List of ambassadors of the United States to Lesotho

This is a list of ambassadors of the United States to Lesotho.

Ambassador of the United States to Lesotho
US Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Rebecca E. Gonzales.jpg
Rebecca Gonzales

since February 8, 2018
NominatorThe President of the United States
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Inaugural holderRichard St. F. Post
as Chargé d'affaires ad interim
FormationOctober 4, 1966

Prior to 1965, the area of southern Africa that is now Lesotho was a Crown colony by the name of Basutoland. Along with most of the empire's other colonies and protectorates, Basutoland gained full independence from Britain in the 1960s. The nation was granted full autonomy on April 30, 1965. On October 4, 1966, Basutoland was granted independence, governed by a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament. At the same time the name of the country was changed to The Kingdom of Lesotho.

The United States immediately recognized Lesotho after the nation gained its independence. An embassy in Maseru was established on October 4, 1966, Lesotho's independence day. Richard St. F. Post was appointed as chargé d'affaires ad interim pending the arrival of an ambassador. The first ambassador, Charles J. Nelson was appointed on June 9, 1971. Until 1979 one ambassador was accredited to Lesotho, Swaziland, and Botswana. The ambassador was resident in Gaborone, Botswana.


U.S. diplomatic terms

Career FSO
After 1915, The United States Department of State began classifying ambassadors as career Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) for those who have served in the Foreign Service for a specified amount of time.

Political appointee
A person who is not a career foreign service officer, but is appointed by the president (often as a reward to political friends).

The date that the ambassador took the oath of office; also known as “commissioning”. It follows confirmation of a presidential appointment by the Senate, or a Congressional recess appointment by the president. In the case of a recess appointment, the ambassador requires subsequent confirmation by the Senate to remain in office.

Presented credentials
The date that the ambassador presented his letter of credence to the head of state or appropriate authority of the receiving nation. At this time the ambassador officially becomes the representative of his country. This would normally occur a short time after the ambassador’s arrival on station. The host nation may reject the ambassador by not receiving the ambassador’s letter, but this occurs only rarely.

Terminated mission
Usually the date that the ambassador left the country. In some cases a letter of recall is presented, ending the ambassador’s commission, either as a means of diplomatic protest or because the diplomat is being reassigned elsewhere and replaced by another envoy.

Chargé d'affaires
The person in charge of the business of the embassy when there is no ambassador commissioned to the host country.

Ad interim
Latin phrase meaning "for the time being", "in the meantime".
  • Note: Pending appointment of the first ambassador, the following officers served as chargé d'affaires ad interim: Richard St. F. Post (October 1966–July 1968), Norman E. Barth (July 1968–August 1969), and Stephen G. Gebelt (October 1969–December 1970).
Name Title Appointed Presented Credentials Terminated Mission Notes
Charles J. Nelson – Career FSO[1] Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary June 9, 1971 September 23, 1971 Left Gaborone, March 2, 1974
David B. Bolen – Career FSO[1] February 28, 1974 April 25, 1974 Left Gaborone, August 11, 1976
Donald R. Norland – Career FSO[1][2] November 17, 1976 January 6, 1977 Left Gaborone, October 6, 1979 Beginning in 1979, the ambassador was accredited solely to Lesotho and resident in Maseru.
John R. Clingerman – Career FSO September 28, 1979 November 1, 1979 November 15, 1981
Keith Lapham Brown – Political appointee March 9, 1982 March 25, 1982 December 1, 1983
Shirley Abbott – Political appointee May 11, 1984 July 3, 1984 July 7, 1989
Robert M. Smalley – Political appointee June 15, 1987 July 2, 1987 July 7, 1989
Leonard H. O. Spearman – Political appointee October 22, 1990 January 24, 1991 April 25, 1993 Karl Hoffmann served as chargé d'affaires ad interim, April 1993–April 1995.
Bismarck Myrick – Career FSO March 4, 1995 April 27, 1995 June 10, 1998
Katherine Canavan – Career FSO June 29, 1998 September 18, 1998 June 1, 2001
Robert Geers Loftis – Career FSO August 6, 2001 October 11, 2001 June 18, 2004
June Carter Perry – Career FSO July 2, 2004 September 23, 2004 2007[3]
Robert B. Nolan – Career FSO September 26, 2007 October 10, 2007 September 3, 2010[4]
Michele T. Bond – Career FSO September 14, 2010 October 28, 2010 2012[5]
Matthew T. Harrington – Career FSO September 22, 2014 October 18, 2014 January 20, 2017
Rebecca Gonzales – Career FSO November 16, 2017 February 8, 2018 Incumbent


  1. ^ a b c Accredited to Lesotho, Swaziland, and Botswana; resident at Gaborone.
  2. ^ Norland was commissioned during a recess of the Senate and recommissioned after confirmation on June 24, 1977.
  3. ^ "June Carter Perry". US Department of State. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  4. ^ "Nolan, Robert". US Department of State. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  5. ^ "Bond, Michele Thoren". US Department of State. Archived from the original on 2013-10-13. Retrieved 2014-04-01.

See alsoEdit


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