In 1952, the United States became the first non-member country to officially recognize the European Coal and Steel Community. Jean Monnet, one of the EU's founding fathers, reciprocated this recognition by choosing Washington, D.C., as the ECSC's first external presence.
Led by Leonard Tennyson, an American journalist and public relations official in the Marshall Plan administration, the two-room, two-person office had an annual budget of $41,000 and was located in the Southern Building at 805 15th Street NW. After the launch of the European Economic Community (EEC) and European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) in 1958, the ECSC information office changed its name to European Communities Information Service.
In 1972, the European Communities Information Service was granted full diplomatic status thanks to legislation approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The office was then known as the Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities to the United States.
In 2009, the EU's diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (EEAS), was created by the Treaty of Lisbon and the Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities to the United States became the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.