The United States recognized the independence of Greece with its decision on November 7, 1837 to empower the American minister at London to negotiate a treaty with that country.
Modern Flag of Greece
On April 26, 1837, the Greek Minister at London sent a note to Andrew Stevenson, the U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at London, expressing a desire to establish relations of navigation with the United States. In response, the United States government on November 7, 1837, empowered Stevenson,
“to enter upon the negotiation of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and his Majesty the King of Greece.”
In an earlier episode in April 1833, Great Britain, France, and Russia sent the United States an invitation to acknowledge Prince Otho (or Otto) of Bavaria as King of Greece. In response, Secretary of State Edward Livingston sent an ambiguous reply on April 30, 1833, expressing willingness to recognize Prince Otho without actually doing so:
“This note has been laid before the President of the United States, who has directed the Undersigned to inform the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the said three Powers that it has been the principle, and the invariable practice of the U.S. to recognize that as the legal Government of another nation, which, by its establishment in the actual exercise of political power might be supposed to have received the express or implied assent of the people, and that he is therefore happy that the assurance given by the three mediating powers, that they were duly authorized to make the arrangement they announce, by the people of Greece, will enable him on the part of the United States, without departing from their known principles in similar cases, to acknowledge the Prince Otho of Bavaria, as the King of Greece, and to comply with the request of the high mediating powers, on his reception by the people of that country as their Sovereign.”
On June 27, 1837, the United States appointed Gregory A. Perdicaris to be its first Consul to Greece. He took up his post at Athens on January 7, 1838.
On March 11, 1868, the United States appointed Charles K. Tuckerman as its first Minister Resident in Athens. He presented his credentials on June 16, 1868.
The United State closed its Legation in Athens on July 14, 1941, due to the German occupation of Greece. Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., who was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Greece on November 13, 1941, served near the Government of Greece established in England. He was also commissioned to the exile governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Yugoslavia.
The United States promoted Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr., to be the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Government of Greece on September 29, 1942. Biddle had previously served as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to that government. Biddle presented his credentials on October 30, 1942.
The Government of Greece relocated from Great Britain to Egypt. Alexander C. Kirk was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Greece on June 4, 1943, and resided in Cairo in order to be near the Government of Greece established in Greece. Kirk was also accredited to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Lincoln MacVeagh, who was appointed the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Greece on November 12, 1943, initially resided in Cairo, but transferred the Embassy to Athens on October 27, 1944.
On December 22, 1837, the United States and Greece signed a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation.