Ambassadorial Nominees Must Be Confirmed in the Interest of U.S. Foreign Relations

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2014
Ásgeir Sigfússon,, (202) 944-5508
Allan Saunders,, (202) 719-9712

Washington, D.C. - The American Foreign Service Association urges the immediate confirmation of all qualified nominees for U.S. ambassadorships currently languishing in the Senate. The continued absence of a confirmed United States Ambassador in over 50 countries around the world damages America’s bilateral relationships and undermines U.S. foreign policy efforts.

An ambassador is the president’s representative abroad, and because of this – and their confirmation by the Senate – they are able to speak and act with the full authority of the U.S. government. He or she is the face of the U.S. and our foreign policy to both the government and people of host countries. There is no question that these positions matter: From supporting U.S. business and billions of dollars in trade overseas to addressing humanitarian crises and the needs of Americans abroad, the president’s personal representative abroad should reflect that we are serious about the business of diplomacy. AFSA believes that our lack of confirmed Ambassadors is crippling our global agenda – and global influence.

As of today, there are 49 ambassadorial nominees awaiting confirmation in the Senate, many of whom have been waiting for over 10 months. Most of these individuals have been vetted and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on bipartisan votes. A large majority of those waiting are career members of the Foreign Service – non-partisan civil servants whose only desire is to represent the U.S. abroad and carry out our policies.

AFSA President Robert J. Silverman said, “Senator Arthur Vandenberg, former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, famously stated that ‘we must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.’ We call on the Senate to heed his advice and put the best interest of the nation first. We can all agree on the need for a strong overseas presence to ensure our security, economic prosperity, and a prominent role in issues of national interest. The United States must communicate to our friends and partners that we understand the importance of these relationships.”

AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service, is the professional association and labor union of the U.S. Foreign Service. Founded in 1924, AFSA represents 31,000 active-duty and retired Foreign Service employees at the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.