Estonia - US Relations
The relationship between Estonia and the United States of America has been constant and strong since Estonia first became independent. The United States and Estonia are important allies and partners. The United States recognized the Republic of Estonia on July 28, 1922. The first Estonian diplomatic mission in the United States was opened in the same year. It continued its activities throughout the period of occupation by the Soviet Union from 1940 to 1991. The U.S. Government recognized Estonia's diplomatic mission as a legal representative of the Republic of Estonia. Indeed, the recognition of the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia has been the cornerstone of Estonian-U.S. relations.
The U.S. reopened its Embassy in Tallinn on September 4, 1991, soon after the restoration of Estonia's independence on August 20, 1991. Relations between the two countries have since developed at a rapid pace. In November 2006, President George W. Bush became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Estonia. Estonia joined the U.S. Visa Waiver Program on November 17, 2008, increasing security while facilitating entry for legitimate visitors and business people from countries like Estonia.
The United States has maintained continuous official diplomatic relations with the Republic of Estonia since July 28, 1922. Frederick W. B. Coleman of Minnesota was appointed to be the first U.S. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Baltic States on September 20, 1922. He presented his credentials in Tallinn on November 20, 1922.
From 1919 to 1922, U.S. interests in the Republic of Estonia were represented by a U.S. Commissioner based in Riga (Latvia) and a U.S. Consul based in Tallinn. Estonian diplomats have been accredited to the U.S. Department of State since 1922 and Estonian consular representatives have operated in the United States continuously since 1920.
After the illegal occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union on June 17, 1940, U.S. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles issued a statement on July 23, 1940 which established the U.S. Government's official policy of non-recognition. As a result, the United States never recognized the forcible incorporation of Estonia and the other Baltic republics of Latvia and Lithuania into the Soviet Union.
Fear of Russian aggression and/or manipulation colors the average Estonian outlook of the future, and results in widespread reliance on NATO and an almost mystical faith in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty to keep Estonia free. The U.S. is viewed as the strongest underpinning of NATO, and therefore, of Estonia's security.
US military will get unlimited access to Estonia’s military facilities and the possibility to build their infrastructure there. The Estonian government approved a deal 04 June 2015 as part of a plan aimed at renovating military bases. The agreement concerns Emari air base used by NATO’s fighter jets and central firing ground of Estonia’s armed forces in Tapa.
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