When the United States became independent, Egypt was part of the Ottoman Empire and its foreign relations were conducted through the Sultan’s government at Istanbul (Constantinople). In 1882, Great Britain established a protectorate over Egypt, which imposed effective British control over Egypt’s foreign affairs despite the fact that it continued to be nominally part of the Ottoman Empire. Beginning with Daniel Smith McCauley on March 17, 1849, and until Egypt’s independence, the United States maintained a consular and quasi-diplomatic presence in Cairo through an “Agent and Consul General.”
Modern Flag of Egypt
The United States recognized Egypt’s independence on April 26, 1922, in a letter from President Warren G. Harding to King Ahmed Fuad, delivered by American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Cairo, J. Morton Howell. Egypt had been under British control as a protectorate.
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 Raymond Hare delivered a note to that effect to the UAR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The UAR’s capital was established at Cairo, where the United States maintained its embassy, while the American Embassy in Damascus was reclassified as a Consulate General. Syria seceded from the Union in 1961; however, Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971.
Diplomatic relations were established on April 26, 1922, upon American recognition of Egyptian independence. American Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Cairo, J. Morton Howell, had conducted unofficial relations with Egypt as a “semi-independent state” prior to this date, as had been U.S. practice since 1849. Upon recognition, Howell served as the American diplomatic representative to Egypt, and the position of Diplomatic Agent was raised to the rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on June 24, 1922, thereby establishing the American Legation in Egypt.
The United Arab Republic 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 was established in the Spanish Embassy in Cairo on June 7, 1967.
The Governments of Egypt and the United States agreed to resume diplomatic relations on February 28, 1974, and the United States named Ambassador-designate Hermann F. Eilts in charge of the American Embassy in Cairo, which was reopened on the same date.