The United States maintained a consular presence in Fiji before the island chain became a Crown colony within the British Empire in 1874. Fiji gained independence from British rule in October 1970 and established a parliamentary democracy. In 1987, however, intra-country clashes between political parties representing the majority ethnic Fijian population and ethnic minority communities, most notably Indo-Fijian, led to a military coup d’état. This was the beginning of what many now refer to as the “coup cycle.”
Modern Flag of Fiji
The United States recognized Fiji’s independence on October 10, 1970, in a statement by Charles W. Yost, U.S. Representative in the UN Security Council. Fiji became independent from the British Commonwealth on that date.
Commercial Agent John B. Williams was appointed the first Consul to the Fiji Islands on August 19, 1844. He was resident at Auckland, New Zealand.
Diplomatic relations were established on July 22, 1971, when Ambassador of Fiji, Semesa K. Sikivou, presented his credentials to President Richard M. Nixon.
The American Embassy at Suva established on November 1, 1971, with Robert W. Skiff as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
Ambassador John P. Condon became the first U.S. Ambassador to Fiji to be resident at Suva when he presented credentials there on April 11, 1978. Previous Ambassadors had been resident at Wellington, New Zealand.