, 1896; however, upon doing so, President Grover Cleveland noted that the responsibilities of the individual republics toward the United States remained “wholly unaffected.” On November 29, 1898, the union was dissolved and the individual states promptly resumed the independent conduct of diplomatic relations.

Diplomatic Relations Interrupted, 1931.

Normal relations were interrupted on December 4, 1931, when the United States did not recognize the new revolutionary Government of El Salvador. Secretary of State Henry Stimson based this policy on the guidelines of a 1923 treaty regarding the non-recognition of governments coming into power through revolution.

Diplomatic Relations Normalized, 1934.

The United States recognized the Martinez Government of El Salvador via Telegram from Secretary Cordell Hull on January 26, 1934. Frank P. Corrigan presented his credentials to the Government of El Salvador on April 30, 1934.

Elevation of American Legation to Embassy Status, 1943.

Following a joint announcement on March 23, 1943, between the United States and seven American Republics that included El Salvador, the Legations in the respective nations and the United States were raised to the status of Embassy. Walter Thurston was promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and presented his credentials to the Government of El Salvador on April 16, 1943.