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This year marks the
76 anniversary of the Welles Declaration

 
The Welles Declaration was issued on July 23, 1940 by the then Acting U.S. Secretary of State Sumner Welles. The declaration condemned the occupation of the Baltic countries and the illegal annexation by the Soviet Union, and would remain U.S. policy for the next fifty years. This year JBANC, along with members of the Baltic-American community and representatives of the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian embassies, commemorated the day by paying a visit to the Welles grave site in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Meetings with Nordic Embassies regarding Nordic-Baltic relations

 
JBANC met recently with officials from the Danish, Finnish, and Icelandic embassies. The meetings have focused on discussion of regional threats, military developments, and cooperation among Nordic and Baltic countries in the framework of NATO and EU. All embassy meetings have been productive and much optimism was shared about the strengthening of Baltic and Nordic relations in the United States.  


JBANC Statement on Importance of the Baltics in NATO

The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) is very concerned with recent misguided statements related to the United States' commitment to upholding NATO treaty agreements. As a non-partisan organization, JBANC believes in and advocates for robust transatlantic relations between the United States and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Our organization stands firm in its belief that NATO and America's commitment to its NATO allies are fundamental to ensuring U.S. and European security, and urges both the current Administration and that elected in November to continue to support all NATO allies, including the Baltic countries, and reaffirm commitment to the Treaty's Article V. Continued dangerous rhetoric on either side of the Atlantic could harm some of America’s best friends, partners, and allies in NATO. 

 


Highlights from the NATO summit

After the NATO summit that took place on July 8 and 9, 2016 in Warsaw, Poland, many questions regarding enhancing security for the Baltics were answered and the summit overall had positive connotations for the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. However, despite the good accomplishments, questions and challenges remain. This article will examine how the Enhanced Forward Presence military initiative will strengthen the Baltics and Poland, the expected defense budget spending of NATO members and the extent to which the Baltics are meeting those expectations, and the message that NATO is sending to Russia. 
 
JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau recently participated in a international conference on "Totalitarianism, Deportation and Emigration - The forced displacement of population and waves of migration in 20th century Europe caused by the policy of totalitarian states.“ The conference was held in Viljandi, Estonia from June 28-30, 2016. 
Altau's remarks on "The Role of Diasporas in the U.S. in Advocating on Baltic Issues" were given on a panel on "The Political Life of European émigré communities in exile," and also
featured presentations by Patryk Pleskot, from the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland; Radek Schovánek, from the Centre for Documentation of Totalitarian Regimes in the
Czech Republic; and Gunārs Nāgels, the Executive Director of the Museum of Occupations in Latvia. 

The conference was organized by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience (PEMC), the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and the Unitas Foundation, and brought together more than twenty speakers, historians, political scientists, representatives of victims’ associations, eyewitnesses and decision makers from twelve countries. As a highlight of the
conference, the Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2016 was awarded to the imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, in the presence of the Minister of Justice of Estonia, Urmas Reinsalu, and former President of Lithuania Prof. Vytautas Landsbergis. The father of the laureate, Leopoldo Lopez Gil, accepted the Prize for his son who is being held in solitary confinement in a military prison in Venezuela.

JBANC is a member organization of PEMC, which includes over 50 member organizations, institutions, and museums in Europe and North America.  

More information on PEMC: http://www.memoryandconscience.eu/
JBANC welcomes new House Baltic Caucus members

Rep. Andy Barr

Rep. Barr (R-KY-6) has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2013. He is on the Committee of Financial Services and on the Republican Study Committee.

He has co-sponsored House Resolution 469 - Urging North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries to meet or exceed the two percent gross domestic product commitment to spending on defense.

Rep. Julia Brownley

Rep. Brownley (D-CA-26) has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2013. She is on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

She has co-sponsored H.R.624 - The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, that directs the President to impose U.S. entry and property sanctions against any foreign person who is responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in any foreign country.

Board members (pictured from left): 
Marju Rink- Abel, Lya Karm, Karin Shuey, Nikolajs Timrots, Tiina Urv, Ingrida Lusis, Tomas Sadauskas, Henry Gaidis, Karl Altau. 
Starting from July 2016, the Lithuanian American Council heads the JBANC Board of Directors

Saulius Kuprys  became the President of JBANC, taking over from Peter Blumbergs, who will continue to be the president of the American Latvian Association (ALA). During ALA’s presidency JBANC held a seminar in New York City on Nordic-Baltic security and cooperation, had a reception at the Estonian embassy on the occasion of JBANC’s 55th anniversary, and did much more. We welcome our new president and hope to achieve great things under the Lithuanian American Council's leadership!
 
For the past 55 years JBANC has served as the premier advocacy organization representing Baltic-Americans in Washington, DC. As the Baltic countries near their centenary we are reaching out to you to ask for help in assuring that the Baltic voice stays active and strong on Capitol Hill and with the Administration.
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Rockville, MD 20850
tel. 301-340-1954
karoline@jbanc.org
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