The Occupation of Latvia: Aspects of History and International Law

11.03.2005. 17:45

 Dr. habil.hist. Inesis Feldmanis

The Non-Aggression Treaty of 23 August 1939 between the Soviet Union and Germany - with its inseparable component, the secret protocol (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1)  - was an illegal and cynical deal at the expense of six smaller countries.  The Pact divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.  According to Article 1 of the protocol, Latvia, Finland and Estonia were assigned to the Soviet Union: "In the event of a territorial and political rearrangement in the areas belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern boundary of Lithuania shall represent the boundary of the spheres of influence of Germany and the U.S.S.R." (2) Article 2 stipulates the boundaries of the "spheres of interest" of the great powers in Poland and alludes to the possible end of Poland's statehood: "The question of whether the interests of both parties make desirable the maintenance of an independent Polish state and how such a state should be bounded can only be definitely determined in the course of further political developments." (3) Article 3 notes the Soviet Union's interests in Bessarabia and Germany's "complete political disinterestedness" in this region (4).

Historians frequently refer to the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Treaty as a "pact of aggression" (5) because it served as the green light for starting World War II. Germany began the war on 1 September 1939 and the Soviet Union joined 17 days later; within a few weeks they had obliterated Poland's independence.  There is nothing analogous in the history of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries to the pact on war, division of territory and destruction that was signed on 23 August 1939 (6). It is difficult to imagine a more flagrant and more criminal conspiracy against peace and the sovereignty of states.

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact violated the norms of international law of that time which "did no permit agreements at the expense of the independence of third countries," (7) and it disregarded the treaty-stipulated obligations between the USSR and Germany.  The Pact also destroyed single-handedly the existing, but no longer relevant system of non-aggression pacts in Eastern Europe of both of the aggressive great powers (8). The Soviet Union and Germany defied several bilateral and multilateral treaties, including the Briand-Kellogg Pact of 1928, because contrary to this pact, the secret protocol did not rule out aggression against Poland (9).  Similarly, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact could not be reconciled with the Convention for the Definition of Aggression, adopted in London on 3 July 1933 (10).

The secret protocol did not directly change the status under international law of Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania (the latter was relegated to the Soviet sphere of influence on 28 September 1939).  The determination of spheres of interest does, however, demonstrate disrespect for the sovereignty of the states named above (11) and questions their independence (12). The USSR obtained from Germany a free hand in future "territorial and political rearrangements" (13) in the Soviet sphere of influence. Both aggressive great powers agreed on 23 August 1939 that a "sphere of interest" means in effect the right to occupy and annex the territory of the respective states. The Soviet Union and Germany divided the spheres of interest on paper so that the "division can become a reality." (14) By referring repeatedly to resolving "the problem", be it the Polish or the Baltic problem, they insinuated clearly what lay behind such terms (15). Undoubtedly, without the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, it would not have been possible to completely occupy the Baltic States ten months later.      

With the military defeat of Poland, the preconditions had been met for the gradual implementation of the aggressive plans of the USSR in the Baltic region and the occupation of the countries of that region. As the first step, Moscow had conceived the imposition of a mutual assistance accord on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania so as to obtain the right to establish Soviet military bases in these countries. Talking with the German Ambassador, Werner von Schulenburg, in Moscow on 25 September 1939, the Soviet dictator, Josif Stalin, suggested that Germany not preserve "as an independent state the decimated Poland" and that Germany trade with the Soviet Union Lithuania for the Lublin region and a part of the Warsaw region; if Germany agreed, then Moscow would start immediately to work on the resolution of the problem of the Baltic States in accordance with the protocol of August 23 and   Moscow would expect unequivocal support of the German government." (16) 

Stalin's statements show clearly and explicitly the direct connection between the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with the subsequent fate of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Before starting talks about a mutual assistance treaty, the USSR exerted strong diplomatic and military pressure on the Baltic States.  Three armies, consisting of 10 corps and 39 divisions and brigades, were stationed near the Baltic borders and awaited "the command to invade the Baltic States". (17) Moscow launched a war of nerves, threatened to use force and resorted to brazen provocation. At the end of September, while the talks about the establishment of Soviet military bases in Estonia were proceeding, the Soviet Union "orchestrated the sinking of -Metalist', an old Soviet tanker, in the Bay of Narva in Soviet territorial waters (18); this was done to retaliate for the escape of the Polish submarine Orzel from the Tallinn harbor and to blackmail Estonia and force it to accept far-reaching Soviet demands. The USSR People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov, announced to the Estonian delegation on September 27 that the sinking was done by an unidentified submarine and insisted that for the duration of the war in Europe Estonia grant the Soviet Union the right to station 35,000 Soviet soldiers on its territory so as to "prevent Estonia and the Soviet Union from being drawn into the war and protect internal order in Estonia." (19) According to Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Karl Selter, the implementation of this proposal would result in the military occupation of his country (20)

Almost concurrently talks were taking place in Moscow between the USSR and Germany and produced a Treaty of Friendship and several secret protocols, as well as the signing of borders accords.  Meeting with Joachim von Ribbentrop, Josif Stalin did not hide his hostile intentions toward the Baltic States and pointed out that Estonia had already agreed to a mutual assistance treaty with the USSR and that if Latvia resists signing such a treaty, "the Red Army will promptly take revenge." (21) The German side stated that the "Baltic question" should be resolved gradually; the occupation of the three countries should be progressive rather than sudden and total. Stalin promised to carry out the invasion in stages, to allow Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to remain independent for a while, but he insisted that in the future the possibility of these states becoming a part of the USSR cannot be ruled out (22).

In the talks with the Latvian side about a mutual assistance treaty the Soviet side affirmed its aggressive attitude and intention to disregard internationally accepted legal norms and use force.  The talks started on 2 October 1939 and on the following day Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vilhelms Munters informed his government that Josif Stalin had said that "as for the Germans, [there is no obstacle], we can occupy you" and threatened that the USSR could also seize "territory with a Russian minority." (23) The Latvian government decided to capitulate and give in to the Soviet Union's demands to allow the Soviet armed forces to enter the territory of Latvia. At an extraordinary meeting on October 3 the Cabinet of Ministers adopted the crucial decision, which turned out to be fateful for Latvia's independence (24). The other option was to fight; this would have meant an immediate Soviet assault and enormous bloodshed.   The government of Kārlis Ulmanis did not endorse this option because it wanted to ensure the survival of the nation.

The mutual assistance treaty with the Soviet Union was signed by Estonia on September 28, by Latvia on October 5 and by Lithuania on October 10, 1939. In accordance with these treaties, Soviet military forces entered the territory of the Baltic States and established army, air force and naval bases.  In view of the Soviet Union's hostile intentions toward the Baltic States, these treaties were tantamount to a death sentence for the sovereignty of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. They ushered in the beginning of the end Baltic independence - this was also borne out by the hasty departure of the Baltic Germans (25) - and served as prelude to the real beginning of the occupation in June 1940. During these months, the Baltic States lost their political neutrality, came under the dominance of the USSR, and were transformed into protectorates of the Soviet Union. The phrases in the treaty about "the recognition of the independence of the state", "non-interference in internal affairs of the other state", the references to the 1920 peace treaty and the previously concluded non-aggression pacts were all devoid of real meaning.  The same is true about Article 5 of the Mutual Assistance Pact Between Latvia and the USSR which states that the implementation of this pact cannot in any way affect "the sovereign rights of the parties to the treaty" especially "their state structure, economic and social system, and military activity." (26)

From the point of view of international law it is difficult to assess the mutual assistance treaties signed between two unequal sides (a superpower and small and weak countries) as legitimate.  Different opinions have been expressed in literature on law and history. Several authors believe that these treaties, according to international law, have not been in force from the moment that they were signed because they were inflicted upon the Baltic States (27). Other authors say that they are in force, although they do not deny - some even emphasize - the fact that the treaties resulted from the policies of blackmail and brute force enacted by the USSR and that from the Baltic point of view the treaties are disputable (28). In this case it is important to stress that the Soviet Union, upon signing the treaties, "assumed bilateral treaty-based responsibilities"(29), but the Baltic States, by granting the military bases demanded by the USSR, fully respected the Soviet Union's security needs (more imagined than real) "inasmuch as these had increased with the beginning of World War II". (30)

Though the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian governments considered their giving in to the USSR was "an act that was brutally forced upon [them]" (31), they nonetheless fulfilled in good faith the treaties, including the stipulations about the bases, and naively hoped that the Soviet Union would do the same. Despite their sympathies for Finland, the Baltic States carefully observed all their treaty-based obligations even during the Winter War (30 November 1939 - 12 March 1940) started by the USSR against Finland; subsequently the USSR was recognized as the aggressor and expelled from the League of Nations. For Moscow everything was so clear that it could not even claim the contrary: addressing the USSR Supreme Soviet on 29 March 1940, Foreign Affairs Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov pointed out that "the fulfilment of the treaties by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is satisfactory and creates preconditions for the further improvement of relations between the Soviet Union and those countries." (32)

The government of the USSR, which needed the mutual assistance treaties with the Baltic States to destroy these states, was not about to be satisfied with the status quo. It used to its own advantage the situation that had developed after Germany's attack on France, Netherlands and Belgium so as to fully occupy the Baltic States in June 1940. This time, Lithuania was chosen as the first victim. So as to create an excuse for implementing its hostile intentions, Moscow accused Lithuania of capturing several Soviet soldiers and killing one of them in order to obtain from them military secrets; these were trumped up charges and from today's perspective they are laughable. Escalating the artificially created tensions with Lithuania, during the night of 15 June 1940 the USSR sent an ultimatum to Lithuania to form a new government which could "fulfil honourably" the Mutual Assistance Pact of 10 October 1939 and permit new Soviet military units to enter Lithuania.  Although the treaty did not provide for the issuing of such demands, Lithuania felt forced to accept the ultimatum without protest or resistance. A clear sign of protest, however, was the decision on June 15 by Lithuania's President Antanas Smetona to go into exile; he did not want his presence to facilitate the actions of the occupiers (33).

On 15 June 1940 Soviet troops attacked the Latvian border guards at Maslenki; the attack was intended either as a provocation so as to justify the occupation of Latvia or as a Stalinist-style warning that under no conditions should Latvia resist. At 2PM on June 16 the Soviet People's Commissar on Foreign Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov, read to the Latvian ambassador, Fricis Kocins, the USSR ultimatum: it was an odious fabrication of lies. According to the ultimatum, the Latvian government must step down and an unlimited number of Soviet military units must be allowed to enter Latvia (34); if the Latvian government does not respond by 11PM, then the Soviet armed forces would enter Latvia and wipe out all resistance (35).  Although the norms of international law of that time forbade threats to use force without first having tried to resolve the dispute peacefully as provided by the treaty (36), the USSR did not even consider such an option; it ignored the mechanism for resolving disputes that was provided in the Non-Aggression Pact between the Soviet Union and Latvia of 5 February 1932 (37).  Furthermore, Moscow grossly violated this Pact which clearly rejected the use of threats of force by one signatory country against the political independence of the other signatory country and stipulated that both signatory countries abstain from any aggressive actions one against the other (38).

The government of Kārlis Ulmanis decided in the evening of June 16 to give in to the ultimatum and resign (39).   The Cabinet of Ministers rejected armed resistance because it believed that the resultant bloodshed would not save the state of Latvia (40).  Ulmanis, who laboured under the illusion of being able to retain Latvia's sovereignty in a limited form, did not opt even for symbolic military resistance or risk angering Moscow by issuing a diplomatic protest; this was clearly political short-sightedness which is difficult to understand. Moreover, no concrete instructions were sent to Latvia's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kārlis Zarins, to assume the extraordinary powers granted him on 17 May 1940 and enabling him to launch an effective political and diplomatic fight for Latvia (41).

On 17 June 1940 the Soviet Union, which at that time was an official ally of Nazi Germany, "carried out unprovoked military aggression (42) against Latvia and occupied it" (43). Latvia thus came under complete domination of the Soviet (i.e. foreign) armed forces, which under Article 42 of the Laws and Customs of War on Land (the Hague, 1907) is an essential criterion of occupation (44).  The government of Latvia was rendered powerless to act and the situation in the country was controlled by the USSR Embassy in Riga. On June 18 Andrei Vishinsky, as an official representative of the Soviet Union, arrived in Riga and assumed the reins of power over Latvia. The sending of a Soviet emissary to Riga to form the new government in Latvia was in clear breach of the Mutual Assistance Treaty between the USSR and Latvia; according to Article 5 of that treaty, the implementation of the treaty must not have any impact on the sovereign rights, the governing, economic and social systems and military activities of the signatory states (45)

The illegal change of government took place on 20 June 1940.  Replacing Kārlis Ulmanis as head of government, Augusts Kirhensteins became the leader of People's Government of Latvia, as the Soviet government of marionettes was officially called.

This government represented the interests of the USSR and its functioning facilitated the implementation of Moscow's plans including the annexation of Latvia. The Soviet side actively interfered in Latvia's internal affairs.  A special Soviet security apparatus was created which was controlled by individuals who had come to Latvia from the USSR (46). Soviet officials took over Latvia's institutions of political direction and began to spy upon, arrest and deport people (47). An unprecedented example of  interference was the creation of the Baltic Military District with its seat in Riga. It was ordered on 11 July 1940 by the USSR People's Commissar of Defence (48).  This meant that a military administrative unit of another state, i.e. the Soviet Union, was established on the territory of an independent - albeit formally - state.

The Soviet Union devoted considerable effort to mislead the people throughout the world about what was actually taking place in the three Baltic States. It tried to create the impression that the annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania was legitimate and that they "joined voluntarily" the Soviet Union. In violation of the Constitution and existing laws, all three states had to organize new elections, which took place in the presence of the Soviet occupation troops. In Latvia, the government of Augusts Kirhensteins adopted a new law on the election of the parliament (in Latvian - Saeima) instead of following the relevant norms and procedures in the Constitution; this action violated the basic principles of the Constitution (49).  

The elections were held on 14 and 15 July 1940; only the list of candidates of the Working People's Bloc was permitted. All other lists of candidates were rejected by the authorities. According to official reports, 97.5% of the voters cast their ballots for the Working People's Bloc (50).  The election results were obviously falsified (51) and did not reflect the will of the people.  Furthermore, the Soviet news agency TASS announced these same election results 12 hours before the beginning of the counting of ballots (52).

Although the platform of the Working People's Bloc did not contain the demands that Soviet power be established in Latvia and that Latvia join the USSR (53), the illegitimately elected Saeima, which acted as an agent of the Soviet Union (54), proclaimed Latvia a Socialist republic and submitted a request that Latvia be admitted into USSR (55).  The declaration -On Latvia's Joining the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" was adopted without debate; it changed the structure of the state and ended Latvia's formal independence. The declaration ignored the constitutional requirement under Article 77 to hold a referendum.  Furthermore, the declaration and the subsequent admission of Latvia into the USSR violated also Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Latvia and the entire process must, therefore, be characterized as anti-constitutional (56).

The incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR was completed in early August 1940. It was a hostile act of appropriation of territory belonging to other countries; it was annexation, which is forbidden under modern international law (57). It was carried out by violating many international and bilateral treaties, without adopting a voluntary treaty of union, and by ignoring principles of international law, including the right of self-determination of nations. As the eminent German scholar of international law, Boris Meissner has fittingly noted, "The Soviet Union seemingly adopted a contract with itself and with the act of annexation clearly violated not only the sovereignty of the Baltic States but also the right of self-determination of the Baltic nations which was the basis of the 1920 peace treaty [with Soviet Russia]." (58)

The annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is fundamentally illegal: it is based on intervention and occupation. That is why the annexation did not elicit juridical consequences (59). There was no change of sovereign power: the annexed state retained its sovereignty which the annexing state did not acquire (60). The status of the Baltic States as subjects of international law did not disappear. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania continued to exist de jure and their existence was recognized by 50 countries throughout the world (61). The non-recognition of the annexation was very important for the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian nations. It served as the basis for their unceasing demand for the restoration of the independence of their countries.

The policy of non-recognition of the legality of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR continued for 50 years - unprecedented in the annals of international law - until Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania reasserted their independence. On January 1932 US Secretary of State Henry Stimson objected to Japan's aggression in Manchuria. In the official note of protest to the government of Japan, the American government stated that it cannot accept as legal the situation which has been created de facto in the territory of China.  The steadfast implementation of the policy of non-recognition of the legality of the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union shows that since the enunciation of the Stimson doctrine in the 1930s the world has been becoming increasingly intolerant of territorial changes achieved through the use of force or the threat thereof.

 


  1. The Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact and its additional secret protocol, which was initiated by the Soviet Union, should be viewed as a single entity. The basis - Soviet Union's attitude in the Soviet-German talks, its proposals and Germany's acceptance of them. On 19 August 1939 the USSR People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov, presented to the German Ambassador, Werner von Schulenburg, the Soviet draft for a non-aggression pact. This document contained essentially everything Berlin could have wished for at the time. The document affirmed the principles of unlimited neutrality, which, by extension, allowed Germany to attack Poland, and interpreted non-aggression in such a way as to guarantee the continuation of trade even during war. The draft pact ruled out any and all cooperation with other great powers that is aimed against one or the other signatory countries of this pact. For this "generosity" and the "finding" and offering of the version so necessary for Germany, the USSR demanded a high price. The Non-Aggression Pact could come into force only if a protocol on issues of foreign affairs is signed at the same time. The "protocol", as is emphasized in the draft version produced in Moscow, "is a component of the pact."  On August 20 the German Führer, Adolf Hitler, agreed to the Soviet demand. (See СССР - Германия 1939. Документы и материалы о советско  - германских отношениях с апреля по октябрь 1939 г., [USSR-Germany 1939. Documents and materials about Soviet-German relations from April to October 1939], Vilnius: Mokslas, 1989, Volume 1, pp. 48-49 and 51-52.)  The Second Congress of the USSR People's Deputies in 1989 "separated" the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact from the additional secret protocol and declared that the contents of the pact was not in contradiction with the norms of international law.  The Congress also declared that the additional secret protocol along with other secret agreements are legally unfounded and have no legal force from the moment of signature.
  2. "Секретный дополнительный протокол [Additional secret protocol]" , published in the Russian journal  Новая и новейшая история (History of recent and most recent times), 1993, Number 1, p. 89.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ahman, Rolf.  -Der Hitler - Stalin - Pakt : Nichtangriffs- und Angriffsvertrag? (The Hitler-Stalin Pact: Non-Aggression or Aggression Treaty?)" in  Hitler-Stalin-Pakt 1939. Das Ende Ostmitteleuropas? (Hitler-Stalin Pact 1939. The End of Eastern Central Europe?), compiled by Erwin Oberländer.  Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989, pp. 37-40.
  6. Nolte, Ernst. Der europäische Bürgerkrieg 1917 - 1945. Nationalsozialismus und Bolschevismus. (The European Civil War 1917-1945. National Socialism and Bolshevism). Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1987, p, 311.
  7. Meissner, Boris. "The Occupation of the Baltic States from a Present-Day Perspective" in The Baltic States at Historical Crossroads. Political, economic, and legal problems and opportunities in the context of international co-operation at the beginning of the 21st century. A collection of scholarly articles. Second revised and expanded edition. Published in memory of Senator August Loeber and on the occasion of the 75th birthday of Professor Dietrich Andre Loeber. Edited by Dr. habil.Tālavs Jundzis. Rīga: Latvian Academy of Sciences, 2001, p.440.
  8. Lipinsky, Jan. Das Geheime Zusatzprotokol zum deutsch- sowjetischen Nichtangriffsvertrag vom 23. August 1939 und seine Entstehungs- und  Rezeptionsgeschichte von 1939 bis 1999 (The Additional Secret Protocol of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939 and the History of Its Development and Reception from 1939 to 1999). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 2004, p.86.
  9. Gornig, Gilbert H. Der Hitler-Stalin-Pakt. Eine völkerrechtliche Studie (The Hitler-Stalin Pact. A Study of International Law). Series: Schriften zum Staats- und Völkerrecht, Volume 41, edited by  Dieter Blumenwitz. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang-Verlag,1990, p. 76.
  10. Gornig, p. 81.
  11. Gornig, p. 68.
  12. Gornig, p. 79.
  13. Meissner, p. 439.
  14. Lipinsky, p. 61.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Akten zur deutschen auswärtigen Politik (Documents of German Foreign Policy) (abbreviation:  ADAP) . Series D.  1937 - 1941.  Baden-Baden:  Imprimerie Nationale, 1961, Volume VIII, p.101.
  17. Strods, Heinrihs. "Latvijas okupācijas pirmais posms (1939.gada 23.augusts - 1940.gada sākums ) [First Stage of Latvia's Occupation from 23 August 1939 to early 1940]" in Okupācijas režīmi Latvijā 1940. - 1959.gadā (Occupation Regimes in Latvia 1940-1959). Series: Latvijas Vēsturnieku komisijas raksti (Writings of Latvia's Commission of Historians), Volume 10. Rīga: Latvijas vēstures institūta apgāds, 2004, p.39.
  18. Gore, Ilga and Stranga, Aivars. Latvija: neatkarības mijkrēslis. Okupācija. 1939.gada septembris - 1940.gada jūnijs (Latvia: Dusk of Independence. Occupation: September 1939 to June 1940).  Rīga: Izglītība, 1992, p. 18.
  19. "Переговоры И. Сталина и В.Молотова с делегацией Эстонии о заключении договора о взаймной помощи (27 сентября 1939г.) [J. Stalin's and V. Molotov's Talks with Estonia's delegation about concluding a mutual assistance treaty (17 September 1939)" in На чаше весов: Эстония и СССР, 1940 год и его последствия, compiled by Peeter Varess un Olga Žurjari. EuroUniversity Series. International Relations. Volume.2/2, 1999. Tallinn: EuroUniversity, 1999, p.39.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Документы  внешней политики, 1939 (Documents of foreign policy, 1939). Series: ХХ11-В. Volume 2, Part 2: 1 September - 31 December 1939, Moscow:  Mezhdunarodniye otnosheniye, 1992, p. 611.
  22. Ibid., pp. 608. - 611.
  23. Latvian-Russian Relations. Documents.  Washington: The Latvian Legation, 1944, pp. 193 - 194.
  24. Report of the Meeting of Cabinet of Ministers, 3 October 1939 at Latvijas Valsts vēstures arhīvs (State History Archives of Latvia), 1307.f., 2.apr.,1.l.,98.lp.
  25. As Estonia and Latvia were falling under the domination of the USSR, Berlin hastened to save the Baltic Germans by signing on 28 September 1939 in Moscow a special protocol about emigration, and thus secured the departure of Germans from Estonia and Latvia.  The protocol also affirmed that the USSR would not hinder the wish of German citizens or persons of German origin residing in territories of the Soviet sphere of influence to move to Germany. The Soviet Union also agreed that the property rights of such émigrés would not be affected.  Germany assumed similar obligations toward persons of Ukrainian and Byelorussian origin living in its sphere of influence. (See "Vertrauliches deutsch-sowjetisches Protokoll über die Übersiedlung von Personen aus den Interessengebieten der Vertragspartner vom 28.September 1939 [Secret German-Soviet Protocol about the Resettlement of Persons from the Sphere of Interest of the Treaty Partner, 28 September 1939]" in Dietrich A. Loeber, compiler, Diktierte Option. Die Umsiedlung der Deutsch-Balten aus Estland und Lettland 1939 - 1941 [Dictated Option. The Resettlement of Baltic German from Estonia and Latvia 1939-1940]. Neumünster: Karl Wachholz Verlag, 1972, p. 46.) These accords, which were a logical follow-up to the Soviet-German agreements (the secret protocols of August 23 and September 28) to divide Eastern Europe in German and Soviet spheres of influence were intended to ensure the longevity of that division. As the well-known German legal scholar Dietrich Loeber pointed out, the resettlement of people was presented as a fait accompli and its results cannot be simply annulled (Diktierte Option.., p.20.)  According to the resettlement protocol, the Soviet side agreed that the resettlement of Germans would be implemented by representatives of the German government together with the "competent local institutions."  Although this protocol referred also to Germans living in Latvia, Estonia (and elsewhere) these countries were not directly mentioned.  Evidently these accords had to remain in force and apply to Germans still living in the Baltic States should they no longer be independent countries.
    It seems that there is no precedent in the history of international law for such a protocol. It is probably the only such accord where two dictators choose to conclude an agreement over citizens of other sovereign states residing in those states.  Clearly, at that time the USSR and Germany regarded the norms and principles of international law as irrelevant.
  26. Valdības Vēstnesis (Government Information Bulletin), October 10, 1939.
  27. See, for example, Strods, p. 40.
  28. See, for example, Meissner, p. 441. In order to probe the legality of a treaty, a certain procedure as prescribed by international law must be followed. The side that signed a treaty as a result of perceived coercion must inform the other side. The government of Kārlis Ulmanis did not make use of this option in 1939-1940. After the reassertion of independence in 1990 Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania announced that they recognized all treaties concluded with the USSR up to June 1940 (see Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Estonia: Selection of Legal Acts 1988 - 1991. Tallin: edited and published by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,1991, pp. 83 - 84.). 
  29. "These agreements were signed as the result of Soviet pressure, and from that perspective, they can be disputed. However, the fact is that they went into effect and the Soviet Union assumed bilateral treaty obligations" in Meissner, p.441.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Ronis, Indulis, "Kārlis Ulmanis, Latvijas brīvvalsts likteņa stundās un viņa Golgātas ceļš (Karlis Ulmanis, Latvia's Fateful Hours and his Road to Golgotha)" in Ronis, Indulis and Žvinklis, Artūrs, comp. Kārlis Ulmanis trimdā un cietumā. Dokumenti un materiāli (Karlis Ulmanis in exile and in prison. Documents and Materials). Rīga: History Institute of Latvia, 1994, p. 143.
  32. СССP -Германия 1939 - 1941. Документы и материалы о советскo - германских отношениях с сентября 1939г. по июнь 1941 г. (USSR - Germany 1939-1941. Documents and materials about Soviet-German relations from September 1939 to June 1941).  Vilnius: Mokslas, 1989, p. 41.
  33. Latvijas okupācija un aneksija 1939. - 1940. Dokumenti un materiāli (The Occupation and Annexation of Latvia 1939-1940. Documents and Materials). Compiled by Grava-Kreituse, Ilga,  Feldmanis, Inesis, J.Goldmanis, Stranga, Aivars, and edited by D. A. Loeber. Rīga: Preses nams, 1995, p.21.  In subsequent footnotes this publication will be referred to as Latvijas okupācija. 
  34. Valdības Vēstnesis (Government Information Bulletin), 17 June 1940.
  35. Latvijas okupācija, p.348. See also Blūzma, Valdis, "Piecdesmit neatzīšanas gadi (Fifty years of Non-Recognition)" in Latvijas Jurists (Latvia's Jurist), 24 August 1990, p. l.
  36. Meissner, p. 442.
  37. Latvijas okupācija, p. 51.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Ministru kabineta sēde (protokols Nr.40), 1940.g. 16.jūnijs (Report [Protocol Number 40] of the Meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, 16 June 1940), Latvijas Valsts arhīvs (State Archives of Latvia), 270.f., 1.apr., 2.l., 84.lp 
  40. Latvijas okupācija, p. 21.
  41. Ronis, p. 147.
  42. In accordance with the London convention, which was signed on 3 July 1933 by many states, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the USSR, a state can be considered an aggressor when it is the first to declare war on another state, when its military forces have entered the territory of another state with or without a preceding declaration of war.  Based on this formulation, the action of the USSR in the Baltic States in June 1940 must be qualified as aggression.
  43. Stranga, Aivars. "Latvijas okupācija un iekļaušana PSRS (1940 - 1941) [The occupation and incorporation of Latvia into the USSR 1940-1941]" in Latvijas Vēsture. Jaunie un jaunākie laiki (History of Latvia, Modern and Contemporary Times). 2004, Nr.2, p. 61.
  44. Meissner, p. 443.
  45. Latvijas okupācija, p. 119.
  46. Šilde, Ādolfs. Pasaules revolūcijas vārdā (In the name of world revolution). New York: Grāmatu draugs, 1983, pp. 98-00.
  47. Loeber, Dietrich A. "Latvijas valsts bojā eja 1940.gadā. Starptautiski tiesiskie aspekti (The Demise of Latvia in 1940, Aspects of International Law)" in Latvijas valsts atjaunošana 1986-1993 (Restoration of Latvia's Statehood 1986-1993).  Rīga: LU žurnāla "Latvijas vēsture" fonds, 1998, pp. 23.-24.
  48. Latvijas okupācija, pp. 461.- 462.
  49. Ziemele, Ineta. "Latvijas Republikas starptautiski tiesiskais statuss (International Legal Status of the Republic of Latvia"" in Latvija. Startautiskās organizācijas. Starptautiskie līgumi (Latvia. International Organisations. International Treaties). Rīga: Foreign Affairs Commission of the Fifth Saeima and Chancery, 1995, p. 9.
  50. Latvijas okupācija, p. 554.
  51. Kusiņš, Gunārs. "Latvijas valstiskuma konstitucionālā attīstība (Constitutional Development of Latvia's Statehood)" in Latvija. Starptautiskās organizācijas. Starptautiskie līgumi (Latvia. International Organisations. International Treaties). Rīga: Foreign Affairs Commission of the Fifth Saeima and Chancery, 1995, p. 15. 
  52. Newman, Bernard. Baltic Background.  London: Robert Hale, 1948, p.163
  53. Cīņa, 6 July 1940.
  54. Loeber, ibid., p. 28.
  55. Latvijas Tautas Saeimas 1. sesija. 1940.gada 21.-23.jūlijs (People's Parliament of Latvia, Session 1, 21-23 July 1940) Stenogrammu atreferējums (Summary of stenographical reports). Rīga: 1940, pp. 33 - 35. 
  56. Kusiņš, ibid., p. 15.
  57. Meissner, ibid., p. 444.
  58. Ibid.
  59. Loeber, ibid., p. 30.
  60. Ibid.
  61. "LPSR Augstākās Padomes Deklarācija par Latvijas Republikas neatkarības atjaunošanu (Declaration of the Latvian SSR Supreme Council on the restoration of independence of the Republic of Latvia)" Latvijas Republikas Augstākās Padomes un Valdības Ziņotājs (Information Bulletin of the Supreme Council and Government of the Republic of Latvia). Riga: 1990, Number 20, pp. 1096-1098.