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U.S. Ambassadors and Department Principals

Magazine Cover Contents:
* Preface

* Chiefs of Mission (by country)
    frames version  |  non-frames version

* Department of State Principal Officers
    (plus ambassadors to International Organizations)

* Alphabetical index by person


This database of Principal Officers of the Department of State and United States Chiefs of Mission was published in book form by the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, in 1973, 1986, 1988 and 1990. A CD-ROM version updating the information in the last printed edition through the first half of 1995 was released in 1996. The new information for that update was obtained from records of the Presidential Appointments Staff of the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel, as well as reports from U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. Although the complete database includes appointments, nominations, and designations in the Department of State from 1778 through the first half of 1995, only the Chiefs of Mission portion is presented here. The Office of the Historian anticipates that the full database, updated through 1997, will be available by summer 1998.

The database does not include representatives, personal representatives, or special representatives of the President or Department of State; charges d'affaires ad interim (except as noted at the end of each entry); individuals holding diplomatic commissions jointly with other representatives; special agents and other individuals on special missions; high commissioners; chiefs of mission in charge of special economic or aid missions; liaison officers; military governors or commanding officers of occupying forces or their political advisers; delegates to international conferences; or consular officers who held only consular commissions.

Explanations and additional information are presented in notes at the end of each entry. The data entries are preceded by headings such as: Title, Name, State of Residency, a line depicting Foreign Service or non- career status, Appointment, Presentation of Credentials, and Termination of Mission to enable users to see at a glance what was previously published as a table. An explanation of some of these headings follows:

Name: The form of the name for each appointee that appears on the Department of State record copy of the officer's commission (obvious spelling errors have been corrected). Numerical suffixes have been standardized using Roman numerals. Some names may appear in somewhat different form since the same officer sometimes received several commissions in the course of a diplomatic career. If an individual was nominated but not commissioned, the name is printed as it appeared in the nomination.

State of Residency: The appointee's state or territory of legal residence at the time of the appointment is taken from the commission, nomination, or a contemporary official record of legal residence. If the residence was omitted from these sources, the entry does not appear. Some officers changed their legal residence during their careers; in such cases the entry for their various appointments reflects the change in residence.

Career Status: Appointees were not categorized as "career" or "non-career" before the passage of the Foreign Service Act of February 5, 1915, which restructured the Diplomatic and Consular Services. For appointees holding office on that date, an entry of "Foreign Service officer" denotes those with at least 10 years of continuous service. For those appointed later, this entry denotes those who were at the time of appointment (or had previously been for at least 5 years) Foreign Service officers, Foreign Service information officers, or career officers in the Diplomatic or Consular Services. A Foreign Service officer entry also indicates Presidential appointees in the Department of State who were serving as diplomatic secretaries before February 1915, and who were later appointed as Chiefs of Mission. The entry "non-career appointee" is used for other appointees, even though they may have been career officers in the civil or military services.

Appointment: The date of appointment is that which appears on the Presidential commission issued to the appointee (before 1789, the date of commissioning by the Continental Congress). It is frequently referred to as the date of commissioning or the date of attestation. If a Chief of Mission was first commissioned during a recess of the Senate and was later recommissioned after Senate confirmation of his nomination, the date of the second commission appears in a note at the end of the entry.

Presentation of Credentials: The date in this entry, unless it is in brackets with an explanatory note, is that on which the Chief of Mission presented a letter of credence to the appropriate authority in the host country, thus beginning service as the fully accredited representative of the United States. When a new letter of credence was presented by a Chief of Mission following a major constitutional change in the host country, that date is also given.

Termination of Mission/Termination of Appointment: An effort has been made to fix a date for the termination of duties of each appointee and to briefly describe what action or event brought the appointment to a formal or de facto close. In the 19th century, a Chief of Mission customarily presented his own letter of recall; in current practice most missions terminate with the departure of the Ambassador from post. Special circumstances (e.g., death, war, severance of diplomatic relations) have been explained. It should be noted that the effective date of a Chief of Mission's resignation frequently differs from the date shown for termination of a mission abroad.

The data presented here would not have been possible without the combined efforts of former officers in the Office of the Historian, who organized the original data and updated the printed versions over the years. Evan M. Duncan compiled the data for this version and corrected the errors found in past editions. James N. McElveen and Vicki E. Futscher configured and prepared the data for Web publication.

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