United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom

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Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom
Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James's
US Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Flag of a United States ambassador.svg
Lewis Lukens ambassador 2011.jpg
Lewis Lukens
as Chargé d'affaires ad interim

since January 18, 2017
U.S. Department of State
Embassy of the United States, London
Style His Excellency (Formal)
Mr. Ambassador (Informal)
Reports to U.S. Secretary of State
Residence Winfield House
Seat London, United Kingdom
Appointer The President
with the advice and consent of the Senate
Term length At the pleasure of the President
No fixed term
Inaugural holder John Adams
as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James's
Formation 1785
Deputy Consul General
Daniel James Lawton
(As Deputy Chief of Mission is currently serving as Chargé d'affaires a.i.)
Website US Embassy – London

The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (known formally in the United Kingdom as Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James's) is the official representative of the President and the Government of the United States of America to the Queen and Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The position is regarded as one of the most prestigious positions in the United States Foreign Service due to the so-called "Special Relationship",[1] the ambassadorship has been held by various notable politicians, including five who would later become presidents: John Adams, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan. However, the modern tendency of American presidents (of both parties) is to appoint keen political fundraisers from previous presidential campaigns, despite the importance and prestige of the office.[citation needed]

The ambassador and the embassy staff at large work at the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London. The official residence of the ambassador is Winfield House in Regent's Park.

The post of ambassador is currently vacant; however, President Trump has nominated Woody Johnson as his choice for the post. On June 26, 2017, Johnson's name was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.[2][3] Lewis Lukens is currently serving as Chargé d'affaires ad interim until Johnson is approved by the Senate, the most recent Ambassador was Matthew Barzun.


The ambassador's main duty is to present U.S. policies to the Government of the United Kingdom and people and to report British policies and views to the Federal government of the United States. He serves as a primary channel of communication between the two nations and plays an important role in treaty negotiations.

The ambassador is the head of the United States's consular service in the United Kingdom, as well as directing diplomatic activity in support of trade, he is ultimately responsible for visa services and for the provision of consular support to American citizens in the UK. He also oversees cultural relations between the two countries.

Ambassadors who later became U.S. presidents[edit]

List of U.S. Chiefs of Mission to the Court of St. James[edit]

Ministers (1785–1811)[edit]

Name Portrait Appointment Presentation Termination Appointer Notes
Adams, JohnJohn Adams US Navy 031029-N-6236G-001 A painting of President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845)-crop.jpg February 24, 1785 June 1, 1785 February 20, 1788   Congress Left post [a]
Pinckney, ThomasThomas Pinckney Thomas Pinckney.jpg January 12, 1792 August 9, 1792 July 27, 1796   Washington, GeorgeGeorge Washington Left post
King, RufusRufus King Rufus King - National Portrait Gallery.JPG May 20, 1796 July 27, 1796 May 16, 1803 Left post
Monroe, JamesJames Monroe James Monroe by John Vanderlyn, 1816 - DSC03228.JPG 1803 August 17, 1803 October 7, 1807   Jefferson, ThomasThomas Jefferson Left post
Pinkney, WilliamWilliam Pinkney Williampinkney (1).jpg February 26, 1808 April 27, 1808 May 7, 1811 Left post
Russell, JonathanJonathan Russell July 27, 1811 November 15, 1811 June 18, 1812 Madison, JamesJames Madison Left post [b]

Ministers (1815–1893)[edit]

Diplomatic relations with Great Britain were restored after the War of 1812, the Congress of Vienna (1815) established a uniform system of diplomatic rank. As a republic, the United States maintained diplomatic relations with Great Britain at the second-highest rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary. The rank was colloquially known as Minister, and the position continued to be referred to as "United States Minister to Great Britain."

Name Portrait Appointment Presentation Termination Appointer Notes
Adams, John QuincyJohn Quincy Adams George P.A. Healy - John Quincy Adams - Google Art Project.jpg April 28, 1814 June 8, 1815 May 14, 1817   Madison, JamesJames Madison Left post
Rush, RichardRichard Rush Richard Rush engraving.png 1817 February 12, 1818 April 27, 1825 Monroe, JamesJames Monroe Left post
King, RufusRufus King Rufus King - National Portrait Gallery.JPG May 5, 1825 November 11, 1825 June 16, 1826 Adams, John QuincyJohn Quincy Adams Left post
Gallatin, AlbertAlbert Gallatin AlbertGallatin.jpeg May 10, 1826 September 1, 1826 October 4, 1827 Left post
Barbour, JamesJames Barbour BarbourT.jpg May 23, 1828 November 24, 1828 October 1, 1829 Left post
McLane, LouisLouis McLane LMcLane.jpg 1829 October 12, 1829 June 13, 1831   Jackson, AndrewAndrew Jackson Left post
Van Buren, MartinMartin Van Buren Martin Van Buren by Mathew Brady c1855-58.jpg August 8, 1831 September 21, 1831 March 19, 1832 Left post
Vail, AaronAaron Vail July 13, 1832 July 13, 1836 Left post [c]
Stevenson, AndrewAndrew Stevenson SpeakerStevenson.png March 16, 1836 July 13, 1836 October 21, 1841 Left post
Everett, EdwardEdward Everett Edward Everett.png 1841 December 16, 1841 August 8, 1845   Harrison, William HenryWilliam Henry Harrison Left post
McLane, LouisLouis McLane LMcLane.jpg 1845 August 8, 1845 August 18, 1846   Polk, James K.James K. Polk Left post
Bancroft, GeorgeGeorge Bancroft George Bancroft United States Secretary of Navy c. 1860.jpg September 9, 1846 November 12, 1846 August 31, 1849 Left post
Lawrence, AbbottAbbott Lawrence Abbott Lawrence.jpg August 20, 1849 October 20, 1849 October 12, 1852   Taylor, ZacharyZachary Taylor Left post
Ingersoll, Joseph R.Joseph R. Ingersoll Appletons' Ingersoll Jared - Joseph Reed.jpg August 21, 1852 October 16, 1852 August 23, 1853 Fillmore, MillardMillard Fillmore Left post
Buchanan, JamesJames Buchanan James Buchanan.jpg August 20, 1849 August 23, 1853 March 15, 1856   Pierce, FranklinFranklin Pierce Left post
Dallas, George M.George M. Dallas George Mifflin Dallas 1848.jpg February 4, 1856 April 4, 1856 May 16, 1861 Left post
Adams Sr., Charles FrancisCharles Francis Adams Sr. Charles Francis Adams.jpg March 20, 1861 May 16, 1861 May 13, 1868   Lincoln, AbrahamAbraham Lincoln Left post
Johnson, ReverdyReverdy Johnson Reverdy Johnson.jpg June 12, 1868 September 14, 1868 May 13, 1869   Johnson, AndrewAndrew Johnson Left post
Motley, John LothropJohn Lothrop Motley John Lothrop Motley - Brady-Handy.jpg April 13, 1869 June 18, 1869 December 6, 1870   Grant, Ulysses S.Ulysses S. Grant Left post
Schenck, Robert C.Robert C. Schenck Robert C. Schenck.jpg December 22, 1870 June 23, 1871 March 3, 1876 Left post
Pierrepont, EdwardsEdwards Pierrepont Edwards Pierrepont Brady-Handy.tif May 22, 1876 July 11, 1876 December 22, 1877 Left post
Welsh, JohnJohn Welsh John Welsh 1805-1886.jpg November 9, 1877 December 22, 1877 August 14, 1879 Hayes, Rutherford B.Rutherford B. Hayes Left post
Lowell, James RussellJames Russell Lowell James Russell Lowell - 1855.jpg January 26, 1880 March 11, 1880 May 19, 1885 Left post
Phelps, Edward JohnEdward John Phelps Professor Edward J Phelps.jpg March 23, 1885 May 19, 1885 January 31, 1889   Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland Left post
Lincoln, Robert ToddRobert Todd Lincoln Robert Todd Lincoln - Harris and Ewing.jpg March 30, 1889 May 25, 1889 May 4, 1893   Harrison, BenjaminBenjamin Harrison Left post

Ambassadors (1893–present)[edit]

Although France became a republic in 1870, the country continued to exchange ambassadors with other Great Powers; in 1893, the United States followed the French precedent and upgraded its relations with other Great Powers to the ambassadorial level. The United States Legation in London became the United States Embassy, and the United States Minister to Great Britain became the United States Ambassador to Great Britain.

Name Portrait Appointment Presentation Termination Appointer Notes
Bayard, Thomas F.Thomas F. Bayard Thomas F. Bayard, Brady-Handy photo portrait, circa 1870-1880.jpg 1893 June 22, 1893 March 17, 1897   Cleveland, GroverGrover Cleveland Left post
Hay, JohnJohn Hay John Hay, bw photo portrait, 1897.jpg 1897 May 3, 1897 September 12, 1898   McKinley, WilliamWilliam McKinley Left post
Choate, Joseph HodgesJoseph Hodges Choate Joseph Hodges Choate cph.3b35057.jpg January 19, 1899 March 6, 1899 May 23, 1905 Left post
Reid, WhitelawWhitelaw Reid Whitelaw Reid.jpg March 8, 1905 June 5, 1905 December 15, 1912 Roosevelt, TheodoreTheodore Roosevelt Died in office
Page, Walter HinesWalter Hines Page Walter Hines Page in 1917.jpg April 21, 1913 May 30, 1913 October 3, 1918   Wilson, WoodrowWoodrow Wilson Left post
Davis, John W.John W. Davis John William Davis.jpg November 21, 1918 December 18, 1918 March 9, 1921 Left post
Harvey, George Brinton McClellanGeorge Brinton McClellan Harvey George Brinton McClellan Harvey (crop).jpg April 16, 1921 May 12, 1921 November 3, 1923   Harding, Warren G.Warren G. Harding Left post
Kellogg, Frank B.Frank B. Kellogg FrankKellogg.jpg 1924 January 14, 1924 February 10, 1925 Coolidge, CalvinCalvin Coolidge Left post
Houghton, Alanson B.Alanson B. Houghton AlansonBHoughton.jpg February 24, 1925 April 27, 1925 March 28, 1929 Left post
Dawes, Charles G.Charles G. Dawes Chas G Dawes-H&E.jpg April 16, 1929 June 15, 1929 December 30, 1931 Hoover, HerbertHerbert Hoover Left post
Mellon, Andrew W.Andrew W. Mellon AWMellon.jpg February 5, 1932 April 9, 1932 March 17, 1933 Left post
Bingham, Robert WorthRobert Worth Bingham Robert-Worth-Bingham.jpg March 23, 1933 May 23, 1933 November 19, 1937   Roosevelt, Franklin D.Franklin D. Roosevelt Left post
Kennedy, Joseph P.Joseph P. Kennedy Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. 1938.jpg January 17, 1938 March 8, 1938 October 22, 1940 Left post
Winant, John G.John G. Winant John Gilbert Winant.jpg February 11, 1941 March 1, 1941 April 10, 1946 Left post
Harriman, W. AverellW. Averell Harriman William Averell Harriman.jpg April 2, 1946 April 30, 1946 October 1, 1946 Truman, Harry S.Harry S. Truman Left post
Douglas, Lewis W.Lewis W. Douglas Lewis Williams Douglas.jpg March 6, 1947 March 25, 1947 November 16, 1950 Left post
Gifford, Walter S.Walter S. Gifford Walter Sherman Gifford in 1925.jpg December 12, 1950 December 21, 1950 January 23, 1953 Left post
Aldrich, Winthrop W.Winthrop W. Aldrich February 2, 1953 February 20, 1953 February 1, 1957   Eisenhower, Dwight D.Dwight D. Eisenhower Left post
Whitney, John HayJohn Hay Whitney February 11, 1957 February 28, 1957 January 14, 1961 Left post
Bruce, David K. E.David K. E. Bruce February 22, 1961 March 17, 1961 March 20, 1969   Kennedy, John F.John F. Kennedy Left post
Annenberg, WalterWalter Annenberg Walter Annenberg 1981.jpg March 14, 1969 April 29, 1969 October 30, 1974   Nixon, RichardRichard Nixon Left post
Richardson, ElliotElliot Richardson ElliotLeeRichardson.jpg February 20, 1975 March 21, 1975 January 16, 1976 Ford, GeraldGerald Ford Left post
Armstrong, AnneAnne Armstrong Anne Armstrong 1982.jpg January 29, 1976 March 17, 1976 March 3, 1977 Left post
Brewster, Jr., KingmanKingman Brewster, Jr. April 29, 1977 June 3, 1977 February 23, 1981   Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Left post
Louis, Jr., John J.John J. Louis, Jr. John Louis and Ronald Reagan in 1981.jpg May 7, 1981 May 27, 1981 November 7, 1983   Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan Left post
Price II, Charles H.Charles H. Price II Charles H Price II.jpg November 11, 1983 December 20, 1983 February 28, 1989 Left post
Catto, Jr., Henry E.Henry E. Catto, Jr. Henry Catto.jpg April 14, 1989 May 17, 1989 March 13, 1991 Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush Left post
Seitz, Raymond G. H.Raymond G. H. Seitz April 25, 1991 June 25, 1991 May 10, 1994 Left post
Crowe, Jr., William J.William J. Crowe, Jr. Adm William Crowe Jr.JPG May 13, 1994 June 2, 1994 September 20, 1997   Clinton, BillBill Clinton Left post
Lader, PhilipPhilip Lader August 1, 1997 September 22, 1997 February 28, 2001 Left post
Farish III, William S.William S. Farish III Ambassador Farish.jpg July 12, 2001 August 1, 2001 June 11, 2004   Bush, George W.George W. Bush Left post
Tuttle, Robert H.Robert H. Tuttle Robert Holmes Tuttle.jpg July 9, 2005 October 19, 2005 February 6, 2009 Left post
Susman, LouisLouis Susman Louis Susman US State Dept photo.jpg July 13, 2009 October 13, 2009 April 3, 2013   Obama, BarackBarack Obama Left post
Barzun, MatthewMatthew Barzun Matthew Winthrop Barzun.jpg August 6, 2013 December 4, 2013 January 18, 2017[5] Left post.[6] Lewis Lukens became the chargé d'affaires.
Woody Johnson Woody Johnson.jpg January 19, 2017[7] TBC   Donald Trump Confirmed by Senate

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Adams became so frustrated with his cool reception at the court that he closed the legation in 1788 and the post remained vacant for four years.[4]
  2. ^ From 1811 to the outbreak of the War of 1812, chargé d'affaires Johnathan Russell was the chief United States officer in London. The United States severed relations with the United Kingdom on the outbreak of the War of 1812 – Normal relations were restored in 1815.[4]
  3. ^ Chargé d'affaires


  1. ^ Collier, Peter; Horowitz, David (2002). The Kennedys: An American Drama. p. 6. 
  2. ^ Borger, Julian (January 19, 2016). "New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to be US ambassador to UK". The Guardian. Retrieved January 20, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Tracking how many key positions Trump has filled so far". Washington Post. July 14, 2017. Retrieved 17 July 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "United Kingdom". Diplomatic History of the United States. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Biography of Ambassador Matthew W. Barzun". U.S. Embassy & Consulates in the United Kingdom. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ Davis, Julie Hirschfeld (5 January 2017). "In Break With Precedent, Obama Envoys Are Denied Extensions Past Inauguration Day". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "Who is Woody Johnson, Trump's new ambassador to the UK?". RT International. Retrieved January 20, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Alison R. Holmes and J. Simon Rofe, The Embassy in Grosvenor Square: American Ambassadors to the United Kingdom, 1938–2008. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

External links[edit]