The Renewal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. 1990-1991

29.01.2015. 14:22


This is our story. It is a story about our resolve, about our achievements and - also about some of our failures. It dwells in our reminiscences, recalling our idealism during the early years of Latvia's restored statehood. We are pleased to display documentary and material evidence of the events that have remained in everybody's consciousness and also - which have found a place in Latvia’s history. We also feature some forgotten events, and are pleased that we have succeeded in collecting such a diversity of documentary material.

The purpose of the exhibition is to reflect the contribution made by Latvia's foreign service to the restoration of statehood, and to illustrate this by displaying documents both familiar and some not so familiar. The exposition highlights the continuity of Latvia's Foreign Service as it was maintained abroad by the diplomatic and consular missions in the West during the years of occupation. After the Declaration of Independence was promulgated, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs resumed its functioning in Riga.

A gradual re-alignment of both parts of the service – the ministry and its missions abroad – had commenced: opinions, responsibilities and objectives were clarified, and joint functioning was harmonized. The process of consolidation was guided by Latvia’s Charge d'Affaires in the U.S., the leader of the Latvian diplomatic and consular service in the free world, Anatols Dinbergs, by Foreign Minister of Latvia, Jānis Jurkāns, and by Gunars Meierovics, the Chairman of the World Federation of Free Latvians. As a result of this collaboration, Latvia's Foreign Service was again restored as a complete, fully functioning entity.

The story revealed by the authors of this display spans the time period from 4 May 1990 to the end of 1991. The annotations to these documents neither pronounce judgments nor intend to analyse these events. There are no detailed interpretations or statistics. Nothing has been weighed, measured or compared. Annotations are provided for photographs, documents that are in unclear print or handwriting, and to documents in foreign languages, as well as for diplomatic correspondence. There are no annotations, where a document provides all the information explicitly. It will be the task of future scholars and researchers to analyse, evaluate, interpret … to seek and to provide answers.

Latvia is free. What’s next? This was the question raised by the American Latvian Association at a seminar in October 1990. This first exhibition on the work of Latvia's Foreign Service in the early days of restored statehood is now before its intended audience – what’s next? There is still work to be done; the next exposition should relate information about major visits, about the withdrawal of the occupying army, about accession to international organizations.

Latvia is free. What’s next? Is this what we had hoped for? Did we do the best we could? We may ask this not only of the Foreign Service but also of each of us - to him or herself.

This is the story about us - as we remember it - and this display is but a small part of that story.


The exhibition is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia

Records Management Department, Director Eva Vijupe, Information and Public Relations Department, Director Elita Gavele

Exhibition concept: Political Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Project group: Sarmīte Šāvēja (Manager), Dace Bušante, Natālija Dzene, Inta Mazure, Valdis Rūsiņš, Edmunds Vizla

Consultant: Silvija Križevica

Design: Jānis Saulīte

Opening: 31 May 2010 at 16.00

Address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 3 K. Valdemāra Street, Riga

Special thanks to: Aivars Baumanis, Bonifācijs Daukšts, Jānis Jurkāns, Sandra Kalniete, Ojārs Kalniņš, Hagen von Lambsdorff, Aina Nagobada-Ābola, Aija Odiņa, Jānis Peters, Alberts Sarkanis, Andris Teikmanis, Ints Upmacis, Andris Vilcāns, Mārtiņš Virsis, Anna Žīgure and everyone, who shared their memories, contributing materials to the holdings of the Political Archives and the exposition.

The exhibition is supported by the state repositories: Latvian State Archives, Latvian State Historical Archives, Latvian State Archives of Audiovisual Documents, Special Library of State Archives, and National Library of Latvia.

Photos by Aivars Āķis, Gunārs Janaitis and Boriss Koļesņikovs.

© 2010 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia