Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State ( Webb ) to Mr. Matthew J. Connelly, Secretary to the President


Subject: Baltic-American delegation’s request for audience with the President on July 27

I have your memorandum of July 13 which requested the Department’s comments on an attachment to your communication, a letter of July 11 addressed to the President by Dr. P. Grigaitis, Secretary of the Lithuanian American Council, Inc., in which it was proposed that the President receive a delegation of Americans of Estonian, Latvian [Page 356] and Lithuanian descent on or about July 27, the anniversary of the date on which the United States recognized those countries in 1922.1

As you know, the year 1950 also marks the tenth anniversary of the enforced incorporation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into the Soviet Union. The United States Government has not recognized that incorporation and continues to recognize the diplomatic and consular representatives of those Baltic countries in the United States.

Shortly prior to the Korean crisis, the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian chiefs of mission in the United States requested an appointment with the Secretary for the purpose of noting the above-mentioned tenth anniversary and expressing appreciation for the policy of the United States Government toward the Baltic States since 1940. Due to the Korean crisis and the Department’s desire not to disturb unnecessarily our relations with the Soviet Government during this critical period, the appointment, which had been arranged, was postponed.2

While the question of receiving a delegation of American citizens of whatever lineage is primarily an internal matter, an audience such as the one proposed by Dr. Grigaitis would probably be regarded by the Soviet Government as an interview granted by the President to unofficial representatives of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In view of this it is suggested that the same policy considerations guiding the Department with respect to the appointment requested by the official Baltic representatives with the Secretary are valid as well in the present case insofar as a foreign policy aspect is concerned.

The Baltic chiefs of mission in the United States were informed that the Secretary would not be able to see them at this time due to the press of official business in connection with the Korean crisis. A similar reply might be made to Dr. Grigaitis’ request for an audience with the President.

With respect to the request for proclamation of July 27 as “Lithuanian Day” it is believed advisable from the standpoint of the foregoing considerations that this action not be taken. It may also be noted that the proclamation of a “Lithuanian Day” would encourage other groups in this country to make similar requests.3

James E. Webb
  1. Neither the memorandum nor the letter under reference here is printed.
  2. Regarding the requested appointment with the Secretary of State under reference here, see the memorandum from Assistant Secretary Perkins to the Secretary of State, p. 352.
  3. The President neither granted an audience for a delegation of Baltic Americans nor issued the requested proclamation.