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Assistant Secretaries of State for European and Eurasian Affairs

The Department of State established the position of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs in 1949, after the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government (Hoover Commission) recommended that certain offices be upgraded to bureau level and after Congress had increased the number of Assistant Secretaries of State from six to ten (May 26, 1949; P.L. 81-73; 63 Stat. 111). An administrative action changed the incumbent’s designation to Assistant Secretary for European and Canadian Affairs on Sep 15, 1983. On January 12, 1999, responsibility for Canada was transferred to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and so the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs was renamed the Bureau of European Affairs. The name changed to the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs on August 8, 2001. The Department of State first established a Division of Western European Affairs in 1909, which handled European nations primarily bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and their colonies. The Division of Near Eastern Affairs handled relations with most Central, Eastern, and Southern European countries until after World War I. During the interwar period, responsibility for much of Central and Eastern Europe shifted to the Division of European Affairs, although Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus were handled as part of the Near East until Apr 18, 1974. Following World War II, the Department completed the transfer of responsibility for the former colonies of European nations, except Canada, to the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs and the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs.