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April 4, 2021

Policy & History

History of the Embassy, Singapore

In 1836, Joseph Balestier was appointed to represent the United States in Singapore as the first Consul General.  His wife, Maria Revere Balestier, was the daughter of Paul Revere, the famous revolutionary hero during the American War of Independence.  The appointment of the first U.S. Ambassador, Francis J. Galbraith, coincided with Singapore’s independence from Malaysia in 1966.

From Hill Street to Napier Road

Soon after Singapore’s independence until 1996, the chancery was located at 30 Hill Street.  Having outgrown the building and due to necessary security upgrades, a decision was made to move to our current location.  The ground breaking ceremony took place on January 13, 1994, and construction was completed in September 1996.  The American Embassy moved into our 27 Napier Road premises on November 1, 1996.  This Chancery brought together virtually all the U.S. Embassy functions in Singapore, including the most used public services.

The U.S. Government acquired the chancery’s 3.31 acre plot from the Government of Singapore on a 99-year lease in 1991.

Design of the Chancery

The architect of the chancery was Stubbins Associates located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Designed as a contemporary American office building in a tropical garden city, the Embassy features a stone facing for the first two stories with a three-story office tower rising from the base.  It also includes a reflecting pool and landscaped colonnade at the entrance.  The building’s façade, primarily granite from the State of Minnesota, was selected for its natural beauty, low maintenance requirements and resistance to the elements.  The exterior and interior of the building are accented with marble from the State of Vermont.

Constructed at a cost of $30 million, the 118,000 sq. foot building includes offices for a variety of American government agencies, a consular service where visas are issued, a staff cafeteria, a medical facility, conference rooms, and a residence for the Marine security guard detachment assigned to the embassy.

The elegant design and décor of the Chancery was provided by Interior Design & Furnishing (IDF), a special division of the State Department.  IDF has received numerous awards and has been featured in architectural magazines for its work in Ambassador’s residences and embassies around the world.