Courtesy of Latvian Public Broadcasting
July 23, 2015

On the 75th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, signed on July 23, 1940, President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis has sent a letter of gratitude to President of the United States Barrack Obama for the US’ refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, stated the homepage of the Chancery of the President.

Vejonis noted in the letter that Thursday, July 23 marks the 75th anniversary of the declaration signed by then active Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles.

The so-called Welles Declaration stated the position, held by the US until the Baltic states reinstated their independence in 1990-91.

The declaration stressed the occupation of Latvia as a matter worth international recognition; it was important, in the long-term, to support the freedom of Latvia and paved the way for the country to return in the European-Atlantic group of countries.

“We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Latvian state after three years, and, despite Latvia’s shaky history in the 20th century we can say with pride that our diplomatic ties were always close during this time.”

“The people of Latvia will always remember how the United States have had faith [in the Latvian state] in times of hardship and insecurity, and these memories help strengthening our mutual friendship,” wrote Vejonis.

“The events of the last year and a half have shown that long-term peace in Europe is not to be taken for granted. Latvia highly esteems the United States’ reaction against Russian aggression in Ukraine and the way the United States has worked in the alliance, ensuring repeated manifestations of security that do good to all the NATO countries in Eastern Europe, including the Baltic states,” wrote Vejonis.

The Welles Declaration stated that the Soviet occupation of the Baltics was against “the rule of reason, of justice and of law – in other words, the basis of modern civilization itself”. This declaration became a political stance of the United States, and more than 50 other countries joined it.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced the following in a U.S. government press statement:

“On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, which condemned the forced annexation of these brave nations by the Soviet Union in 1940.”