The United States Ambassador to France is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of France. There has been a U.S. Ambassador to France since the American Revolution. The United States sent its first envoys to France in 1776, towards the end of the four-centuries-old Bourbon dynasty. The American diplomatic relationship with France has continued throughout that country's five republican regimes, two periods of French empire, the Bourbon Restoration, and its July Monarchy. After the Battle of France, the United States maintained diplomatic relations with Vichy France until France severed them on the date Operation Torch was launched in November 1942; the Embassy was reopened December 1944.[1] for the narrative history see France–United States relations.

List of United States Chiefs of Mission in Paris

Ministers to the Court of Versailles (1778–1792)

Relations between the United States and the French Court of Versailles were established in 1778 with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (United States–France). As a republic, the United States maintained relations with France at the second-highest diplomatic rank of Minister. The position was formally known as the Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America at the Court of Versailles.

Name State Appointment Presentation Termination Notes
Benjamin Franklin Franklin, BenjaminBenjamin Franklin Pennsylvania September 14, 1778 March 23, 1779 May 17, 1785
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale 1805 cropped.jpg Jefferson, ThomasThomas Jefferson Virginia March 10, 1785 May 17, 1785 September 26, 1789
Portrait of William Short.jpg Short, WilliamWilliam Short Virginia April 20, 1790 June 14, 1790 May 15, 1792
Gouverneur Morris 1789.jpg Morris, GouverneurGouverneur Morris New York January 12, 1792 June 3, 1792 April 9, 1794 Remained as Minister after the First Republic was proclaimed. Mission terminated when the French government requested his recall.

Ministers to the First Republic (1792–1804)

Name State Appointment Presentation Termination Notes
James Monroe Monroe, JamesJames Monroe Virginia May 28, 1794 August 15, 1794 December 9, 1796
CharlesCPinckney.png Pinckney, Charles CotesworthCharles Cotesworth Pinckney South Carolina September 9, 1796 Not presented February 5, 1797

Diplomatic relations were broken in 1796 due to French anger at U.S. neutrality in the War of the First Coalition. After the Directory refused to accept Charles Cotesworth Pinckney's credentials, a commission was appointed to negotiate with the French Republic. The members of the commission — Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry — were all accredited with the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary.[2] French officials demanded a bribe before they would commence negotiations, scuttling the mission in the XYZ Affair. Hostilities culminated in the outbreak of the Quasi-War between the U.S. and France. Diplomatic relations were restored with the Convention of 1800.

Name State Appointment Presentation Termination Notes
Robert R Livingston, attributed to Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828).jpg Livingston, Robert R.Robert R. Livingston New York October 2, 1801 December 6, 1801 November 18, 1804 Remained as Minister after Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed emperor.

Ministers to the First Empire (1804–1815)

Name State Appointment Presentation Termination Notes
John Armstrong Jr Rembrandt Peale.jpg Armstrong, JohnJohn Armstrong New York June 30, 1804 November 18, 1804 September 14, 1810
Russell, JonathanJonathan Russell Massachusetts September 14, 1810
(Became chargé d'affaires ad interim)
Not credentialed November 17, 1811 Commissioned as chargé d'affaires en pied, but received no letter of credence. Although Russell remained a chargé d'affaires ad interim, the U.S. Department of State regards him as a Chief of Mission.[3]
Joel Barlow - Project Gutenberg eText 13220.png Barlow, JoelJoel Barlow District of Columbia February 27, 1811 November 17, 1811 December 26, 1812 Died in Żarnowiec during the French retreat from Moscow.
WilliamHCrawford.png Crawford, William H.William H. Crawford Georgia April 9, 1813 December 14, 1813 April 26, 1815 to April 30, 1815 Reaccredited to the Court of Versailles.

Ministers to France

Ambassadors to the Third Republic

Ambassadors to the Fourth Republic

Ambassadors to the Fifth Republic

R. Sargent Shriver

See also


  1. ^ David McCullough, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, Simon & Schuster, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4165-7176-6
  2. ^ Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth; Gerry, Elbridge; Marshall, John (1798). Authentic Copies of the Correspondence of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, Esqrs. Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary to the Republic of France: As Presented to Both Houses of Congress, April 3, 1798, by His Excellency John Adams. J. Derrett. p. 62. The undersigned Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the French Republic, had the honour of announcing to you officially, on the 6th of October, their arrival at Paris, and of presenting to you on the 8th, a copy of their letters of credence. 
  3. ^ "Chiefs of Mission for France". Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. 
  4. ^ "Ambassadors and Chiefs of Mission – FAQs – About Us – Office of the Historian". 
  5. ^ Knowlton, Brian (August 16, 2009). "New U.S. Envoy Takes Up Post". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Ambassador Charles Rivkin permanently departed post on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 following his nomination by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs". Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Our Charge D'Affairs Ad Interim". US Embassy to France. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website (Background Notes).

Further reading

  • Willson, Beckles. America's Ambassadors to France (1777-1927): A Narrative of Franco-American Diplomatic Relations (1928).

External links

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