The Kingdom of Dahomey was an overseas possession of France—part of French West Africa—until 1958. In that year Dahomey became an autonomous republic, and gained full independence in 1960. The United States immediately recognized Dahomey and began the process of initiating diplomatic relations. A U.S. Embassy at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (then named Ivory Coast) was established with Donald L. Norland as Chargé d'Affairesad interim. The embassy was also accredited also to Dahomey, Niger, and Upper Volta (now named Burkina Faso) while resident at Abidjan. On July 31, 1960, Chargé Norland presented his credentials to the government of Dahomey, to take effect on August 1, 1960. On October 14, 1960, R. Borden Reams was appointed as the ambassador and presented his credentials on November 26, 1960.
On February 15, 1961, the Embassy in Cotonou, Dahomey was established with Converse Hettinger as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim. Ambassador Reams remained resident in Abidjan.
Political appointee A person who is not a career foreign service officer, but is appointed by the president (often as a reward to political friends).
Appointed The date that the ambassador took the oath of office; also known as “commissioning”. It follows confirmation of a presidential appointment by the Senate, or a Congressional-recess appointment by the president. In the case of a recess appointment, the ambassador requires subsequent confirmation by the Senate.
Presented credentials The date that the ambassador presented his letter of credence to the head of state or appropriate authority of the receiving nation. At this time the ambassador officially becomes the representative of his country. This would normally occur a short time after the ambassador’s arrival on station. The host nation may reject the ambassador by not receiving the ambassador’s letter, but this occurs only rarely.
Terminated mission Usually the date that the ambassador left the country. In some cases a letter of recall is presented, ending the ambassador’s commission, either as a means of diplomatic protest or because the diplomat is being reassigned elsewhere and replaced by another envoy.
Chargé d'affaires The person in charge of the business of the embassy when there is no ambassador commissioned to the host country. See chargé d'affaires.
Ad interim Latin phrase meaning "for the time being", "in the meantime". See ad interim.