List of ambassadors of the United States to South Korea

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Ambassador of the United States to South Korea
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Harry Harris official photo.jpg
Harry B. Harris Jr.

since July 25, 2018
NominatorPresident of the United States
Inaugural holderLucius H. Foote
as Envoy, Resident Minister and Consul-General
FormationMay 20, 1883
WebsiteU.S. Embassy - Korea

The United States Ambassador to South Korea (Korean주한미국대사; Hanja駐韓美國大使) is the chief diplomatic representative of the United States accredited to the Republic of Korea. The ambassador's official title is "Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea."[1]

The current ambassador, Harry B. Harris Jr., who previously served as an admiral in the United States Navy, was sworn in on June 30, 2018.[2]

Joseon and Korean Empire[edit]

After the United States–Korea Treaty of 1882 was negotiated, diplomatic representatives were sent from Washington to Seoul.[3] From then until 1905, there were several Envoys and Consuls General, each heading what was called a legation. After the Japanese had defeated the Chinese in 1895, and the Russians in 1905, Korea began to see its independence disappear. By 1910, Japan had annexed Korea and the U.S. no longer had a diplomatic presence in Korea.

Envoy, Resident Minister and Consul-General[edit]

Period Name  
1883–1885 Lucius H. Foote [4]
1886 William Harwar Parker
1887–1890 Hugh A. Dinsmore [5]
1890–1893 Augustine Heard [4]
1894–1897 John M. B. Sill [4]
1894–1897 Horace Newton Allen [4]
1905 Edwin V. Morgan [6]

Republic of Korea[edit]

At the end of World War II, American forces accepted Imperial Japan's surrender in southern Korea, and Soviet forces accepted the surrender of the Japanese in northern Korea. Talks to agree upon a unity government for Korea failed and in 1948, two separate Korean states were created: the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The United States established diplomatic relations with the new South Korean government, but did not recognize North Korea. Other countries, like the Soviet Union, recognized the Pyongyang government in North Korea, but did not initially establish relations with the South Korean government in Seoul.

The United States has maintained constant diplomatic relations with South Korea since 1948, with formal recognition of the Republic of Korea on 1 January 1949. The American special representative, John J. Muccio, became the first Ambassador to the Republic of Korea on March 1, 1949.[7]

The Embassy of the United States in Seoul has jurisdiction over APP Busan.


Period Ambassador  
1949–1952 John J. Muccio [7]
1952–1955 Ellis O. Briggs  
1955–1955 William S.B. Lacy  
1956–1959 Walter C. Dowling [8]
1959–1961 Walter P. McConaughy [9]
1961–1964 Samuel D. Berger [10]
1964–1967 Winthrop G. Brown [11]
1967–1971 William J. Porter [12]
1971–1974 Philip C. Habib [13]
1974–1978 Richard L. Sneider  
1978–1981 William H. Gleysteen Jr. [14]
1981–1986 Richard L. Walker  
1986–1989 James R. Lilley  
1989–1993 Donald Gregg  
1993–1996 James T. Laney  
1997–2001 Stephen W. Bosworth [15]
2001–2004 Thomas C. Hubbard [16]
2004–2005 Christopher R. Hill [17]
2005–2008 Alexander R. Vershbow [18]
2008–2011 Kathleen Stephens [1]
2011–2014 Sung Kim [19]
2014–2017 Mark Lippert [20]
2018–present Harry B. Harris Jr. [21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Embassy of the United States, Seoul, Ambassador
  2. ^ Business Standard, sworn in
  3. ^ Korean Mission to the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, Washington, D.C., 1921–1922. (1922). Korea's Appeal to the Conference on Limitation of Armament, pp. 29–32., p. 29, at Google Books
  4. ^ a b c d Korean Mission p. 32., p. 32, at Google Books
  5. ^ U.S. Congress, Dismore bio
  6. ^ Korean Mission p. 32, p. 32, at Google Books; note that Morgan's term was brief. He (a) presented credentials on June 26, 1905; (b) closed the Legation, November 28, 1905; and (c) left Seoul, December 8, 1905 after Japan took over responsibility for Korean foreign relations
  7. ^ a b Schnabel, James F. (1972). Policy and Direction: the First Year, p. 28., p. 28, at Google Books
  8. ^ Brazinsky, George. (2007). Nation Building in South Korea, pp. 105-106, p. 105, at Google Books
  9. ^ Brazinsky,pp. 111-112, p. 111, at Google Books
  10. ^ Brazinsky, pp. 118-120, p. 118, at Google Books
  11. ^ Brazinsky, p. 135, p. 135, at Google Books
  12. ^ Brazinsky, pp. 150-160, p. 150, at Google Books
  13. ^ Brazinsky, p. 126, p. 126, at Google Books
  14. ^ Brazinsky, p. 226, p. 226, at Google Books
  15. ^ Funabashi, Yōichi. (2007). The Peninsula Question: a Chronicle of the Second Korean Nuclear Crisis, p. 225-226., p. 225, at Google Books
  16. ^ Funabashi, p. 108., p. 108, at Google Books
  17. ^ Funabashi, p. 372., p. 372, at Google Books
  18. ^ Funabashi, p. 176., p. 176, at Google Books
  19. ^ Josh Rogin (October 13, 2011). "U.S. Ambassador to South Korea finally confirmed". Foreign Policy. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  20. ^ Chang, Jae-soon (25 October 2014). "Obama makes surprise appearance at swearing-in ceremony for new U.S. ambassador to Seoul". Yonhap News.
  21. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)


External links[edit]