Clinton honors Baltic countries on 70th anniversary of the Welles Declaration

Secretary Clinton honors the three Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — on the 70th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, made on July 23, 1940. On that date, acting U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement condemning the Soviet Union’s annexation of the three Baltic republics. (Maybe Clinton is trying to deliver ...

RAIGO PAJULA/AFP/Getty Images
RAIGO PAJULA/AFP/Getty Images
RAIGO PAJULA/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary Clinton honors the three Baltic countries -- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania -- on the 70th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, made on July 23, 1940. On that date, acting U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement condemning the Soviet Union's annexation of the three Baltic republics. (Maybe Clinton is trying to deliver a subtle message to Russia to not meddle too much in its "near abroad.")

Clinton's complete statement:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join the governments and people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in marking the seventieth anniversary of the Welles Declaration this July 23, and reaffirm the strong bonds between our countries. Following the Soviet annexation of the three Baltic States in 1940, acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles declared that the United States would not recognize the incorporation of these states into the Soviet Union. More than 50 countries followed the United States in adopting this position. This milestone document supported the Baltic States as independent republics at a critical moment to ensure their international recognition and facilitate the continued operation of their diplomatic missions during 50 years of occupation.

Secretary Clinton honors the three Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — on the 70th anniversary of the Welles Declaration, made on July 23, 1940. On that date, acting U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement condemning the Soviet Union’s annexation of the three Baltic republics. (Maybe Clinton is trying to deliver a subtle message to Russia to not meddle too much in its "near abroad.")

Clinton’s complete statement:

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I join the governments and people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in marking the seventieth anniversary of the Welles Declaration this July 23, and reaffirm the strong bonds between our countries. Following the Soviet annexation of the three Baltic States in 1940, acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles declared that the United States would not recognize the incorporation of these states into the Soviet Union. More than 50 countries followed the United States in adopting this position. This milestone document supported the Baltic States as independent republics at a critical moment to ensure their international recognition and facilitate the continued operation of their diplomatic missions during 50 years of occupation.

The Welles Declaration is a testament to our longstanding support of the Baltic States and a tribute to each of our countries’ commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy. As Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania celebrate nearly 20 years of fully restored independence, we honor our Baltic friends as valued NATO allies, strong partners in Europe and on the international stage, and living proof of all that democracy and good governance can achieve.

(In the photo above, Clinton speaks in Tallinn, Estonia, on April 23 while attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting.)

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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