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Policy & History

U.S. Recognition of the Republic of Congo’s Independence, 1960.

The United States recognized the Republic of the Congo on August 15, 1960, in a congratulatory message from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to PresidentFulbert Youlou. On that date, the Republic of the Congo’s independence from French Equatorial Africa was proclaimed.

Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the American Embassy in Brazzaville, 1960.

Diplomatic relations were established on August 15, 1960, when Embassy Brazzaville was established with Alan W. Lukens as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.

Suspension of Diplomatic Relations and the Closure of Embassy Brazzaville, 1965.

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Congo were disrupted during the most radical Congolese-Marxist period, 1965-77. The United States withdrew its diplomatic and consular representatives from the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) in August 1965, citing instances of “serious mistreatment by the Congolese authorities of American diplomats and officials,” that included “arrest, detention, incommunicado interrogation, and forced departure.” Once the diplomatic and consular staff departed Brazzaville by August 15, 1965, Lloyd M. Rives served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim until the Embassy closed. The Republic of Congo closed their embassy in Washington (August 8, 1965), and relocated them to New York.

Resumption of Diplomatic Relations and Reopening of Embassy Brazzaville, 1977.

On June 7, 1977, the United States and the Republic of Congo agreed to resume diplomatic relations, hoping that “this step will strengthen relations between their countries and contribute substantially to bettering their mutual understanding and cooperation based upon the principles of reciprocal respect, sovereign equality, and non-interference in internal affairs.” The U.S. Embassy reopened on October 30, 1977, with Jay Katzen as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim. This marked the restoration of relations, which remained distant until the end of the socialist era.