List of ambassadors of the United States to Libya

Ambassador of the United States to Libya
سفارة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في ليبيا
U.S. Department of State official seal.svg
Seal of the United States Department of State
Richard B Norland ambassador.jpg
Incumbent
Richard B. Norland

since August 8, 2019
Residence Tripoli
Nominator The President of the United States
Appointer The President
with Senate advice and consent
Inaugural holder Henry Serrano Villard
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Formation February 7, 1952
Website U.S. Embassy – Tripoli

The United States Ambassador to Libya is the official representative of the President of the United States to the head of state of Libya.

History

Until its independence in 1951, Libya had been a colony of Italy (1912–1947) and then under British and French occupation until 1951. In 1949 The UN General Assembly had passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952 (Resolution 289). On December 24, 1951, Libya declared its independence under King Idris.[1][2]

The United States recognized the Kingdom of Libya on December 24, 1951, in a congratulatory message sent by President Harry Truman to King Idris I. Diplomatic relations were established on the same day and the U.S. Consulate-General was elevated to a legation with Andrew Lynch designated as Charge d'Affaires ad interim. The first official envoy to Libya was Henry Serrano Villard, who presented his credentials on March 6, 1952.[1][2]

On December 2, 1979, a mob attacked and burned the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. On December 29, the U.S. Department of State designated Libya as a state sponsor of terrorism. The Chargé d’Affaires was recalled on February 8, 1980 and the embassy was closed May 2, 1980.[2][3][4] However, diplomatic relations were not formally severed.[1] Diplomatic relations were not resumed until 2006.

The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli was closed and all diplomatic personnel were evacuated on February 25, 2011, due to the Libyan civil war.[5][6][7][8] The embassy of Hungary in Tripoli acted as the protecting power for U.S. interests from the closure of the embassy until its reopening on September 22, 2011.[9][10]

On July 15, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton announced that the U.S. Government recognizes the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council as the "legitimate governing authority" of Libya—which de facto withdraws recognition from the Gaddafi government.[11][12][13] On September 12, 2012 the US ambassador to Libya was killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate, along with three other embassy employees.[14][15]

The U.S Embassy was again evacuated and closed on July 26, 2014. Embassy staff totaling approximately 150 personnel, including about 80 U.S Marines, were evacuated overland to Tunisia during a military assisted departure. USAF F-16's provided armed overwatch for the embassy convoy as they drove through Libya. The evacuation was due to major fighting around the embassy related to the 2014 Libyan Civil War.[16]

Ambassadors and chiefs of mission

  • Andrew Green Lynch – Career FSO[17]
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires a.i.
    • Appointed: December 24, 1951
    • Presented credentials: — [18]
    • Terminated mission: Superseded by Ambassador Villard, March 6, 1952
  • Henry Serrano Villard – Career FSO
    • Title: Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: February 7, 1952
    • Presented credentials: March 6, 1952
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 24, 1954
  • Note: John Newton Gatch was serving as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. when the U.S. legation in Libya was raised to Embassy status on September 25, 1954.
  • John L. Tappin – Political appointee[19]
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: September 25, 1954
    • Presented credentials: November 16, 1954
    • Terminated mission: Superseded by Ambassador Jones March 17, 1958
  • John Wesley Jones – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: February 5, 1958
    • Presented credentials: March 17, 1958
    • Terminated mission: Left Libya December 20, 1962
  • Edwin Allan Lightner – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: May 3, 1963
    • Presented credentials: May 27, 1963
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 30, 1965
  • David D. Newsom – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: July 22, 1965
    • Presented credentials: October 16, 1965
    • Terminated mission: Left post June 21, 1969
  • Joseph Palmer II – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: July 8, 1969
    • Presented credentials: October 9, 1969
    • Terminated mission: Left post November 7, 1972
  • No ambassador was appointed following Palmer. The following persons served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim until closure of the embassy in 1980:
    • Harold G. Josif – November 1972 – December 1973
    • Robert A. Stein – December 1973 – December 1974
    • Robert Carle – January 1975 – August 1978
    • William L. Eagleton – August 1978 – February 1980

Note: U.S. Chargé d’Affaires William Eagleton was recalled February 8, 1980, and the U.S. Embassy at Tripoli closed May 2, 1980. However, diplomatic relations were not formally severed.[1]

Note: The United States established an Interests Section at the Belgian Embassy in Tripoli, February 8, 2004. It became the U.S. Liaison Office on June 28, with Gregory L. Berry as the Principal Officer. On May 31, 2006, the U.S. resumed full diplomatic relations with Libya, and the Interests Section in Tripoli became an embassy, with Gregory L. Berry as Charge d'Affaires ad interim.[1]

  • Gregory L. Berry – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires ad interim
    • Appointed: May 31, 2006
    • Presented credentials: –[18]
    • Terminated mission: October 10, 2006
  • Charles O. Cecil – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d’Affaires ad interim
    • Appointed: November 15, 2006
    • Presented credentials: —[18]
    • Terminated mission: July 11, 2007
  • Gene A. Cretz – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: December 17, 2008
    • Presented credentials: January 11, 2009[3][20]
    • Terminated mission: May 15, 2012[21]
  • J. Christopher Stevens[22]- Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: May 22, 2012
    • Presented credentials: June 7, 2012[23]
    • Terminated mission: September 12, 2012. Stevens was killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S consulate in Benghazi.
  • Laurence Pope – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
    • Appointed: October 2012 [24]
    • Presented credentials: —
    • Terminated mission: January 4, 2013
  • William Roebuck – Career FSO
    • Title: Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
    • Appointed: January 4, 2013
    • Presented credentials: —
    • Terminated mission: May 2013
  • Deborah K. Jones – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: May 2013
    • Presented credentials: June 2013
    • Terminated mission: November 2015
  • Peter W. Bodde – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: November 19, 2015
    • Terminated mission: December 19, 2017[25]
  • Richard B. Norland – Career FSO
    • Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
    • Appointed: August 1, 2019
    • Presented credentials: August 8, 2019
    • Terminated mission:

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