Friendly relations between the United States and Brunei date to the 1800s. By 1865, the United States had a consular presence in Brunei. The U.S. maintained diplomatic relations with the Sultan of Brunei’s government until it became a British protectorate in 1888, at which time the United Kingdom assumed responsibility for Bruneian foreign affairs. Brunei reacquired its full independence in 1984.
Modern Flag of Brunei
The United States recognized the full independence of Brunei Darussalam from the United Kingdom on January 1, 1984, and opened the American Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan on that same date. Since 1888, Brunei had been a British protectorate. Although Brunei adopted a constitution in 1959 that declared it a self-governing state, responsibility for its foreign affairs, security, and defense remained the prerogative of the United Kingdom until 1984.
After signing a bilateral treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation in 1850, the United States maintained a Consulate in Brunei from 1865 to 1868. Consul Captain C. Lees Moses, the first Consul to serve at the post, presented his credentials in Brunei on July 18, 1865. The post was called “Brunei, Borneo” at the time.
Diplomatic relations and the American Embassy in Brunei were established on May 28, 1984, when U.S. Ambassador Barrington King presented credentials to the government at Bandar Seri Begawan.
The Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Brunei was signed by both countries in Brunei on June 23, 1850, and entered into force on July 11, 1853. The treaty is still in effect today.