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United States Ambassador to the United Nations

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.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the Department of State
Flag of a United States ambassador.svg
Jonathan R. Cohen official photo.jpg
Jonathan Cohen

since January 1, 2019
United States Department of State
StyleMr. Ambassador
His Excellency
Member ofNational Security Council
Reports toSecretary of State
SeatUnited Nations Headquarters
New York City, New York
AppointerThe President
with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthNo fixed term
FormationDecember 21, 1945; 73 years ago (1945-12-21)
First holderEdward Stettinius Jr.
SalaryExecutive Schedule, level IV
WebsiteUnites States Mission to the United Nations

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16, 2019, after a lengthy period where Nauert had retreated from the public gaze, it was announced that she had withdrawn her name from consideration.[3][4] On February 22, 2019, President Trump nominated Kelly Knight Craft to become the ambassador.[5] The Senate confirmed her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 statusEdit

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 Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations 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 current 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 ambassadorsEdit

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

# Ambassador Years served U.S. President
1   Edward Stettinius Jr. January 17, 1946 – June 3, 1946 Harry Truman
  Herschel Johnson June 3, 1946 – January 14, 1947
2   Warren Austin January 14, 1947 – January 22, 1953
Dwight D. Eisenhower
3   Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. January 26, 1953[12] – September 3, 1960
4   James Jeremiah Wadsworth September 8, 1960 – January 21, 1961
John Kennedy
5   Adlai Stevenson January 23, 1961 – July 14, 1965
Lyndon B. Johnson
6   Arthur Goldberg July 28, 1965 – June 24, 1968
7   George W. Ball June 26, 1968 – September 25, 1968
8   James Russell Wiggins October 7, 1968 – January 20, 1969
9   Charles Yost January 23, 1969 – February 25, 1971 Richard Nixon
10   George H. W. Bush March 1, 1971 – January 18, 1973
11   John A. Scali February 20, 1973 – June 29, 1975
Gerald Ford
12   Daniel Patrick Moynihan June 30, 1975 – February 2, 1976
13   William Scranton March 15, 1976 – January 19, 1977
14   Andrew Young January 30, 1977 – September 23, 1979 Jimmy Carter
15   Donald McHenry September 23, 1979 – January 20, 1981
16   Jeane Kirkpatrick February 4, 1981 – April 1, 1985 Ronald Reagan
17   Vernon A. Walters May 22, 1985 – March 15, 1989
George H. W. Bush
18   Thomas R. Pickering March 20, 1989 – May 7, 1992
19   Edward J. Perkins May 12, 1992 – January 27, 1993
Bill Clinton
20   Madeleine Albright January 27, 1993 – January 21, 1997
21   Bill Richardson February 18, 1997 – August 18, 1998
  Peter Burleigh August 18, 1998 – September 7, 1999
22   Richard Holbrooke September 7, 1999 – January 20, 2001
  James B. Cunningham January 20, 2001 – September 19, 2001
George W. Bush
23   John Negroponte September 19, 2001 – June 23, 2004
24   John Danforth July 23, 2004 – January 20, 2005
  Anne W. Patterson January 20, 2005 – August 2, 2005
25   John R. Bolton August 2, 2005 – December 31, 2006
Recess appointment, not confirmed by the U.S. Senate
  Alejandro Daniel Wolff December 31, 2006 – April 30, 2007
26   Zalmay Khalilzad April 30, 2007 – January 22, 2009
Barack Obama
27   Susan Rice January 26, 2009 – June 30, 2013
  Rosemary DiCarlo June 30, 2013 – August 5, 2013
28   Samantha Power August 5, 2013 – January 20, 2017
  Michele J. Sison January 20, 2017 – January 27, 2017
Donald Trump
29   Nikki Haley January 27, 2017 – December 31, 2018
  Jonathan Cohen January 1, 2019 – present
30   Kelly Craft TBD

Living former U.S. ambassadors to the United NationsEdit

As of August 2019, 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 alsoEdit


  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.

External linksEdit