When the United States became independent, Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire and its foreign relations were conducted through the Sultan’s government at Istanbul (Constantinople). In 1922, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations approved a French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon, which gave France exclusive control over their foreign relations. The United States appointed George Wadsworth as “Agent and Consul General” on October 9, 1942, to provide a quasi-diplomatic presence in Damascus until the United States determined that Syria achieved effective independence in 1944.Modern Flag of Syria
The United States recognized Syria as an independent state on September 8, 1944, when the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jamil Mardam Bey, informed the United States that Syria fully recognized and would protect existing rights of the United States and its nationals. This Syrian assurance was in response to a letter sent on September 7, 1944, by the American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General in Syria that offered “full and unconditional recognition” upon receipt of such written assurances.
Egypt and Syria united to form a new state, the United Arab Republic (UAR), on February 22, 1958. The United States recognized the UAR on February 25, 1958, when U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Raymond Hare delivered a note to that effect to the UAR Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo.
Syria seceded from the UAR on September 28, 1961, and reestablished the independent Syrian Arab Republic (Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971). The United States recognized Syria on October 10, 1961, in a press release on that date.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Syria when George Wadsworth presented his credentials as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on November 17, 1944. Wadsworth had been serving as Diplomatic Agent and Consul General to Syria and Lebanon while the United States considered them to be “semi-independent” states.
Diplomatic relations with Syria ended and the American Embassy in Damascus was reclassified as a Consulate General on February 25, 1958, after Syria joined Egypt to form the new state, the United Arab Republic. The UAR’s capital was established at Cairo, where the United States maintained its embassy.
The United States reestablished diplomatic relations with the Syrian Arab Republic and the American Consulate General at Damascus was raised to Embassy Status on October 10, 1961, with Ridgway B. Knight as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim. This action followed Syrian withdrawal from the United Arab Republic on September 28, 1961.
Syria severed diplomatic relations with the United States on June 6, 1967 in the wake of the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
A U.S. Interests Section in Syria was established on February 8, 1974, in the Italian Embassy with Thomas J. Scotes as Principal Officer.
Diplomatic relations and the American Embassy in Damascus were reestablished on June 16, 1974, with Scotes as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.