Prior to the late 1970s, citizens of the United States had only very occasional contact with residents of the Pacific islands that comprise what is now the independent country of Tuvalu.Modern Flag of Tuvalu
The United States recognized Tuvalu on October 1, 1978, when Elizabeth G. Stevens, acting as the President’s Personal Representative, delivered a letter to that effect from President Jimmy Carter to Governor General Penitala Teo. Tuvalu previously had been called the Ellice Islands while under British Sovereignty as part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony.
Diplomatic relations were established on May 10, 1979, when Ambassador Inoke Faletau presented his credentials to President Jimmy Carter.
John P. Condon became the first U.S. Ambassador to Tuvalu on January 24, 1980, when he presented his credentials. Condon also was accredited to Fiji and Tonga, and was resident at Suva. Since that time, the Ambassadors to Tuvalu have remained resident at Suva, and no mission has been established in Funafuti, Tuvalu.