The United States first established diplomatic relations with Latvia on July 28, 1922. The U.S. representative to Latvia also was accredited to Estonia and Lithuania until 1930, when legations were established in those two states. The Soviet invasion and annexation of Latvia and the other Baltic States of Estonia and Lithuania in 1940 forced the closure of the American legation, but Latvian representation in the United States continued uninterrupted. The United States never recognized the forcible incorporation of Latvia into the Soviet Union and views the present Government of Latvia as a legal continuation of the interwar republic. Latvia and the United States have signed treaties on investment, trade, intellectual property protection, extradition, mutual legal assistance, and avoidance of double taxation. Latvia has enjoyed most-favored-nation treatment with the United States since December 1991.
Modern Flag of Latvia
The United States recognized Latvia on July 28, 1922, when the U.S. Commissioner at Riga, Evan Young, informed the Foreign Office of Latvia of the United States’ decision. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes had instructed Young in a telegram dated July 25, 1922, to advise the Foreign Offices of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania of this decision on the 28th.
Diplomatic relations were established on July 28, 1922, when U.S. Commissioner at Riga, Evan Young, informed the Foreign Office of Latvia that the United States’ recognized its independence and that he would continue as the American representative to the three Baltic States, with the new rank of Minister.
The U.S. Legation at Riga was established on November 13, 1922, when Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary Frederick W.B. Coleman presented his credentials to the Latvian Government. Coleman also was accredited to Estonia and Lithuania.
The U.S. Legation at Riga was closed on September 5, 1940, after the USSR occupied and annexed Latvia, as well as Estonia and Lithuania, in August 1940. Although the Soviet actions forced the closure of the American Legation and ended the de facto independence of Latvia, the United States never recognized the state’s forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union. The U.S. Government permitted Latvian representatives accredited by the last independent government to remain in the United States with diplomatic status, and the U.S. position remained that diplomatic relations continued uninterrupted.
The U.S. recognized the restoration of Latvia’s independence on September 2, 1991, in an announcement by President George H.W. Bush.
The United States and Latvia resumed normal diplomatic relations on September 5, 1991, when U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Curtis Kamman and the Latvian First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Martins Virsis, signed a memorandum of understanding concerning diplomatic relations.
The American Embassy at Riga was established on October 2, 1991, with Ints M. Silins as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.