Home > Facts, General Knowledge > 307/365 – US Consulate – Chennai

307/365 – US Consulate – Chennai

The Consulate General of the United States of America Chennai represents the interests of the United States government in Chennai (formerly known as Madras), India and surrounding regions. The current Consul General is Jennifer A. McIntyre since August 3, 2011. She was preceded by Andrew T. Simkin.

Location

The Consulate General building is located at 220 Anna Salai, abutting the Oxford University Press campus.

The building stands at the intersection of Anna Salai and Cathedral Road on the Gemini circle facing the Anna Flyover on a land leased from St. George’s Cathedral and has entrance on both roads.

Both the Consulate General and the American Center (the office of U.S. government officials in India) are located in the same premises.

History

On 19 November 1792, the then American President George Washington appointed Benjamin Joy, a businessman from Newburyport, Massachusetts, as the first American Consul to India.

With the advice of the then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, later the third President of the United States and consent of the Senate, President Washington commissioned Joy to that office on 21 November 1792.

When Joy reached Calcutta in April 1794, the colonial government repudiated his commission. However, he was permitted to “reside here as a Commercial Agent subject to the Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction of this Country…”, and he stayed in Calcutta and served as the commercial agent of the American government.

To manage U.S. maritime interests in South India, Joy appointed American merchant William Abbott as the first American consular agent of the Madras Presidency on 24 November 1794, who served for more than a decade.

The Indo-American trade experienced a hiatus for several decades that followed, and, when it revived, a separate U.S. consular agency was established in Madras in May 1867 with Joseph L. Thompson serving as the consular agent to Madras.

The main role of the consular agents during those times was to promote trade and business interests of the United States, and most consular agents between 1867 until 1908 were selected from the ranks of expatriate businessmen.

The Reorganization Act of 5 April 1906 regularized consular service with fixed tenures of office, fixed salaries, a system of promotion, and seven position classes including consuls general and consuls.

This changed the prevailing trend, and in December 1908, with the recommendation by the U.S. Department of State, Nathaniel B. Stewart was appointed as the first representative of the American government with the title of Consul in Madras.

An office was established with the official status as a consulate on the third floor of a building owned by Parrys & Co., located on No. 1 China Bazar Road, now known as Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Road at Parry’s Corner. Later, the office moved to a building between Rajaji Salai and Moore Street.

When the building was demolished and built as a modern six-storied building, now known as Dare House, the U.S. Consulate occupied the fourth floor of the building in 1940.

Post independence, the American diplomatic post in Madras was officially raised to a Consulate General, marking a milestone in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Roy E.B. Bower became the first Consul General in Madras in independent India. In the 1950s, the Consulate General moved to a building on Mount Road (the present day Anna Salai), currently occupied by the Bank of America. On January 3, 1969, the Consulate General moved to its present location on the Gemini Circle.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consulate_General_of_the_United_States,_Chennai

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