“In the Interest of the Efficiency of the Foreign Service”: Changes in U.S. Diplomatic Representation Abroad After the Election of 1944

Today’s post is written by David Langbart, an Archivist in the Textual Records Division at the National Archives at College Park.

An earlier post discussed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to request the formal resignation of all chiefs of U.S. diplomatic missions overseas (ambassadors and ministers), both career and non-career, after the election of 1940 and what led to that action. A similar directive went out after the election of 1944.

On November 10, three days after the election, Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, referring to the 1940 telegram, asked President Roosevelt if he wanted to follow the same practice. FDR “said he thought it would be wise.” As a result, the Department of State sent the following telegram:[1]

121.4 [11-1944.1] Circular to All Chiefs of Mission, Nov. 14, 1944
A review of diplomatic representation to the countries with which the United States had diplomatic relations in 1944 reveals the following personnel changes in the period November 1944 through March 1945:

Country Notes
Afghanistan February 1945. Ely E. Palmer appointed minister to replace Cornelius Van H. Engert.[2]
Argentina No change.
Australia No change.
Belgium No change.
Bolivia No change.
Brazil January 1945. Adolph A. Berle, Jr. appointed ambassador to replace Jefferson Caffery.[3]
Canada No change.
Chile No change.
China November 1944. Patrick J. Hurley appointed ambassador to replace Clarence E. Gauss.[4]
Colombia No change.
Costa Rica December 1944. Hallett Johnson appointed ambassador to replace Fay A. Des Portes.[5]
Cuba No change.
Dominican Republic February 1945. Joseph F. McGurk appointed ambassador to replace Ellis O. Briggs.[6]
Ecuador No change.
Egypt No change.
El Salvador No change.
Ethiopia February 1945. Felix Cole appointed minister to replace John K. Caldwell.[7]
France November 1944. Jefferson Caffery appointed ambassador.[8]
Greece No change.
Guatemala February 1945. Edwin J. Kyle appointed ambassador to replace Boaz Long.
Haiti No change.
Honduras No change.
Iceland No change.
Iran February 1945. Wallace Murray appointed ambassador to replace Leland B. Morris.
Iraq No change.
Ireland No change.
Italy December 1944. Alexander C. Kirk appointed ambassador.[9]
Lebanon No change.
Liberia No change.
Luxembourg No change.
Mexico No change.
Morocco No change.
Netherlands No change.
New Zealand No change.
Nicaragua No change.[10]
Norway No change.
Panama February 1945. R. Henry Norweb appointed ambassador to replace Avra M. Warren.[11]
Paraguay No change.
Peru No change.
Poland No change.
Portugal February 1945. Herman Baruch appointed ambassador to replace R. Henry Norweb.
Saudi Arabia No change.
South Africa No change.
Spain December 1944. Norman Armour appointed ambassador to replace Carlton J. H. Hayes.
Sweden No change.
Switzerland No change.
Turkey January 1945. Edwin C. Wilson appointed ambassador to replace Laurence Steinhardt.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics No change.
United Kingdom No change.
Uruguay No change.
Venezuela No change.
Yugoslavia No change.

Information about diplomatic representation is derived from the publication PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND UNITED STATES CHIEFS OF MISSION, 1778-1990 (USGPO, 1991) prepared by the Office of the Historian in the Department of State. Up-to-date information on chiefs of mission can be found on the website of the Office of the Historian.


[1]  Under Secretary of State Edward Stettinius to Assistant Secretary of State G. Howland Shaw, November 11, 1944 and Circular Telegram to All Chiefs of Mission, November 14, 1944, file 121.4/11-1944, 1945-49 Central Decimal File, RG 59: General Records of the Department of State, National Archives.

[2] Engert did not leave post until August 1945 and Palmer did not present his credentials until December 1945.

[3] Caffery left post on September 17, 1944.

[4] Gauss left post on November 14, 1944.

[5] Des Portes left post on September 11, 1944.

[6] Briggs left post on January 14, 1945.

[7] Caldwell did not leave post until August 1945 and Cole did not present his credentials until October 1945.

[8] France severed diplomatic relations with the U.S. on November 8, 1942, and Caffery was the first ambassador appointed upon resumption of diplomatic relations with that country.

[9] Italy declared war on the U.S. on December 11, 1941, and Kirk was the first ambassador appointed upon resumption of diplomatic relations with that country.

[10] Ambassador James B. Stewart left post on January 5, 1945, but a new ambassador was not appointed until April 1945.

[11] Norweb did not serve at this post under this appointment and in August 1945, Frank T. Hines was appointed as ambassador.