Today, on July 23, the President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis sent a letter to the President of the United States of America Barack Obama; he pointed out that July 23 this year marked the 75th anniversary of the statement on Baltic independence by Acting State Secretary, Sumner Welles, and he conveyed gratitude to the United States of America for its firm refusal to recognize the incorporation of the Baltic States into the Soviet Union back in 1940.
In his letter, the President of Latvia emphasized that the definitive stand the United States took and continued to take to support freedom for Latvia and for the Baltic States up to the present day was very significant. He stated that “Welles Declaration” had a positive effect on international developments, thus encouraging other countries to defend principles, which were at the foundation of global peace and international order. The President of Latvia wrote that the Declaration highlighted the occupation of Latvia as an issue demanding attention of the international community while serving in the longer term to foster much-needed support for the cause of Latvia’s freedom and paving the way for the eventual return home to our euro-Atlantic family.
In his letter to the U.S. President, Raimonds Vējonis emphasized, “Three years from now, we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Latvia’s statehood, and despite Latvia’s troubled history in the 20th century we may both proudly say that our diplomatic ties remained unbroken over this period. The Latvian people will always remember how the United States kept faith in their nation through dark and uncertain times, and this memory contributes to the depth of mutual friendship. We can see that the friendship built up over the years is reflected today in an active and intensive political dialogue, close cooperation in international fora, enduring support, and daily teamwork."
The President of Latvia also mentioned many of the same goals that our both countries shared and a strategic partnership that backs our love of freedom and democracy with close defence cooperation for common ends – global security and stability.
As regards the situation in the region, the President of Latvia wrote, “The events of the past one and a half years have shown that long lasting peace in Europe should not be taken for granted. Latvia highly appreciates the firm response of the United States to Russia's aggression in Ukraine and the way that the U.S. has been at the forefront of the Allied response in providing reassurance measures that benefit all NATO countries in Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States."
In the letter, Raimonds Vējonis also thanked the US President for his kind message on his recent appointment as the President of Latvia and approved his expectations for promoting cooperation between Latvia and the United States of America on a bilateral and on a multilateral level.
On 23 July 1940, Sumner Welles, the US Under Secretary of State condemned the violent invasion of the USSR in the Baltic states and declared further foreign policy guidelines.
The occupation committed by the Soviet Union was condemned as illegitimate as it "contradicted common sense, fairness, and legality being the basis for the civilized world". Under Welles influence, that legally justified position became a political stance of the United States of America, shared by more than 50 countries.