A Guide to the United States’ History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: South Africa
On May 31, 1910, four colonies were joined together to create the Union of South Africa, a self-governing Dominion in the British Empire. While the new nation was sovereign when it came to its domestic affairs, the United Kingdom maintained control over its relations with the wider world. Over the next two decades, South Africa gradually gained control over its external policy. The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued at the end of the Imperial Conference held in London that year, recognized that the United Kingdom and the Dominions were “autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs.” In December 1931, the United Kingdom approved the Statute of Westminster, codifying this relationship.
U.S. Recognition of South African Independence, 1929.
The United States recognized the Union of South Africa on November 5, 1929, when President Herbert Hoover accepted the credentials of Eric Hendrik Louw as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Union of South Africa.
Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the South African Legation in the United States, 1929.
On November 5, 1929, the Union of South Africa established its legation in Washington with the presentation of the credentials of Eric Hendrik Louw as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Union of South Africa to the Government of the United States.
Establishment of U.S. Legation in South Africa, 1929.
On December 19, 1929, the United States established a legation in Cape Town by appointing Ralph J. Totten, who was serving as Consul General, as Minister Resident; Totten presented his credentials as Minister Resident to the Government of the Union of South Africa on February 18, 1930. On June 20, 1930, the legation was relocated to Pretoria and Totten was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Government of the Union of South Africa. Totten presented his credentials to the Government of the Union of South Africa on September 8, 1930.
Elevation of Legations to Embassy Status, 1949.
On December 21, 1948, the Department of State announced the elevation of the South African and U.S. legations to embassy stratus, effective as of the date of the presentation of ambassadorial credentials. On March 3, 1949, H. T. Andrews presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Union of South Africa to President Harry S. Truman. On March 23, 1949, North Winship presented his credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to the Government of the Union of South Africa.
The Republic of South Africa, 1961.
On May 31, 1961, the Government of the Union of South Africa declared that henceforth the country would be a republic. On that same day, U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Satterthwaite was reaccredited to the newly-formed Republic of South Africa through the transmission of new credentials to the South African Foreign Office.