Charles A. James served as U.S Ambassador to the Republic of Niger from 1976 to 1979. James also represented the U.S. at meetings with representatives of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) countries: Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
James was born in 1922 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he attended public schools. After high school, James attended Westchester State Teachers College in Pennsylvania (now Westchester University) where he studied for one year before enlisting in the U.S. Navy during World War II where he served for three years.
After World War II, James returned home and later received his B.A. from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont in 1949 and an LL.B. from Yale Law School in New Haven, Connecticut in 1952. In 1977, Middlebury College conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Ambassador James for his lifetime of public service.
James practiced law in Sacramento and Stockton, California for ten years. In Stockton, he served as area President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) covering northern California and Nevada.
In 1961, James was appointed Assistant Attorney General for the State of California by Attorney General Stanley Mosk. James played a significant role in the enactment of truth in lending legislation in California and negotiated changes in the packaging practices of 21 major cosmetic firms. He also served as chairman of the staff to the Committee for Youth and Children in the California State Assembly.
ames became the Deputy Director and later, Director of the Peace Corps, first in Ghana and then Uganda in 1964. He later served in an administrative position for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Thailand and Vietnam.
On September 16, 1976, President Gerald Ford nominated James as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger. After confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Ambassador Nelson traveled to Niamey, the capital, to head the U.S. Embassy there. James held the post until 1979 when he returned to the United States and retired from the U.S. Department of State.