Vilnius to celebrate 80th anniversary of US declaration condemning Baltic occupation

  • 2020-07-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - A festive event will be held in central Vilnius on Thursday to thank the United States on the 80th anniversary of the Sumner Welles Declaration that condemned the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states. 

"We'll be forever grateful to US Allies for a principled stance, which gave us strength even during most critical times & laid foundation for strategic partnership today," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius tweeted.  

On July 23, 1940, Acting US Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued an official statement refusing to recognize the annexation of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the Soviet Union. The document marked the beginning of the US policy of non-recognition of the occupation of the Baltic nations.  

The event on the square outside the Martynas Mazvydas National Library will start at 4 p.m. with the hoisting of the national flags of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and the US, the Foreign Ministry, one of the organizers, said in a press release. 

The speakers include President Gitanas Nauseda, Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, Lithuania's first post-independence leader Vytautas Landsbergis, former President Valdas Adamkus, Linkevicius and US Ambassador Robert S. Gilchrist.  

The official ceremony will be followed by a concert and a screening of American films, 

The national library will open an exhibition of historical archival documents and photographs dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Welles Declaration.