United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

Baltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) online

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visa from the American Embassy, and I came legally into this country.

Mr. McTiGTTE. Are you now a citizen of the United States, General ?

General Cerxius. Yes, since the 10th of November, this year, I am
a citizen of the United States of America.

Mr. McTiGUE. I have no further questions.

Mr. Kersten. Congressman Bentley ?

Mr. Bextley. General, first of all, I would like to ask you this
question : During the time that you were Prime Minister, w^ere there
ever any consultations between your Government and those of Latvia
and Estonia, by trying to resist the Soviets ?

General Cerxius. At the start it was made as an entente cordial to
proclaim neutrality.

Mr. Machrowicz. By entente cordial, you mean an entente betw^een
governments ?

General Cerxius. That we have many things that we have together.
All these three Baltic States.

I sent General Rastikis to Poland and I charged him to assure
Poland that they would have no danger from Lithuania, that Poland
can completely denude its 500 kilometers of frontier and use its forces
in other places.

We had some discussion in Vilnius, but for this we would not go to
fight, but this question would be opened up later. General Rastikis
was sent to Rydz-Migly. He assured that Lithuania presented no
danger to Poland, and Poland could use all forces against the Nazis.

I invited the Polish Military Attache, Col. Zoltek Mickiewicz, and
I assured him also that he could say to the Polish Government that
Lithuania will conserve neutrality and will present no danger of war.


Mr. Bentley. I am more interested in what conversations you may
have had with Riga and Tallinn.

General Cernius. I don't know the Estonian who came to me, but
he came to me to talk about this treaty of mutual assistance.

He said only that he would ask Finland to go together, and then
maybe with all these countries, we could do something. But Finland
said "No."

Later Finland was helped from the West and started to fight alone.

Latvia had not been consulted. They wanted to see what the
Soviets would do.

At first the Soviets held the treaty. They didn't interfere in Es-
tonian and Latvian internal offices.

Mr. Bentley. General, what I was particularly interested in, at
the time the Russians forced you to sign these mutual-assistance pacts,
there was no alliance, no understanding or agreement between your
Government and Governments of Latvia and Estonia ?

General Cernius. No. Russia accused us of having such an agree-
ment, but it is not true.

Mr. Bentley. When your delegation went to Moscow to negotiate
on the question of a mutual-assistance pact, who did they see in
Moscow, and with whom did they negotiate?

General Cernius. They started to negotiate with Molotov, and later,
in part, with Stalin, himself.

Mr. Bentley. You were told that when they returned ?

General Cernius. Yes; they told me.

Mr. Bentley. Now, during the time that you were Prime Minister,
and before the Russians came in, in 1939, how active was the Lithua-
nian Communist Party ?

General Cernius. You see in Lithuania, I am completely sure that
the Communist Party in Lithuania was so weak that without Russian
bayonets they could do nothing.

I have no example of where, without bayonets, could a Communist
government be installed.

Mr. Bentley. There was a Lithuanian Communist Party ?

General Cernius. In there, there was a Communist subversive
party. By law it was not allowed.

Mr. Bentley. It was illegal ?

General Cernius. It was not legal. However, they had some or-
ganizations in secrecy. Our Department of Security estimated about
] ,700 members.

Mr. Bentley. They were illegal, but they were active, they tried
to make propaganda and that sort of thing ?

General Cernius. Yes; it was fellow travelers. They had an or-
ganization to help political prisoners, and so forth. They came under
other names.

Mr. I^entley. General, I think in your testimony you have men-
tioned in talking about these mutual-assistance pacts — had there boen
a treaty, as far as you know, between the Soviet Union and Poland,
earlier, along that line ? Did you mention something about that ?

General Cernius. This line of influence ?

Mr. Bentley. Before the Soviet invasion of Poland, were there any
treaties existing between Poland and the Soviet Union, that you know
about ?


General Cernius. Poland and the Soviet Union — there was a pact,
maybe of nonaggression. We have mentioned this nonaggression
pact also in this treaty of mutual assistance.

Mr. Bentley. I would like to bring out one point, General, which
1 think is very important: With regard to Lithuania, Latvia, and
Estonia, you had treaties of peace and later you had pacts of mutual
assistance with the Soviet Union, and in spite of the complete, pledged
word of the Soviet rulers, all of those pacts were treacherously
violated by the Soviets.

General Cernius. Exactly. Violated by the Soviets.

Mr. Bentley. And almost with no warning at all ?

General Cernius. That is right.

Mr. Bentley. General,what day is this, do you know? What is
the date today ?

General Cernius. This is the 7th of December.

Mr. Bentley. Do you know what that date means in this country ?

General Cernius. I don't understand.

Mr. Bentley. General, 12 years ago, today, this country was
treacherously attacked, without warning, by another dictator.

General Cernius. Oh, yes. Pearl Harbor, you mean.

Mr. Bentley. Yes. That is why I think it is particularly appro-
priate, Mr. Ciiairman, in hearing about the treachery and violation of
treaties and unprovoked attacks, without warning, on the part of the
Soviet against these three little countries.

I think it is particularly appropriate, as I say, that we recall that
we in the United States have also been made the subject of unprovoked
aggression, without warning, by totalitarian dictators, who always
opci'ate in such maimer.

Mr. Kersten. I agree vrith you, Mr. Bentley.

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mr. Bentley. When you signed the pact of mutual assistance with
the Soviet LTnion, you signed that in Kaunas?

General Cernius. In Kaunas.

Mr. Bentley. Who signed on behalf of the Soviets ?

General Cernius. Molotov.

Mr. Bentlf.y. He >;igned in Moscow?

General Cernius. Our delegation signed, and Molotov, and in ac-
cordance with the Lithuanian Constitution, it should be approved —
so-called ratification. Upon ratification, it should be signed by the
President, and it should bear my signature.

Mr. Bentley. Who signed first, you, or Molotov ?

General Cernius. I cannot say.

Mr. Bentley. The pact was first signed by you in Kaunas, or by
Molotov in Moscow?

General Cernius. In Moscow.

Mr. Bentlky. First in Moscow, and then sent to you ?

(leneral Cernius. Yes. It was then ratified. I signed only in

Mr. Bentley. It did not have to be submitted to your parliament for
approval, did it?

General Cernius. It was submitted.

Mr. Bentley. And it was approved by your parliament?

General Cernius. Yes. The parliament knew that there was no
other issue, in those days.


]Mr. Bentley. After this was signed, General, you said very shortly
the Soviet Union began to violate the terms by internal interference
in Lithuania ?

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mv. Bextlet. Can yon give us one or two examples of that?

General Cernius. First, they made different provocations.

As an example, they sent some soldier — they might go in a restaurant
and make some noise or some trouble, and then the Lithuanian Gov-
ernment is accused of kidnapping a Soviet soldier.

Second, they have helped the Communist organization.

Mr. Bentlet. How did they help the Communist organization?

General Cernius. They gave them money. They pushed them to
have demonstrations, to push disorder, to go to fight with the police.
If something happened, there was a big funeral to show that the
Lithuanian Government performed persecutions, and so on.

Mr. Benti.ey. They assisted the Lithuanian Communist Party in
its demonstrations?

General Cernius. Yes, and for subversive action.

Mr. Bextley. Those were the principal methods by which the
Soviets first began to violate the treaty, and interfere in the internal
affais of Lithuania?

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mr. Bentley. Now, you spoke of this territorial corps, of which
you were acting chief of staff at the time.

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Bextley. Was this formed after the so-called free elections?

General Cernius. Yes, after free elections — so-called free elections.

Mr. Bentley. The territorial corps actually, then, was part of the
Soviet army, wasn't it?

General Cernius. Because Lithuania was incorporated.

Mr. Bentley. That is the point I want to bring out.

One more thhig: Now, you said when these 300 officers were being
deported to Moscow, or to the Soviet Union, or to Siberia, you were
also ordered to go to Moscow and, instead of obeying those orders,
you took refuge in the woods and hid?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Bentley. You stayed there until the end of the German occu-
pation ?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Bextley. But yon didn't take any militaiy part during the

General Cernius. I took no military part. I listen always to the
\''oice of America. It was very dangerous, but I listened and I talked
for them. I believed in the hope that after the war all nations would
be free, as promised in the Atlantic Charter. I believed in those days.

Mr. Benixey. During the time the Germans and Soviets were fight-
ing, you didn't take any i)art as a soldier in that war at all ?

General Cernius. A Soviet soldier?

Mr. Bentley. Or German soldier, either.

General Cernil'S. We resisted against German mobilization, be-
cause the Germans would mo])ilize. Tliey would create a different
(!rga?iization of army. I told Lithuanians not to go. You see there
wf.s the special questicm tliat Lithuania would be free and independ-


ent. Under Germany we would not be free, nor under the Russians
would be free.

Mr. Bentley. I was particularly interested, General, when you told
how these people had been taken from Lithuania, or had been sent
from Lithuania where they were born, by the Communists, to the
Soviet Union for training, with the idea they would come back and
occupy positions of power and influence in Lithuania.

That, of course, is a clear-cut pattern that has been followed in
all of the other satellite countries?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Bentlet. I can remember very well, for example, when I was
in Hungary that the present Communist dictator of Hungary, Rakosi,
nlthough he was a native Hungarian, he was also a general in the
Soviet Army, and had been for a great many years. He was one of
the outstanding examples.

You would say, I suppose, that it is quite conceivable that today the
Soviets are taking people from many countries they do not yet have
under their control and are training them in Moscow, with the hope
some day of using them in those countries if they have a chance to take
them over?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Bextley. And it is quite possible that they are even doing that
with Americans?

General Cernius. Exactly.

I think that for these Americans who will not return, the 22, they
will return when the Communists dominate the U^nited States.

Mr. Bentley. The 22 American prisoners in Korea, who are sup-
posed not to want to come back ?

General Cernius. If they will not return.

Mr. Bentley. Maybe they are being held against their will.

General Cernius. They will be given some training for the domina-

If you look at the instructions in Russia, who is the enemy, it is
all capitalist exploiters.

How will you look at the people in the foreign country when you
come ? You will look upon them as capitalist exploiters.

They talk and talk and talk to them, and prepare them for world

Mr. Bentley. Thank you. General. In view of your extraordinary
first-hand knowledge of these events, I know your testimony has
made a great contribution to these areas. Thank you.

That is all.

Mr. Kersten. Congressman Machrowicz?

Mr. Machrowicz. You know that the Soviets and Stalin have pro-
claimed to the world that this incorporation of Lithuania, Latvia,
and Estonia was a voluntary act of the peoples of tliose countries and
wjis very enthusiastically greeted by the people, and also that when
this committee was formed, a Soviet publication had a very vehement
attack, saying it was a foolish thing for this committee to try to pry
into this because everybody in the world knows or should know that
this was a voluntary act of those jjeoples.

Now, I would like to ask you a question : Did you, prior to the Rus-
sians' occupying Lithuania, notice any sentiment on the part of anv


group of Lithuanians, welcoming an incorporation into the Soviet
empire ?

General Ceknius. I would say that the truth is that all this declara-
tion of the Baltic people in Lithuania — that they would go and not
lose independence — that is the biggest lie possible in the world.

Mr. Macheowicz. That is not true ?

General Cernius. It is completely untrue. I think every Com-
munist, some 1,700, maybe all of them would lie.

Mr. Machrowicz. You mean even the Lithuanian Communists
wouldn't welcome Estonian Communists.

Mr. Kersten. You believe the Soviet claim is completely false?

General Cernius. Yes. You see all this organization is based on the
lie. If you will let me, I will give you a picture of how they make a
dechiration in the newspaper that "Army claims to be attached to
Soviet Union."

One company was going through the street in Kaunas, and sud-
denly someone in a Lithuanian uniform comes on with a banner, say-
ing, "We claim to be the 13th Soviet Republic."'

Now, this innocent company is going behind. If you are standing
at the side, then you look and they carry the banner, and behind
them is going the army. They put it in the newspaper and nobody
can say that it is false. If an officer says it is not true, he disappears
in the night.

It is exactly as you have read about the American prisoners in
Korea carrying banners as they go out of Korea, because they force
them to do it with bayonets.

It is the same way with all demonstrations, there. The banner
would have Stalin's face on it. It is false. They have violated the
will of the people.

Mr. Machrowicz. You have had a lot of experience in making
treaties with the Russians.

Do you personally see any hope for the liberation of Lithuania or
any other country behind the Iron Curtain by means of treaties or
agreements with Soviet Russia?

General Cernius. In today's situation, it is vei'v difficult to say
how Russia could give up and free some nation under Soviet grasp,
but I thiuk maybe it would be possible without a war.

Mr. IMachrowicz. Do you mean if the command in Russia changes?

General Cernius. You see it was Beria, before, who was very power-
ful. Who can say what happens next ?

Mr. Machrowicz. Would you give any credence to any promises
made by present Russian leaders ?

General Cernius. Oh, no. Now, today, all that they do — if you
held a bayonet against them, maybe they would do something, but if
there is a possibility to violate, they will violate.

Mr. Machrowicz. Former President Herbert Hoover testified be-
fore this committee Saturday, and his opinion was exactly the same.

That is all.

General Cernius. All the treaties have been violated with us, and
the same is true with all other countries, so far as I know. They al-
ways accuse others of what they have done. They claim to be peace-
loving people. They proclaim that to the world.

The first thing would be for people to go tliore and see them, but
they have created the Iron Curtain. They teach in Russia that abroad


it is very bad, that there is exploitation by capitalists, and sometimes
they use the press abroad. They only choose some phrases which are

]Mr. Machrowicz. General, I would like to read to you just two sen-
tences of former President Hoover's testimony on Saturday, Decem-
ber 5, 1953, and ask you whether you agree with those conclusions.

President Hoover said as follows :

No one can read the directions and speeches of Lenin and Stalin and Molotov
and ever believe that agreement with Russia has more than purely temporary
value. There are occasions when I think agreements could be made which
would be to their interests or to the mutual interests, but those are pretty rare
occasions. Such agreements would last only just so long as it suited the Rus-

Would you agree with those words ?

General Ceknius. I would completely agree.

Mr. Kerstex. Congressman Bonin ?

Afr. Boxix. General, in your opinion, then, everything as far as the
Soviet officials are concerned, is promise but no performance ?

General Cekxius. That is right. If it is useful for Russia.

Mr. Boxix. In addition to that, you would say all the fellow travel-
ers and sympathizers are a threat in every country, today, if the Com-
munists are successful in overthrowing the independent goverimient?

General Cernius. Yes.

The Commiuiist Party has special organizations. There are some
officials in the countries who say they are Communists and others are
in secret. Then they use other organizations. Sometimes they are
very nice organizations. Sometimes they are very nice organizations.
For example, religious organizations. But they are fellow travelers.

Decisions should be made in accordance with their actions. Com-
munists use American dollars for propaganda.

I am sure, for example — many times when I lived in New York I
heard it was possible to send a certificate to the occupied countries, to
give some gift for your parents or your brother, and you pay money,
here. AVhat do they do ? If you buy a cow for your brother behind
the Iron Curtain, they will take the cow and maybe give them a
cow, but the dollars will be handed to Russia.

Mr. BoNix. Under Communist control there are no freedoms of
any kind, are there, as known by the free and independent nations of
the world ?

General Cerxius. No freedom, no. As I understand freedom, no
freedom. No democracy, as we understand democracy. There is no
democracy. It is the most terrible form of dictatorship, the most
terrible forms. They use the criminal element for executions and

In mass execution which was in Lithuania, that is exactly what hap-
pened in Korea, as you now know. The same method.

Mr. Keestex. Congressman Gladden

Mr. Maddex. General, you testified regarding the Soviets coming
into Lithuania and establishing military strongholds, or military
bases. Did they do that from the standpoint of protecting Lithuania
or Rns'^ia from Hilter, or did they do that in order to take over
Lithuania ?

General Ceenius. They used the feeling of the Lithuanian people,

r>2!)7.5 — 54 — !)t. 1 :.0


Then, in the same year of 1939, Hitler took Klaipeda, onr Lithuanian
union port. The people were not satisfied, you see. They used this
sentiment. They say they will give some help. But, as we know the
truth, they have an agreement made before to divide us.

Mr. Maddex. The purpose of that was to infiltrate ?

General Cernius. This map was not made by me, but this is exactly
the way they had it installed. They would take the Lithuanian Army
and install some garrison, not at the frontier, but a little past.

Mr. ]\L\DDEN. How many different garrisons or military strong-
holds did they install in Lithuania?

Beneral Cernius. When Lithuania was occupied at June 15, 1940, I
don't know exactly, but I would estimate about 200,000.

Mr. Madden. 200,000, at different military strongholds?

(ireneral Cernius. In different cities or villages or towns. All the
country was occupied, after the ultimatum.

Mr. Madden. Now, this map you just had there, explaining the
different locations, that is a correct

(xeneral Cenius. That is correct about the first occupation.

Mr. Madden. That is a correct map and diagram, showing where
the Soviet Government installed their gairisons, or their military
strongholds, preliminary to taking over Lithuania?

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mr. Madden. And they made these military installations on the
pretense that they were going to help Lithuania, or aid Lithuania?

General Cernius. Yes; through this pact of mutual assistance with

Mr. Madden. But, as a matter of fact, this so-called mutual assist-
ance was the opening spearhead to take Lithuania into the Soviet
orbit, and they thought that the Lithuanian people would consent to
being absorbed in that way ?

General Cernius. They are not sure about the consent, because
the Lithuanian people never expected it, and when the Lithuanian
people saw that there was a violation and when the President went,
they started to fight in an underground.

Mr. Madden. And you can identfy this map as a true and correct
diagram, showing the locations of these garrisons?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Madden. And it also shows the actual occupation, as to where
they moved their armies into Lithuania, and also Latvia, in the north?

General Cernius. Yes. That was in 1940, this situation.

Mr. Madden. Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to have this a part
of the evidence.

Ml-. Kersten. The map will be marked "Exhibit 12 (Detroit)."

(The map was marked "Exhibit 12, Detroit." See map facing
p. 654.)^

Mr. Kersten. I show you exhibit 12, and ask you if you can state
from your own knowledge that that represents the military situation —
that is, the occupation of Lithuania, and the surrounding areas indi-
cated there, by Soviet troops.

General Cernius. Yes. And this shows when thev came in June

B(»fore they had garrisons in Vilnia. (ini/iinni, Prionai, and Alytus.

Mr. Kersten. I want to state for the record at this point, as pre-
viously stated, that this committee has no intention or purpose in
any way to make any implication as to the borders involved between


the Baltic States and, for example, Poland, or any area in which there
might be any question. The only question is the occupation by Soviet
troops, and in introducing this map, it is so understood, as all these
countries in common experience Soviet occupation and Soviet cruelty.

There are certain indications on exhibit 12 of what appear to be
the occupation of Soviet troops. Are they true and correct, as you
yourself recall them, in these areas?

General Cernius. Yes; that is correct.

Mr. Kersten. And it is my understanding that that occupation was
designed primarily to take over these areas, rather than only to use
them in defense against the Nazis ; is that correct ?

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mr. Kersten. They were to assist in the Communist grab of these
defenseless areas, and defenseless countries?

General Cernius. Exactly.

Mr. BoNiN. May I just supplement Congressman Madden's obser-
vations : It appears as though the Russians followed the same identical
pattern in North Korea.

Mr. Kersten. I think that is true.

Just one question to clear up a point : You stated in the beginning
of your testimony that the Soviets claimed, in order to have a pretext
for violating their treaties, that the Lithuanians had kidnapped So-
viet soldiers?

General Cernius. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. What do you say about the truth of the Soviet claim?
Was it true or false ?

General Cernius. The claim is completely false. Lithuania had no
interest in kidnaping. They would always say something disagree-
able or not pleasant. They said that there had been kidnaping.

Mr. Kersten. Do you know about the deportation by the Soviets
of about 2,000 political and other leaders of Lithuania ?

General Cernius. It was before election. I think it was in July

Mr. Kersten. What type of person was deported there?

General Cernius. Professor, teacher, political leader, priest — all
people who had some leading influence among the people.

Mr. Kersten. So in order to bring al)out the so-called free and
democratic election that New Times in Moscow wrote about in
August of this year and that Vishinsky spoke about in the LTnited
Nations last December, in order to prepare for these elections, among
other things, they first deported a large part of tlie political and other
leadership, the cultural leadership, out of Lithuania?

General Cernius. Yes; they erased it. Maybe they were not all
deported, but they were arrested. They were completely isolated.

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