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
(Actress, 27th United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia)

Shirley Temple
7
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
(Ist Female U.S. Secretary of State)

Madeleine Albright
5
Birthdate: November 28, 1937
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Smíchov, Prague, Czechia
Died: March 23, 2022
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 also chaired the Albright Stonebridge Group and taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

 3 
Eleanor Roosevelt
(Longest-Serving First Lady of The United States)

Eleanor Roosevelt
6
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.

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 4 
Nikki Haley
(29th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (2017 - 2018))

Nikki Haley
4
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.

 5 
Robert Todd Lincoln
(35th United States Secretary of War & Son of Abraham Lincoln)

Robert Todd Lincoln
5
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 
Colin Powell
(The First African-American Secretary of State)

Colin Powell
4
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.

 7 
James Madison
(4th President of The United States)

James Madison
4
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
(66th United States Secretary of State (2005-09))

Condoleezza Rice
4
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 
John Jay
(1st Chief Justice of the United States (1789 - 1795))

John Jay
4
Birthdate: December 12, 1745
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
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.

 10 
Zbigniew Brzezinski
(United States National Security Advisor (1977-81))

Zbigniew Brzezinski
4
Birthdate: March 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 26, 2017
Polish-American diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski had been a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson and the National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. He believed in the realist school of international relations. He also taught foreign policy and was seen in programs such as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

 11 
Gary Hart
(Politician)

Gary Hart
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1936
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ottawa, Kansas, United States

 12 
Henry Kissinger
(56th United States Secretary of State (1973-77))

Henry Kissinger
7
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 
James Baker
(Former US Secretary of State)

James Baker
4
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.

 14 

J. Christopher Stevens
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Grass Valley, California, United States
Died: September 11, 2012

 15 
Washington Irving
(Author, Historian, Diplomat)

Washington Irving
4
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.

 16 
John Gavin
(Actor)

John Gavin
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: February 9, 2018

 17 

George F. Kennan
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1904
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Died: March 17, 2005

 18 
Sargent Shriver
(Politician)

Sargent Shriver
4
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 
Alexander Haig
(United States Secretary of State (1981-82))

Alexander Haig
4
Birthdate: December 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 20, 2010

 20 
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
(7th Director-General of the World Trade Organization)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria

 21 
Andrew Young Jr.
(55th Mayor of Atlanta (1982 - 1990))

Andrew Young Jr.
4
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.

 22 
Dan Coats
(Politician, Diplomat)

Dan Coats
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jackson, Michigan, United States

 23 
John Eisenhower
(Diplomat, Military historian, Author, Writer, Biographer)

John Eisenhower
4
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.

 24 
George J. Mitchell
(United States Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-2011))

George J. Mitchell
4
Birthdate: August 20, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waterville, Maine, United States

 25 

Warren Christopher
4
Birthdate: October 27, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scranton, North Dakota, United States
Died: March 18, 2011

 26 
Jon Huntsman Jr.
(Politician)

Jon Huntsman Jr.
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Redwood City, California, U.S.

 27 
Bill Richardson
(Politician)

Bill Richardson
4
Birthdate: November 15, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pasadena, California Pasadena, California, United States

 28 
Raymond A. Spruance
(Navy admiral during World War II)

Raymond A. Spruance
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1886
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: December 13, 1969

 29 
Joseph C. Wilson
(Diplomat, Writer, Whistleblower, Businessperson)

Joseph C. Wilson
4
Birthdate: November 6, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bridgeport

 30 

Lewis Wallace
4
Birthdate: April 10, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookville, Indiana, United States
Died: February 15, 1905

 31 

Mark Wallace
4
Birthdate: December 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

 32 
James Rubin
(Diplomats)

James Rubin
4
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.

 33 
Ralph Bunche
(Political Scientist)

Ralph Bunche
3
Birthdate: August 7, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: December 9, 1971

 34 
George Washington Williams
(Soldier, Historian, Diplomat, Writer, Minister, Politician, Journalist)

George Washington Williams
4
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.

 35 
Howard Baker
(Politician)

Howard Baker
4
Birthdate: November 15, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Huntsville, Tennessee, U.S.
Died: June 26, 2014

 36 
Maxwell D. Taylor
(Military officer)

Maxwell D. Taylor
4
Birthdate: August 26, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Keytesville, Missouri, United States
Died: April 19, 1987

 37 

Kay Bailey Hutchison
4
Birthdate: July 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas, USA

 38 
Paul Bremer
(Diplomat)

Paul Bremer
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States

 39 

Samantha Power
4
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.”

 40 
Clare Boothe Luce
(Author, Politician)

Clare Boothe Luce
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: October 9, 1987

 41 

Caroline Kennedy
0
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.

 42 
Max Baucus
(Politician)

Max Baucus
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Helena, Montana Helena, Montana, U.S.

 43 

Valerie Jarrett
4
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.

 44 
Susan Rice
(23rd U.S. National Security Advisor ( 2013 – 2017))

Susan Rice
5
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.

 45 
Antony Blinken
(71st United States Secretary of State)

Antony Blinken
0
Birthdate: April 16, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Yonkers, New York, United States

 46 
Sidney Poitier
(First African American to Win an Academy Award for Best Actor for His Film 'Lilies of the Field')

Sidney Poitier
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Died: January 6, 2022

Sidney Poitier was a Bahamian-American actor who became the first Afro-Bahamian and Black male actor to receive an Oscar for Best Actor in 1964. In 2009, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life and work inspired a couple of documentary films, including the 2008 film Sidney Poitier, an Outsider in Hollywood.

 47 
John Kerry
(68th United States Secretary of State)

John Kerry
4
Birthdate: December 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Aurora, Colorado, United States

The 68th US Secretary of State, John Kerry first gained attention as a war veteran turned anti-war advocate. After winning three Purple Heart Medals, Bronze Star Medal and the Silver Star Medal for his efforts in the Vietnam War, John Kerry became an anti-war activist and played a major role in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War organization.

 48 
Deborah Birx
(Physician)

Deborah Birx
4
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.

 49 
Adlai Stevenson II
(Governor of Illinois (1949-53))

Adlai Stevenson II
4
Birthdate: February 5, 1900
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 14, 1965
Adlai Stevenson II served as the Illinois governor from 1949 to 1953. He contested as the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956 but was defeated by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower both the times. Stevenson II also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1961 to 1965.

 50 
Richard Helms
(Government official)

Richard Helms
4
Birthdate: March 30, 1913
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: nowrap St. Davids, Pennsylvania St. Davids, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died: October 22, 2002