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  • Timeline:US-Burma/Myanmar Relations
  • 1947: The United States recognized Burmese independence, established an embassy in Rangoon and appointed the first ambassador to Burma in October.

  • 1948-53: The United States provided an economic assistance programme to Burma and covert support to Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) forces inside the country. This aid was terminated in 1953-54 and most KMT forces were repatriated to Taiwan.

  • 1956-64: US aid to Burma, mainly in foodstuff, was resumed in 1956 until General Ne Win stopped the flow of aid. Training of Burmese military officers in the United States reached about 1,000 personnel by 1962.

  • From 1974: US assistance to Burma consisted of humanitarian aid and a military assistance programme designed to reduce opium production, the primary source of heroin in the United States at the time.

  • 1988: Mass protests over economic mismanagement and for a return to democracy in Burma in August and September led the military to suppress the protests and launch an incumbency coup. On 18 September the military established the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In September, the SLORC announced multi-party elections would take place.

  • 1989: SLORC changed the country's official name to Myanmar.

  • 1990: On 27 May general elections were held in Myanmar for the first time since 1960. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) took 392 of the 492 parliamentary seats, although the SLORC refused to recognize the election results and [End Page 434] placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. The US cut off economic aid and military assistance to Myanmar and downgraded diplomatic relations. US diplomatic representation in Myanmar has remained on the chargé d'affaires level since September.

  • 1993: Following suspension of the National Convention to develop a new constitution, the US Congress decided to downgrade US diplomatic representation in Myanmar to the level of charge d'affaires, where it remains today.

  • 1997: In May, the United States issued a prohibition on new investment in Myanmar by US individuals or entities, imposed countermeasures on the country due to its inadequate measures to eliminate money laundering and restricted issuing visas for certain Myanmar military officers and their families. In November, the SLORC reconstituted itself as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).

  • 2003: Following the brutal attack on an NLD convoy in Depayin in central Myanmar on 30 May, President George W. Bush imposed sanctions against Myanmar pursuant to the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act (BFDA) and Executive Order 13310, banning the import of products from Myanmar and the export of financial services to Myanmar, and froze the assets of SPDC and three designated Myanmar foreign trade financial institutions. The US Congress has renewed the BFDA annually, most recently in July 2010.

  • 2007: Following mass protests in Yangon and elesewhere caused by the sudden removal of government fuel subsidies, President Bush issued Executive Order 13348 that expanded sanctions to include asset freezes against individuals designated as responsible for human rights abuses and public corruption and individuals and entities that provide financial or material support to those designated individuals or the military government in Myanmar.

  • 2008: On 30 April President Bush signed Executive Order 13464, which further expanded sanctions to permit asset freezes against designated Myanmarese entities. Currently, approximately 110 individuals and entities have been designated for asset freezes under these authorities. On 2 May Cyclone Nargis made landfall on Myanmar, causing destruction and mass casualties along the Irrawaddy delta and the southern parts of the country. The Myanmar authorities hesitated to accept foreign aid in the first days of the [End Page 435] catastrophe but eventually opened the country to controlled international relief. On 6 May, President Bush signed into law H.R. 4286 that "award[s] a congressional gold medal to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in recognition of her courageous and unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, human rights, and democracy in Burma" after the US House of Representatives voted unanimously in favour of the resolution. On 10 May, despite the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, Myanmar held a constitutional referendum to foster a "discipline-flourishing democracy" and prepare for multi-party elections in 2010. Under the new Constitution, the leadership of the Myanmar government will...