More information about Palau is available on the Palau country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
In 1947, the United Nations assigned the United States administering authority over the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Trust Territory), which included what is now the Republic of Palau (Palau). The Compact of Free Association (COFA) between the United States and Palau entered into force in 1994. The COFA reflected that Palau was a sovereign nation in free association with the United States. The Compact does not have an end date. The Compact Review Agreement, as amended, (CRA) entered into force in 2018.
Palau is a sovereign nation and conducts its own foreign relations, consistent with the terms of the COFA. The United States and Palau maintain diplomatic relations, as well as deep ties and a cooperative relationship. Under the COFA, Palau and the United States agreed that the United States has full authority and responsibility for defense and security matters in and relating to Palau. In addition, eligible Palauan citizens can travel to the United States without visas to live, work, and study, consistent with the terms of the COFA and the CRA. Approximately 500 Palauans serve as volunteers in the U.S. armed forces, a higher rate per capita than any U.S. state.
In addition, the United States and Palau cooperate on a broad range of issues, including strengthening regional security, promoting sustainable development and tackling the climate crisis, remediating unexploded ordnance (UXO), and protecting fisheries and the environment. Palau also has one of the highest levels of voting coincidence with the United States at the United Nations.
U.S. Assistance to Palau
The United States provides a wide range of federal programs in Palau that, under the CRA, will continue until 2024. Under the CRA, the United States also provided additional contributions to the Compact Trust Fund, which assists Palau in achieving healthy economic growth. As of March 2022, the value of the Compact Trust Fund was approximately $296.4 million.
Separately, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a mission in Manila, Philippines that covers 12 nations, including Palau. USAID is supporting through grant and technical assistance the development of a submarine cable branch system that increases Palau’s redundancy and internet access. The Palau spur connects to a larger transpacific cable, a $30 million tri-lateral effort provided by the U.S. Department of Interior, USAID, and the governments of Australia and Japan.
USAID supports a more resilient Palau by strengthening community resilience, advancing resilient economic growth, and strengthening democratic systems. USAID’s Climate Ready project works with government partners to draft and implement policies to achieve adaption goals, access larger amounts of financing from international adaption funds, and improve skills and systems to monitor projects. To combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, USAID is working with The Pacific Community (SPC) to improve sustainable coastal fisheries management and create enabling conditions for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. To improve sustainable fisheries in Palau, the OurFish OurFuture activity addresses the social and ecological drivers of IUU fishing that are degrading coastal fisheries and biodiversity, as well as negatively impacting local livelihoods, food stability, and maritime security.
In 2022, the United States co-hosted the 7th Annual Our Ocean Conference with Palau in Koror, which addressed cross-cutting themes on small island states and climate change. Palau joined the Local2030 Islands Network, a State Department funded network that connects island economies and jurisdictions to advance sustainable development solutions. The United States is partnering with the Pacific Islands Health Officers Assocation and the governments of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands through Diminishing Dengue in the Indo-Pacific with Climate Services. The project uses climate, demographic, and health variables to generate an early warning system for mosquito borne diseases, improving the targeting of risk communication and vector control measures. This effort demonstrates ways that U.S. and Islander leadership can apply science, public health, and community engagement to bolster health security and climate resilience across the Pacific.
Since 2009, the United States has provided more than $5.4 million in Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) assistance to Palau to mitigate the negative impacts of UXO remaining from Pacific bombing campaigns during WWII. Current U.S.-Palau UXO cooperation is coordinated through Palau’s National UXO Safety office and is creating a national UXO survey plan, conducting clearance operations, and building the capacity of the Government of Palau.
Through State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the Global Defense Reform Program (GDRP) is assisting the Palauan government to strengthen its institutional capacity in the area of maritime domain awareness. A GDRP Senior Advisor embedded with Palau’s Division of Marine Law Enforcement (DMLE) is helping to operationalize the new Joint Operations Center (JOC) (formerly Maritime Operations Center). The JOC has improved Palau’s maritime governance and institutional capacity by allowing the DMLE to monitor and counter illicit activities in Palau’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Since December 2020, for example, the GDRP program has contributed to Palau’s increasing capability to detect illegal research vessels and to interdict IUU fishing vessels. Over the past few years, the GDRP program also supported the Government of Palau in establishing the Office of the National Security Coordinator.
Palau’s Membership in International Organizations
Palau and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Palau also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner, the Pacific Community, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme.
Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Palau maintains an embassy in the United States at 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006 (tel: 202-349-8598). The Palau Ambassador to the United States and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps is Hersey Kyota.
More information about Palau is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
CIA World Factbook Palau Page
History of U.S. Relations With Palau
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics