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Singapore – United States relations
Singapore   United States
Map indicating location of Singapore and USA
     Singapore      United States

Singapore – United States relations are bilateral relations between Singapore and the United States.



The United States has maintained formal diplomatic relations with Singapore since that country became independent in 1965. Singapore's efforts to maintain economic growth and political stability and its support for regional cooperation harmonize with U.S. policy in the region and form a solid basis for amicable relations between the two countries.[1]


Hendrickson affair

The investigations into the Marxist conspirators led to an unexpected discovery. A US diplomat stationed here, Hank Hendrickson, had been interfering in Singapore politics ... Such foreign clandestine operations are part and parcel of “the Great Game” between countries, even friendly ones ... These episodes taught us that it was just as important to monitor our friends as we do our enemies.
Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, in a 2008 speech to the Internal Security Department on the occasion of their 60th anniversary dinner.[2]

E. Mason "Hank" Hendrickson (born 1929), an American diplomat married to fellow Foreign Service officer Anne E. Derse, was serving as the First Secretary of the United States Embassy when he was expelled by the Singaporean government in May 1988.[3][4][5] Prior to his expulsion, he arranged for Francis Seow and Patrick Seong to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with American officials at Hendrickson's arrangement.[6] After their return, Singapore detained them under the Internal Security Act.[7] Based on Seow and Seong's statements while in custody, the Singaporean government alleged that Hendrickson attempted to interfere in Singapore's internal affairs by cultivating opposition figures in a "Marxist conspiracy".[8] Then-First Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong claimed that Hendrickson's alleged conspiracy could have resulted in the election of 20 or 30 opposition politicians to Parliament, which in his words could lead to "horrendous" effects, possibly even the paralysis and fall of the Singaporean government.[7]

In the aftermath of Hendrickson's expulsion, the U.S. State Department praised his performance in Singapore and denied any impropriety in his actions.[3] They also expelled a senior-level Singaporean diplomat from Washington, D.C. in response.[9] The State Department's refusal to reprimand Hendrickson, along with their expulsion of the Singaporean diplomat, sparked a protest in Singapore by the National Trades Union Congress; they drove buses around the U.S. embassy, held a rally attended by four thousand workers, and issued a statement deriding the U.S. as "sneaky, arrogant, and untrustworthy".[10]

A Heritage Foundation paper speculated that Singapore's angry public reaction to the Hendrickson affair may have been a response to the January 1988 termination of Singapore's eligibility for the Generalized System of Preferences, which provided tariff exemptions on Singaporean exports to the United States.[11]

Free trade agreement

The United States and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on 6 May 2003; the agreement entered into force on 1 January 2004. The growth of U.S. investment in Singapore and the large number of Americans living there enhance opportunities for contact between Singapore and the United States. Many Singaporeans visit and study in the United States. Singapore is a Visa Waiver Program country.[12]

Academic exchanges

The U.S. government sponsors visitors from Singapore each year under the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The U.S. Government provides Fulbright Awards to enable selected American professors to teach or conduct research at the National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It awards scholarships to outstanding Singaporean students for graduate studies at American universities and to American students to study in Singapore. The U.S. government also sponsors occasional cultural presentations in Singapore. The East-West Center and private American organizations, such as the Asia Foundation and Ford Foundation, also sponsor exchanges involving Singaporeans.[13]


Principal Singaporean embassy officials in Washington, D.C.:[14]

  • Ambassador: Chan Heng-Chee
  • Deputy Chief of Mission: Ong Siew-Gay
  • Defence Attaché: Brigadier-General Cheng Siak-Kian
  • Assistant Defence Attaché: Jeridius Chua
  • Counsellor: Raymond Wong, Alexius Chua
  • Economics Counsellor: Alpana Roy
  • Defence Technology Counsellor: Hor Gar-Yin
  • Administrative and Consular Counsellor: Mejar Gill Singh
  • First Secretary: Sharon Chan, Yu Pi-Hsien, Goh Chour-Thong, Kenneth Quek, Tan Kian-Wee
  • Second Secretary: Tan Weiming
  • Third Secretary: Adrian Quek

Principal U.S. embassy officials in Singapore:[15]

  • Ambassador: Patricia L. Herbold
  • Deputy Chief of Mission: Daniel L. Shields III
  • Economic/Political: Chief—Ike Reed
  • Senior Economic Officer: Paul Horowitz
  • Senior Political Officer: Christopher Kavanagh
  • Consul: Julie Kavanagh
  • Public Affairs Counselor: Valerie Fowler
  • Commercial Counselor: Daniel Thompson
  • Management Counselor: Karen C. Stanton
  • Defense Attache: Alan Oshirak

See also



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



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