United States Ambassador to Iceland

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Ambassador of the United States to Iceland
Department of state.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Incumbent
Paul O'Friel
as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

since 23 November 2013
Nominator Barack Obama
Inaugural holder Lincoln MacVeagh
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Formation 8 August 1941
Website U.S. Embassy - Reykjavík

Until 1874, Iceland was a dependency of Denmark rather than an independent nation. In 1874, Denmark granted Iceland home rule, which again was expanded in 1904. In 1918, The Act of Union, an agreement between Denmark, recognised Iceland as a fully sovereign state united with Denmark under a common king. Iceland established its own flag and asked that Denmark represent its foreign affairs and defense interests. Thus the United States Ambassador to Denmark conducted foreign relations between the United States and Iceland.

German occupation of Denmark on 9 April 1940, severed communications between Iceland and Denmark. As a result, on 10 April the Parliament of Iceland elected to take control of foreign affairs into its own hands. The US commissioned Lincoln MacVeagh, its first ambassador to Iceland on 8 August 1941. MacVeagh presented his credentials to the foreign minister of Iceland on 30 September 1941. His title was Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. The US has maintained continuous diplomatic relations with Iceland since then.

Following a plebiscite, Iceland formally became an independent republic on 17 June 1944.

List of ambassadors[edit]

# Name Title Appointment Presentation of credentials Termination of mission Nature of appointment Nature of termination
1 Lincoln MacVeagh Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 8 August 1941 30 September 1941 27 June 1942 Political appointee Left post
2 Leland Burnette Morris Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 13 August 1942 7 October 1942 10 May 1944 Career FSO Relinquished charge
3 Louis Goethe Dreyfus, Jr. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 21 March 1944 14 June 1944 21 October 1946 Career FSO Left post
4 Richard P. Butrick Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 26 February 1948 29 April 1948 10 August 1949 Career FSO Left post
5 Edward B. Lawson Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 22 July 1949 22 September 1949 29 May 1954 Career FSO Left post
6 John Joseph Muccio Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary 23 August 1954 12 October 1954 19 October 1955 Career FSO Mission title changed
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 19 October 1955 3 November 1955 16 December 1959 Left post
7 Tyler Thompson Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 27 January 1960 19 February 1960 16 April 1961 Career FSO Left post
8 James K. Penfield Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 27 April 1961 24 May 1961 16 March 1967 Career FSO Left post
9 Karl Fritjof Rolvaag Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 5 April 1967 9 May 1967 27 March 1969 Political appointee Left post
10 Luther I. Replogle Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 8 July 1969 12 September 1969 15 June 1972 Political appointee Left post
11 Frederick Irving Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 11 September 1972 11 October 1972 21 April 1976 Career FSO Left post
12 James J. Blake Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 1 July 1976 8 September 1976 29 September 1978 Career FSO Left post
13 Richard A. Ericson, Jr. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 12 October 1978 21 November 1978 15 August 1981 Career FSO Left post
14 Marshall Brement Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 27 July 1981 16 September 1981 1 August 1985 Career FSO Left post
15 L. Nicholas Ruwe Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 12 July 1985 21 August 1985 7 October 1989 Political appointee Left post
16 Charles Elvan Cobb, Jr. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 10 October 1989 8 November 1989 10 January 1992 Political appointee Left post
17 Sigmund Rogich Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 11 May 1992 4 June 1992 14 October 1993 Political appointee Left post
18 Parker W. Borg Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 8 October 1993 24 November 1993 13 July 1996 Career FSO Left post
19 Day O. Mount Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 11 June 1996 3 September 1996 12 August 1999 Career FSO Left post
20 Barbara J. Griffiths Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 9 August 1999 29 September 1999 29 July 2002 Career FSO Left post
21 James Irvin Gadsden Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 3 October 2002 9 December 2002 14 July 2005 Career FSO Left post
22 Carol van Voorst Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 3 January 2006 26 January 2006 20 January 2009 Career FSO Left post
23 Luis E. Arreaga Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary 10 September 2010 20 September 2010 23 November 2013 Career FSO Left post

U.S. diplomatic terms


Career FSO
After 1915, The United States Department of State began classifying ambassadors as career Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) for those who have served in the Foreign Service for a specified amount of time.

Political appointee
A person who is not a career foreign service officer, but is appointed by the president (often as a reward to political friends).

Appointed
The date that the ambassador took the oath of office; also known as “commissioning”. It follows confirmation of a presidential appointment by the Senate, or a Congressional-recess appointment by the president. In the case of a recess appointment, the ambassador requires subsequent confirmation by the Senate.

Presented credentials
The date that the ambassador presented his letter of credence to the head of state or appropriate authority of the receiving nation. At this time the ambassador officially becomes the representative of his country. This would normally occur a short time after the ambassador’s arrival on station. The host nation may reject the ambassador by not receiving the ambassador’s letter, but this occurs only rarely.

Terminated mission
Usually the date that the ambassador left the country. In some cases a letter of recall is presented, ending the ambassador’s commission, either as a means of diplomatic protest or because the diplomat is being reassigned elsewhere and replaced by another envoy.

Chargé d'affaires
The person in charge of the business of the embassy when there is no ambassador commissioned to the host country. See chargé d'affaires.

Ad interim
Latin phrase meaning "for the time being", "in the meantime". See ad interim.

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