Belgium

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Overview

Located in Western Europe, Belgium was originally settled by the Belgae, a Celtic tribe, and went on to be conquered or occupied by the Romans, Germanic tribes, Austrians, Spanish, and the French. The country gained its independence in 1831, as a constitutional monarchy, but Germany twice invaded Belgium, in 1914 and 1940. Various changes to its constitution have made Belgium a government by coalition. Today, it exists as a parliamentary democracy and has cooperated with the US in several instances. For example, Belgium joined the International Security Assistance Force to help secure Afghanistan and helped with reconstruction and development assistance to Iraq. In addition, Belgium has joined various peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Lebanon, provided airlifts in international crises, and hosted the 2005 and 2007 transatlantic dialogues between European foreign ministers and the US Secretary of State. Also, the Belgian city of Brussels is home to the European Union.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Situated in northwest Europe, Belgium has 40 miles of seacoast on the North Sea. It is a highly industrialized nation with two major cosmopolitan centers, Brussels and Antwerp, as well as several important manufacturing cities. Outsides these centers, Belgian villages retain the rural pace and appearance of centuries past, and the Ardennes forestland in the south provides scenic refuge from commerce.

 
Population: 10.4 million
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 57.3%, non-specified Christian 15%, Islam 3.8%, Protestant 1.4%, Orthodox Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.5%, Buddhist 0.01%, Anglican 0.01%, non-religious 17.3%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Flemish 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%.
 
Languages: Dutch (official) 44.2%, French (official) 38.5%, Walloon 10.8%, Vlams 10.3%, Limburgisch 5.8%, German (official) 3.9%, Luxembourgeois 0.3%, Picard, Europanto.
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History

Belgium was originally settled by the Belgae, a Celtic tribe. The Romans conquered the Belgae during the 1st century BC, and Belgium existed as a Roman province for 300 years.

 
As the Roman Empire's power diminished, Attila the Hun invaded what is now Germany in 300 AD. The Germanic tribes were pushed back into northern Belgium. They settled there over the next 100 years, until the Franks invaded, and took possession of Belgium. The northern part of Belgium continued to be settled by Germans, while the southern part of the country was home to Roman and Latin speaking persons.
 
Belgium passed into the possession of the Dukes of Burgundy and then the Hapsburgs of Austria. Subsequently, Belgium was occupied by the Spanish (1519-1713) and the Austrians (1713-1794). During this time, from the 12th to the 17th centuries, the country's major cities of Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp became the centers of commerce, industry and art. The Flemish Primitives were a group of painters active primarily in the Southern Netherlands in the 15th and early 16th centuries (for example, Van Eyck and van der Weyden). Flemish tapestries hung on the walls of castles throughout Europe.
 
The French Revolution allowed Belgium to be annexed in 1795 by Napoleon's armies. But following Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, just a few miles south of Brussels, Belgium was again separated from France and made part of the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. 
 
Fifteen years later, Belgian citizens rose up and helped to win the country's independence from the Dutch. The Belgian Revolution was aided by intellectuals and the French army, but the two primary forces behind it were the Catholic clergy and the Protestant Dutch King William I.
 
 In 1831, a constitutional monarchy was established, with a monarch invited in from the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in Germany. On July 21, 1831, the first king of Belgium was inaugurated, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The Netherlands continued to fight for another eight years until 1839 when a treaty was signed between the two countries.
 
In 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, as part of the Schlieffen Plan. The Allies stopped the Germans along the Yser, and King Albert I stayed in Belgium with his troops to lead the army while the government withdrew to Le Havre, France. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in the first and second battles of Ypres. Germany occupied Belgium until the end of the war. 
 
Belgium's economy was devastated by World War I. After the war, the country was to receive reparations, but they never arrived. During WWI, Belgium took over Ruanda-Urundi (modern day Rwanda and Burundi) from Germany and they were officially mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations. Although the country briefly allied itself with France, it returned to a policy of neutrality in the 1930s.
 
In 1940, Germany invaded Belgium for a second time. The king remained in Belgium after surrendering. German forces occupied the country until 1944, when Allied forces seized Antwerp in September. During October 1944, the Battle of the Scheldt was fought, primarily on Dutch soil, but with the intention of opening Antwerp's harbor. Allied troops continued to fight throughout the winter, during which time the Ardennes Offensive was launched by the Germans. Fighting in Belgium lasted into 1945.
 
After World War II, divisions that had been festering between the Dutch-speaking Flemish and Francophone Walloons came to a head. Demonstrations lead to a formal linguistic border in 1962, and complex rules were drafted to protect minorities in linguistically mixed areas. In 1970, Flemish and Francophone cultural councils were established with authority in matters of language and culture. Each of the three economic regions—Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels—was granted a significant measure of political autonomy.
 
In 1984, the German language area of Belgium was given its own legislative assembly and executive, providing authority in cultural, language and educational matters. In 1989, the Belgian constitution was again amended to provide additional responsibilities to various regions. These moved educational responsibilities to the regional level and increased revenue. At this time, Brussels was given its own legislative assembly and executive.
 
In 1993, Belgium was changed from a unitary into a federal state. Its parliament was reformed, providing for the direct election of members of community and regional legislative councils. The bilingual Brabant province, which contained the Brussels region, was split into separate Flemish and Walloon Brabant provinces. The revised Constitution came into force in 1994.
 
Belgium now exists as a parliamentary democracy. It is generally governed by coalition governments of two or more political parties. In 1999, Belgians rejected Jean Luc Dehaene's longstanding coalition government of Christian Democrats and Socialists and voted into power a coalition led by Flemish Liberal Leader Guy Verhofstadt.
 
The first Verhofstadt government (1999-2003) was a six-party coalition between the Flemish and Francophone Liberals, Socialists, and Greens. It was the first Liberal-led coalition in generations, and the first six-party coalition in 20 years. It also was the first time the Greens had participated in Belgium's federal government.
 
In 2003's election, the Greens suffered significant losses, while the Socialists posted strong gains and the Liberals also had modest growth. Liberal Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt reconstituted the coalition as a four-party government in July 2003, with only the Liberals and Socialists in power.
 
In the 2007 general elections, the Flemish Christian Democratic (CD&V) recouped the lost ground, becoming the country's largest party. The two socialist parties and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's Open VLD lost support. The Francophone Liberal MR became the largest party of Wallonia and Brussels.
 
After the election, the king tasked CD&V leader Yves Leterme with forming a new government. The ruling coalition is composed of Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V), Francophone Christian Democrats (CDH), Flemish Liberals (Open VLD), Francophone Liberals (MR), and the Francophone Socialists (PS).
 
Today, the Belgian city of Brussels serves as the de facto seat of the European Union.
 
History of Belgium (Wikipedia)
 
 
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Belgium's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Belgium

 

Belgians were prominent in the early settling of New York and gave their names to many of the adjacent areas, such as Hoboken, Pavonia, and Wallkill. Even Baltimore was named after a prominent Flemish aristocrat. The West India Company, which purchased Manhattan Island from Native Americans in the 17th Century, was founded by a Flemish man named William Usselinx, and Walloons were instrumental in the transactions.
 
Between 1820 and 1910, 102,000 Belgians immigrated to the US. Immigration peaked between 1847-1849, when particularly acute economic stress and a virulent epidemic caused an exodus. Most Belgian immigrants came for economic reasons, like their fellow Europeans. The 1880s saw massive demographic shifts across Europe as overpopulation and increasingly lax emigration policy provided a stimulus for movement. Industrialization marginalized rural workers, and the burgeoning rail system combined with the advent of the steamship made it easier for displaced farmers to travel and seek their fortune in America . Belgians arriving in this period tended to be farmers, miners, carpenters, masons, glass blowers and lace makers.
 
Between 1910 and 1950, 62,000 Belgians arrived in the United States. Since 1950, the annual quota of 1,350 has never been reached, although there has been a steady stream of well-educated Belgian professionals coming to America to work in laboratories, universities, and multinational corporations. 
 
The states claiming the largest Belgian populations are Wisconsin (57,808), Michigan (53,135), Illinois (34,208), California (26,820), and Minnesota (15,627).
 
U.S. Relations with Belgium (The United States Mission to the European Union)
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Current U.S. Relations with Belgium

 

Relations between the U.S. and Belgium are friendly, despite occasional disagreements on foreign policy issues. Belgian good will towards America began during and after the two world wars, and continues to foster cooperation between the two nations. In 2007, Belgium and the United States celebrated 175 years of relations.
 
The US has worked with Belgium in the International Security Assistance Force to help secure Afghanistan. Belgium has also helped with reconstruction and development assistance to Iraq, various peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Lebanon, airlifts in international crises, and hosted the 2005 and 2007 transatlantic dialogues between European foreign ministers and the Secretary of State.
 
In January 2006, Prime Minister Verhofstadt visited the US and met with President George W. Bush.
 
Belgium also works closely with the United States bilaterally, as well as in an international capacity, to encourage economic and political cooperation and assistance to developing countries. Belgium has welcomed hundreds of US firms to its territory, many of which have their European headquarters there.
 
In the 2000 US census, 360,642 people identified themselves as Belgian. 
 
In 2002, 292,824 Americans visited Belgium. Tourism has grown steadily since a decline in 2002-2003, when the number of tourists dropped from 301,280 to 274,906.
 
In 2006, 188,311 Belgians visited the US. The number of tourists has grown erratically, but is up overall since 2002, when 159,052 Belgians came to America. UPDATE
Belgium PM: U.S. Relations Need More Work (by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press)
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

From 2004 to 2008, top American imports from Belgium included wine and related products, moving up from $35.3 million to $148 million; fuel oil, increasing from $784.6 million to $2.1 billion; and industrial inorganic chemicals, increasing from $62.2 million to $143.1 million. On the decline were tobacco, waxes, and nonfood oils, decreasing from $39.6. million to $22.7 million; and excavating, paving, and construction machinery, moving down from $237.1 million to $105.6 million.

 
Leading American exports to Belgium during 2004 to 2008 were petroleum products, moving up from $268.4 million to $476.8 million, iron and steel mill products, up from $81.8 million to $155.5 million, and plastic materials, increasing from $1.3 billion to $1.665 billion.
 
US exports to Belgium on the decline included wheat, down from $25.6 million to $15.2 million; wine and related products, down from $13.6 million to $9.3 million; and tobacco, decreasing from $11.8 million to $3.8 million.
 
In 2007, the Department of State authorized the export of defense articles and services valued at $408.3 million. The US does not presently give foreign aid to Belgium.

Imports from Belgium

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Controversies

Fox Nomination Stirs Controversy

In April 2007, Belgian officials tried to play down the controversy stemming from the appointment of a major Republican fundraiser as the next US ambassador to Brussels. President George W. Bush appointed Sam Fox at a recess appointment, allowing him to bypass Congressional approval. His nomination had previously been withdrawn when the Democrats derailed his approval. In the wake of the recess appointment, Democrats from the House and Senate demanded an investigation into whether Bush abused his power in making the appointment and disregarding congressional oversight. Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd said that Bush's actions were “deceptive at best and illegal at worst.” Fox was head of the group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign targeting John Kerry during his presidential run.
Belgium plays down controversy over new U.S. ambassador (by Slobodan Lekic, Associated Press)
 
Officials Dispute U.S.'s Role in Lumumba's Death
In February 2002, a book called The Assassination of Lumumba, by Ludo De Witte, charged that the United States plotted with dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the Belgians in the 1961 assassination of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. The author worked with declassified US State Department cables and congressional testimony on assassinations to make his assertions. Former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, who seemed to have been directly involved as second secretary in the US embassy in Kinshasa, the Congo, successfully had his character removed from a film depicting the events (Lumumba). The Belgian prime minister apologized to the Lumumba family for his country's role in the killing. The filmmaker, Raoul Peck, has said he believed his film to be an accurate portrayal of events.
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Human Rights

According to the State Department, the following human rights problems were reported in Belgium: overcrowded prisons, lengthy pretrial detention, the detention conditions prior to expulsion of children whose asylum applications were rejected, violence against women and ethnic and religious minorities, trafficking in persons, and racial and ethnic discrimination in the job market.

 
The Centre for Equal Opportunity and the Fight Against Racism (CEOOR) counted some 66 anti-Semitic incidents between January and November 2008. There also was a noticeable increase in Internet hate messages. In addition anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish homes and insults against Jews on the streets were reported. The size of the Jewish community is estimated at 40-50,000. Anti-Muslim incidents also occurred during the year, but no data were available on their extent.
 
Domestic violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. Reportedly, one in five women had ever been subjected to domestic violence. In 2007 (the most recent available data) the federal police reported 16,254 cases of domestic violence, compared to 15,466 the previous year. The law allows police to enter a home without the consent of the head of household when investigating a domestic violence complaint; however, there were complaints that the police frequently declined to do this. By year's end the government had not fully implemented provisions of the law that require it to establish and maintain a database of statistics on domestic violence.
 
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, there were reports that persons were trafficked to, through, and from the country. The country was a destination and transit point for women and children from Central Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, primarily trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Men were trafficked for exploitive labor on construction sites and in restaurants and sweatshops. Reportedly, trafficking for forced labor and forced begging increased from previous levels. The country was listed as a destination country in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's citation index.
Immigrant communities complained of discrimination. Members of the Muslim community, estimated at 450,000 and principally of Moroccan and Turkish origin, claimed that discrimination against their community, notably in education and employment and particularly against young men, was greater than that experienced by other immigrant communities. In 2007 the CEOOR, which investigates complaints of discrimination, racism, and hate instigation, handled 2,917 discrimination and racism complaints. The CEOOR noted a trend of increased racial violence.
 
 In its annual report for 2007, the CEOOR noted an increase in discrimination based on health or medical conditions, sexual orientation, and age. The CEOOR in 2007 registered 192 discrimination complaints based on disability. Most complaints were job-related. Courts have occasionally ruled against landlords who refuse to lease to same-sex couples.
 
The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred.
 

 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Sam Fox

A native of Desloge, Missouri, Sam Fox served as the US ambassador to Belgium from April 18, 2007, until January 2, 2009.

Fox’s higher education background consists of having been admitted in 1947 to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Although there is no mention of a degree or graduation date, his State Department bio claims Washington University is Fox’s “alma mater.” He is a Lifetime Trustee of the university, and he served as chairman of its recent “highly successful capital campaign.” In 2006, the university dedicated the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts in honor of his service and financial generosity.

Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Fox had no experience as a diplomat. He is a longtime businessman of 50 years who founded the Harbour Group, a private operating company that specializes in the acquisition and development of high-quality businesses located mostly in the US.

 
Fox is also a major financial contributor to the Republican Party, having funneled millions of dollars to the GOP and thus earning the title of “Bush Ranger” from President George W. Bush. For example, from 1994 to 2000, his company, Harbour Group, gave more than $700,000 to the Republican National Committee, in addition to thousands more to individual GOP candidates and campaign operations. In 2004, he donated $50,000 to The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization that savaged the military reputation of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
 
Because of this donation and others, along with his lack of diplomatic experience, Democrats in the Senate refused to confirm Fox’s nomination as ambassador to Belgium. President Bush then withdrew the nomination and reappointed Fox during a congressional recess, which allowed the president to bypass Democratic opposition.
 
Bush bypasses Senate to appoint 'Swift Boat' donor (by Susan Page and David Jackson, USA Today)
 
Hugh S. Legare
Appointment: Apr 14, 1832
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1832
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 9, 1836
 
William H. Haywood
Appointment: Mar 7, 1837
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Virgil Maxcy
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 24, 1837
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 17, 1842
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Sep 19, 1837.
 
Henry W. Hilliard
Appointment: May 12, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 17, 1842
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, 12-Aug 15, 1844
 
Thomas G. Clemson
Appointment: Jun 17, 1844
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1844
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 1, 1851
 
Richard H. Bayard
Appointment: Dec 10, 1850
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1851
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 12, 1853
 
J.J. Seibels
Appointment: May 24, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1854
Termination of Mission: Had farewell audience, Sep 14, 1856
 
Elisha Y. Fair
Appointment: Jun 14, 1858
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 27, 1858
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 8, 1861
 
Henry S. Sanford
Appointment: Mar 20, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: May 8, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 21, 1869
Note: Nominated Dec 17, 1866, and Mar 8, 1867, to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary; nomination rejected by the Senate.
 
Joseph Russell Jones
Appointment: Jun 1, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1869
Termination of Mission: Left Belgium, Jul 22, 1875
Note: Nomination of Apr 12, 1869, tabled by the Senate. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 15, 1870.
 
Adam Badeau
Appointment: Jul 12, 1875
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; declined appointment.
 
Ayres Phillips Merrill
Appointment: Jan 7, 1876
Presentation of Credentials: May 18, 1876
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 25–Dec 28, 1877
 
Henry S. Sanford
Note: Not commissioned; nomination not confirmed by the Senate.
 
William C. Goodloe
Appointment: Mar 4, 1878
Presentation of Credentials: May 12, 1878
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 27, 1880
 
James O. Putnam
Appointment: Jun 4, 1880
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 12, 1880
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 30, 1882
 
Nicholas Fish
Appointment: Apr 28, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 5, 1882
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 6, 1885
 
Lambert Tree
Appointment: Jul 3, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1886.
 
Lambert Tree
Appointment: Aug 10, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Dec 18, 1888
 
John G. Parkhurst
Appointment: Oct 1, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 20, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 12, 1889
 
Edwin H. Terrell
Appointment: Apr 1, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 22, 1893
 
James S. Ewing
Appointment: Apr 8, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 22, 1893
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 6, 1897
 
Bellamy Storer
Appointment: May 4, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1897
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 31, 1899
 
Lawrence Townsend
Appointment: Apr 12, 1899
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 18, 1899
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 5, 1905
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 14, 1899.
 
Henry Lane Wilson
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: May 5, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 25, 1909
 
Charles Page Bryan
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 10, 1910
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 18, 1911
 
Larz Anderson
Appointment: Aug 12, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1911
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1912
 
Theodore Marburg
Appointment: Nov 22, 1912
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 24, 1913
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jan 23, 1914
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 1, 1913.
 
Brand Whitlock
Appointment: Dec 22, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 1914
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
Brand Whitlock
Appointment: Sep 30, 1919
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 3, 1919
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1921
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Mar 6, 1922
Presentation of Credentials: May 3, 1922
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 25, 1924
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
William Phillips
Appointment: Feb 29, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 5, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 1, 1927
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Hugh S. Gibson
Appointment: Feb 17, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 11, 1933
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Dave Hennen Morris
Appointment: May 18, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 6, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 5, 1937
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Hugh S. Gibson
Appointment: Jul 13, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1937
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 15, 1938
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Joseph E. Davies
Appointment: May 14, 1938
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 30, 1939
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
John Cudahy
Appointment: Jan 12, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: [Jan 17, 1940]
Termination of Mission: Belgian Govt. left Brussels, May 16, 1940, in
anticipation of German occupation.
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels. Presentation of credentials formally received on Jan 17, 1940. Embassy Brussels was closed, Jul 15, 1940; Cudahy left post, Jul 18, 1940. Rudolph E. Schoenfeld was designated, Nov 1, 1940, to serve as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim near the Government of Belgium established in England.
 
Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 11, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left London, Dec 1, 1943
Note: Served near the Government of Belgium established in England; commissioned also to Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and, Yugoslavia; resident at London.
Note: Rudolph E. Schoenfeld was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the mission of the Embassy near the Government of Belgium, established in England, was terminated Sep 8, 1944. Embassy Brussels was reestablished Sep 14, 1944, with Ernest de W. Mayer as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
Charles Sawyer
Appointment: Sep 21, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 8, 1944
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 20, 1945
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Alan G. Kirk
Appointment: Feb 1, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 1, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 6, 1949
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Robert D. Murphy
Appointment: Sep 22, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 29, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 19, 1952
 
Myron Melvin Cowen
Appointment: May 10, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 11, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 8, 1953
 
Frederick M. Alger, Jr.
Appointment: May 26, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 27, 1957
 
John Clifford Folger
Appointment: Mar 28, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: May 24, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 11, 1959
 
William A. M. Burden
Appointment: Sep 9, 1959
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1959
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 28, 1961
 
Douglas MacArthur 2nd
Appointment: Feb 24, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 11, 1965
Note: Nephew of General Douglas MacArthur
 
Ridgway B. Knight
Appointment: Jun 4, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 24, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 16, 1969
 
John S. D. Eisenhower
Appointment: Mar 14, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: May 14, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 28, 1971
Note: Son of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower
 
Robert Strausz-Hupe
Appointment: Feb 15, 1972
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1972
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 22, 1974
Note: An earlier nomination of Dec 8, 1971, was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Leonard Kimball Firestone
Appointment: Apr 25, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 14, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1977
 
Anne Cox Chambers
Appointment: Apr 29, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 17, 1981
 
Charles H. Price II
Appointment: Jun 19, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 15, 1983
 
Geoffrey Swaebe
Appointment: Nov 18, 1983
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 2, 1983
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1988
 
Maynard Wayne Glitman
Appointment: Jul 15, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 28, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 17, 1991
 
Bruce S. Gelb
Appointment: May 30, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 9, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1993
 
Alan John Blinken
Appointment: Nov 4, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 2, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 15, 1998
 
Paul L. Cejas
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 6, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 31 2001
 
Stephen Brauer
Appointment: May 31, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 2003
 
Jeffrey A. Marcus
Note: Nomination not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Tom C. Korologos
Appointment: Jun 29, 2004
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 14, 2004
Termination of Mission: Feb 6, 2007
 
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Belgium's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Matthysen, Jan

Jan Matthysen assumed the position of Belgium’s ambassador to the United States in February 2009. Matthysen graduated from Ghent University in 1973 with a degree in Contemporary Political History. Matthysen has had two decades worth of Foreign Service experience. He joined the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984 and became the first secretary at the Belgium embassy in Bonn. He then became the Counselor at the Embassy in then East Berlin that he held through the German reunification process in 1990.

 
He was also the charge d’affaires and then ambassador in Belgrade from 1994 until 1997. He became the head of the NATO desk at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Brussels in 1997. From 1999 until 2000, Jan was the Acting Head of the General Directorate for Political-Military Affairs and senior advisor on Kosovo to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Balkans. In 2000, he was appointed as Ambassador to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and then in 2004 he took over as Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma. While there, he pursued his interests in wildlife photography and gardening, redesigning the landscaping of the Belgian embassy in Bangkok himself.
 
He is married to Agnes Aerts with five children.
 
Official Biography
Jan Matthysen (Wikipedia)
Diplomatic Nicieties (by Veena Thoopkrajae, The Nation-Bangkok)
 
 

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Belgium's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Belgium

Bauer, Denise
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama has nominated another big dollar campaign donor and fundraiser to serve as an ambassador. Denise Campbell Bauer, a former television producer who raised more than $500,000 from others for Obama’s 2012 campaign, will be the next U.S. ambassador to Belgium. If confirmed by the Senate, Bauer will succeed Howard W. Gutman, who is currently under investigation by the State Department for allegedly soliciting underage prostitutes.

 

Born circa 1963, Bauer earned a B.A. at Occidental College in 1985, arriving just after Barack Obama left there. 

 

Beginning her career in television in Los Angeles, Bauer worked as a field producer and researcher for KCBS-TV News from 1985 to 1988, as a news producer for the North American bureau of Nine Network Australia from 1988 to 1990, and as a freelance film and video producer from 1990 to 1992.

 

Relocating to the Bay Area, Bauer worked as a public affairs officer for the American Red Cross Bay Area in San Francisco from 1993 to 1994. 

 

A longtime Democrat, Bauer hosted multiple fundraisers and raised $4.3 million for the President’s two election campaigns, served on the Obama for America National Finance Committee from 2007 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2012, and was Finance Chair for Women for Obama from 2011 to 2012. She was also on the Democratic National Committee from 2008 to 2012, serving as chair and co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum and as co-chair of the National Issues Conference. She has also personally contributed nearly $20,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations, including $8,745 to the DNC, $9,310 to Barack Obama, $200 to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) in 2010, and $750 to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia.).

 

Bauer has been active in, and served on the board of directors of, the Belvedere Community Foundation located in Belvedere, California, where she lives. 

 

Denise Bauer is married to litigation attorney Steven M. Bauer, who is a partner in the firm of Latham and Watkins in San Francisco. They have two daughters, Katharine and Natalie.   

-Matt Bewig

 

Biography (by Alia Papageorgiou, NewEurope)

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Overview

Located in Western Europe, Belgium was originally settled by the Belgae, a Celtic tribe, and went on to be conquered or occupied by the Romans, Germanic tribes, Austrians, Spanish, and the French. The country gained its independence in 1831, as a constitutional monarchy, but Germany twice invaded Belgium, in 1914 and 1940. Various changes to its constitution have made Belgium a government by coalition. Today, it exists as a parliamentary democracy and has cooperated with the US in several instances. For example, Belgium joined the International Security Assistance Force to help secure Afghanistan and helped with reconstruction and development assistance to Iraq. In addition, Belgium has joined various peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Lebanon, provided airlifts in international crises, and hosted the 2005 and 2007 transatlantic dialogues between European foreign ministers and the US Secretary of State. Also, the Belgian city of Brussels is home to the European Union.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Situated in northwest Europe, Belgium has 40 miles of seacoast on the North Sea. It is a highly industrialized nation with two major cosmopolitan centers, Brussels and Antwerp, as well as several important manufacturing cities. Outsides these centers, Belgian villages retain the rural pace and appearance of centuries past, and the Ardennes forestland in the south provides scenic refuge from commerce.

 
Population: 10.4 million
 
Religions: Roman Catholic 57.3%, non-specified Christian 15%, Islam 3.8%, Protestant 1.4%, Orthodox Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.5%, Buddhist 0.01%, Anglican 0.01%, non-religious 17.3%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Flemish 58%, Walloon 31%, mixed or other 11%.
 
Languages: Dutch (official) 44.2%, French (official) 38.5%, Walloon 10.8%, Vlams 10.3%, Limburgisch 5.8%, German (official) 3.9%, Luxembourgeois 0.3%, Picard, Europanto.
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History

Belgium was originally settled by the Belgae, a Celtic tribe. The Romans conquered the Belgae during the 1st century BC, and Belgium existed as a Roman province for 300 years.

 
As the Roman Empire's power diminished, Attila the Hun invaded what is now Germany in 300 AD. The Germanic tribes were pushed back into northern Belgium. They settled there over the next 100 years, until the Franks invaded, and took possession of Belgium. The northern part of Belgium continued to be settled by Germans, while the southern part of the country was home to Roman and Latin speaking persons.
 
Belgium passed into the possession of the Dukes of Burgundy and then the Hapsburgs of Austria. Subsequently, Belgium was occupied by the Spanish (1519-1713) and the Austrians (1713-1794). During this time, from the 12th to the 17th centuries, the country's major cities of Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp became the centers of commerce, industry and art. The Flemish Primitives were a group of painters active primarily in the Southern Netherlands in the 15th and early 16th centuries (for example, Van Eyck and van der Weyden). Flemish tapestries hung on the walls of castles throughout Europe.
 
The French Revolution allowed Belgium to be annexed in 1795 by Napoleon's armies. But following Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, just a few miles south of Brussels, Belgium was again separated from France and made part of the Netherlands by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. 
 
Fifteen years later, Belgian citizens rose up and helped to win the country's independence from the Dutch. The Belgian Revolution was aided by intellectuals and the French army, but the two primary forces behind it were the Catholic clergy and the Protestant Dutch King William I.
 
 In 1831, a constitutional monarchy was established, with a monarch invited in from the House of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in Germany. On July 21, 1831, the first king of Belgium was inaugurated, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The Netherlands continued to fight for another eight years until 1839 when a treaty was signed between the two countries.
 
In 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, as part of the Schlieffen Plan. The Allies stopped the Germans along the Yser, and King Albert I stayed in Belgium with his troops to lead the army while the government withdrew to Le Havre, France. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in the first and second battles of Ypres. Germany occupied Belgium until the end of the war. 
 
Belgium's economy was devastated by World War I. After the war, the country was to receive reparations, but they never arrived. During WWI, Belgium took over Ruanda-Urundi (modern day Rwanda and Burundi) from Germany and they were officially mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations. Although the country briefly allied itself with France, it returned to a policy of neutrality in the 1930s.
 
In 1940, Germany invaded Belgium for a second time. The king remained in Belgium after surrendering. German forces occupied the country until 1944, when Allied forces seized Antwerp in September. During October 1944, the Battle of the Scheldt was fought, primarily on Dutch soil, but with the intention of opening Antwerp's harbor. Allied troops continued to fight throughout the winter, during which time the Ardennes Offensive was launched by the Germans. Fighting in Belgium lasted into 1945.
 
After World War II, divisions that had been festering between the Dutch-speaking Flemish and Francophone Walloons came to a head. Demonstrations lead to a formal linguistic border in 1962, and complex rules were drafted to protect minorities in linguistically mixed areas. In 1970, Flemish and Francophone cultural councils were established with authority in matters of language and culture. Each of the three economic regions—Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels—was granted a significant measure of political autonomy.
 
In 1984, the German language area of Belgium was given its own legislative assembly and executive, providing authority in cultural, language and educational matters. In 1989, the Belgian constitution was again amended to provide additional responsibilities to various regions. These moved educational responsibilities to the regional level and increased revenue. At this time, Brussels was given its own legislative assembly and executive.
 
In 1993, Belgium was changed from a unitary into a federal state. Its parliament was reformed, providing for the direct election of members of community and regional legislative councils. The bilingual Brabant province, which contained the Brussels region, was split into separate Flemish and Walloon Brabant provinces. The revised Constitution came into force in 1994.
 
Belgium now exists as a parliamentary democracy. It is generally governed by coalition governments of two or more political parties. In 1999, Belgians rejected Jean Luc Dehaene's longstanding coalition government of Christian Democrats and Socialists and voted into power a coalition led by Flemish Liberal Leader Guy Verhofstadt.
 
The first Verhofstadt government (1999-2003) was a six-party coalition between the Flemish and Francophone Liberals, Socialists, and Greens. It was the first Liberal-led coalition in generations, and the first six-party coalition in 20 years. It also was the first time the Greens had participated in Belgium's federal government.
 
In 2003's election, the Greens suffered significant losses, while the Socialists posted strong gains and the Liberals also had modest growth. Liberal Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt reconstituted the coalition as a four-party government in July 2003, with only the Liberals and Socialists in power.
 
In the 2007 general elections, the Flemish Christian Democratic (CD&V) recouped the lost ground, becoming the country's largest party. The two socialist parties and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's Open VLD lost support. The Francophone Liberal MR became the largest party of Wallonia and Brussels.
 
After the election, the king tasked CD&V leader Yves Leterme with forming a new government. The ruling coalition is composed of Flemish Christian Democrats (CD&V), Francophone Christian Democrats (CDH), Flemish Liberals (Open VLD), Francophone Liberals (MR), and the Francophone Socialists (PS).
 
Today, the Belgian city of Brussels serves as the de facto seat of the European Union.
 
History of Belgium (Wikipedia)
 
 
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Belgium's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Belgium

 

Belgians were prominent in the early settling of New York and gave their names to many of the adjacent areas, such as Hoboken, Pavonia, and Wallkill. Even Baltimore was named after a prominent Flemish aristocrat. The West India Company, which purchased Manhattan Island from Native Americans in the 17th Century, was founded by a Flemish man named William Usselinx, and Walloons were instrumental in the transactions.
 
Between 1820 and 1910, 102,000 Belgians immigrated to the US. Immigration peaked between 1847-1849, when particularly acute economic stress and a virulent epidemic caused an exodus. Most Belgian immigrants came for economic reasons, like their fellow Europeans. The 1880s saw massive demographic shifts across Europe as overpopulation and increasingly lax emigration policy provided a stimulus for movement. Industrialization marginalized rural workers, and the burgeoning rail system combined with the advent of the steamship made it easier for displaced farmers to travel and seek their fortune in America . Belgians arriving in this period tended to be farmers, miners, carpenters, masons, glass blowers and lace makers.
 
Between 1910 and 1950, 62,000 Belgians arrived in the United States. Since 1950, the annual quota of 1,350 has never been reached, although there has been a steady stream of well-educated Belgian professionals coming to America to work in laboratories, universities, and multinational corporations. 
 
The states claiming the largest Belgian populations are Wisconsin (57,808), Michigan (53,135), Illinois (34,208), California (26,820), and Minnesota (15,627).
 
U.S. Relations with Belgium (The United States Mission to the European Union)
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Current U.S. Relations with Belgium

 

Relations between the U.S. and Belgium are friendly, despite occasional disagreements on foreign policy issues. Belgian good will towards America began during and after the two world wars, and continues to foster cooperation between the two nations. In 2007, Belgium and the United States celebrated 175 years of relations.
 
The US has worked with Belgium in the International Security Assistance Force to help secure Afghanistan. Belgium has also helped with reconstruction and development assistance to Iraq, various peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Lebanon, airlifts in international crises, and hosted the 2005 and 2007 transatlantic dialogues between European foreign ministers and the Secretary of State.
 
In January 2006, Prime Minister Verhofstadt visited the US and met with President George W. Bush.
 
Belgium also works closely with the United States bilaterally, as well as in an international capacity, to encourage economic and political cooperation and assistance to developing countries. Belgium has welcomed hundreds of US firms to its territory, many of which have their European headquarters there.
 
In the 2000 US census, 360,642 people identified themselves as Belgian. 
 
In 2002, 292,824 Americans visited Belgium. Tourism has grown steadily since a decline in 2002-2003, when the number of tourists dropped from 301,280 to 274,906.
 
In 2006, 188,311 Belgians visited the US. The number of tourists has grown erratically, but is up overall since 2002, when 159,052 Belgians came to America. UPDATE
Belgium PM: U.S. Relations Need More Work (by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press)
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

From 2004 to 2008, top American imports from Belgium included wine and related products, moving up from $35.3 million to $148 million; fuel oil, increasing from $784.6 million to $2.1 billion; and industrial inorganic chemicals, increasing from $62.2 million to $143.1 million. On the decline were tobacco, waxes, and nonfood oils, decreasing from $39.6. million to $22.7 million; and excavating, paving, and construction machinery, moving down from $237.1 million to $105.6 million.

 
Leading American exports to Belgium during 2004 to 2008 were petroleum products, moving up from $268.4 million to $476.8 million, iron and steel mill products, up from $81.8 million to $155.5 million, and plastic materials, increasing from $1.3 billion to $1.665 billion.
 
US exports to Belgium on the decline included wheat, down from $25.6 million to $15.2 million; wine and related products, down from $13.6 million to $9.3 million; and tobacco, decreasing from $11.8 million to $3.8 million.
 
In 2007, the Department of State authorized the export of defense articles and services valued at $408.3 million. The US does not presently give foreign aid to Belgium.

Imports from Belgium

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Controversies

Fox Nomination Stirs Controversy

In April 2007, Belgian officials tried to play down the controversy stemming from the appointment of a major Republican fundraiser as the next US ambassador to Brussels. President George W. Bush appointed Sam Fox at a recess appointment, allowing him to bypass Congressional approval. His nomination had previously been withdrawn when the Democrats derailed his approval. In the wake of the recess appointment, Democrats from the House and Senate demanded an investigation into whether Bush abused his power in making the appointment and disregarding congressional oversight. Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd said that Bush's actions were “deceptive at best and illegal at worst.” Fox was head of the group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign targeting John Kerry during his presidential run.
Belgium plays down controversy over new U.S. ambassador (by Slobodan Lekic, Associated Press)
 
Officials Dispute U.S.'s Role in Lumumba's Death
In February 2002, a book called The Assassination of Lumumba, by Ludo De Witte, charged that the United States plotted with dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and the Belgians in the 1961 assassination of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. The author worked with declassified US State Department cables and congressional testimony on assassinations to make his assertions. Former US Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, who seemed to have been directly involved as second secretary in the US embassy in Kinshasa, the Congo, successfully had his character removed from a film depicting the events (Lumumba). The Belgian prime minister apologized to the Lumumba family for his country's role in the killing. The filmmaker, Raoul Peck, has said he believed his film to be an accurate portrayal of events.
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Human Rights

According to the State Department, the following human rights problems were reported in Belgium: overcrowded prisons, lengthy pretrial detention, the detention conditions prior to expulsion of children whose asylum applications were rejected, violence against women and ethnic and religious minorities, trafficking in persons, and racial and ethnic discrimination in the job market.

 
The Centre for Equal Opportunity and the Fight Against Racism (CEOOR) counted some 66 anti-Semitic incidents between January and November 2008. There also was a noticeable increase in Internet hate messages. In addition anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish homes and insults against Jews on the streets were reported. The size of the Jewish community is estimated at 40-50,000. Anti-Muslim incidents also occurred during the year, but no data were available on their extent.
 
Domestic violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. Reportedly, one in five women had ever been subjected to domestic violence. In 2007 (the most recent available data) the federal police reported 16,254 cases of domestic violence, compared to 15,466 the previous year. The law allows police to enter a home without the consent of the head of household when investigating a domestic violence complaint; however, there were complaints that the police frequently declined to do this. By year's end the government had not fully implemented provisions of the law that require it to establish and maintain a database of statistics on domestic violence.
 
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, there were reports that persons were trafficked to, through, and from the country. The country was a destination and transit point for women and children from Central Europe, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, primarily trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Men were trafficked for exploitive labor on construction sites and in restaurants and sweatshops. Reportedly, trafficking for forced labor and forced begging increased from previous levels. The country was listed as a destination country in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's citation index.
Immigrant communities complained of discrimination. Members of the Muslim community, estimated at 450,000 and principally of Moroccan and Turkish origin, claimed that discrimination against their community, notably in education and employment and particularly against young men, was greater than that experienced by other immigrant communities. In 2007 the CEOOR, which investigates complaints of discrimination, racism, and hate instigation, handled 2,917 discrimination and racism complaints. The CEOOR noted a trend of increased racial violence.
 
 In its annual report for 2007, the CEOOR noted an increase in discrimination based on health or medical conditions, sexual orientation, and age. The CEOOR in 2007 registered 192 discrimination complaints based on disability. Most complaints were job-related. Courts have occasionally ruled against landlords who refuse to lease to same-sex couples.
 
The law prohibits forced or compulsory labor, including by children; however, there were reports that such practices occurred.
 

 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Sam Fox

A native of Desloge, Missouri, Sam Fox served as the US ambassador to Belgium from April 18, 2007, until January 2, 2009.

Fox’s higher education background consists of having been admitted in 1947 to Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Although there is no mention of a degree or graduation date, his State Department bio claims Washington University is Fox’s “alma mater.” He is a Lifetime Trustee of the university, and he served as chairman of its recent “highly successful capital campaign.” In 2006, the university dedicated the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts in honor of his service and financial generosity.

Prior to his appointment as ambassador, Fox had no experience as a diplomat. He is a longtime businessman of 50 years who founded the Harbour Group, a private operating company that specializes in the acquisition and development of high-quality businesses located mostly in the US.

 
Fox is also a major financial contributor to the Republican Party, having funneled millions of dollars to the GOP and thus earning the title of “Bush Ranger” from President George W. Bush. For example, from 1994 to 2000, his company, Harbour Group, gave more than $700,000 to the Republican National Committee, in addition to thousands more to individual GOP candidates and campaign operations. In 2004, he donated $50,000 to The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an organization that savaged the military reputation of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
 
Because of this donation and others, along with his lack of diplomatic experience, Democrats in the Senate refused to confirm Fox’s nomination as ambassador to Belgium. President Bush then withdrew the nomination and reappointed Fox during a congressional recess, which allowed the president to bypass Democratic opposition.
 
Bush bypasses Senate to appoint 'Swift Boat' donor (by Susan Page and David Jackson, USA Today)
 
Hugh S. Legare
Appointment: Apr 14, 1832
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1832
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 9, 1836
 
William H. Haywood
Appointment: Mar 7, 1837
Note: Declined appointment.
 
Virgil Maxcy
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 24, 1837
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 17, 1842
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Sep 19, 1837.
 
Henry W. Hilliard
Appointment: May 12, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 17, 1842
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, 12-Aug 15, 1844
 
Thomas G. Clemson
Appointment: Jun 17, 1844
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 7, 1844
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 1, 1851
 
Richard H. Bayard
Appointment: Dec 10, 1850
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 1, 1851
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 12, 1853
 
J.J. Seibels
Appointment: May 24, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1854
Termination of Mission: Had farewell audience, Sep 14, 1856
 
Elisha Y. Fair
Appointment: Jun 14, 1858
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 27, 1858
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 8, 1861
 
Henry S. Sanford
Appointment: Mar 20, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: May 8, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 21, 1869
Note: Nominated Dec 17, 1866, and Mar 8, 1867, to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary; nomination rejected by the Senate.
 
Joseph Russell Jones
Appointment: Jun 1, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1869
Termination of Mission: Left Belgium, Jul 22, 1875
Note: Nomination of Apr 12, 1869, tabled by the Senate. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 15, 1870.
 
Adam Badeau
Appointment: Jul 12, 1875
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; declined appointment.
 
Ayres Phillips Merrill
Appointment: Jan 7, 1876
Presentation of Credentials: May 18, 1876
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 25–Dec 28, 1877
 
Henry S. Sanford
Note: Not commissioned; nomination not confirmed by the Senate.
 
William C. Goodloe
Appointment: Mar 4, 1878
Presentation of Credentials: May 12, 1878
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 27, 1880
 
James O. Putnam
Appointment: Jun 4, 1880
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 12, 1880
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 30, 1882
 
Nicholas Fish
Appointment: Apr 28, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 5, 1882
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Oct 6, 1885
 
Lambert Tree
Appointment: Jul 3, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 10, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1886.
 
Lambert Tree
Appointment: Aug 10, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Dec 18, 1888
 
John G. Parkhurst
Appointment: Oct 1, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 20, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 12, 1889
 
Edwin H. Terrell
Appointment: Apr 1, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 22, 1893
 
James S. Ewing
Appointment: Apr 8, 1893
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 22, 1893
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 6, 1897
 
Bellamy Storer
Appointment: May 4, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1897
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 31, 1899
 
Lawrence Townsend
Appointment: Apr 12, 1899
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 18, 1899
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 5, 1905
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 14, 1899.
 
Henry Lane Wilson
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: May 5, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 25, 1909
 
Charles Page Bryan
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 10, 1910
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 18, 1911
 
Larz Anderson
Appointment: Aug 12, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 18, 1911
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1912
 
Theodore Marburg
Appointment: Nov 22, 1912
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 24, 1913
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jan 23, 1914
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 1, 1913.
 
Brand Whitlock
Appointment: Dec 22, 1913
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 14, 1914
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
 
Brand Whitlock
Appointment: Sep 30, 1919
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 3, 1919
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Dec 1, 1921
 
Henry P. Fletcher
Appointment: Mar 6, 1922
Presentation of Credentials: May 3, 1922
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 25, 1924
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
William Phillips
Appointment: Feb 29, 1924
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 5, 1924
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 1, 1927
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Hugh S. Gibson
Appointment: Feb 17, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 11, 1933
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Dave Hennen Morris
Appointment: May 18, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 6, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 5, 1937
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Hugh S. Gibson
Appointment: Jul 13, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 28, 1937
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 15, 1938
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Joseph E. Davies
Appointment: May 14, 1938
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 30, 1939
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
John Cudahy
Appointment: Jan 12, 1940
Presentation of Credentials: [Jan 17, 1940]
Termination of Mission: Belgian Govt. left Brussels, May 16, 1940, in
anticipation of German occupation.
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels. Presentation of credentials formally received on Jan 17, 1940. Embassy Brussels was closed, Jul 15, 1940; Cudahy left post, Jul 18, 1940. Rudolph E. Schoenfeld was designated, Nov 1, 1940, to serve as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim near the Government of Belgium established in England.
 
Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 11, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left London, Dec 1, 1943
Note: Served near the Government of Belgium established in England; commissioned also to Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and, Yugoslavia; resident at London.
Note: Rudolph E. Schoenfeld was serving as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim when the mission of the Embassy near the Government of Belgium, established in England, was terminated Sep 8, 1944. Embassy Brussels was reestablished Sep 14, 1944, with Ernest de W. Mayer as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.
 
Charles Sawyer
Appointment: Sep 21, 1944
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 8, 1944
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 20, 1945
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Alan G. Kirk
Appointment: Feb 1, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 1, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 6, 1949
Note: Accredited also to Luxembourg; resident at Brussels.
 
Robert D. Murphy
Appointment: Sep 22, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 29, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 19, 1952
 
Myron Melvin Cowen
Appointment: May 10, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 11, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 8, 1953
 
Frederick M. Alger, Jr.
Appointment: May 26, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 22, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post, Mar 27, 1957
 
John Clifford Folger
Appointment: Mar 28, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: May 24, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 11, 1959
 
William A. M. Burden
Appointment: Sep 9, 1959
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1959
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 28, 1961
 
Douglas MacArthur 2nd
Appointment: Feb 24, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 9, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 11, 1965
Note: Nephew of General Douglas MacArthur
 
Ridgway B. Knight
Appointment: Jun 4, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 24, 1965
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 16, 1969
 
John S. D. Eisenhower
Appointment: Mar 14, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: May 14, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 28, 1971
Note: Son of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower
 
Robert Strausz-Hupe
Appointment: Feb 15, 1972
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1972
Termination of Mission: Left post, May 22, 1974
Note: An earlier nomination of Dec 8, 1971, was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Leonard Kimball Firestone
Appointment: Apr 25, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 14, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1977
 
Anne Cox Chambers
Appointment: Apr 29, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 17, 1981
 
Charles H. Price II
Appointment: Jun 19, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 15, 1983
 
Geoffrey Swaebe
Appointment: Nov 18, 1983
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 2, 1983
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 30, 1988
 
Maynard Wayne Glitman
Appointment: Jul 15, 1988
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 28, 1988
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jun 17, 1991
 
Bruce S. Gelb
Appointment: May 30, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 9, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 20, 1993
 
Alan John Blinken
Appointment: Nov 4, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 2, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 15, 1998
 
Paul L. Cejas
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 6, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 31 2001
 
Stephen Brauer
Appointment: May 31, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 2003
 
Jeffrey A. Marcus
Note: Nomination not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Tom C. Korologos
Appointment: Jun 29, 2004
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 14, 2004
Termination of Mission: Feb 6, 2007
 
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Belgium's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Matthysen, Jan

Jan Matthysen assumed the position of Belgium’s ambassador to the United States in February 2009. Matthysen graduated from Ghent University in 1973 with a degree in Contemporary Political History. Matthysen has had two decades worth of Foreign Service experience. He joined the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984 and became the first secretary at the Belgium embassy in Bonn. He then became the Counselor at the Embassy in then East Berlin that he held through the German reunification process in 1990.

 
He was also the charge d’affaires and then ambassador in Belgrade from 1994 until 1997. He became the head of the NATO desk at the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry in Brussels in 1997. From 1999 until 2000, Jan was the Acting Head of the General Directorate for Political-Military Affairs and senior advisor on Kosovo to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Balkans. In 2000, he was appointed as Ambassador to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and then in 2004 he took over as Ambassador to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma. While there, he pursued his interests in wildlife photography and gardening, redesigning the landscaping of the Belgian embassy in Bangkok himself.
 
He is married to Agnes Aerts with five children.
 
Official Biography
Jan Matthysen (Wikipedia)
Diplomatic Nicieties (by Veena Thoopkrajae, The Nation-Bangkok)
 
 

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Belgium's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Belgium

Bauer, Denise
ambassador-image

President Barack Obama has nominated another big dollar campaign donor and fundraiser to serve as an ambassador. Denise Campbell Bauer, a former television producer who raised more than $500,000 from others for Obama’s 2012 campaign, will be the next U.S. ambassador to Belgium. If confirmed by the Senate, Bauer will succeed Howard W. Gutman, who is currently under investigation by the State Department for allegedly soliciting underage prostitutes.

 

Born circa 1963, Bauer earned a B.A. at Occidental College in 1985, arriving just after Barack Obama left there. 

 

Beginning her career in television in Los Angeles, Bauer worked as a field producer and researcher for KCBS-TV News from 1985 to 1988, as a news producer for the North American bureau of Nine Network Australia from 1988 to 1990, and as a freelance film and video producer from 1990 to 1992.

 

Relocating to the Bay Area, Bauer worked as a public affairs officer for the American Red Cross Bay Area in San Francisco from 1993 to 1994. 

 

A longtime Democrat, Bauer hosted multiple fundraisers and raised $4.3 million for the President’s two election campaigns, served on the Obama for America National Finance Committee from 2007 to 2008 and from 2011 to 2012, and was Finance Chair for Women for Obama from 2011 to 2012. She was also on the Democratic National Committee from 2008 to 2012, serving as chair and co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum and as co-chair of the National Issues Conference. She has also personally contributed nearly $20,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations, including $8,745 to the DNC, $9,310 to Barack Obama, $200 to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) in 2010, and $750 to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia.).

 

Bauer has been active in, and served on the board of directors of, the Belvedere Community Foundation located in Belvedere, California, where she lives. 

 

Denise Bauer is married to litigation attorney Steven M. Bauer, who is a partner in the firm of Latham and Watkins in San Francisco. They have two daughters, Katharine and Natalie.   

-Matt Bewig

 

Biography (by Alia Papageorgiou, NewEurope)

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