Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

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United States
Assistant Secretary of State
for African Affairs
US Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State

since March 10, 2017
Reports to Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Nominator President of the United States
Inaugural holder Joseph C. Satterthwaite
Formation September 1958
Website Official Website

The Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs is the head of the Bureau of African Affairs within the United States Department of State, who guides operation of the U.S. diplomatic establishment in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa and advises the Secretary of State and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.[1]

The Assistant Secretary position is currently vacant pending nomination by President Donald Trump's Administration.[2] Previous Assistant Secretaries since the position's creation, by recency, are Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Johnnie Carson, Jendayi E. Frazer, Constance Berry Newman, Walter H. Kansteiner, III, Susan E. Rice, George Moose, Herman Jay Cohen, Chester A. Crocker, Richard M. Moose, William E. Schaufele, Jr., Nathaniel Davis, Donald B. Easum, David D. Newsom, Joseph Palmer II, G. Mennen Williams, and Joseph C. Satterthwaite.[3]

On July 18, 1958, Congress authorized an eleventh Assistant Secretary of State, enabling the Department of State to create a bureau to deal with relations with the newly independent nations of Africa. At first, when the Department of State established three geographical divisions in 1909, African affairs were the responsibility of the Divisions of Near Eastern and Western European Affairs. Department Order No. 692 of June 15, 1937 transferred responsibility for all African territories except Algeria and the Union of South Africa to the Division of Near Eastern Affairs. A Division of African Affairs was created in the office of Near Eastern Affairs in January 1944. When the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs was created, there continued to be a Division of African Affairs within that bureau.[3]

List of Assistant Secretaries of State for African Affairs[edit]

Portrait Name Assumed Office Left Office President served under
JosephSattherwaite.jpg Joseph C. Satterthwaite September 2, 1958 January 31, 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy
G. Mennen Williams February 1, 1961 March 23, 1966 John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
Joseph Palmer II April 11, 1966 July 7, 1969 Lyndon B. Johnson
David D. Newsom July 17, 1969 January 13, 1974 Richard Nixon
Donald B. Easum March 18, 1974 March 26, 1975 Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford
Nathaniel Davis April 2, 1975 December 18, 1975 Gerald Ford
Schaufele.JPG William E. Schaufele, Jr. December 19, 1975 July 17, 1977 Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter
Richard M. Moose July 6, 1977 January 16, 1981 Jimmy Carter
Chester Crocker June 9, 1981 April 21, 1989 Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush
Herman Jay Cohen May 12, 1989 February 26, 1993 George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton
George Moose April 2, 1993 August 22, 1997 Bill Clinton
Susan Rice, official State Dept photo portrait, 2009.jpg Susan E. Rice October 9, 1997 January 20, 2001 Bill Clinton
Walter Kansteiner 0702.jpg Walter H. Kansteiner, III June 4, 2001 November 1, 2003 George W. Bush
Charles R. Snyder (Acting)[4] November 1, 2003 June 27, 2004 George W. Bush
Constance Berry Newman.jpg Constance Berry Newman June 24, 2004 August 26, 2005 George W. Bush
Wwwjambfrazer.jpg Jendayi Frazer August 29, 2005 January 20, 2009 George W. Bush
Johnnie carson africom 2009.jpg Johnnie Carson May 7, 2009 March 30, 2013 Barack Obama
Donald Y Yamamoto.jpg Donald Yamamoto March 30, 2013 August 5, 2013 Barack Obama
Linda Thomas-Greenfield 2013.jpg Linda Thomas-Greenfield August 6, 2013 March 10, 2017 Barack Obama and Donald Trump


  1. ^ "Bureau of African Affairs". Archived from the original on 19 September 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2007. 
  2. ^ Morello, Carol (March 2, 2017). "National Security That drip-drip is the sound of two more senior diplomats leaving Foggy Bottom". Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017.  line feed character in |title= at position 18 (help)
  3. ^ a b "Assistant Secretaries of State for African Affairs". Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Snyder, Charles R.". Retrieved 12 June 2017.