860P.00/257: Telegram

The Minister in Latvia ( Wiley ) to the Secretary of State

31. President Ulmanis87 last night extended scheduled 20 minutes’ radio broadcast into a 40 minutes’ warning to the nation. He spoke of the blockade on Latvian economy and made strong appeal for frugality and industry. Finally he said “Should the grave, the critical moment come, then on an average one man from every country homestead would have to put on his uniform. In such an event you can calculate for yourselves that in Riga there are no storehouses filled with underwear and boots. Therefore, be advised to lay in at least two changes of shirts and other things; say, two towels and also a good pair of boots. …88 If it were not serious I would not tell you this; and one more thing, the safest place for a year’s supply of bread and other foods is the farmer’s own barn and pantry.”

The foregoing which contradicts the anti-hoarding measures of the Government has greatly alarmed public opinion.

In connection with the foregoing, rumors of further developments in the Baltic States are again current. Soviet Ministers in all three countries89 have all been summoned to Moscow, as well as Torgpret representatives.90 Estonian Minister in Moscow91 has simultaneously returned to Tallinn. Reports are circulating that Moscow is demanding extensive concessions from Estonia along the Gulf of Finland and that a Soviet admiral is conducting negotiations to this end with Estonians in Narva. Significance is locally attached to the fact that Munters92 has repeatedly seen President Ulmanis during the last few days.

I have only been able to learn that Estonian Foreign Minister93 has written Estonian Minister in Riga94 that the Soviet Union was making extensive demands but that Estonian Government was determined [Page 358] to resist. This policy, he said, had the approval of General Laidoner, the Estonian Commander-in-Chief.

  1. Karlis Ulmanis, President of Latvia since coup d’ état of May 15, 1934.
  2. Omission indicated in the original telegram.
  3. Kuzma Kondratyevich Nikitin, Soviet Minister in Estonia until June 1940; Ivan S. Zotov, Soviet Minister in Latvia until April 1940; Nikolay Georgevich Posdnyakov, Soviet Minister in Lithuania.
  4. Soviet trade representatives abroad.
  5. August Rei.
  6. Vilhelms Munters, Latvian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  7. Ants Piip.
  8. Hans Rebane.