2009 | 44 | 101-125
Article title

THE BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE AND SOVIET INITIATIVES FOR GUARANTEEING THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE BALTIC STATES (1933-1934) (Brytyjskie Foreign Office wobec sowieckich inicjatyw na rzecz zagwarantowania niepodleglosci panstwom baltyckim (1933-1934))

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In December 1933 and March 1934 Soviet diplomats made two proposals intent on guaranteeing the independence of the Baltic states, whose opinion was not even taken into account. The first suggestion, addressed to Warsaw, aimed at interrupting or at least hampering the Polish-German negotiations conducted at the time and concerning the renouncement of violence in bilateral relations. The second proposal was made to Berlin, and anticipated the latter's refusal, which would show the world the aggressive goals of the policy pursued by Adolf Hitler. The British Foreign office scrupulously noted all the steps taken by Soviet diplomacy. An imposing number of telegrams and dispatches were sent to London from the involved states. Particular activity was demonstrated by Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British envoy in Riga, dealing with countries particularly anxious about the undertakings of the Nazi Party among the German minority and the campaigns conducted by Moscow. Admittedly, his analyses of information gathered in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were extremely meticulous. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the diplomats working for the Foreign Office, especially the staff of the Northern Department, specialising in the Soviet Union and the Baltic states, who tended to ignore the whole issue. They did not carry out a single in-depth analysis of the states in question, and found it difficult to notice that the proposal addressed to Poland had been initiated by Moscow, whose clever policy made it impossible to define the expansive objectives of the Soviet Union. Quite possibly, the blame should be also placed on Lord Aretas Chilston, the new Ambassador to Moscow (from November 1933), who provided London with scarce data. Naturally, it was by no means easy to gather information in Moscow during the 1930s, but even if the Soviet press did not write about the proposal of a Baltic declaration, signed jointly with Poland, Chilston did not disclose greater initiative in his contacts with diplomats accredited to Moscow in order to find out more about a question with which he was familiar thanks to the dispatches and telegrams received from the Baltic states and Poland.
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  • Uniwersytet Lodzki; Wydzial Filozoficzno-Historyczny; Instytut Historii, ul. A. Kaminskiego 27a, 90-219 Lodz, Poland
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Publication order reference
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