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


Sweden recognized the United States in 1783 by signing a treaty negotiated by Benjamin Franklin. Diplomatic relations were established in 1818 and have remained unbroken since that time.

Modern Flag of Sweden


Swedish Recognition of the United States, 1783.

Sweden recognized the United States on April 3, 1783, when the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Sweden was signed in Paris.

The United States had appointed Benjamin Franklin as Minister Plenipotentiary to Sweden on September 28, 1782. Franklin did not proceed to Sweden, but remained in Paris, where he was already serving as Minister Plenipotentiary to France. The Swedish minister in Paris approached Franklin in 1782 with the suggestion of concluding a treaty between the two entities, remarking that he hoped it would be remembered that “Sweden was the first power in Europe which had voluntarily and without solicitation offered its friendship to the United States.” Franklin informed Congress of this initiative and was then empowered to negotiate with Sweden.

Consular Presence

Establishment of Swedish Consular Relations in the United States, 1783.

Sweden appointed its first consul to the United States, Charles Hellstedt, on September 22, 1783, who was accredited on December 3, 1784.

Establishment of Consular Relations, 1818.

The United States named David Erskine as the first Consul to Stockholm on May 22, 1818.

Diplomatic Relations

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, 1818.

Diplomatic relations were established on April 29, 1818, when Jonathan Russell presented his credentials as American Minister Plenipotentiary to Sweden. Russell resided in Stockholm while he was minister at the court of Sweden and Norway (which were not then separate countries).

Elevation of U.S. Legation to Embassy Status, 1947.

On September 20, 1947, H. Freeman Matthews was appointed to be the first U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. Mathews presented his credentials on December 5, 1947.

Treaties and Agreements

Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1784.

The United States and Sweden signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce on April 3, 1783 in Paris. Following ratification by both countries, ratifications were exchanged at Paris on February 6, 1784.


  • Bevans, Charles I. ed. Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States of America, 1776-1949. Department of State, 1974, Vol. 11, pp. 710-722.
  • Curtis, William Eleroy. The United States and Foreign Powers. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1899.
  • The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America. Washington, D.C.: Blair and Rives, 1837.
  • Department of State Country Fact Sheet: Sweden
  • Department of State Country Information: Sweden