United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Last updated
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
US Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the Department of State
Flag of a United States ambassador.svg
Kelly Knight Craft (cropped).jpg
Kelly Craft

since September 12, 2019
United States Department of State
Style Madam Ambassador
Her Excellency
Member of National Security Council
Reports to Secretary of State
Seat United Nations Headquarters
New York City, New York
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
FormationDecember 21, 1945;74 years ago (1945-12-21)
First holder Edward Stettinius Jr.
Salary Executive Schedule, level IV
Website usun.usmission.gov

The United States ambassador to the United Nations is the leader of the U.S. delegation, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. The position is more formally known as the "Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations"; it is also known as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. There is also a deputy ambassador who assumes the duties of the ambassador in his or her absence. Like all United States ambassadors, the ambassador to the UN and the deputy ambassador are nominated by the U.S. president and confirmed by the Senate. The ambassador serves at the pleasure of the president.


The U.S. permanent representative is charged with representing the United States on the U.N. Security Council and during almost all plenary meetings of the General Assembly, except in the rare situation in which a more senior officer of the United States (such as the U.S. secretary of state or the president of the United States) is present.

Jonathan Cohen, the deputy permanent representative since June 8, 2018, a career diplomat, became the acting U.S. ambassador on January 1, 2019, after the resignation of Nikki Haley came into effect. On December 7, 2018, President Donald Trump named Heather Nauert to become the permanent ambassador, subject to Senate confirmation. [1] [2] On February 16, 2019, after a lengthy period where Nauert had retreated from the public gaze, it was announced that she had withdrawn her name from consideration. [3] [4] On February 22, 2019, President Trump nominated Kelly Knight Craft to become the ambassador. [5] The Senate confirmed her nomination on July 31, 2019. [6]

Cabinet status

Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., a leading moderate Republican who lost his seat in the United States Senate to John F. Kennedy in the 1952 elections, was appointed ambassador to the United Nations in 1953 by Dwight D. Eisenhower in gratitude for the defeated senator's role in the new president's defeat of conservative leader Robert A. Taft for the 1952 Republican nomination and subsequent service as his campaign manager in the general election; Eisenhower raised the ambassadorship to cabinet rank in order to give Lodge direct access to him without having to go through the State Department. [7]

The ambassadorship continued to hold this status through the Reagan administration but was removed from cabinet rank by George H. W. Bush, who had previously held the position himself. It was restored under the Clinton administration. It was not a cabinet-level position under the George W. Bush administration (from 2001 to 2009), [8] [9] but was once again elevated under the Obama administration, and retained as such by the Trump administration. [10]

Former UN ambassador and national security advisor John R. Bolton has publicly opposed the granting of cabinet-level status to the office, stating "One, it overstates the role and importance the U.N. should have in U.S. foreign policy, second, you shouldn't have two secretaries in the same department".

In December 2018, it was reported by several news organizations that along with the nomination of Heather Nauert to replace Nikki Haley, the Trump administration would once again downgrade the position to non-Cabinet rank. [11]

List of ambassadors

The following is a chronological list of those who have held the office:

#AmbassadorYears served U.S. President
1 Edward Stettinius, as lend-lease administrator, September 2, 1941.jpg Edward Stettinius Jr. January 17, 1946 – June 3, 1946 Harry Truman
No image.svg Herschel Johnson June 3, 1946 – January 14, 1947
2 Austin Warren Robinson.jpg Warren Austin January 14, 1947 – January 22, 1953
Dwight D. Eisenhower
3 HenryCabotLodgeJr.jpg Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. January 26, 1953 [12] – September 3, 1960
4 JamesJeremiahWadsworth.jpg James Jeremiah Wadsworth September 8, 1960 – January 21, 1961
John Kennedy
5 AdlaiEStevenson1900-1965.jpg Adlai Stevenson January 23, 1961 – July 14, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
6 Arthur goldberg.jpg Arthur Goldberg July 28, 1965 – June 24, 1968
7 GeorgeWildmanBall.jpg George W. Ball June 26, 1968 – September 25, 1968
8 JamesWiggins.jpg James Russell Wiggins October 7, 1968 – January 20, 1969
9 AmbassadorCWYost.jpg Charles Yost January 23, 1969 – February 25, 1971 Richard Nixon
10 George H. W. Bush 91st Congress.jpg George H. W. Bush March 1, 1971 – January 18, 1973
11 John Scali.jpg John A. Scali February 20, 1973 – June 29, 1975
Gerald Ford
12 DanielPatrickMoynihan.jpg Daniel Patrick Moynihan June 30, 1975 – February 2, 1976
13 Wm Scranton Pennsylvania 87th Cong.png William Scranton March 15, 1976 – January 19, 1977
14 Andrew Young, bw head-and-shoulders photo, June 6, 1977.jpg Andrew Young January 30, 1977 – September 23, 1979 Jimmy Carter
15 UnitedNationsAmbassadorMcHenry.jpg Donald McHenry September 23, 1979 – January 20, 1981
16 Od jeane-kirkpatrick-official-portrait 1-255x301.jpg Jeane Kirkpatrick February 4, 1981 – April 1, 1985 Ronald Reagan
17 Ambassador Vernon A. Walters.jpg Vernon A. Walters May 22, 1985 – March 15, 1989
George H. W. Bush
18 ThomasRPickering.jpg Thomas R. Pickering March 20, 1989 – May 7, 1992
19 Ambassador Perkins.jpg Edward J. Perkins May 12, 1992 – January 27, 1993
Bill Clinton
20 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.jpg Madeleine Albright January 27, 1993 – January 21, 1997
21 RichardsonAmb.jpg Bill Richardson February 18, 1997 – August 18, 1998
Peter Burleigh.jpg Peter Burleigh August 18, 1998 – September 7, 1999
22 Richard Holbrooke.jpg Richard Holbrooke September 7, 1999 – January 20, 2001
James B Cunningham.jpg James B. Cunningham January 20, 2001 – September 19, 2001
George W. Bush
23 John Negroponte official portrait State.jpg John Negroponte September 19, 2001 – June 23, 2004
24 John danforth.JPG John Danforth July 23, 2004 – January 20, 2005
Anne W Patterson ambassador 2011.jpg Anne W. Patterson January 20, 2005 – August 2, 2005
25 John R. Bolton official photo.jpg John R. Bolton August 2, 2005 – December 31, 2006
Recess appointment, not confirmed by the U.S. Senate
Alejandro D. Wolff US State Dept photo.jpg Alejandro Daniel Wolff December 31, 2006 – April 30, 2007
26 Zalmay Khalilzad in October 2011-cropped.jpg Zalmay Khalilzad April 30, 2007 – January 22, 2009
Barack Obama
27 Susan Rice official photo.jpg Susan Rice January 26, 2009 – June 30, 2013
Rosemary DiCarlo official portrait.jpg Rosemary DiCarlo June 30, 2013 – August 5, 2013
28 Samantha Power.jpg Samantha Power August 5, 2013 – January 20, 2017
Michele J Sison.jpg Michele J. Sison January 20, 2017 – January 27, 2017
Donald Trump
29 Nikki Haley official photo (cropped).jpg Nikki Haley January 27, 2017 – December 31, 2018
Jonathan R. Cohen official photo.jpg Jonathan Cohen January 1, 2019 – September 12, 2019
30 Kelly Knight Craft (cropped).jpg Kelly Craft September 12, 2019 – present

Living former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations

As of March 2020, there are twelve living former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations (with all ambassadors that have served since 2001 still living), the oldest being Edward J. Perkins (served 1992–1993, born 1928). The most recent ambassador to die was George H. W. Bush (served 1971–1973, born 1924), on November 30, 2018. The most recently serving ambassador to die was Richard Holbrooke (served 1999–2001, born 1941), on December 13, 2010.

See also


  1. "Trump picks Heather Nauert as new US envoy to UN". BBC News. December 7, 2018. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  2. Santucci, John (December 7, 2018). "Trump says he'll nominate Heather Nauert as UN ambassador". ABC News. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  3. After nearly 2 months, there's no sign of urgency to confirm Trump's UN pick
  4. Jennifer Jacobs; Nick Wadhams; Margaret Talev (2019-02-16). "Nauert Says She'll Withdraw as Trump's Nominee for UN Ambassador". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  5. Trump, Donald J. (2019-02-22). "I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft, our current Ambassador to Canada, is being nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations..." @realdonaldtrump. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  6. On the Nomination (Confirmation: Kelly Craft, of Kentucky, to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations and Representative to the Security Council), United States Senate, July 31, 2019
  7. Hubbard, James P. (2011). The United States and the End of British Colonial Rule in Africa, 1941–1968. Jefferson City, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 172. ISBN   978-0-7864-5952-0.
  8. Kelemen, Michele (December 1, 2008). "U.N. Envoy Nominee Rice Known As Smart, Tough". National Public Radio. Retrieved January 21, 2009. The head of the United Nations Foundation, a Washington-based advocacy group, released a statement praising Rice as well as Obama's decision to make the post of U.N. ambassador a Cabinet-level position once again—as it was during the Clinton years.
  9. Cooper, Helene (November 20, 2008). "Clinton Decision Holding Up Other Obama Choices". New York Times. Retrieved February 9, 2009. Ms. Rice could get the post of United States ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-level position under President Clinton. President Bush downgraded the position when he came into office
  10. Walker, Hunter. "President Trump announces his full Cabinet roster." Yahoo News. 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  11. Kristen Welker; Geoff Bennett; Daniel Barnes (2018-12-07). "U.N. ambassador to no longer be Cabinet-level position". NBC News . Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  12. Chesly Manly (January 27, 1953). "Lodge Asks FBI to Screen All U.S. Aids [sic] on U.N." Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune Press Service.

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