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History

Diplomatic relations started in 1843,[8] when the Americans established a consulate in Hong Kong with the consul working out of his residence. 9 Ice House Street (now The Galleria) began hosting the consulate in the early 1920s, and later the 1935 Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building became the consulate's home on the second floor.[9][8] During World War II, the Americans gave the occupying Japanese army the key to the office, and after the war, the key was returned and nothing was damaged in the office.[8] However, the Consul General's residence on The Peak was blown up during the war, and the Japanese used bricks from the building to create a memorial.[8]

In December 1945, the Americans and British signed the Lend-Lease Settlement Statement, an agreement designed to help the British cover post-war costs by allowing the US to buy land on British colonies for government or education uses.[10] Land discussions between the US Consul General and Hong Kong governor began in 1946, when the Republic of China was in control of mainland China.It has been located at 26 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong since the late 1950s.[3] The current Consul General is Hanscom Smith, who has served since July 2019.

Due to Hong Kong and Macau's special status, and in accordance with the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act, the U.S. Consulate General to Hong Kong operates as an independent mission, with the Consul General as the "Chief of Mission" (with title of "Ambassador)".[4] The Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau is not under the jurisdiction of the United States Ambassador to China, and reports directly to the U.S. Department of State as do other Chiefs of Mission, who are Ambassadors in charge of Embassies.[5][6][7]

All recent Consuls-General are at the Career Minister rank in the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, whereas many other Ambassadors are only Minister Counsellor.

Diplomatic relations started in 1843,[8] when the Americans established a consulate in Hong Kong with the consul working out of his residence. 9 Ice House Street (now The Galleria) began hosting the consulate in the early 1920s, and later the 1935 Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building became the consulate's home on the second floor.[9][8] During World War II, the Americans gave the occupying Japanese army the key to the office, and after the war, the key was returned and nothing was damaged in the office.[8] However, the Consul General's residence on The Peak was blown up during the war, and the Japanese used bricks from the building to create a memorial.[8]

In December 1945, the Americans and British signed the Lend-Lease Settlement Statement, an agreement designed to help the British cover post-war costs by allowing the US to buy land on British colonies for government or education uses.[10] Land discussions between the US Consul General and Hong Kong governor began in 1946, when the Republic of China was in control of mainland China.[10] The Americans were offered the 26 Garden Road site, a plot of land measuring 47,000 square feet, and in March 1947, the Americans let the Hong Kong government know that it would like to purchase the site under the Lend-Lease Settlement Statement.[10] The approval was granted three months later, and in 1954, construction plans were announced.[10] Construction was finished in June 1957, and the land lease was signed in 1960.[8][10]

In the lease, an option to purchase the land as a freehold was included. In January 1997, the US wanted to exercise this option, but the proposal was rejected in favor of a 999-year lease, backdated to start on 9 April 1950.[10] Land discussions between the US Consul General and Hong Kong governor began in 1946, when the Republic of China was in control of mainland China.[10] The Americans were offered the 26 Garden Road site, a plot of land measuring 47,000 square feet, and in March 1947, the Americans let the Hong Kong government know that it would like to purchase the site under the Lend-Lease Settlement Statement.[10] The approval was granted three months later, and in 1954, construction plans were announced.[10] Construction was finished in June 1957, and the land lease was signed in 1960.[8][10]

In the lease, an option to purchase the land as a freehold was included. In January 1997, the US wanted to exercise this option, but the proposal was rejected in favor of a 999-year lease, backdated to start on 9 April 1950.[10][11] The US has the longest lease in all of the People's Republic of China, as the last 999-year lease granted before this was in 1903, meaning the consulate has 47 more years of length than the next newest 999-year lease.

In the May 2012 Office of Inspector General's report on the consulate,[12] the following statistics were provided on its operations:

In the newer November 2017 Office of Inspector General's report on the consul

In the newer November 2017 Office of Inspector General's report on the consulate,[13] the following statistics were provided on its operations for Financial Year 2016:

FY 2016 Staffing a

Within the consulate, several US agencies operate, including the Department of Homeland Security (Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection), the Department of Defense, and Department of Justice (Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Department of the Treasury (Internal Revenue Service).

Physical Locations

The Consulate building is located at 26 Garden Road. There is an on-site gymnasium in the building.

The consulate's warehouse is located at 11/F, 14/F, and 15/F at Leader Centre, 37 Wong Chuk Hang Rd.

The Consul-General lives on The Peak at 3 Barker Road,[14] paid for by American taxpayers.[15] The site includes a garage and tennis court.

In addition, the Consulate owns employee residences on 37 Shouson Hill Road, where a private shuttle takes employees to the Consulate building.[12] In May 2020, the consulate announced it would accept bids in an attempt to sell the 6 mansions, and with an agreement to re-lease them.[16] The mansions contain up to 10 bedrooms each, and measure 47,382 sqft in total.[16] Bids are estimated to value the property between HKD $3.1 billion - $5 billion.[16] The property was bought in June 1948 for an unknown price, and construction of the buildings was completed in 1983.[16]

There are also 13 employee residences and 14 parking lots at Wilshire Park, 12-14 Ma

The Consulate building is located at 26 Garden Road. There is an on-site gymnasium in the building.

The consulate's warehouse is located at 11/F, 14/F, and 15/F at Leader Centre, 37 Wong Chuk Hang Rd.

The Consul-General lives on The Peak at 3 Barker Road,[14] paid for by American taxpayers.The consulate's warehouse is located at 11/F, 14/F, and 15/F at Leader Centre, 37 Wong Chuk Hang Rd.

The Consul-General lives on The Peak at 3 Barker Road,[14] paid for by American taxpayers.[15] The site includes a garage and tennis court.

In addition, the Consulate owns employee residences on 37 Shouson Hill Road, where a private shuttle takes employees to the Consulate building.[12] In May 2020, the consulate announced it would accept bids in an attempt to sell the 6 mansions, and with an agreement to re-lease them.[16] The mansions contain up to 10 bedrooms each, and measure 47,382 sqft in total.[16] Bids are estimated to value the property between HKD $3.1 billion - $5 billion.[16] The property was bought in June 1948 for an unknown price, and construction of the buildings was completed in 1983.[16]

There are also 13 employee residences and 14 parking lots at Wilshire Park, 12-14 Macdonnell Road.[17] In addition, the United States also owns one unit at Grenville House, and one unit at Hangking Court, 43 Cloud View Road.[17]

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