On the 80th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, the foreign ministers of the United States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania issued a joint statement reaffirming their opposition to Russia’s attempts to rewrite history.
In a joint statement Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu, Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics, Lithuanian foreign minister Linas Linkevicius and the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Russia’s actions.
“We stand firmly against any attempts by Russia to rewrite history in order to justify the 1940 occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union. The Welles Declaration shows that already in 1940 the free world recognized the Soviet action for what it was – an illegal act of forceful annexation,” the statement said.
The statement also emphasized the countries’ continuing cooperation and said they are working together to safeguard peace and stability through NATO.On July 23, 1940, Acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement which said the United States of America condemned the 1940 Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and refused to recognize the new Soviet governments of Estonia, Latvia, and LithuaniaThe declaration has since become known as the Welles declaration.
The foreign Minister of Estonia said that the anniversary statement is an example of the long-term close relations between Estonia and the United States and sends a strong message at a time when Russia continues to make systematic attempts to distort history. “The United States pursued the most consistent policy of non-recognition of the occupation and annexation of Estonia,” said Reinsalu.
“Thanks to the United States and other Western countries not recognising the occupation, diplomatic representations of the Republic of Estonia were able to continue operating in the free world. On this important anniversary, we also acknowledge the Estonian diplomats who stood then, and stand now, in support of the statehood and sovereignty of the Republic of Estonia.”