This paper describes the development of a confocal Fabry-Perot interferometer (CFPI) for non-contact and non-destructive detection of broadband ultrasound generated by a pulsed laser. The operation theory of CFPI is introduced. The transmission and reflection modes of operation were investigated theoretically and verified experimentally. For the present study, a CFPI cavity of 50cm with 95.4% reflectivity spherical mirrors was constructed with associated resonant cavity control and signal detection electronics. The design is capable of providing detection frequency bandwidth from 140kHz to 50MHz. For the first step of verification, the input signal simulated by an electro-optical modulator (EOM) was used for verifying the feasibility of surface wave measurement. Signals obtained from an avalanche detector were compared with the results through theoretical analysis of the CFPI transfer function in a transmission mode. The results show a favorable agreement between the two. Furthermore, transmitted ultrasound signals from a 5MHz contact ultrasound transducer were detected and compared between the CFPI system and a Michaelson interferometer. Patterns of ultrasound arrival and reflection were clearly detected by both. Because an intrinsic transfer function is embedded in the operation of CFPI, the output signal will be distorted when measuring surface displacement. A digital filtering process was considered for compensation for the surface displacement signal. From the comparative results, it was further concluded that the present CFPI design has a displacement resolution of 0.05nm. Future studies will be focused on the reflection mode operation for fully utilization of non-contact laser ultrasound generation and detection.