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Join us in celebrating 55 Years of U.S.-Singapore Diplomatic Relations:
April 4, 2021 – 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between United States and Singapore
April 5, 2021 – Chargé d’Affaires Mansour Launches USSG55 Campaign Celebrating 55 Years of Diplomatic Relations between the U.S. and Singapore (Press Release)
July 4, 2021 – Independence Day celebrations highlighting the U.S.-Singapore partnership
Before the formalization of diplomatic relations between United States and Singapore in 1966, our friendship extends as far back as the 1800s. Click below to see a timeline of key milestones in the history of U.S. and Singapore.
1800 – 1900
1800 – A U.S. Navy frigate named Essex sails from America to Asia to protect American clipper ships that were trading pepper and other goods in Singapore and the region.
1836 – Joseph Balestier is appointed the first American Consul to Singapore. He later becomes a founding member of the colony’s first Chamber of Commerce.
1837 – Ships from America are given equal rights and terms as British ships to trade in Singapore.
1842 – The Wilkes Expedition returns to New York Harbor after a four-year journey around the world. Singapore was one of the final stops before the fleet returned home.
1854 – America leads the world in ice trade, shipping ice all over Asia, including to the Whampoa & Co Ice House at Clarke Quay.
1860 – American Charles Emmerson, Singapore’s first veterinarian, arrives and in addition to treating animals, he opens a popular restaurant on Beach Road which later becomes part of Raffles Hotel.
1869 – The Suez Canal opens, creating faster access between America and Singapore, resulting in significantly more trade.
1893 – Increased trade with Singapore demands a more official American presence in Singapore and E. Spencer Pratt is appointed as the first United States Consul General.
1900 – 1965
1915 – America’s industrial revolution increases demand for tin and rubber and the United States becomes Singapore’s most important trading partner.
1917 – The American Association of Malaya is formed to support the growing population of Americans in Singapore, later renaming itself the American Association of Singapore.
1932 – “Bring ‘Em Back Alive”, the first feature length Hollywood movie filmed in Singapore features Texan adventurer and wildlife collector Frank Buck and wildlife in Malaya (including what is now Singapore).
1936 – A Grange Road colonial bungalow named Spring Grove becomes the official home of American diplomats for a span of 50 years, and was the location of many early Independence Day celebrations.
1941 – The first flight to Singapore by an American air carrier arrives; the PanAm “flying boat” landed in Kallang Bay after flying from San Francisco, a route that took six days to complete.
1948 – Singapore’s American Club was established, becoming the first foreign private cub in Singapore to open its membership to all races and nationalities.
1956 – Singapore American School is established, educating about 100 students in an old colonial house on Rochalie Drive.
1961 – The first purpose-built U.S. Consulate in Singapore opens its doors to help support the growing American population and the growing number of Singaporeans traveling to the U.S.
1966 – 2021
1966 –The appointment of the first U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Francis J. Galbraith, coinciding with Singapore’s independence from Malaysia.
1967 – Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visits U.S. President Lyndon B Johnson in Washington D.C.; it is the first official state visit between the two countries.
1969 – The American Business Council is established. This will become the American Chamber of Commerce, which today is the largest foreign chamber in Singapore and in ASEAN.
1990 – The United States and Singapore sign a Memorandum of Understanding, facilitating U.S. forces access to Singapore’s air and naval bases, and provides logistical support for transiting personnel, aircraft, and vessels.
1992 – George H.W. Bush makes the first U.S. presidential visit to Singapore and meets with President Wee Kim Wee and Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
1994 – Groundbreaking ceremony for the new American Embassy on Napier Road takes place, with the Embassy opening doors two years later.
1996 – Singapore’s first female ambassador Chan Heng Chee is appointed ambassador to the United States.
2001 – On September 23, 15,000 people of many nationalities and faiths joined together at National Stadium to honor the victims of 9/11 and to celebrate the solidarity of all nations. Singapore American School choir sang at the event.
2003 – The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is signed and becomes the first FTA between the United States and a Southeast Asian country.
2016 – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visits Washington, D.C., in his first state visit to the United States. The US-Singapore Summer Exchange Scholarship Programme is announced during his visit to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations.
2018 – Singapore hosts President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim at the historic Singapore Summit.
2019 – The United States and Singapore sign the Protocol of Amendment to the 1990 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Regarding United States Use of Facilities in Singapore, extending the MoU for another 15 years.
2020 – Today, the United States and Singapore celebrate our strong and healthy friendship and partnership. Happy 55th anniversary!
Follow #USSG55 on the Embassy’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) for more on the shared history between United States and Singapore including facts and figures on the bilateral partnership. The Embassy is also running various anniversary campaigns on our social media platforms, such as the 5-5 hands photo action that we invite everyone to join.