Jan 24

Former US Ambassadors to 48 African Countries write letter to President Trump

January 16, 2018

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As former U.S. Ambassadors to 48 African countries, we write to express our deep concern regarding reports of your recent remarks about African countries and to attest to the importance of our partnerships with most of the fifty-four African nations. Africa is a continent of great human talent and rich diversity, as well as extraordinary beauty and almost unparalleled natural resources. It is also a continent with deep historical ties with the United States.

As American ambassadors abroad we have seen Africa’s complex and rich cultures, awe-inspiring resilience, and breathtaking generosity and compassion. Even as some nations have faced challenges, we have counted among our contacts dynamic entrepreneurs, gifted artists, committed activists, passionate conservationists, and brilliant educators. We learned of novel solutions to complex problems, helped American companies find partners critical to their success, and counted on African military and intelligence officials who often assumed real risks to help achieve outcomes critical to our shared security.

We know that respectful engagement with these countries is a vital part of protecting our own national interests. The United States of America is safer, healthier, more prosperous, and better equipped to solve problems that confront all of humanity when we work with, listen to, and learn from our African partners. We also know that the entire world is richer because of the contributions of Africans, including the many Americans of African descent.

It was one of the greatest honors of our lives to represent the United States of America abroad. It was also a privilege to live in and learn from the diverse and spectacular countries of Africa.

We hope that you will reassess your views on Africa and its citizens, and recognize the important contributions Africans and African Americans have made and continue to make to our country, our history, and the enduring bonds that will always link Africa and the United States.


Mark L. Asquino – Equatorial Guinea

Shirley E. Barnes – Madagascar

William (Mark) Bellamy – Kenya

Eric D. Benjaminson – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe

Michele Thoren Bond – Lesotho

Parker W. Borg – Mali

Aurelia E. Brazeal – Kenya, Ethiopia

Pamela Bridgewater – Benin, Ghana

Reuben E. Brigety II – African Union

Kenneth L. Brown – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Republic of the Congo

Steven A. Browning – Malawi, Uganda

Edward P. Brynn – Burkina Faso, Ghana

John Campbell – Nigeria

Katherine Canavan – Botswana

Timothy Carney – Sudan

Johnnie Carson – Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Phillip Carter – Ivory Coast, Guinea-Conakry

Herman Cohen – Senegal, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Frances D. Cook – Burundi, Cameroon

Walter L. Cutler – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tunisia

Jeffrey S. Davidow – Zambia

Ruth A. Davis – Benin, Director General of the Foreign Service

Scott H. DeLisi – Uganda, Eritrea Christopher Dell – Angola, Zimbabwe, Deputy Ambassador at AFRICOM

Harriet Elam-Thomas – Senegal, Guinea-Bissau

Gregory W. Engle – Togo

James F. Entwistle – Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Robert A. Flaten – Rwanda

Robert S. Ford – Algeria

Patrick Gaspard – South Africa

Michelle D. Gavin – Botswana

Donald H. Gips – South Africa

Gordon Gray – Tunisia

Robert E. Gribben – Central African Republic, Rwanda

Patricia McMahon Hawkins – Togo

Karl Hofmann – Togo

Patricia M. Haslach – Ethiopia

Genta Hawkins Holmes – Namibia

Robert G. Houdek – Uganda, Eritrea

Michael S. Hoza – Cameroon

Vicki J. Huddleston – Madagascar, Mali

Janice L. Jacobs – Senegal

Howard F. Jeter – Botswana, Nigeria

Dennis C. Jett – Mozambique

Jimmy J. Kolker – Burkina Faso, Uganda

Edward Gibson Lanpher – Zimbabwe

Dawn M. Liberi – Burundi

Princeton N. Lyman – Nigeria, South Africa

Jackson McDonald – The Gambia, Guinea

James D. McGee – Swaziland, Madagascar, Comoros, Zimbabwe

Roger A. Meece – Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gillian Milovanovic – Mali

Susan D. Page – South Sudan

David Passage – Botswana

Edward J. Perkins – Liberia, South Africa, Director General of the Foreign Service

Robert C. Perry – Central African Republic

Thomas R. Pickering – Nigeria

Jo Ellen Powell – Mauritania

Nancy Powell – Uganda, Ghana

Anthony Quainton – Central African Republic

Elizabeth Raspolic – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe

Charles A. Ray – Zimbabwe

Fernando E. Rondon – Madagascar, Comoros

Richard A. Roth – Senegal, Guinea-Bissau

Robin Renee Sanders – Republic of the Congo, Nigeria

Mattie R. Sharpless – Central African Republic

David H. Shinn – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia

A. Ellen Shippy – Malawi

George M. Staples – Rwanda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Director General of the Foreign Service

Linda Thomas-Greenfield – Liberia, Director General of the Foreign Service, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Jacob Walles – Tunisia

Lannon Walker – Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast

Melissa F. Wells – Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zaire (Congo-Kinshasa)

Joseph C. Wilson – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe

Frank G. Wisner – Zambia, Egypt

John M. Yates – Cape Verde, Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Permanent Charge (3 years) Zaire, Special Envoy for Somalia

Mary Carlin Yates – Burundi, Ghana, Sudan

Johnny Young – Sierra Leone, Togo