Relations between the United States and what is now Papua New Guinea were limited prior to World War II. During the war many U.S. citizens served in the area, but it was only after the war, and particularly after the establishment of Papua New Guinean independence, that relations began to increase in scope and intensity.
Modern Flag of Papua New Guinea
The United States recognized Papua New Guinea on September 16, 1975, when Robert D. Ray, Governor of Iowa and personal representative of President Gerald Ford, presented a letter to that effect from President Ford to the Government of Papua New Guinea at its independence ceremonies. The new state of Papua New Guinea was comprised of New Guinea, Papua, which previously had been a Trust Territory administered by Australia, and nearby islands.
The United States established its first consulate in the then self-governing Territory of Papua and New Guinea in the city of Port Moresby on or about July 1, 1974, when Consulate General Mary S. Olmsted arrived to open the office there. The Consul General opened to the public in September.
Diplomatic relations were established on September 16, 1975, when the U.S. Consulate General at Port Moresby was elevated to the status of Embassy and opened with Ambassador-designate Mary S. Olmsted in charge. Subsequently, the Ambassador to Papua New Guinea has also been accredited to the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and the Ambassador has remained resident at Port Moresby.