The Treaty RoomThe Entrance Hall
As the entry point into the State Rooms, this hall sets a dignified tone of both intimacy and grandeur.

A Setting For Diplomacy

When the elevator doors open to the eighth floor of the Harry S Truman Building, special guests to the Department of State step into a space that seems to be from another time: the era of the founding of the nation. In keeping with the regard Americans and people everywhere have for the world’s first modern republic, the spirit is different, too. Here ambassadors and heads of state are welcomed into rooms that recall those that were familiar to the men who established the United States and governed in its first decades. The business of modern diplomacy is conducted among art and furnishings that in many cases have direct ties to the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution. The experience of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms begins here, in the Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall.

Architectural Tradition

In contrast to the bustle of the lower floors, where thousands of employees work, the grandeur of this space takes visitors by surprise. The impact of the architecture and surroundings brings conversations to a halt. Instead of concrete or linoleum floors, here guests step out of the elevator onto dark, polished King of Prussia marble. High ceilings also signify that this space is different. Instead of steel-facing, the walls are handsomely paneled in painted wood. Fluted pilasters have been embellished to look like veined marble and are topped by intricate carvings. Guests’ attention is focused on statuary busts of the Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington, two heroes of the American Revolution. A third bust is of John Jay, one of the nation’s first diplomats.

The Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall detail drawing

This room is named for Edward Vason Jones, the architect who designed it and transformed many of the first Diplomatic Reception Rooms into 18th-century spaces. Like them, this one is modeled on a fine home of the colonial period, the drawing room at Marmion, a plantation house in King George County, Virginia, noted for its extraordinary paneled woodwork. Jones researched his designs. His vision for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms derived not only from his familiarity with the nation’s architectural resources but also from historical sketches and drawings in archives and manuscript collections. And he implemented his designs with great precision.

The Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall

The Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall before and after its architectural transformation.

In addition to honoring its namesake, the Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall recognizes the many donors whose cumulative contributions built and continue to sustain the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and its collection. Their names are displayed in an ever-growing list that serves as a constant reminder that these rooms are a gift of the American people to the world.

Virtual Tour

The Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall
Tour this Room

The Architect

Edward Vason Jones
Edward Vason Jones mastered the tradition of architectural classicism, and composed the vision to transform the Diplomatic Reception Rooms into extraordinary tableaus that reflect the height of early American fine and decorative arts.
The Work of Edward Vason Jones

Objects in This Room

Portrait Bust of John Jay

Portrait Bust of John Jay

Frazee, John
ca. 1835
stone; marble
Portrait Bust of George Washington

Marble Portrait Bust of George Washington

Powers, Hiram
ca. 1845-1855
stone; marble
Chippendale Marble-Top and Carved Mahogany Side Table

Chippendale Marble-Top and Carved Mahogany Side Table

Unknown
ca. 1755-1775
wood; mahogany; eastern white pine; sweetgum; soft maple; marble
Portrait Bust of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

Marble Portrait Bust of Marquis de Lafayette

Houdon, Jean Antoine
ca. 1786
stone; marble
Chippendale Mahogany Chest on Chest

Chippendale Mahogany Chest on Chest

Prince, Samuel
ca. 1770-1775
wood; mahogany; pine; poplar
Map of North America

Map of North America

Moll, Herman
ca. 1715
paper; engraving on laid paper; outline hand-colored
Boxer Rebellion Eagle [Chinese Export Silk Embroidery Made for the American Market]

Boxer Rebellion Eagle [Chinese Export Silk Embroidery Made for the American Market]

Unknown
ca. 1900
textile; silk
Chinese Export Porcelain Famille-Rose Christening Bowl Made for the British Market

Chinese Export Porcelain Famille-Rose Christening Bowl Made for the British Market

Unknown
ca. 1760
ceramic; porcelain
American Chippendale Mahogany Regulator Clock

American Chippendale Mahogany Regulator Clock

Ellicott, Joseph
1774-1780
wood; mahogany
Plan of the City of Washington

Plan of the City of Washington

Thackara, James
1792
paper; print