Famous American Diplomats

Think life as a diplomat is all Ferrero-Rocher chocolates and cocktail parties. Not quite so. No matter how slick tongued one is, it always takes more than smooth talking to clear up the mess after the war is over. Over the years, the world has had all kind of diplomats — the sweet-tongued and the shrewd-minded, and while some lasted a fleeting moment before sinking back to professional obscurity, a few managed to leave behind indelible impression with their impeccable communication style, flair and deftness at handling situations. True, diplomats live in a world of adroitly chosen words, and this quality that distinguishes them from others. Whether negotiating a treaty, attending a state dinner, or arranging Visas for travelers, diplomats are those who multitask with sleepless tact, unmovable calmness, and a patience that nothing can shake. America has been a hotbed of many world-class, peace-seeking diplomats like Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Condoleeza Rice, Hillary Clinton, James Buchanan, Albert Gallatin and many others who have served in countless ways but with one common interest — America. Read on to know the trivia, timeline, and facts in the biographies of some of the most famous American diplomats.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple
Famous As: Actress, United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1989-92)
Birthdate: April 23, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States
Died: February 10, 2014

After starting her film career at the age of three, Shirley Temple went on to become Hollywood's highest-grossing child actress from 1935 to 1938. She is the epitome of popular child stars who lose their charm as they grow up. Despite failing as an adult actress, she is ranked 18th in the greatest female screen legends of Classic Hollywood list.

 2 Madeleine Albright

Madeleine Albright
Famous As: Politician & Diplomat
Birthdate: May 15, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Madeleine Albright served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001, under Bill Clinton, and was the first woman to hold the post. The Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee has also chaired the Albright Stonebridge Group and teaches at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

 3 Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
Famous As: 3rd President of the United States
Birthdate: April 13, 1743
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States
Died: July 4, 1826

The 2nd Vice President and the 3rd President of America, Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers of USA and the principal draftsman of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was a staunch advocate of democracy and a strong believer of individual rights and religious freedom, despite the fact that he himself owned nearly 600 slaves.

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 4 Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt
Famous As: First Lady of the United States (1933-1945)
Birthdate: October 11, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: November 7, 1962

Feminist and civil rights icon Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the longest-serving U.S First Lady. She was a prominent human rights activist, wrote columns, and hosted a radio show. She was named to Gallup's List of Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century in 1999.

 5 Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Todd Lincoln
Famous As: Politician, Son of Abraham Lincoln
Birthdate: August 1, 1843
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Springfield, Illinois, United States
Died: July 25, 1926

Lawyer Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, served as the U.S. Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885 and as the U.S. minister to the U.K. from 1889 to 1893. He had served in the Civil War, too, and had also been the president of the Pullman Car Company

 6 Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley
Famous As: 29th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (2017-2018)
Birthdate: January 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bamberg, South Carolina, United States

Born to Indian immigrant parents, Nikki Haley went on to become the first Indian-American to hold an office in South Carolina and later became its governor—the first woman and second Indian American to be appointed governor in the US. A published author, she has also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations.

 7 James Madison

James Madison
Famous As: 4th President of the United States (1809-1817)
Birthdate: March 16, 1751
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Port Conway, Virginia, United States
Died: June 28, 1836

James Madison played an important role in drafting the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights and is hailed as the Father of the Constitution. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, considered to be a seminal work of political science. As president, he led the country into the 1812 war and historians place him as an above-average president.

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 8 Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of State
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, United States

The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

 9 Susan Rice

Susan Rice
Famous As: Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Birthdate: November 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Susan Rice has been the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and the national security advisor. She was chosen by Joe Biden as the director of the Domestic Policy Council. Rice was supposed to become the secretary of state, replacing Hillary Clinton in 2013, but withdrew due to the Benghazi attack.

 10 Colin Powell

Colin Powell
Famous As: 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005)
Birthdate: April 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Died: October 18, 2021

A veteran politician who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. A member of the Republican Party, he was an army man prior to entering politics. He was a  four-star general at the time of his retirement. After leaving politics, he pursued a career as a public speaker.

 11 John Jay

John Jay
Famous As: First Chief Justice of the United States
Birthdate: December 12, 1745
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: May 17, 1829

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the famous Paris Treaty, John Jay was best known as the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, although he occupied various other important public positions. He was a diplomat, who shaped his country’s foreign policy. He passed legislation to gradually abolish slavery, but he himself owned five enslaved people.

 12 Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger
Famous As: Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: May 27, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fürth, Germany

Henry Kissinger's heart-warming story of a Jewish who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 to become an influential politician in the USA is truly inspirational. As a National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State, Henry played a key role in the US foreign policy from 1969 to 1977. Henry Kissinger is also criticized by some as an alleged war criminal.

 13 Samantha Power

Samantha Power
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and academic Samantha Power has previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. She was a war correspondent before she became a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She worked on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and infamously called Hillary Clinton "a monster.”

 14 Gary Hart

Gary Hart
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ottawa, Kansas, United States

 15 Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: November 14, 1956
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shiraz
Valerie Jarrett served as the senior advisor to former president Barack Obama and the director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs from 2009 to 2017. She had previously served Mayor Richard Daley as his deputy chief of staff and had hired Michelle Obama, then-fiancée of Obama.

 16 Washington Irving

Washington Irving
Famous As: Author, Historian, Diplomat
Birthdate: April 3, 1783
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Died: November 28, 1859

Widely known as the first American man of letters, Washington Irving penned the legendary tales of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which are also called the first short stories by an American author. He had also had a brief stint as a lawyer.

 17 James Baker

James Baker
Famous As: Former US Secretary of State
Birthdate: April 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Attorney James Baker was made the White House chief of staff and then the secretary of the treasury by President Ronald Reagan. He managed George H. W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign and became the White House chief of staff under him, witnessing the Gulf War and the Cold War.

 18 Sargent Shriver

Sargent Shriver
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 9, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Westminster, Maryland, United States
Died: January 18, 2011
Sargent Shriver was part of the Kennedy family, as the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy. He was part of the U.S. Navy and also worked as an assistant editor at Newsweek. He developed many anti-poverty programs and was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1972.

 19 George F. Kennan

George F. Kennan
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: February 16, 1904
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 17, 2005

 20 Alexander Haig

Alexander Haig
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of State
Birthdate: December 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 20, 2010

 21 J. Christopher Stevens

J. Christopher Stevens
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: April 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Grass Valley, California, United States
Died: September 11, 2012

 22 Dan Coats

Dan Coats
Famous As: Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: May 16, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson, Michigan, United States

 23 Andrew Young Jr.

Andrew Young Jr.
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Andrew Young Jr. is an American activist, politician, and diplomat. Young is best known for his role in the civil rights movement; a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young served as the executive director of a civil rights organization called Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Andrew Young is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 24 Jean Kennedy Smith

Jean Kennedy Smith
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: February 20, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brookline

 25 Alger Hiss

Alger Hiss
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: November 11, 1904
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: November 15, 1996

 26 John Eisenhower

John Eisenhower
Famous As: Diplomat, Military historian, Author, Writer, Biographer
Birthdate: August 3, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver
Died: December 21, 2013

U.S. Army officer John Eisenhower was the son of military-general-turned-president Dwight D. Eisenhower. He had donned many hats, from teaching English to serving on his father's White House staff. He also assisted his father in writing his memoirs and had been the American ambassador to Belgium, too.

 27 Warren Christopher

Warren Christopher
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: October 27, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scranton, North Dakota, United States
Died: March 18, 2011

 28 Jon Huntsman Jr.

Jon Huntsman Jr.
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redwood City, California, U.S.

 29 George J. Mitchell

George J. Mitchell
Famous As: United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-2011)
Birthdate: August 20, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waterville, Maine, United States

 30 Phil Murphy

Phil Murphy
Famous As: Governor
Birthdate: August 16, 1957
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Needham, Massachusetts, United States

 31 Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz
Famous As: Political scientist, Diplomat, Politician, Economist, Banker
Birthdate: December 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ithaca

 32 Richard Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke
Famous As: Banker, Diplomat, Politician, Writer
Birthdate: April 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
Died: December 13, 2010

 33 Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 16, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Died: March 26, 2003

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was an American sociologist, politician, and diplomat. Although he was an important member of the Democratic Party, Moynihan served as an adviser to Republican politician Richard Nixon during the latter's presidency. During the course of his career, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

 34 Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pasadena, California Pasadena, California, United States

 35 Raymond A. Spruance

Raymond A. Spruance
Famous As: Officer, Diplomat
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore
Died: December 13, 1969

 36 Joseph C. Wilson

Joseph C. Wilson
Famous As: Diplomat, Writer, Whistleblower, Businessperson
Birthdate: November 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bridgeport

 37 Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace
Famous As: CEOs
Birthdate: December 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

 38 James Rubin

James Rubin
Famous As: Diplomats
Birthdate: March 28, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Foreign affairs journalist and diplomat James Rubin was the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs under President Bill Clinton. He has also worked with Sky News, been a Sunday Times columnist, and taught at various universities. He was married to CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour for 2 decades, before they separated.

 39 Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes
Famous As: Activist
Birthdate: August 7, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 40 Ralph Bunche

Ralph Bunche
Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: August 7, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: December 9, 1971

 41 Howard Baker

Howard Baker
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 15, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Huntsville, Tennessee, U.S.
Died: June 26, 2014

 42 Caroline Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cornell Medical Center Hospital, New York City, New York, U.S.

Caroline Kennedy is an American author, diplomat, and attorney. The only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Caroline served as the US Ambassador to Japan between 2013 and 2017. A prolific author who writes about civil liberties, Caroline Kennedy has also served as a spokesperson for the Kennedy family's legacy.

 43 Paul Bremer

Paul Bremer
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: September 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States

 44 Lewis Wallace

Lewis Wallace
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: April 10, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookville, Indiana, United States
Died: February 15, 1905

 45 Deborah Birx

Deborah Birx
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 4, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States

Doctor and diplomat Deborah Birx was the Trump administration’s coronavirus response co-ordinator. The renowned HIV/AIDS researcher, however, quit the virus team after reports suggested she had attended a Thanksgiving family gathering, breaching COVID-19 protocol. She later joined the air-cleaning company ActivePure, amid reports of it using banned technology.

 46 Clare Boothe Luce

Clare Boothe Luce
Famous As: Author, Politician
Birthdate: March 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 9, 1987

 47 William J. Donovan

William J. Donovan
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: January 1, 1883
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: February 8, 1959

 48 Daniel Sickles

Daniel Sickles
Famous As: Former New York State Senator
Birthdate: October 20, 1819
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: May 3, 1914

 49 Max Baucus

Max Baucus
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 11, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Helena, Montana Helena, Montana, U.S.

 50 George Washington Williams

George Washington Williams
Famous As: Soldier, Historian, Diplomat, Writer, Minister, Politician, Journalist
Birthdate: October 16, 1849
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bedford
Died: August 2, 1891

A laborer’s son, George Washington Williams had been a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, when he was barely 14. He had then been a Baptist minister, a politician, a lecturer, a lawyer, and a journalist, but is best remembered for being the first to write about Black history.