A very special United States passport

A very special United States passport

Sheldon Whitehouse was a career Foreign Service Officer who served as the United States Minister to Guatemala (1929-1933) and Colombia (1933-1935). (1933-1934). He traveled to the US Legation in Greece and Montenegro before these assignments using this Special Passport. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan autographed the passport. It was published on June 30, 1914, just as the European war was about to break out.

For senior government officials going on official business, special passports were issued. They were in use during most of the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth century. In 1918, the Department of State issued a “passeport diplomatique” to officials traveling on diplomatic business. Diplomatic Passports were awarded to serving diplomats and previous ambassadors beginning in 1926.special passport


Photographs were not needed on U.S. passports until December 1914, and if this passport had been issued before that date, they would have been added afterward. On the top left front side, a description of the bearer’s physical attributes is also affixed, including the form of his forehead and chin and the color of his eyes and hair. From 1914 to 1918, Whitehouse used this passport. Additional pages were affixed to the right and bottom sides to suit his frequent visits, and it is branded on both sides.

Ambassador Whitehouse was a member of the Foreign Service from 1908 to 1935. American embassies in London, Caracas, Paris (twice), Madrid, Athens and Montenegro, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Washington, DC (Chief of the Near Eastern Division), Guatemala, and Colombia were among his assignments. special passport

He witnessed crucial post-World War I attempts to keep Europe at peace. In 1919, while serving as Counselor of the United States Legation in Sweden, Whitehouse was a member of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace in Paris. He sponsored early conversations that led to the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 as Counselor of the Embassy and Charge d’Affaires in Paris in 1927.

The Whitehouse family has a long legacy of public service. Sheldon Whitehouse’s son Charles, a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to Laos (1973-1975) and Thailand (1975-1978). His son-in-law Robert Orris Blake, a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to Mali (1970-1973). His grandson Robert Blake Jr., a career FSO, served as U.S. Ambassador to the Maldives and Sri Lanka (2006-2009), Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs (2009-2013), and U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia (2013-2016). His grandson Sheldon Whitehouse currently serves as a U.S. Senator for Rhode Island. special passport