Grassley: Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration
Jul 23, 2020
Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration
Thursday, July 23, 2020
On this date in 1940, acting Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement outlining U.S. policy toward the Soviet annexation of the Baltic states.
It began, “During these past few days the devious processes where under the political independence and territorial integrity of the three small Baltic Republics – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – were to be deliberately annihilated by one of their more powerful neighbors, have been rapidly drawing to their conclusion.”
It expressed the sympathy the people of the United States for democratic self-government and articulated the policy of the United States to oppose predatory activities using force or the threat of force, or any intervention in the affairs of another sovereign state.
The United States recognized the sovereignty of the Baltic states throughout the Soviet occupation.
This is more than an historical footnote. Vladimir Putin has been trying to rewrite this history for his own devious purposes – reverting to the absurd Soviet claim that the Baltics joined the Soviet Union voluntarily.
There are also clear parallels to the current Russian occupation of parts of the Republic of Georgia and Ukraine.
The principals in the Welles Declaration are as relevant today as they were 80 years ago.