May 7, 1830: The United States signs a treaty of commerce and navigation with the Ottoman Empire. Article Two allows the United States to appoint consuls "at commercial places in the dominions of the sublime porte."
1835: the first U.S. consuls appointed to Syria –then an administrative entity in the Ottoman Empire that included present-day Lebanon. A. Durighello is appointed to Aleppo and Jasper Chasseud to Beirut.
March 1847: a U.S. Consular Agency is established at Aleppo. Illel de Piccioto serves there until March 1873. Frederic Poche, described in State Department records as born in Austria, is consular agent from 1873 until 1908. Frederic's brother, Alfred, serves twice as acting Consular Agent.
First Damascene Minister preaching in the USA (1896)
A poster announcing: "A thrilling Experience" of listening to Rev. M.E. Barakat, B.A... The first and as of yet the only Minister preaching in this country from Damascus." Cost of attending: 20 cents, Place: Menlo, Iowa
January 1859: Doctor Michael Meshaka is appointed U.S. vice consul in Damascus. He serves until April 22, 1870, and is succeeded by his son, Nasif, who serves until February 10, 1914.
1859 Photograph of the first US diplomat in Damascus, Michael Mishaka