The United States first established diplomatic relations with Estonia on July 28, 1922. The U.S. representative to Estonia was stationed at the Legation in Riga, Latvia until Legation Tallinn in Estonia was established on June 30, 1930. The Soviet invasion and annexation of Estonia and the other Baltic States of Latvia and Lithuania in 1940 forced the closure of the American legation, but Estonian representation in the United States continued uninterrupted. The United States never recognized the forcible incorporation of Estonia into the Soviet Union and views the present Government of Estonia as a legal continuation of the interwar republic.
Modern Flag of Estonia
The United States recognized Estonia on July 28, 1922, when the U.S. Commissioner at Riga, Evan Young, informed the Foreign Office of Estonia 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 Estonia 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 American Legation at Tallinn was established on June 30, 1930, with Harry E. Carlson as Charge d’Affaires ad interim. Previous U.S. diplomatic representatives to Estonia also had been accredited to Latvia and Lithuania, and had resided in Riga.
The U.S. Legation at Tallinn was closed on September 5, 1940, after the USSR occupied and annexed Estonia, as well as Latvia and Lithuania, in August 1940. Although the Soviet actions forced the closure of the American Legation and ended the de facto independence of Estonia, the United States never recognized the state’s forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union. The U.S. Government permitted Estonian 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 Estonia’s independence on September 2, 1991, in an announcement by President George H.W. Bush.
The United States and Estonia resumed normal diplomatic relations on September 4, 1991, when U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Curtis Kamman and the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lennart Merti, signed a memorandum of understanding concerning diplomatic relations.
The American Embassy in Tallinn was established on October 2, 1991, with Robert C. Frasure as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim.