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Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Relations With United Kingdom


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
Fact Sheet
September 5, 2013

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More information about the United Kingdom is available on the United Kingdom Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-UNITED KINGDOM RELATIONS

The first, short-lived British colony in Virginia was organized in 1584, and permanent English settlement began in 1607. The United States declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776. The American Revolutionary War ended in 1783, with Great Britain recognizing U.S. independence. The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1785. The United States broke relations when it declared war on the United Kingdom during the War of 1812; relations were reestablished in 1815.

The United States has no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and British foreign policy emphasizes close coordination with the United States. Bilateral cooperation reflects the common language, ideals, and democratic practices of the two nations. Relations were strengthened by the United Kingdom's alliance with the United States during both World Wars, in the Korean conflict, in the Persian Gulf War, in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in Afghanistan, as well as through its role as a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The United Kingdom and the United States continually consult on foreign policy issues and global problems and share major foreign and security policy objectives.

Regarding Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, "Nationalist" and "Republican" groups seek a united Ireland that includes Northern Ireland, while "Unionists" and "Loyalists" want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. U.S. priorities continue to be supporting the peace process and devolved political institutions in Northern Ireland and encouraging the implementation of the U.S.-brokered 1998 Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, and the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement.

U.S. Assistance to the United Kingdom

The International Fund for Ireland (IFI), created in 1986, provides funding for projects to generate cross-community engagement and economic opportunity in Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom) and the border counties of Ireland. Since the IFI's establishment, the U.S. Government has contributed over $500 million, roughly half of total IFI funding. The other major donor to IFI is the European Union.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union and a major international trading power. The United Kingdom is one of the largest markets for U.S. goods exports and one of the largest suppliers of U.S. imports. The United States and the United Kingdom share the world's largest bilateral foreign direct investment partnerships. The United Kingdom is a large source of foreign tourists visiting the United States. It participates in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for certain business or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

The United Kingdom's Membership in International Organizations

The United Kingdom and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, G-20, G-8, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. The United Kingdom also is an observer to the Organization of American States.

Bilateral Representation

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom is Matthew Barzun; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department's Key Officers List.

The United Kingdom maintains an embassy in the United States at 3100 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel. 202-588-6500.

More information about the United Kingdom is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State United Kingdom Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook United Kingdom Page
U.S. Embassy: United Kingdom
History of U.S. Relations With the United Kingdom
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Travel and Business Information



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