United States Ambassador to South Vietnam

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Ambassador of the United States to South Vietnam
Department of state.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Incumbent
None
Inaugural holder Donald R. Heath
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Formation June 29, 1950
Abolished April 29, 1975

After World War II, France attempted to regain control of Vietnam, which they had lost to Japan in 1940. Following the First Indochina War, the country was split into two parts, the north and the south. The southern part was named The State of Vietnam under the leadership of Bảo Đại. In 1950, the United States recognized the Bảo Đại government, established diplomatic relations, and sent its first ambassador to Saigon in South Vietnam. The US was opposed to the Communist government of the North, led by Ho Chi Minh, and did not recognize the northern regime.

Following the Vietnam War, the US Embassy, Saigon was closed and all Embassy personnel evacuated on April 29, 1975, just prior to the surrender of South Vietnam to North Vietnamese forces.

Ambassadors[edit]

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.
  • Donald R. Heath – Career FSO[1]
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 29, 1950
    • Presented credentials: October 22, 1950
    • Terminated mission: June 25, 1952 Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
  • Donald R. Heath – Career FSO[2]
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 25, 1952
    • Presented credentials: July 11, 1952
    • Terminated mission: Left post November 14, 1954
  • G. Frederick Reinhardt – Career FSO[3]
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: April 20, 1955
    • Presented credentials: May 28, 1955
    • Terminated mission: Left post February 10, 1957
  • Elbridge Durbrow – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: March 14, 1957
    • Presented credentials: April 16, 1957
    • Terminated mission: Left post May 3, 1961
  • Frederick Nolting – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: March 15, 1961
    • Presented credentials: May 10, 1961
    • Terminated mission: Left post August 15, 1963
  • Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: August 1, 1963
    • Presented credentials: August 26, 1963
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 28, 1964
  • Maxwell D. Taylor – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: July 1, 1964
    • Presented credentials: July 14, 1964
    • Terminated mission: Left post July 30, 1965

Note: U. Alexis Johnson arrived at Saigon on June 28, 1964, as the first of a series of Deputy Ambassadors to Vietnam. The Deputy Ambassadors and their periods of service in Vietnam are: U. Alexis Johnson (June 1964–September 1965), William J. Porter (September 1965–May 1967), Eugene M. Locke (May 1967–Jan 1968), Samuel D. Berger (March 1968–Mar 1972) Charles S. Whitehouse (March 1972–August 1973).

  • Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: July 31, 1965
    • Presented credentials: August 25, 1965
    • Terminated mission: Left post April 25, 1967
  • Ellsworth Bunker – Political appointee
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: April 5, 1967
    • Presented credentials: April 28, 1967
    • Terminated mission: Left post May 11, 1973
  • Graham A. Martin – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: June 21, 1973
    • Presented credentials: July 20, 1973
    • Terminated mission: Left post, April 29, 1975

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Heath was also accredited to Cambodia and Laos but resident at Saigon.
  2. ^ Edmund A. Gullion was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the Legation in Saigon was raised to Embassy status on Jun 25, 1952.
  3. ^ Reinhardt was reaccredited when Vietnam became a republic; presented new credentials on February 24, 1956.

Sources[edit]