SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

The American Embassy in London 1937-2008

This research project explores the vital role played by the American Embassy in London not only in Anglo-American relations, but also in wider international relations over the seventy years that the Embassy has been in Grosvenor Square. The project covers this period because it effectively covers the lifespan of what is termed ‘the special relationship' – from its birth in the Second World War and its aftermath, to the challenges of globalisation in the present day. The thematic issues of this period include not only the ‘special relationship' in the post-war context given the conflicting explanations and contested nature of its evolution over time as well as the changing events and impact of the development and demise of ‘The Cold War'; the ongoing impact of the European Project and EU integration, the influence of nuclear weapons and NATO, as well as wider economic, cultural, demographic and environmental forces that have shaped the transatlantic relationship. 

Dr J Simon Rofe has been awarded a British Academy Grant (£4500) for this project (2010-2012). Further, to facilitate this research project Dr Rofe is an Eccles Centre Visiting Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library (£2000).

For further information about project contact research lead Dr J Simon Rofe.

Publications and presentations

  • The London Embassy – The Ambassadors of Grosvenor Square 1938-2008, with Alison Holmes (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012) (in publication). 
  • Diplomats at War: The American Experience, with Andrew Stewart (Republic of Letters: Dordrecht, 2012) (in publication). 
  • "Lord Lothian's Ambassadorship to Washington August 1939-December 1940 in British Embassy in Washington between 1939 and 1977, Michael Hopkins, Saul Kelly and John Young (eds.), (Palgrave: NY & Basingstoke, 2009). 
  • ‘Joseph Kennedy's Diplomacy at the Court of St James's: The US Embassy in London 1938-1940' British International History Group, University of Strathclyde, September 2011. 
  • ‘American Diplomacy at the Court of St James's: The US Embassy in London 1933-1940'Transatlantic Studies Conference University of Dundee June 2011.
  • 'Joseph Kennedy's Ambassadorship to London' International Studies Association Convention, Montreal CA, March 2011. 
  • "The Eagle Spreads its Wings: Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy 1938-1940” Conference Paper at Transatlantic Studies Association conference, University of Durham, July 2010