The United States of America is Latvia's strategic partner, with which a special relationship has developed. Our bilateral dialogue is based on the appreciation of shared values: freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
The vision of a free, integrated and united Europe expressed by the U.S. President George Bush in summer 2001 in Warsaw fully accords with Latvia's vision of the future.
Latvia values highly the political support that the United States of America has given to our efforts in strengthening Latvia's national sovereignty and establishing an independent foreign policy. Close collaboration between Latvia and the U.S. has always been a priority in our foreign policy, in fostering our economic development and strengthening democracy. Latvia appreciates the genuine interest and strong support the United States of America has provided to Latvia's integration with European and Transatlantic structures.
Latvian-American relationship began on 10 December 1918 when the U.S. Senate passed the Resolution No. 379 supporting the secession of the three Baltic States from Russia. «All these nations must be free and independent, since the Baltic Sea coast belongs to them and this makes their independence important for the future peace and freedom of the world.«
Diplomatic relations between Latvia and the United States of America were first established on 28 July 1922, when the U.S. Government recognized the Republic of Latvia.
Little known is the fact that during the inter-war years, a number of prominent Americans visited or worked in Latvia. President Herbert Hoover visited Latvia in the early 1930s and wrote a laudatory article on Latvia's development. John F. Kennedy, while studying in London, visited Latvia and other East European countries on the eve of the Second World War. George F. Kennan, later to become an expert on Russia, was first stationed as a diplomat in Latvia during these years.
Since then Latvian-American diplomatic relations have played a unique role in Latvia's diplomatic history. The declaration by the U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Wells, issued on June 23, 1940 established the U.S. Baltic policy and ensured that the Baltic diplomatic missions continued to operate in Washington during the Soviet occupation. The Latvian mission in Washington was the only Latvia's foreign mission that continued to function throughout the years of its occupation. The United States of America never established official relations with the Soviet government in the occupied Latvia, thereby demonstrating its non-recognition policy to the world. The main aim of the Latvian mission in Washington was to continue represent Latvia existent de iure, preserve Latvia's international legal status, fight for Latvia's independence, and carry out an essential informative work — publish declarations, statements and other documents of western nations that refer to Latvia, and provide information from different sources on the state of affairs in the occupied Latvia.
Since 1989 Latvia's mission in Washington and the U.S. State Department began to expand cooperation, and in 1990 the U.S. government established unofficial contact with the Latvian (Popular Front) transitional Government.
President Bush Snr. played a critical role in the restoration of Baltic independence in 1991, as he negotiated with President Gorbachev and then President Yeltsin a peaceful break-up of the Soviet Union.
After the failure of the August 21, 1991 coup in Moscow, and the coming to power of Russian President Yeltsin, many countries including Russia began to officially recognize the independence of the Baltic States de facto. On September 5, 1991 a memorandum of understanding was signed by the U.S. and Latvian governments that re-established diplomatic relations, and, shortly thereafter, the U.S. opened its embassy in Riga.
Since 1992 the U.S. Embassy is situated in Riga, 7 Raina Blvd.
U.S. President Clinton's visit to Latvia in 1994 provided a fresh impetus to strengthening U.S.-Latvian, and U.S.-Baltic, relations, leading in 1998 to the signing of the U.S.-Baltic Charter.
U.S. Ambassadors to Latvia:
Ints Silins: 1992-95
Larry Napper: 1995-98
James Holmes: 1998-2001
Brian Carlson: 2001-8 December 2004
Catherine Todd Bailey: as of 4 February 2005