A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Republic of the Marshall Islands


On June 25, 1983, four years after the Republic of the Marshall Islands became self-governing, the United States and the Marshall Islands began negotiations to sign the Compact of Free Association. On October 21, 1986, the Compact was agreed upon by both nations and entered into force. The Compact ended the U.S. Trusteeship Agreement with the Marshall Islands, giving the nation the right to exercise self-determination, although the U.S. would still be responsible for the defense of the region. In return, the U.S. was granted the continued use of the Kwajalein Atoll for military purposes.

Modern Flag of Republic of the Marshall Islands


U.S. Recognition of Marshall Islands, 1986.

The United States recognized the independence of the Marshall Islands on October 21, 1986, when the Compact of Free Association between the U.S. and the Republic of the Marshall Islands entered into force, ending the Marshall Islands’ former status as a United Nations Strategic Trust Territory.

History of Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of the Office of the U.S. Representative in Majurio, 1986.

Prior to the establishment of diplomatic relations, and Office of the U.S. Representative in Majurio opened on October 21, 1986, under Samuel B. Thomsen.

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1989.

Diplomatic relations were established on July 26, 1989, when President George H. W. Bush signed into law H.R. 2214, approving diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Establishment of the American Embassy in the Marshall Islands, 1989.

The Office of the U.S. Representative was elevated to Embassy status on September 9, 1989, and on June 27, 1990, William Bodde Jr. was appointed U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Marshall Islands.