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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission > Principal Officers

Assistant Secretaries of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: John Alexander Baker, Jr.
State of Residency: Connecticut
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: [Aug 26, 1979]
Termination of Appointment: Oct 30, 1980

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: Frank E. Loy
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: [Jun 1, 1980]
Termination of Appointment: Jan 30, 1981
Note: Loy was accorded the personal rank of Ambassador on Jan 24, 1980, while serving as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs. The following persons then served as Acting Director: William J. Smyser (Feb-Aug 1981) and James N. Purcell (Aug 1981-Jan 1982).

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: Richard D. Vine
State of Residency: California
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: [Jan 10, 1982]
Termination of Appointment: Sep 17, 1982

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: James N. Purcell, Jr.
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: [Jun 12, 1983]
Termination of Appointment: Sep 28, 1986

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: Jonathan Moore
State of Residency: Massachusetts
Non-career appointee
Appointment: [Mar 5, 1987]
Termination of Appointment: Jun 22, 1989
Note: Commissioned Jul 24, 1986, as U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and Ambassador at Large.

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: Princeton N. Lyman
State of Residency: Maryland
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: [Sep 5, 1989]
Termination of Appointment: Jun 15, 1992

Title: Director of the Bureau of Refugee Programs
Name: Warren Zimmermann
State of Residency: Virginia
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: [Jun 15, 1992]
Termination of Appointment: Mar 3, 1994

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Name: Phyllis Elliott Oakley
State of Residency: Louisiana
Foreign Service officer
Appointment: Aug 26, 1994
Entry on Duty: Sep 21, 1994
Termination of Appointment: Nov 7, 1997

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Name: Julia V. Taft
State of Residency: District of Columbia
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Entry on Duty: Nov 10, 1997
Termination of Appointment: Jan 19, 2001

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Name: Arthur E. Dewey
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jan 30, 2002
Entry on Duty: Jan 30, 2002
Termination of Appointment: July 1, 2005

Title: Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Name: Ellen R. Sauerbrey
State of Residency: Maryland
Non-career appointee
Appointment: Jan 4, 2006
Entry on Duty: Jan 12, 2006
Termination of Appointment:
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate. An earlier nomination of Sep 6, 2005, was not acted on by the Senate.


Creation of Position: In April 1980, the Department of State, by administrative action, established the Bureau of Refugee Programs. The Director holds a rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State and Serves concurrently as Deputy Coordinator for Refugee Affairs. All Directors of the Bureau of Refugee Programs have been designated, not commissioned. Since Mar 1979, the Department of State has designated certain Ambassadors at Large as Coordinators for Refugee Affairs. The Bureau of Refugee Affairs subsumed duties relating to refugee matters previously exercised by components in the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and the Agency for International Development. Previously, distinct units in the Department of State concerned with refugee affairs existed in the Bureau of United Nations Affairs and the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. Also, between Sep 1966 and Jun 1975, a Special Assistant for Refugee and Migration Affairs, with rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary served in the office of the Secretary of State. The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration was established May 12, 1994. Prior to this date it was called the Bureau of Refugee Programs, and its Directors were designated, not commissioned.


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