United States Ambassador to Laos

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Ambassador of the United States to Laos
Seal of the United States Department of State.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Ambassador Daniel Clune.jpg
Daniel A. Clune

since September 16, 2013
Nominator Barack Obama
Inaugural holder Paul L. Guest
as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
Formation August 1950
Website U.S. Embassy - Vientiane

This is a list of United States Ambassadors to Laos. The United States established full diplomatic relations with Laos in 1955, following its full independence from France in 1954.[citation needed]

On 29 December 1961, during the Laotian Civil War, President John F. Kennedy made the Ambassador to Laos the de facto commander of U.S. military and paramilitary operations within the Kingdom of Laos for the length of the war.[1]

Accounting for American personnel missing in Laos and clearing unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the wars in Indochina were the initial focuses of the post-1975 bilateral relationship. Since that time the relationship has broadened to include cooperation on a range of issues including counter-narcotics, health, child nutrition, environmental sustainability, trade liberalization, and English language training. This expansion in cooperation has accelerated since 2009, with the launch of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), which serves as a platform to address complex, transnational development and policy changes in the Lower Mekong sub-region. The United States and Laos share a commitment to ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for the Mekong sub-region. In July 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Laos, marking the first visit by a Secretary of State since 1955.[citation needed]

A large part of U.S. bilateral assistance to Laos is devoted to improving health and child nutrition. The United States also helps improve trade policy in Laos, promotes sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, and works to strengthen the criminal justice system and law enforcement. The United States has provided significant support for clearance of UXO from the war, particularly cluster munitions, as well as for risk education and victims’ assistance.[citation needed]


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).

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.
Name Career Status Presentation of Credentials Termination of Mission Comment
Paul L. Guest Aug-1950 Dec-1950 ad interim
Donald R. Heath 29-Dec-1950 01-Nov-1954 Resident at Saigon
Charles W. Yost 01-Nov-1954 27-Apr-1956
J. Graham Parsons 12-Oct-1956 08-Feb-1958
Horace H. Smith 09-Apr-1958 21-Jun-1960
Winthrop G. Brown 25-Jul-1960 28-Jun-1962
Leonard S. Unger 25-Jul-1962 01-Dec-1964
William H. Sullivan 23-Dec-1964 18-Mar-1969
G. McMurtrie Godley 24-Jul-1969 23-Apr-1973
Charles S. Whitehouse 20-Sep-1973 12-Apr-1975
Thomas J. Corcoran Aug-1975 Mar-1978 ad interim
George B. Roberts, Jr. Mar-1978 Sep-1979 ad interim
Leo J. Moser Sep-1979 Oct-1981 ad interim
William W. Thomas, Jr. Nov-1981 Nov-1983 ad interim
Theresa A. Tull Nov-1983 Aug-1986 ad interim
Harriet W. Isom Aug-1986 Aug-1989 ad interim
Charles B. Salmon, Jr. Aug-1989 26-Jul-1993 ad interim Aug-1989 Aug-1992, Ambassador 06-Aug-1992 26-Jul-1993
Victor L. Tomseth 08-Jan-1994 20-Aug-1996
Wendy Chamberlin 05-Sep-1996 14-Jun-1999
Douglas A. Hartwick 18-Sep-2001 21-Apr-2004
Patricia M. Haslach 04-Sep-2004 c. 2007
Ravic R. Huso 22-Jun-2007 22-Aug-2010
Karen B. Stewart 16-Nov-2010 August 2013
Daniel A. Clune September 16, 2013 Incumbent

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Castle, pp. 1–2.


  • Castle, Timothy N. (1993). At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: U.S. Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government 1955–1975. ISBN 0-231-07977-X.

Exterior links[edit]