An Enduring Relationship: Latvia and the US 1922 - 2001
The United States of America recognized the Republic of Latvia de iure on July 28, 1922, and on November 13 the first envoy of the USA to Latvia, Frederick W. B. Coleman, submitted the Letter of Credence to the President of Latvia, Jānis Čakste. In his address on this occasion, the President gave a highly positive evaluation of the activities of the American Relief Organization and American non-governmental organizations in their support of Latvia between 1919 and 1922: "Latvia is happy to welcome the first official democratic representative of the great and renowned American democracy; the democracy which was the first to lend a helping hand to the unfortunate inhabitants of Latvia, victims of the World War" (Government Journal. November 15, 1922).
The interwar period consolidated the diplomatic relations between the two countries, and several bilateral agreements were signed. Despite the Great Depression of 1929 and the considerable geographical distance, economic, trade and culture relations were established.
When in June of 1940 the Baltic States were occupied and annexed, the US government came forward on July 23 with a Statement of the US Undersecretary of State, Sumner Welles, condemning the annihilation of the political and territorial integrity of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In July, 2000 a resolution of the US Congress reiterated and reinforced this statement once again.
The Statement of July 23 determined US policy with regard to the Baltic States and ensured the preservation of diplomatic representations of these countries in the USA for fifty years. During the years of occupation the Embassy of Latvia in Washington, D.C. enjoyed full diplomatic recognition which provided opportunities to remind the world continually of the judicial existence of Latvia and defend the interests of Latvia and its citizens.
After the restoration of independence in Latvia in August of 1991, the USA and the Republic of Latvia restored their diplomatic relations on September 5.
Three years ago, on January 16, 1998 the Presidents of the United States of America and the Baltic states signed the Charter of Partnership that laid a solid foundation for the development of US-Latvia relations.
List of exibits included in the booklet:
- The Announcement of the government of the United States concerning recognition of the Latvian government. July 28, 1922.
- Frederick W. B. Coleman (1874-1947), Envoy of the USA to Latvia, 1923-1932.
- Final page of The Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights Between Latvia and the USA. Signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, A. Balodis, and Envoy of the USA F. W. B. Coleman. April 20, 1928.
- Letter of Credence of Envoy of the USA to Latvia J. A. MacMurray. Signed by the President of the USA, Fr. D. Roosevelt. September 19, 1933.
- Ludvigs Seja (1885-1962), Charge d'Affaires ad interim of Latvia to the USA, 1922-1925; Envoy of Latvia to the USA, 1925-1927.
- Riga, Ausekla Street 22. The US Embassy was situated in this building from 1930 to 1940. In the summer of 1939, future President of the USA John F. Kennedy visited Riga and the US Embassy.
- Johne Cooper Wiley (1893-1967), Envoy of the USA to Latvia, 1938-1940.
- Alfreds Bilmanis (1887-1948), Envoy of Latvia to the USA, 1935-1948.
- Latvian Embassy building in Washington, 4325 17th Street NW (from 1951).
- Announcement of the US Undersecretary of State, S. Welles, denouncing the policy of annihilation of political and territorial integrity implemented against Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. July 23, 1940.
- Sumner Welles (1892-1961), US Undersecretary of State, 1937-1943.
- The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Latvia and the Government of the USA concerning diplomatic relations. September 5, 1991.
- Anatols Dinbergs (1911-1993), Charge d'Affaires ad interim, Charge d'Affaires, Ambassador of Latvia to the USA, 1948-1993; Head of the Diplomatic and Consular Service of Latvia, 1971-1991.
- US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, C. W. Kamman, (on the left) and the First Deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, M. Virsis, at the moment of signing the Memorandum of Understanding concerning diplomatic relations. Riga, September 5, 1991.
- Ints M. Silins (1942), Charge d'Aftaires of the USA to Latvia, 1991-1992; Ambassador of the USA to Latvia, 1992-1995.
- Ojārs Kalnins (1949), Ambassador of Latvia to the USA, 1993-2000.
- Larry C. Napper (1947), Ambassador of the USA to Latvia, 1995-1998.
- The President of Latvia, G. Ulmanis (on the right), the President of the USA, W. J. Clinton, the President of Lithuania, A. Brazauskas and the President of Estonia, L. Meri, during the visit of the President of the USA at the Freedom Monument in Riga. July 6, 1994.
- Ambassador of the USA to Latvia James H. Holmes at the presentation of his credentials to the President of Latvia G. Ulmanis. October 27, 1998.
- Ambassador of Latvia to the USA A. Ronis at the presentation of his credentials to the President of the USA William J. Clinton. June 14, 2000.
- Concurrent Resolution 122 of the US Congress recognizing the 60th anniversary of the US policy of nonrecognition of the Soviet takeover of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. July 20, 2000.
- The Charter of Partnership Among the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Lithuania and the USA. January 16, 1998.
- The President of the USA, William J. Clinton, (on the right), the President of Estonia, L. Meri, the President of Lithuania, A. Brazauskas, and the President of Latvia, G. Ulmanis, at the moment of the signing of the Charter of Partnership. Washington, January 16, 1998.
The exhibit was officially opened at the U.S. Information Resource Center, Smilšu 7, Riga on January 16, 2001.
The exhibit was prepared by the US Embassy in Latvia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia.
Documents and materials from the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, Latvia State Archives of Audiovisual Documents, Latvia State Historical Archives, US Department of State and private collections. Photographic reproductions by P. Korsaks. Photographs provided by A. Krieviņš, J. Krūmiņš, I. Kuškcvics, Z. Segliņš. Layout of the exhibit by Aigars Lenkevičs.
© The US Embassy in Latvia
© The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia