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Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Office of the Historian > Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission > Principal Officers 

Assistant Secretaries of State for Near Eastern Affairs

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: George C. McGhee
State of Residency: Texas
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jun 24, 1949
Entry on Duty: Jun 28, 1949
Termination of Appointment: Dec 19, 1951
Note: Originally designated Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs.

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Henry A. Byroade
State of Residency: Indiana
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Apr 10, 1952
Entry on Duty: Apr 14, 1952
Termination of Appointment: Jan 25, 1955

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: George V. Allen
State of Residency: North Carolina
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Jan 24, 1955
Entry on Duty: Jan 26, 1955
Termination of Appointment: Aug 27, 1956

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: William M. Rountree
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Jul 26, 1956
Entry on Duty: Aug 30, 1956
Termination of Appointment: Jul 6, 1959

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: G. Lewis Jones
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Jul 6, 1959
Entry on Duty: Jul 10, 1959
Termination of Appointment: Apr 20, 1961

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Phillips Talbot
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Apr 18, 1961
Entry on Duty: Apr 21, 1961
Termination of Appointment: Sep 1, 1965

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Raymond A. Hare
State of Residency: West Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Sep 11, 1965
Entry on Duty: Sep 22, 1965
Termination of Appointment: Nov 30, 1966

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Lucius D. Battle
State of Residency: Florida
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Apr 5, 1967
Entry on Duty: Apr 5, 1967
Termination of Appointment: Sep 30, 1968

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Parker T. Hart
State of Residency: Illinois
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Oct 4, 1968
Entry on Duty: Oct 14, 1968
Termination of Appointment: Feb 4, 1969

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Joseph John Sisco
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 7, 1969
Entry on Duty: Feb 10, 1969
Termination of Appointment: Feb 18, 1974

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Alfred L. Atherton, Jr.
State of Residency: Florida
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Apr 25, 1974
Entry on Duty: Apr 27, 1974
Termination of Appointment: Apr 13, 1978

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Harold H. Saunders
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Apr 7, 1978
Entry on Duty: Apr 11, 1978
Termination of Appointment: Jan 16, 1981

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Nicholas A. Veliotes
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: May 14, 1981
Entry on Duty: May 21, 1981
Termination of Appointment: Oct 27, 1983

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: Richard W. Murphy
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Oct 27, 1983
Entry on Duty: Oct 28, 1983
Termination of Appointment: May 15, 1989

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
Name: John Hubert Kelly
State of Residency: Georgia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Jun 15, 1989
Entry on Duty: Jun 16, 1989
Termination of Appointment: Sep 30, 1991

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: Edward P. Djerejian
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Sep 27, 1991
Entry on Duty: Sep 30, 1991
Termination of Appointment: Dec 17, 1993
Note: Djerejian served concurrently as Acting Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs, Aug 24, 1992-May 30, 1993.

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: Robert H. Pelletreau, Jr.
State of Residency: Connecticut
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Feb 11, 1994
Entry on Duty: Feb 18, 1994
Termination of Appointment: Jan 24, 1997

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: Martin S. Indyk
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Oct 14, 1997
Entry on Duty: Oct 14, 1997
Termination of Appointment: Nov 16, 1999

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: Edward S. Walker, Jr.
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign service officer
Appointment: Nov 16, 1999
Entry on Duty: Jan 18, 2000
Termination of Appointment:

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: William J. Burns
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Foreign Service Officer
Appointment: May 31, 2001
Entry on Duty: Jun 4, 2001
Termination of Appointment: Mar 2, 2005

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
Name: C. David Welch
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service Officer
Appointment: Mar 18, 2005
Entry on Duty: Mar 18, 2005
Termination of Appointment:


Creation of Position: The Department of State established the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs on Oct 3, 1949, after the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of Government (Hoover Commission) recommended that certain offices be upgraded to bureau level and after Congress increased the number of Assistant Secretaries of State from six to ten (May 26, 1949; P.L. 81-73; 63 Stat. 111). The Department of State established a Division of Near Eastern Affairs in 1909, which dealt with Central, Southern, and Eastern Europe as well as with the Middle East. The final remnant of this practice ended on Apr 18, 1974, when the Department transferred responsibility for Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus to the Bureau of European Affairs. The Division of Near Eastern Affairs included Egypt and Abyssinia (Ethiopia) from its inception, and acquired responsibility for the rest of Africa (except Algeria and the Union of South Africa) in 1937. Relations with African nations became the responsibility of a new Bureau of African Affairs on Aug 20, 1958, but relations with North African nations reverted to the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs on Apr 22, 1974. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993 (105 Stat. 658) authorized the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs on Oct 28, 1991. The Bureau of South Asian Affairs was established Aug 24, 1992.

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