740.0011, European War 1939/195321/6

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

The Latvian Minister55 came in to see me, at my request. I refer to his note of January 4, 1942,56 which requested that the adherence of Latvia be attached to the Declaration by United Nations. I said that [Page 30] no one was better aware than he of the deep sympathy which the United States, and which I personally, had for the Latvian people. But, I said, no one was in a better situation to appreciate the complications which this request made at this time. I therefore hoped he would withdraw the note.

The Minister said that unfortunately he could not very well do that, because he had published the fact of its delivery; and had cabled its contents to the Latvian Minister in London, who had discussed it with the Ministers of the Baltic states. Under these circumstances he suggested, instead, that the note be merely left on file, and that the Latvian Government should not press for an answer.

I said I thought under the circumstances that was the best thing to do, and we would leave it that way.

The Latvian Minister then said that, recognizing the difficulty of their situation as respected Russia, he had this to say. Permanent conquest or dominion over Latvia by Germany meant simply extermination. On the other hand, they had always hoped for an adjustment with Russia.

I said that I had hoped that that would be possible; and that in the evolution of affairs a time might come when some such project could be discussed, as manifestly it could not now. Possibly, when victory over Germany was complete and any fear from the German side was removed, the U. S. S. R. might be prepared to consider some basis which respected the essential integrity of Latvia.

A. A. Berle, Jr.
  1. Alfred Bilmanis.
  2. Not printed.