The United States has enjoyed friendly relations with Antigua and Barbuda since its independence within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1981. Because Antigua and Barbuda’s location near maritime transport lanes, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico make it an attractive site for international drug trafficking, the United States and Antigua and Barbuda established a series of counter-narcotic and counter-crime treaties and agreements in the 1990s.Modern Flag of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations on November 1, 1981, with Queen Elizabeth as the first Queen of Antigua and Barbuda and Right Honourable Vere Cornwall Bird as its first prime minister. The United States recognized Antigua and Barbuda as an independent state on the same day, when it raised the Consulate General in St. Johns to Embassy status.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Antigua and Barbuda on November 1, 1981. Paul Byrnes was Principal Officer when the Consulate General in St. Johns was raised to Embassy status. Ambassador Milan D. Bish presented credentials on January 8, 1982 and was resident at Bridgetown, Barbados.
The American Embassy at St. Johns was closed June 30, 1994. Subsequent Ambassadors to Antigua and Barbuda remained resident at Bridgetown, Barbados. The United States maintained a consular presence in St. Johns to assist American citizens.