July 23, 2020, marked 80 years since the impactful Welles Declaration was issued in 1940.

Welles Declaration, Department of State, July 23, 1940

The Welles Declaration set a world-wide standard of non-recognition of the Baltic incorporation into the Soviet Union and helped Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania to preserve the continuity of state and to eventually restore their independence.

Due to the non-recognition of the occupation, diplomats of the Baltic countries were able to continue the work of their missions.

The Welles Declaration was largely inspired and drafted by Loy W. Henderson, who had visited Latvia as a Red Cross volunteer in 1919, and later on as a U.S. diplomat. The idea for a declaration was fully supported by Sumner Welles, who in 1940 served as Under Secretary of State.

On Wednesday, July 23, the JBANC team and the Baltic embassies commemorated the Welles Declaration at the Honorable Sumner Welles’ and Loy W. Henderson’s resting places. The Ambassador to Lithuania Rolandas Kriščiūnas also said a few words looking to the future.

We also combined our forces with the CEPA “Power Vertical” podcast, to discuss the relevance of the declaration today. Listen HERE.

JBANC was represented by Managing Director Karl Altau, and participants included representatives from the Baltic embassies in the U.S. – Estonian Deputy Chief of Marko Koplimaa, Latvian Deputy Chief of Mission Juris Pēkalis, Lithuanian Deputy Chief of Mission Dovydas Spokauskas, and Russia scholar and former U.S. State Department official Paul Goble. The conversation was moderated by Brian Whitmore, the host of the “Power Vertical” podcast.

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