Mr. Jonas Vileisis to the Secretary of State
Sir: Since I last had the honor of addressing you, two important communications from the American Government have been given to the public concerning its attitude towards questions involving Russia and the border States. I refer to Acting Secretary of State Davis’s letter to Honorable Alton B. Parker, of January 8,64 and the message of President Wilson to Mr. Hymans, of January 22 .65 Both these communications contain statements which will haye a hopeful and reassuring effect upon the people of Lithuania and, I may add, upon their sympathizers in the United States. Mr. Davis has stated that “There is no intention on the part of this Government’ officially to restore’ the former boundaries of the Russian Empire, nor to impose on any of the non-Russian territories the rule of the Great Russians.” President Wilson points out that “the present moment offers a peculiarly pressing challenge to an attempt at a general pacification on the Russian borders,” and urges that the Powers of Europe join the United States in a declaration of policy calculated to secure such pacification.[Page 754]
The Government of Lithuania is earnestly desirous of a return to peaceful conditions. All of its military efforts hitherto have been of a purely defensive character and the Lithuanian people will not take up arms, either of its own accord or at the instigation of any foreign power, in a war of aggression against any of its neighbors, nor will it willingly permit its neutrality to be violated for such a war.
Lithuania is the more desirous of peace because the past year has seen a remarkable growth of activity in the establishment of commercial relations with other countries, particularly with the United States, where a number of banking and other corporations have been formed among Americans of Lithuanian connections to transact business with Lithuania. With the large number of people of Lithuanian descent in the United States—in the neighborhood of one million—there is a hopeful future for these business enterprises, if only peace can be preserved.
On February 16, 1918, Lithuania declared its independence in the city of Vilna, which was declared to be the capital of the Lithuanian State. The Lithuanian Government approaches its third anniversary—February 16, 1921—with increased confidence in the future, notwithstanding the continued presence within the ethnographic boundaries of Lithuania, and far beyond the ethnographic boundaries of Poland (the Curzon-Polk line) of the rebel Polish General Zeligowski and his forces and notwithstanding the danger from Russia which is caused by this violation of Lithuanian neutrality on the part of Poland. The causes of the confidence of Lithuania are many, chief among them being the unshaken determination of the people to maintain their freedom. But it is respectfully submitted that a survey of the course of affairs in Lithuania during the past three years will show that the Lithuanian people have succeeded in setting up a stable, orderly government and that they have the power, as they have the right, to administer their own affairs with entire independence.
I have the honor, therefore, to renew my request that the Government of the United States recognize the independence of the Government of Lithuania. May I be permitted to suggest that if the Government of the United States should extend recognition to the Government of Lithuania at this time, it would come with peculiar graciousness and fitness at the anniversary of the declaration of Lithuanian independence.
With assurances [etc.]
Representative of Lithuania in America