Prior to its independence in 1960, the Republic of Congo was part of French Equatorial Africa (AEF). During World War II, the AEF administration sided with Charles DeGaulle, and Brazzaville became the symbolic capital of Free France during 1940-43.
Modern Flag of the Republic of Congo
For the last two decades of the Cold War, the Republic of Congo allied principally with the Soviet Union and other Eastern bloc nations. Educational, economic, and foreign aid links between Congo and its Eastern bloc allies were extensive, with the Congolese military and security forces receiving significant Soviet, East German, and Cuban assistance. After the worldwide collapse of communism and Congo's adoption of multi-party democracy in 1991, Congo's relations with the United States improved and were cooperative. The United States has enthusiastically supported Congolese democratization efforts, contributing aid to the country's electoral process. Relations between the United States and the government of President Denis Sassou-Nguesso are strong, positive, and cooperative.
The United States recognized the Republic of the Congo on August 15, 1960, in a congratulatory message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to President Fulbert Youlou. On that date, the Republic of the Congo’s independence from French Equatorial Africa was proclaimed.
Diplomatic relations were established on August 15, 1960, when Embassy Brazzaville was established with Alan W. Lukens as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
Diplomatic relations between the United States and Congo were disrupted during the most radical Congolese-Marxist period, 1965-77. The United States withdrew its diplomatic and consular representatives from the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) in August 1965, citing instances of “serious mistreatment by the Congolese authorities of American diplomats and officials,” that included “arrest, detention, incommunicado interrogation, and forced departure.” Once the diplomatic and consular staff departed Brazzaville by August 15, 1965, Lloyd M. Rives served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim until the Embassy closed. The Republic of Congo closed their embassy in Washington (August 8, 1965), and relocated them to New York.
On June 7, 1977, the United States and the Republic of Congo agreed to resume diplomatic relations, hoping that “this step will strengthen relations between their countries and contribute substantially to bettering their mutual understanding and cooperation based upon the principles of reciprocal respect, sovereign equality, and non-interference in internal affairs.” The U.S. Embassy reopened on October 30, 1977, with Jay Katzen as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim. This marked the restoration of relations, which remained distant until the end of the socialist era.