Politics: United States Ambassadors

There has been a ton of chatter regarding new ambassadors, old ambassadors, etc.  As I watch news reports, I always have a number of questions regarding the history of ambassadors.  So, here is a blog for those of you, like me, who has no clue what they do or why they do it.

  • An ambassador is a diplomatic representative that attends international meetings, banquets and parties and acts as a figurehead for their country of origin. Ambassadors are also known as diplomats, a more general term describing those that work in a foreign country while retaining citizenship in their home country.
  • The title of Ambassador is considered a “rank”.  The rank of Ambassador was first given in 1893.  Thomas F. Bayard was appointed Ambassador to Great Britain on March 30. James B. Eustis was appointed Ambassador to France on April 18. Prior to this date, the highest-ranking U.S. diplomats were Ministers.
  • No US President has ever served as an ambassador to another country.
  • Only one person, the President, can nominated ambassadors.  One body of government approves these appointments, the Senate.
  • A college degree is not needed to be an ambassador.  Former child actress Shirley Temple served as a U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
  • Five ambassadors have been killed, on the job, by terrorists.
  • The State Department refuses to release information on how many times ambassadors have claimed diplomatic immunity.  However, two ambassadors have used diplomatic immunity when charged with murder.
  • Donald Trump’s transition team said no exceptions would be allowed for ambassadors requesting to extend their postings past Inauguration Day, while other presidents have made exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
  • An estimated seven million visas are granted by US embassies around the world each year.
  • In 2016, 1/3 of the ambassadors were women.
  • From 2010-2012, wages to ambassadors ranged from $119,554 to $179,700 per year.  Their pay is allowed to exceed the established maximum based on their merit or value to their mission.  Their salary cannot exceed that of the Vice President.  In 2011, the VP salary was $230,700.  Depending on the country they are in, they could receive additional allowances up to 60% of their salaray to adjust for cost of living or the potential of danger.
  • Ambassadors have beautiful homes they live in, free of charge.  They also receive subsidized healthcare insurance, life insurance and five weeks of paid vacation time each year.  They have paid airfare to and from their vacation destinations.  They are compensated for educational expenses for their family.
  • Ambassadors are the personal representatives of the President of the United States abroad. They are chosen by the President with the support and guidance of the State department. Candidates are chosen either from the ranks of the U.S. Foreign Service within the State Department, or they are personally recommended. All ambassador candidates must be approved by the receiving country, then approved by Senate Foreign Relations Committee and finally, confirmed by a full Senate vote.


A current(ish) list of ambassadors (data found at: http://www.afsa.org/list-ambassadorial-appointments):

Post Ambassador Status
Afghanistan VACANT
African Union Mary Beth Leonard (confirmed 6/29/16)
Albania Donald Lu (confirmed 11/20/14)
Algeria Joan Polaschik (confirmed 7/29/14)
Angola Helen M. La Lime (confirmed 5/15/14)
Argentina VACANT
Armenia Richard Mills (confirmed 12/16/14)
Australia VACANT
Austria VACANT
Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta (confirmed 12/16/14)
Bahamas VACANT
Bahrain William V. Roebuck (confirmed 11/18/14)
Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat (confirmed 11/18/14)
Barbados Linda Taglialatela (confirmed 12/9/15)
Belarus VACANT
Belgium VACANT
Benin Lucy Tamlyn (confirmed 10/8/15)
Bolivia VACANT
Bosnia and Herzegovina Maureen Cormack (confirmed 11/19/14)
Botswana Earl Robert Miller (confirmed 11/19/14)
Brazil P. Michael McKinley (confirmed 9/15/16)
Brunei Darussalam Craig B. Allen (confirmed 11/18/14)
Bulgaria Eric Seth Rubin (confirmed 12/9/15)
Burkina Faso Andrew R. Young (confirmed 9/28/16)
Burma Scot Marciel (confirmed 2/9/16)
Burundi Anne S. Casper (confirmed 6/29/16)
Cabo Verde Donald Heflin (confirmed 12/12/14)
Cambodia William Heidt (confirmed 8/5/15)
Cameroon Michael Hoza (confirmed 7/29/14)
Central African Republic Jeffrey J. Hawkins, Jr. (confirmed 10/8/15)
Chad Geeta Pasi (confirmed 6/29/16)
Chile Carol Z. Perez (confirmed 7/14/16)
China NOMINATED: Terry Branstad
Colombia Kevin Whitaker (confirmed 4/1/14)
Congo (DR) James Swan (confirmed 8/1/13)
Congo (Republic of) Stephanie S. Sullivan (confirmed 8/1/13)
Costa Rica S. Fitzgerald Haney (confirmed 5/23/15)
Cote d’Ivoire Terence McCulley (confirmed 8/1/13)
Croatia Julieta Valls Noyes (confirmed 6/24/15)
Cyprus Kathleen Ann Doherty (confirmed 8/5/15)
Czech Republic VACANT
Denmark VACANT
Djibouti Thomas P. Kelly (confirmed 6/25/14)
Dominican Republic VACANT
Ecuador Todd C. Chapman (confirmed 12/9/15)
Egypt Robert S. Beecroft (confirmed 6/26/14)
El Salvador Jean Elizabeth Manes (confirmed 12/9/15)
Equatorial Guinea Julie Furuta-Toy (confirmed 10/22/15)
Eritrea VACANT
Estonia James Desmond Melville, Jr. (confirmed 8/5/15)
Ethiopia Patricia M. Haslach (confirmed 8/1/13)
European Union VACANT
Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, & Tuvalu Judith Beth Cefkin (confirmed 11/19/14)
Finland VACANT
France & Monaco VACANT
Gabon and São Tomé & Principe Cynthia Akuetteh (confirmed 7/30/14)
The Gambia C. Patricia Alsup (confirmed 10/8/15)
Georgia Ian C. Kelly (confirmed 6/24/15)
Germany VACANT
Ghana Robert P. Jackson (confirmed 10/22/15)
Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt (confirmed 7/14/16)
Guatemala Todd D. Robinson (confirmed 9/16/14)
Guinea Dennis B. Hankins (confirmed 10/22/15)
Guyana Perry Holloway (confirmed 8/5/15)
Haiti Peter F. Mulrean (confirmed 8/5/15)
Honduras James Nealon (confirmed 7/15/14)
Hungary VACANT
Iceland VACANT
Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan, Jr. (confirmed 9/28/16)
Iraq Douglas Silliman (confirmed 7/14/16)
Ireland VACANT
Israel NOMINATED: David Friedman
Italy & San Marino VACANT
Jamaica Luis Moreno (confirmed 11/20/14)
Jordan Alice Wells (confirmed 6/16/14)
Kazakhstan George Krol (confirmed 11/20/14)
Kenya Robert Godec (confirmed 1/2/13)
Kosovo Gregory Delawie (confirmed 6/24/15)
Kuwait Lawrence R. Silverman (confirmed 7/14/16)
Kyrgyz Republic Sheila Gwaltney (confirmed 8/5/15)
Laos Rena Bitter (confirmed 9/28/16)
Latvia Nancy Bikoff Pettit (confirmed 6/24/15)
Lebanon Elizabeth Holzhall Richard (confirmed 5/17/16)
Lesotho Matthew T. Harrington (confirmed 9/16/14)
Liberia Christine Ann Elder (confirmed 5/17/16)
Libya Peter W. Bodde (confirmed 11/19/15)
Lithuania Anne Hall (confirmed 7/14/16)
Luxembourg VACANT
Macedonia Jess L. Baily (confirmed 12/16/14)
Madagascar & Comoros Robert T. Yamate (confirmed 11/19/14)
Malawi Virginia E. Palmer (confirmed 12/12/14)
Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir (confirmed 12/9/16)
Mali Paul A. Folmsbee (confirmed 5/22/15)
Malta G. Kathleen Hill (confirmed 12/9/15)
Marshall Islands Karen Brevard Stewart (confirmed 5/17/16)
Mauritania Larry E. Andre (confirmed 7/29/14)
Mauritius & Seychelles VACANT
Mexico Roberta Jacobson (confirmed 4/28/16)
Micronesia Robert A. Riley III (confirmed 5/17/16)
Moldova James D. Pettit (confirmed 11/20/14)
Mongolia Jennifer Zimdahl Galt (confirmed 8/5/15)
Montenegro Margaret Ann Uyehara (confirmed 12/16/14)
Morocco VACANT
Mozambique H. Dean Pittman (confirmed 11/19/15)
Namibia Thomas Daughton (confirmed 9/17/14)
Nepal Alaina Teplitz (confirmed 8/5/15)
Netherlands VACANT
New Zealand & Samoa VACANT
Nicaragua Laura Farnsworth Dogu (confirmed 8/5/15)
Niger Eunice Reddick (confirmed 7/21/14)
Nigeria W. Stuart Symington (confirmed 9/28/16)
Oman Marc Sievers (confirmed 11/19/15)
Pakistan David Hale (confirmed 8/5/15)
Palau Amy Jane Hyatt (confirmed 12/12/14)
Panama John D. Feeley (confirmed 12/9/15)
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu Catherine Ebert-Gray (confirmed 12/9/15)
Paraguay Leslie Ann Bassett (confirmed 11/18/14)
Peru Brian A. Nichols (confirmed 6/19/14)
Philippines Sung Y. Kim (confirmed 9/28/16)
Poland Paul W. Jones (confirmed 8/5/15)
Portugal VACANT
Qatar Dana Shell Smith (confirmed 7/10/14)
Romania Hans G. Klemm (confirmed 8/5/15)
Russia John Tefft (confirmed 7/31/14)
Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles (confirmed 11/17/14)
Saudi Arabia VACANT
Senegal & Guinea-Bissau NOMINATED: Tulinabo Mushingi
Serbia Kyle R. Scott (confirmed 12/9/15)
Sierra Leone John Hoover (confirmed 9/11/14)
Singapore VACANT
Slovakia Adam Sterling (confirmed 5/17/16)
Somalia Stephen Michael Schwartz (confirmed 5/17/16)
Slovenia Brent Robert Hartley (confirmed 11/20/14)
South Africa VACANT
South Korea VACANT
South Sudan Mary Catherine Phee (confirmed 6/24/15)
Spain & Andorra VACANT
Sri Lanka & Maldives Atul Keshap (confirmed 8/5/15)
Suriname Edwin Richard Nolan, Jr. (confirmed 10/8/15)
Swaziland Lisa J. Peterson (confirmed 11/19/15)
Switzerland & Liechtenstein VACANT
Tajikistan Elisabeth I. Millard (confirmed 11/19/15)
Tanzania VACANT
Thailand Glyn T. Davies (confirmed 8/5/15)
Timor-Leste Karen Clark Stanton (confirmed 11/17/14)
Togo David R. Gilmour (confirmed 10/8/15)
Trinidad and Tobago VACANT
Tunisia Daniel Rubinstein (confirmed 10/8/15)
Turkey John R. Bass (confirmed 9/17/14)
Turkmenistan Allan Mustard (confirmed 11/19/14)
Uganda Deborah R. Malac (confirmed 11/19/15)
Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch (confirmed 7/14/16)
United Arab Emirates Barbara A. Leaf (confirmed 11/17/14)
United Kingdom VACANT
United Nations Nikki Haley (confirmed 1/24/17)
UN / Conf. on Disarmament Robert A. Wood (confirmed 7/15/14)
UN / Deputy Representative Michele Sison (confirmed 11/19/14)
UN / Economic & Social Council VACANT
UN / Geneva VACANT
UN / Human Rights Council VACANT
UN / Management & Reform VACANT
UN / Political Affairs VACANT
UN / Vienna VACANT
Uruguay Kelly Keiderling-Franz (confirmed 5/17/16)
Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen (confirmed 11/20/14)
Venezuela VACANT
Vietnam Theodore G. Osius III (confirmed 11/17/14)
Yemen Matthew Tueller (confirmed 3/27/14)
Zambia Eric T. Schultz (confirmed 9/17/14)
Zimbabwe Harry K. Thomas, Jr. (confirmed 10/22/15)



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