List of ambassadors of the United States to Laos
|Ambassador of the United States to Laos|
Seal of the United States Department of State
|Nominator||The President of the United States|
with Senate advice and consent
|Inaugural holder||Paul L. Guest|
as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
|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.
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.
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.
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.
U.S. diplomatic terms
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.
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 to remain in office.
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.
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.
The person in charge of the business of the embassy when there is no ambassador commissioned to the host country.
Latin phrase meaning "for the time being", "in the meantime".
|Name||Career Status||Presentation of Credentials||Termination of Mission||Comment|
|Paul L. Guest||August 1950||December 1950||ad interim|
|Donald R. Heath||December 29, 1950||November 1, 1954||Resident at Saigon|
|Charles Yost||November 1, 1954||April 27, 1956|
|J. Graham Parsons||October 12, 1956||February 8, 1958|
|Horace H. Smith||April 9, 1958||June 21, 1960|
|Winthrop G. Brown||July 25, 1960||June 28, 1962|
|Leonard S. Unger||July 25, 1962||December 1, 1964|
|William H. Sullivan||December 23, 1964||March 18, 1969|
|G. McMurtrie Godley||July 24, 1969||April 23, 1973|
|Charles S. Whitehouse||September 20, 1973||April 12, 1975|
|Thomas J. Corcoran||August 1975||March 1978||ad interim|
|George B. Roberts, Jr.||March 1978||September 1979||ad interim|
|Leo J. Moser||September 1979||October 1981||ad interim|
|William W. Thomas, Jr.||November 1981||November 1983||ad interim|
|Theresa A. Tull||November 1983||August 1986||ad interim|
|Harriet W. Isom||August 1986||August 1989||ad interim|
|Charles B. Salmon, Jr.||August 1989||July 26, 1993||ad interim August 1989-August 1992, Ambassador August 6, 1992-July 26, 1993|
|Victor L. Tomseth||January 8, 1994||August 20, 1996|
|Wendy Chamberlin||September 5, 1996||June 14, 1999|
|Douglas A. Hartwick||September 18, 2001||April 21, 2004|
|Patricia M. Haslach||September 4, 2004||March 26, 2007|
|Ravic R. Huso||June 22, 2007||August 22, 2010|
|Karen B. Stewart||November 16, 2010||August 8, 2013|
|Daniel A. Clune||September 16, 2013||September 21, 2016|
|Rena Bitter||November 2, 2016||Incumbent|
- 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.
- United States Department of State: Background notes on Laos
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/ (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets).
- United States Department of State: Chiefs of Mission for Laos
- United States Department of State: Laos
- United States Embassy in Vientiane