World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

United States–Vanuatu relations

United States – Vanuatu relations
Map indicating locations of USA and Vanuatu

United States


The United States and Vanuatu established diplomatic relations on September 30, 1986 - three months to the day after Vanuatu had established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.[1] Relations were often tense in the 1980s, under the prime ministership of Father Walter Lini in Vanuatu, but eased after that. At present, bilateral relations consist primarily in US aid to Vanuatu, and are cordial.


  • 1980s 1
    • Early relations and tensions 1.1
    • US aid 1.2
  • 1990s 2
  • 2000s 3
  • Principal U.S. Embassy Officials 4
  • Diplomatic missions 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Early relations and tensions

Vanuatu obtained independence from Melanesian socialism, and based his government's foreign policy on non-alignment and on support for independence movements around the world - from faraway Western Sahara to neighbouring New Caledonia. Vanuatu in the 1980s was unique in Oceania in that it resisted alignment with the Western bloc in the dying stages of the Cold War. The country joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1983 and established official diplomatic relations with Cuba (1983) and the Soviet Union (June 1986) before doing the same with the United States (September 1986). Vanuatu maintained cordial relations with countries in both East and West.[2]

In 1986, Vanuatu condemned the 1986 bombing of Libya by the United States. Lini wrote to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to express his condolences, notably at the death of Gaddafi's 15-month-old daughter, and his dismay that "innocent lives have been taken by the bombs of a superpower". Barak Sopé added that "the United States were wrong, they behaved as terrorists and aggressors", and that "the CIA is involved in all sorts of similar activities. In Nicaragua, the Americans are supporting terrorists."[3]

These statements marked the lowest point in U.S.–ni-Vanuatu relations.

In January 1987, Prime Minister Walter Lini and Foreign Affairs Minister Soviet–ni-Vanuatu relations, which were of concern to the U.S. government, and sought to build friendship between the United States and Vanuatu. Shultz declared that the meeting had been "cordial", while Molisa praised his knowledge of Pacific issues. In April, Vanuatu authorised U.S. vessels to fish in the ni-Vanuatu Exclusive Economic Zone, alongside Soviet ships. In May, Vernon A. Walters, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, visited Vanuatu.[4]

In 1991, Lini lost office after eleven years at the head of the ni-Vanuatu government. Relations between Washington and Port-Vila remained infrequent but mostly cordial.

US aid

Between 1977 and 1987, Vanuatu received just under $3 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), including projects focusing on assisting the transition to indigenous plantation management. In June 1994, the regional USAID office located in Suva, Fiji, was closed due to U.S. Government budgetary cutbacks. The U.S. military retains training links and conducts ad hoc assistance projects in Vanuatu.


Following the 1991 general election, the francophone Union of Moderate Parties became the dominant party in Parliament, and Maxime Carlot Korman became the country's first francophone Prime Minister. He "reversed [the country's] unequivocal support for the Kanak National Liberation Front in New Caledonia, its systematic enmity towards France, its flirting with radical regimes, and its openly anti-American nuclear-free Pacific stance." Francophones held power, under Carlot Korman or Serge Vohor, until 1998.[5]


In March 2006 the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year $65.69 million Compact agreement with Vanuatu. The Millennium Challenge Program is expected to increase average income per capita by 15% within five years and directly impact the lives of more than 65,000 of the rural poor in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu identified costly and unreliable transportation infrastructure as a major impediment to economic growth. To overcome this constraint, the Compact consists of up to eleven infrastructure projects—including roads, wharfs, an airstrip and warehouses—that will help poor, rural agricultural producers and providers of tourist related goods and services reduce transportation costs and improve access to transportation services. The Compact also includes institutional strengthening efforts and policy reform initiatives in Vanuatu's Public Works Department, including: provision of plant and equipment for maintenance; introduction of service performance contracts; establishment of local community maintenance schemes; and introduction of user fees.

The United States also remains a major financial contributor to international and regional organizations that assist Vanuatu, including the World Bank, UNICEF, WHO, the UN Fund for Population Activities, and the Asian Development Bank.

In 1989, the United States concluded a Peace Corps agreement with Vanuatu. The Peace Corps has met with a warm welcome there and currently has over 80 volunteers in-country. The United States also provides military training assistance.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Diplomatic missions

The U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea maintains a web site dedicated to relations with Vanuatu at


  1. ^ HUFFER, Elise, Grands hommes et petites îles: La politique extérieure de Fidji, de Tonga et du Vanuatu, Paris: Orstom, 1993, ISBN 2-7099-1125-6, p.278
  2. ^ HUFFER, Elise, Grands hommes et petites îles: La politique extérieure de Fidji, de Tonga et du Vanuatu, op.cit., pp.272-282
  3. ^ HUFFER, Elise, Grands hommes et petites îles: La politique extérieure de Fidji, de Tonga et du Vanuatu, op.cit., p.275
  4. ^ HUFFER, Elise, Grands hommes et petites îles: La politique extérieure de Fidji, de Tonga et du Vanuatu, op.cit., pp.279-280
  5. ^ William F.S. Miles, Bridging Mental Boundaries in a Postcolonial Microcosm: Identity and Development in Vanuatu, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998, ISBN 0-8248-2048-7, pp.25-7

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).

External links

  • History of Vanuatu - U.S. relations
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.