Why didn’t the United States establish diplomatic relationship with Mongolia during the Cold War?

In 1911, Mongolia declared itself independent from the Qing dynasty. One of its first foreign policy decisions was to establish contact with the leading countries of those times.

In 1913, Mongolian Prime Minister Namnansuren made a State Visit to Russia (the picture above). One of his important assignments was to give the official letters from Bogd Khan, Mongolian ruler, to the embassies of the US, Germany, France and Japan.

In 1914, Mongolian Government made the second attempt to establish contact with the US through the Embassy in Beijing. The American government assigned a special consular officer in charge of Mongolia at its Consulate in Hubei province of China.

Vice President visiting Mongolia

On July of 1944, the US Vice President Henry Wallace visited Socialist Mongolia. It was the first visit ever by a high level US delegation to arrive in Mongolia and fully 43 years before Mongolia and the US establish diplomatic relations. One of the important purposes of the visit was to asses Mongolia. This is how Vice President Wallace characterized Mongols:

In Outer-Mongolia there is considerable evidence of healthy progress, military preparedness, and nationalistic spirit. Soviet influence is without doubt strong but political and administrative control appear to be in the hands of capable Mongols. Any thought of resumption of Chinese sovereignty would be unrealistic. On the contrary, it is well to anticipate considerable agitation in Inner-Mongolia for union with Outer Mongolia after the war.

Mongolia’s flag is hoisted for the first time at the UN

Mongolia became a member of the UN in 1961 and opened the Permanent Mission to the UN in NYC. The US together with its ally Taiwan voted against Mongolia becoming a member of the UN.

So until 1986, when Mongolia and the US established diplomatic relations, there were very few official meetings. I have looked at the Cablegate documents, the leaked State department files, there were many instances of Mongolian and the American diplomats meeting each other, but those didn’t go beyond the normal social meetings.

Originally published at on August 13, 2019.

A Mongol from the land of Blue skies.

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