740.0011 European War 1939/33255

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of European Affairs (Dunn)

The Minister of Lithuania43 came in this afternoon to state that the position of his country was becoming very, very difficult with the approach of the Russian forces to the Lithuanian border, and he asked whether there was any possibility of some “international action” being taken, perhaps at the suggestion of the United States, which would clarify the status of his country and would preserve the rights of the Lithuanians to conduct their own Government at some time as soon as possible after the hostilities ceased, if not before. He also asked whether it would be possible for the United States to make some restatement of its attitude toward the Lithuanian Government.44

I told Mr. Zadeikis that I did not know of any international action which was now contemplated or which might even be possible of contemplation at this time or in the near future with respect to that [Page 820] part where the war was now going on, nor did I know of any contemplated restatement of the position of the United States with respect to Lithuania. I said that to my mind there did not appear to be any necessity of a restatement of our position, nor did any present occasion seem to call for such a statement. There had been no change in the American Government’s position in that regard, and therefore there seemed to be no call for making any statement in the premises.

I further stated that it was the policy of the United States to bend all its efforts to the promotion of general cooperation among the nations in the hope that on the basis of general cooperation many questions between various countries might better be dealt with within the framework of international cooperation generally. I said there were many things that it was not feasible to do during the prosecution of the war, and that we must not be discouraged in carrying forward the general principles of understanding and cooperation.

James Clement Dunn
  1. Povilas Zadeikis.
  2. The statement made on July 23, 1940, by the Acting Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, on the position of the United States regarding the independence and territorial integrity of the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is printed in Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. i, p. 401.