The United States of America and the Sultanate of Oman: More than Two Centuries of Friendship

The friendship between the United States and Oman dates back over two hundred years when the American ship the Boston Rambler sailed to the port of Muscat in 1790. The two countries signed the “Treaty of Amity and Commerce” in 183—the first bilateral accord between the U.S. and an Arab Gulf state.In 1840, the Sultan’s envoy Ahmad bin Na’aman sailed to New York on the Sultanah and became the first Arab diplomat to be accredited to the U.S. The Sultanah was also the first Arab ship to sail to the United States. In 1880, the first U.S. Consulate was established in Muscat in order to strengthen political and economic ties.

During the twentieth century, Oman and the United States signed the “Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights” in Salalah, expanding trade and diplomatic relations. In 1972, the United States opened its embassy in the capital of Muscat, and the Sultanate opened its embassy in Washington D.C. the following year. Oman and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement in 1980, which was revised and renewed in 2010, continuing its close military partnership.

Today, the United States and Oman continue to have permanent diplomatic missions in their respective capitals, with official delegations regularly visiting both countries. The U.S.-Oman friendship continues with a bilateral Free Trade Agreement which was signed in 2006 and put into effect in 2009, promoting trade and investment in both countries. In 2016, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister bin Alawi signed the U.S.-Oman Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, further expanding bilateral cooperation.

Timeline of the history of U.S.–Oman relations:

  • 1790 – American vessel Boston Rambler reached Muscat
  • 1833 – The U.S. and Oman signed the “Treaty of Amity and Commerce,” the first bilateral accord between the U.S. and an Arab Gulf state
  • 1838 – U.S. consulate opened in Oman
  • 1840 – First Arab diplomat to be accredited to the U.S., Ahmad bin Na’aman, arrived in New York on the Omani vessel Sultanah
  • 1880 – U.S. consulate reestablished in Muscat to improve political and economic exchanges between the two countries
  • 1938 – Sultan Said bin Taimur accepted an official invitation to meet with U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
  • 1958 – U.S. and Oman renewed “Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights”
  • 1972 – U.S. opened embassy in Muscat
  • 1973 – Omani embassy opened in Washington, D.C.
  • 1975 – Sultan Qaboos met with President Gerald Ford in the U.S.
  • 1978 – Oman participated in the Camp David peace talks
  • 1983 – Sultan Qaboos met with President Ronald Reagan in the U.S.
  • 1986 – Delegation from the Omani State Consultative Council (Majlis al Shurah) traveled to Washington to conduct a legislative fact-finding mission
  • 1986 – President George H.W. Bush visited the Sultanate
  • 1995 – The Honorable Frances Cook appointed as U.S. Ambassador to Oman, the first female ambassador to serve in any Gulf Cooperation Council country
  • 2000 – U.S. President William J. Clinton visited Oman
  • 2005 – Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Al Mughairy appointed first Arab woman to serve as ambassador to the U.S.
  • 2006 – U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement signed
  • 2009 – U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement went into force
  • 2016 – U.S. Oman Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement signed