United States Ambassador to China
|Ambassador of the United States to the People's Republic of China
Seal of the United States Department of State
|Inaugural holder||Leonard Woodcock|
|Formation||March 1, 1979|
|Website||U.S. Embassy - Beijing|
The United States Ambassador to China (simplified Chinese: 美国驻华大使; traditional Chinese: 美國駐華大使; pinyin: Měiguó Zhùhuá dàshǐ) is the chief American diplomat to People's Republic of China (PRC). The United States has sent diplomatic representatives to China since 1844, when Caleb Cushing, as Commissioner, negotiated the Treaty of Wanghia. Commissioners represented the United States in China from 1844 to 1857. Until 1898, the Qing Empire did not have a system in place for the Emperor to accept the Letters of Credence of foreign representatives. From 1858 to 1935, the U.S. representative in China was formally Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to China. The American legation in Nanjing was upgraded to an Embassy in 1935 and the Envoy was promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
During the republican era, the U.S. recognized the Beiyang Government in Beijing from 1912 to 1928 and the Nationalist Government in Nanjing (and Chongqing from 1937 to 1945) from 1928 onwards. After the Communist People's Republic of China was established in mainland China in 1949 and the Kuomintang moved the Republic of China government from Nanjing to Taipei, Taiwan, the U.S. continued to recognize the Republic of China as the legitimate Chinese government and maintained its embassy in Taiwan. However, in 1973, the U.S. established a Liaison Office in Beijing to represent its interests in mainland China. In 1976, the Chief of the Liaison Office was promoted to the rank of Ambassador. In December 1978, the U.S. severed official relations with the Republic of China and in January 1979, established formal relations with the People's Republic of China. The U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing was upgraded to an embassy on March 1, 1979. The American Institute in Taiwan was established in 1979 to serve as the unofficial U.S. representative to Taiwan, with the director of its Taipei Office taking the role of a de facto ambassador. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. served as U.S. Ambassador to China from 2009 until April 30, 2011. On March 7, 2011, President Obama announced his intention to nominate Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as Huntsman's replacement. Locke's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 27, 2011 by unanimous consent.
On December 18, 2013, Politico reported that the White House had selected United States Senator Max Sieben Baucus to be the next Ambassador. On February 6, 2014, the Senate voted and confirmed Max Baucus to be Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
Representation is as follows (years refer to dates of actual service):
- Commissioner to the Great Qing Empire: 1843 to 1857
- Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Great Qing Empire: 1858 to 1912
Republic of China:
- Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Republic of China: 1913 to 1935
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of China: 1935 to 1979
- Director of the Taipei Office of the American Institute in Taiwan: 1979 to present
People's Republic of China
- Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China: 1973 to 1979
- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the People's Republic of China: 1979 to present
List of Envoys to the Qing Empire
|Caleb Cushing||Massachusetts||May 8, 1843||August 27, 1844|
|Alexander Hill Everett||Massachusetts||March 13, 1845||June 28, 1847|
|John W. Davis||Indiana||January 3, 1848||May 25, 1850|
|Humphrey Marshall||Kentucky||August 4, 1852||January 27, 1854|
|Robert Milligan McLane||Maryland||October 18, 1853||December 12, 1854|
|Peter Parker||Massachusetts||August 16, 1855||August 25, 1857|
|William B. Reed||Pennsylvania||April 18, 1857||November 11, 1858|
|John E. Ward||Georgia||December 15, 1858||December 15, 1860|
|Anson Burlingame||Massachusetts||June 14, 1861||November 21, 1867|
|John Ross Browne||California||March 11, 1868||July 5, 1869|
|Frederick F. Low||California||September 28, 1869||July 24, 1873|
|Benjamin Avery||California||April 10, 1874||November 8, 1875|
|George Seward||California||January 7, 1876||August 16, 1880|
|James Burrill Angell||Michigan||April 9, 1880||October 4, 1881|
|John Russell Young||New York||March 15, 1882||April 7, 1885|
|Charles Harvey Denby||Indiana||May 29, 1885||July 8, 1898|
|Edwin H. Conger||Iowa||July 8, 1898||April 4, 1905|
|William Woodville Rockhill||District of Columbia||March 8, 1905||June 1, 1909|
|William James Calhoun||Illinois||December 21, 1909||February 16, 1913|
List of Envoys to the Republic of China
|Paul Reinsch||Wisconsin||August 15, 1913||September 15, 1919|
|Charles R. Crane||Illinois||March 22, 1920||July 2, 1921|
|Jacob Gould Schurman||New York||June 2, 1921||April 15, 1925|
|John MacMurray||New Jersey||April 9, 1925||November 22, 1929|
List of Ambassadors to the Republic of China
|Nelson T. Johnson||Oklahoma||December 16, 1929||May 14, 1941|
|Clarence E. Gauss||Connecticut||February 11, 1941||November 14, 1944|
|Patrick J. Hurley||Oklahoma||November 30, 1944||September 22, 1945|
|John Leighton Stuart||Zhejiang Province||July 12, 1946||August 2, 1949|
The Communists took the Nationalist capital of Nanjing in April 1949, but Stuart was not recalled from China until August 1949. The United States did not recognize the new government of the People's Republic of China upon its founding in October 1949. The Consulate in Taipei was upgraded to an embassy in 1953, and therefore the Ambassador to China maintained residence at Taipei, Taiwan, in the Republic of China until relations were severed in 1979. (See: Former American Consulate in Taipei)
|Karl L. Rankin||Maine||February 27, 1953||December 30, 1957|
|Everett Drumright||Oklahoma||February 17, 1958||March 8, 1962|
|Alan G. Kirk||New York||June 7, 1962||January 18, 1963|
|Jerauld Wright||District of Columbia||May 3, 1963||July 25, 1965|
|Walter McConaughy||Alabama||June 16, 1966||April 4, 1974|
|Leonard S. Unger||Maryland||March 14, 1974||January 19, 1979|
For a list of de facto U.S. Ambassadors to Taiwan since 1979, see list of AIT Directors at American Institute in Taiwan.
List of chiefs of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing
Between May 1973 and March 1979 prior to the official establishment of diplomatic relations, the United States dispatched a head of U.S. Liaison Office in Peking (now Beijing).
|David K. E. Bruce||Virginia||March 15, 1973||September 25, 1974|
|George H. W. Bush||Texas||September 26, 1974||December 7, 1975|
|Thomas S. Gates, Jr.||Pennsylvania||April 14, 1976||May 8, 1977|
|Leonard Woodcock||Michigan||July 11, 1977||March 1, 1979|
List of Ambassadors to the People's Republic of China
The United States established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and terminated them with the Republic of China, on January 1, 1979. The American Embassy at Taipei closed February 28, 1979, while the American Liaison Office at Beijing was redesignated the American Embassy on March 1, 1979.
|Leonard Woodcock||Michigan||February 27, 1979||February 13, 1981|
|Arthur W. Hummel, Jr.||Maryland||July 30, 1981||September 24, 1985|
|Winston Lord||New York||November 6, 1985||April 23, 1989|
|James Lilley||Maryland||April 20, 1989||May 10, 1991|
|J. Stapleton Roy||Pennsylvania||July 2, 1991||June 17, 1995|
|Jim Sasser||Tennessee||February 14, 1996||July 1, 1999|
|Joseph Prueher||Tennessee||November 16, 1999||May 1, 2001|
|Clark T. Randt, Jr.||Connecticut||July 12, 2001||January 20, 2009|
|Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.||Utah||August 11, 2009||April 30, 2011|
|Gary Locke||Washington||August 1, 2011||February 21, 2014|
|Max Baucus||Montana||March 20, 2014|
- Diplomatic relations with China interrupted on February 12, 1912 upon the abdication of Puyi.
- Diplomatic relations with Beijing's Beiyang government terminated and recognition given to Nanjing's National Government on October 1, 1928.
- Upon normalization of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, Leonard Woodcock was promoted from Liaison to Ambassador in the new Embassy.
- United States Department of State: Background notes on China
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).