McGee, born in Chicago, Illinois, graduated from Indiana University. He fought in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1974, earning three Distinguished Flying Crosses. McGee learned Vietnamese at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. He is married to Shirley Jean French McGee.
He previously served as the third Secretary and Vice Consul at the American Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria from 1982 to 1984, Administrative Officer at the American Consulate General in Lahore, Pakistan from 1984 to 1986, Second Secretary and Supervisory General Services Officer at the American Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands from 1986 to 1989, Administrative Officer at the American Consulate General in Bombay, India from 1989 to 1991, U.S. Department of State's Special Assistant in the Bureau of Finance and Management Policy from 1991 to 1992, Administrative Counselor in Bridgetown, Barbados from 1992 to 1995, Administrative Counselor at the American Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica from 1995 to 1998, Administrative Counselor in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire from 1998 to 2001, and ambassador to Swaziland from 2002 to 2004. McGee became the U.S. ambassador to Madagascar on October 24, 2004, and took on the additional role of ambassador to the Comoros on March 5, 2006. McGee was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe in October 2007 and is now serving as U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe. He succeeds Ambassador Christopher Dell who is now serving in Afghanistan.
James McGee was threatened with expulsion from Zimbabwe by the president, Robert Mugabe, after McGee had told the press of politically inspired attacks by Mugabe's government against political activists in anticipation of the run-off election between Mugabe and his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.
- "James McGee - Biography". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. http://web.archive.org/web/20080402034836/http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/94669.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
- Former Ambassador's to The Kingdom of Swaziland, James D. McGee U.S. Embassy to Swaziland
- Zimbabwe: Dell replacement announced, July 26, 2007. AllAfrica.
- Bush names new Zimbabwe envoy July 25, 2007. New Zimbabwe.
- "Mugabe threat to expel US envoy". BBC News. May 25, 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7419389.stm. Retrieved May 25, 2008.
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