What Latvia Wishes From This War?Dr. Alfreds Bīlmanis, 1944
As has been stated, the Baltic States do not present a menace to the U.S.S.R. To the contrary, their geographic position makes them its natural defendants, because they would defend themselves if some Western State would try to attack the U.S.S.R. through their territories. The assumption that after this war Germany will be disarmed and East-Prussia "dejunker-ized" makes a new German attack on U.S.S.R. improbable, particularly if Poland and Czechoslovakia will be reestablished. All these states and also Rumania and Hungary are natural barriers of the U.S.S.R. against any German attack, but under one condition,—that the U.S.S.R. does not itself interfere with their independent life, is a real neighbor and adheres to a
An additional guarantee for the U.S.S.R. would be the reestablished League of Nations, strengthened by participation of the U.S.A. and by an international police force at the disposal of the Permanent Court of International Justice. The International Labor Organization will also renew its beneficial social activities.
Justice Owen Roberts, of the American Supreme Court, praises the work of these World organizations for peace in the following words:
"The invaluable services of the League of Nations in many fields, but particularly those of health and hygiene, economics, and industrial relations, gave hope of further progress and full understanding and cooperation. The many peace treaties by which nations covenanted to make their best endeavor to settle disputes arising between them, without resort of force, seemed to promise the ultimate outlawry of war. The general satisfaction with the work of the permanent Court of International Justice foreshadowed increasing resort to that tribunal. The League of Nations itself was far in advance of anything the World had known as an instrument of international political control of national sovereign rights."*
These international peace organizations were not bad, but there was no "sheriff's posse" available, as President Roosevelt mentioned in his speech in Ottawa on August 25, 1943.** Also the delegates of some member states were not adequate to the high principles imbued in these organizations, which were indeed the highest materialization of the modern European spirit of interdependence and good neighbor cooperation. International law, international justice, a World League, a World Court and an International Labour Organization—these are the most brilliant achievements of the pre-war World.
These organizations should not be wiped off the slate of European achievements. What new form of organization could replace these bodies already accepted by the progressive world? But in the same progressive world society egotistic dictators, monopolistically minded labor leaders, financial, industrial and shipping tycoons and political and economic sharks intrude, poisoning good international relations.
The majority of the people were for a democratic world organization, the same people who favor the Four Freedoms and the Atlantic Charter, in which the signatory States—among them the U.S.S.R.—promise that they will not seek aggrandizement, territorial or other, that they will not seek territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned, that they respect the right of all peoples to chose the form of government under which they will live, that they wish to see sovereign fights and selfgovernment restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them, that they desire the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field and free access to trade and raw materials, that after the destruction of Nazi tyranny the peoples will enjoy freedom from fear and want, that there will be a free sea and free air, that a permanent system of security will be established, and that the menacing nations will be disarmed . . . !
On August 14, 194S, the second anniversary of the declaration of this highly humanitarian document, President Roosevelt again stated:***
"Our enemies are not only Germany, Italy and Japan: they are all the forces of oppression, intolerance, insecurity and injustice which have impeded the forward march of civilization."
Having this in mind, it seems obvious—to quote again Justice Roberts—
"that a World Government must have a representative assembly to implement its delegates powers. Equally plain is the necessity for an executive to administer the laws and see to their enforcement. And under that executive there must be an independent police to effectuate the legislative policy and the executive action pursuant to it. Lastly, there must be a judiciary to which disputes between the citizen and the supra-national government, between citizen and any nation a party to that government, and between nations, must be submitted for adjudication. These three instrumentalities are essential if we are to avoid the weakness and inefficiencies of all prior forms of international cooperation."****
It becomes also evident that all the great efforts and sacrifices of lives, finances and material would be in vain if these high aims expressed by the leading spirits of the Anglo-Saxon World could not be achieved. They would be in vain if the Central-European and Baltic nations would have to submit either to imperialistic Germany or bolshevistic Moscow, but not to World Government. Then indeed the world would again roll into chaos.
We fully agree with the Polish war hero, Colonel W. Onacewicz, who states:*****
"... in a free and democratic Europe there can be no 'spheres of influence' and no 'Lebensraum,' for the old continent, the cradle of our civilization cannot be treated like Africa and other colonies have been treated in the last century.
"We must be forewarned against the dangerous mistakes of theorists, who spin fantastic concepts of world organization without being sufficiently informed about the nations on which they issue their dictum. Europe, the chief source of the present conflict, is the key to world peace. Without a well balanced and well organized Europe there can be no lasting peace. Europe is made up of a number of independent nations, each with an old history and its own culture, for whom liberty is as necesary as air. These nations must be freed from slavery, not only for humanitarian reason, but because their spirit, their love of freedom and readiness to defend it to the last drop of blood is necessary to maintain the balance of Europe. If these nations are not reconstructed, and if the intellectual class is destroyed, Europe will fall to the mercy of a despotic power. The subjection of Europe, a continent with 400 million population which possesses all the raw materials and the best technical knowledge, to one absolute authority constitutes a great danger to the world. Nothing will stop power once it aims to conquer the world."
There is, there can be, only one solution—a world organization, wherein all nations, small and big, will have equal rights and equal responsibility, an organization that will defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, preserve human rights and justice in all lands, and oppose and struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world—as it was conceived in the Declaration by United Nations, also accepted and signed by the U.S.S.R.
Needless to say, also the representatives of the Baltic States adhere fully to the principles of the Atlantic Charter, the Pour Freedoms and the Declaration by United Nations, and are ready to cooperate.
The Baltic nations have not lost their courage, and strongly believe in justice and international law. They have a natural right to be as free as any other nation, to worship God, to enjoy the fruits of their hard toil, and to live as decent and selfgoverning independent nations, such as they were after the first World War.
That is how the Latvian nation visualizes the life after this war.
During its 22 years of independent life after the first World War nobody questioned its natural right to live as other free nations do. Latvia's behavior as a state was impeccable. Its record as a member of the League of Nations is clean. Latvia did not break treaty or other obligations.
Latvia's achievements as an independent state are evident, and Latvia became also economically self supporting; it had a favorable balance of foreign trade, no budget deficits, and it was also very active in the field of human progress, arts and science. Latvia was also a good neighbor to al) its adjoining states, including the U.S.S.R. and Germany, and served as an economic bridge between Western and Eastern Europe.
But the Latvian Nation, having been twice occupied during the first World War and twice during this war, and still moaning under the brutal oppression of Nazi Germany, hates both—Naziism and Bolshevism.
Freedom and peace—that is what Latvia primarily wishes from this war and after this war!
LATVIA'S MONUMENT OF LIBERTY
|Proceedings of the American Society of International Law at its XXXVII annual meeting1, Washington, 1943, p. 111.|
|The Department of State Bulletin, Vol. IX, No. 218, p. 122.|
|The Department of State Bulletin, Vol. IX, No. 216, p. 92.|
|Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, etc.|
|The Polish Review, Vol. Ill, No. 31, p. 5.|
- INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK
- LATVIA WISHES: . . . (illustration)
- BALTIC STATES GEOGRAPHICAL RELATION TO OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES (illustration)
- Neither buffer nor possession
- Prologue to war of independence
- Treaties and principles of independence
- A cui bono?!
- Actual and current circumstances
- Soviet intents vs. Baltic rights and future role
- Future security of Europe
- Next OTHER PUBLICATIONS
"What Latvia Wants From This War?" was published by the Latvian Legation, Washington, D.C. in 1944.
We believe this publication to be a work of the Latvian government and accordingly in the public domain.