Has a person elected to the US Presidency ever held a government position in a nation besides the United States?

I think any government-related role would be an interesting answer. I think the focus here is the role acts as a representative of the country, or to officially influence sovereign matters.

I do not think the role must have been voted by the people of that nation.

  • I thought to look at whether anyone who had served the Confederate states ended up president. Unsurprisingly, no. Sounds like the eventual answer will be no though, due to the Natural-born-citizen clause making it unlikely. I assume military roles over foreign troops (Eisenhower for example) and US military governance of subdued countries would not count.
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 13:44
  • Benjamin Franklin?
    – DVK
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 14:11
  • I think I will answer Eisenhower, but I'm pretty sure there were more. In the US controlled far east for example. Edit: good there's another answer with that in it.
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 14:19

3 Answers 3


The most obvious examples would be three members of the Founding Fathers who served in roles for the British government.

After Washington, and Jefferson, it appears only two men who would become president served in any sort of meaningful capacity for a "foreign" government.

  • 2
    Don't forget John Adams, who was engaged to defend the British soldiers who perpetrated the Boston Massacre
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 21:58
  • Please edit Filipine to Philippine. Thanks. Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 14:17

President John Tyler served for the Confederacy after being president. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tyler). The 14th amendment specifically prohibits former Confederates from serving certain offices (Specifically:

(Section 3) prohibits the election or appointment to any federal or state office of any person who had held any of certain offices and then engaged in insurrection, rebellion or treason. However, a two-thirds vote by each House of the Congress can override this limitation. ) (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution)


Eisenhower perhaps qualifies, who was Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany from the end of WW2 up to November 1945. He was responsible for the Joint Chiefs of Staff's directive 1067, the blueprint for rebuilding Germany after the war. He was responsible for distribution of food, medicine, dealing with the concentration camps and providing civil order/justice.

  • 1
    I'd say no (but good try). He wouldn't have been given that position if he hadn't been a US general, and I doubt there was any confusion about whose interests he was there to represent. McArthur was in a pretty much identical postion wrt Japan after their surrender.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 21:55
  • Was Ike paid by the Germans or the US during that period? That'd make a big difference in whether he was working for a foreign government or not (did Germany even have an actual government during that period yet that could have employed him? )
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 7:14
  • He was still in the army so I imagine the US. Counting US control of foreign countries is sketchy, but not hugely more than counting British colonial administration as "foreign". I don't think there are any fantastic examples.
    – Nathan
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 8:16

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