List of ambassadors of the United States to South Vietnam

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Ambassador of the United States to South Vietnam
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
NominatorThe President of the United States
Inaugural holderDonald R. Heath
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
FormationJune 29, 1950
Final holderGraham A. Martin
AbolishedApril 29, 1975

Following the end of World War II in Asia, France attempted to regain control of Vietnam, as part of French Indochina, which it had lost to Japan in 1941. At the conclusion of 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 former Emperor 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, officially known as the Republic of Vietnam following the rise of President Ngô Đình Diệm in 1955. The US was opposed to the communist government of the North, led by Chairman Hồ Chí Minh, and did not recognize the northern regime.

At the end of the Vietnam War, the US Embassy in Saigon was shuttered and all embassy personnel evacuated on April 29, 1975, just prior to the capture of Saigon by North Vietnamese and Việt Cộng forces. Since the normalization of United States–Vietnam relations in 1995, the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City stands adjacent to the site of the former embassy which was demolished in 1998. The US Ambassador to Vietnam is now seated in the US Embassy in Hanoi, the former capital city of North Vietnam and the current capital of the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.


Portrait Name Type Title Appointed Presented credentials Terminated mission
Donald R. Heath (cropped).jpg Donald R. Heath[1] Career FSO EE/MP June 29, 1950 October 22, 1950 June 25, 1952[2]
Donald R. Heath (cropped).jpg Donald R. Heath Career FSO AE/P June 25, 1952[3] July 11, 1952 November 14, 1954
G. Frederick Reinhardt ca. 1961.jpg G. Frederick Reinhardt Career FSO AE/P April 20, 1955 May 28, 1955[4] February 10, 1957
No image available.svg Elbridge Durbrow Career FSO AE/P March 14, 1957 April 16, 1957 May 3, 1961
Frederick Nolting (cropped).jpg Frederick E. Nolting Jr. Career FSO AE/P March 15, 1961 May 10, 1961 August 15, 1963
Cabot Lodge (1964).jpg Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. Political appointee AE/P August 1, 1963 August 26, 1963 June 28, 1964
Maxwell D Taylor official portrait.jpg Maxwell D. Taylor Political appointee AE/P July 1, 1964 July 14, 1964 July 30, 1965
Cabot Lodge (1964).jpg Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. Political appointee AE/P July 31, 1965 August 25, 1965 April 25, 1967
Ellsworth Bunker.jpg Ellsworth F. Bunker Political appointee AE/P April 5, 1967 April 28, 1967 May 11, 1973
Graham Martin (cropped).jpg Graham A. Martin Career FSO AE/P June 21, 1973 July 20, 1973 April 29, 1975

Deputy Ambassadors[edit]

Portrait Name Start date End date
Portrait of U. Alexis Johnson.jpg U. Alexis Johnson June 1964 September 1965
WilliamJPorter.jpg William J. Porter September 1965 May 1967
No image available.svg Eugene M. Locke May 1967 January 1968
No image available.svg Samuel D. Berger March 1968 March 1972
Charles S. Whitehouse in 1978.jpg Charles S. Whitehouse March 1972 August 1973


  1. ^ Heath was also accredited to Cambodia and Laos but resident at Saigon.
  2. ^ Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Reinhardt was reaccredited when South Vietnam became a republic; presented new credentials on February 24, 1956.