The Citizen Genêt Affair was a diplomatic incident that strained relations between the United Sates and France at the time of the French Revolution.
In 1793, the newly-formed revolutionary government in France appointed Edmond Charles Genêt as French minister to the United States. Upon his arrival in the U.S., “Citizen Genêt,” as he referred to himself, set about trying to undermine the U.S. government’s official position of neutrality in the war Great Britain and Spain were waging against France. In just a few months, Genêt’s actions had irritated President Washington and his cabinet so much that they requested the French government to recall him. The Genêt Affair prompted the U.S. government to formulate an official policy on neutrality that lasted throughout the 19th century.