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
Max Baucus

since March 20, 2014
Residence Beijing
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: 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.[1] 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):

Qing Empire:

Republic of China:

People's Republic of China

List of Envoys to the Qing Empire

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
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[2]

List of Envoys to the Republic of China

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
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[3]

List of Ambassadors to the Republic of China

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
Nelson T. Johnson Oklahoma December 16, 1929 May 14, 1941
Clarence E. Gauss ConnecticutFebruary 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)

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
Karl L. RankinMaine 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).

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
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[4]

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.

Name Home State Appointed Terminated
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 WashingtonAugust 1, 2011 February 21, 2014
Max Baucus MontanaMarch 20, 2014 Incumbent


  1. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/max-baucus-ambassador-china-101300.html
  2. Diplomatic relations with China interrupted on February 12, 1912 upon the abdication of Puyi.
  3. Diplomatic relations with Beijing's Beiyang government terminated and recognition given to Nanjing's National Government on October 1, 1928.
  4. Upon normalization of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, Leonard Woodcock was promoted from Liaison to Ambassador in the new Embassy.

See also


External links

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