Baltic Legations (1940–91)

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Baltic diplomatic services (1940–1991), comprising the Estonian diplomatic service, the Latvian diplomatic service and the Lithuanian diplomatic service, continued to be recognised in the West[specify] as the legal sovereign representatives of the independent pre-World War II states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,[1] and provided consular services to citizens of those states during the period from 1940 to 1991.

Between May and June 1940, the Baltic governments reached a secret decision that in the event of an emergency, the powers of government to appoint and recall diplomatic and consular representatives were assigned to the heads of the respective legations in the event that connection with the governments was lost.[2]

After the Soviet occupation in 1940, Soviet authorities attempted to have missions turned over and the diplomatic representatives return home. Draconian laws were promulgated in 1940 to induce compliance; the diplomats who refused to return were declared outlaws with the penalty of death by shooting with 24 hours of their capture.[2]


  1. McHugh, James; Pacy, James (2001). Diplomats without a country: Baltic diplomacy, international law, and the Cold War. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-31878-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mälksoo (2003), p. 142.