740.0011 European War 1939/372: Telegram

The Minister in Lithuania (Norem) to the Secretary of State

40. In reply to the Department’s telegram of September 16, 3 p.m.,52 I have the honor to report that the Lithuanian Government’s viewpoint remains unchanged despite the move on the part of Russia. A total mobilization of men under 35 years in certain areas was effected today bringing the total number of men to about 130,000. This force will certainly not be used in expeditionary fashion but will enable the authorities to take care of larger bodies of retreating Poles should [Page 435] they attempt a crossing into neutral territory. I spoke to Mr. Bisauskas53 from 8 to 9 this evening to verify information we had. He admitted that the Government had feared some suggestions would be made by Germany but were very thankful that no démarche was made. Mr. Bisauskas was very sincere when he spoke of what eventually might follow the action of Germany and Russia. He stated that he believed it to be agreed that Lithuania and a reconstituted Poland would form a buffer between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Germany. Lithuania would be enlarged with the addition of the Vilna territory. There would be established a short German-Russian corridor between Lithuania and Poland bounded roughly by the line Lyck to a point south of Grodno and Ortelsburg, Kolno, Wolkowysk. He believes that Russia will retake Estonia and Latvia.54 He believed also that Germany was somewhat surprised by the sudden Russian move and that these two powers were not entirely in agreement on policies. The treaty between Lithuania and the Soviet Union55 is still in effect but Lithuania will not prejudice her juridical claims to any territory nor incur the risk of being drawn into the war. Prime Minister Cernius spoke to the nation this evening practically reiterating the above statements. He reassured the nation that neutrality will be strictly observed but that conditions abroad demand extraordinary measures of military precaution. Though reported consistently over the London radio, there is no evidence of evacuation from Kaunas. The attitude is one of resolute calm and I anticipate no trouble for Lithuania.

  1. Not printed. The Department inquired regarding a report that there were large Lithuanian troop concentrations on the frontier and that the Germans were urging Lithuania to move against Poland. The Legation was instructed also to report other available information regarding the fears and hopes of Lithuania and the changing situation in that area. (740.0011 European War 1939/371a)
  2. Kazys Bizauskas, Lithuanian Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. For correspondence concerning pressure by the Soviet Union upon the Baltic States, see Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, pp. 934 ff.
  4. Protocol renewing treaty of non-aggression of September 28, 1926, signed April 4, 1934, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxxvi, p. 267.