Estonian ambassador August Torma had a protracted and unconventional relationship with the British Foreign Office. Appointed to the Court of St James’s in 1934, Torma lost his government in 1940 when the Soviet Union overran his country, but continued to live at the legation in London and visit the Foreign Office. Gradually, however, his diplomatic standing was eroded because of Soviet demands. For Torma there was the very real fear that Britain might recognise the Soviet occupation of his homeland and he continued to reiterate his faith in international law in the hope that Estonia’s stolen independence would be restored one day. He died in 1971, twenty years before the country regained its lost freedom. This book is a biography of Torma who had a remarkable life: he assisted in the creation of the Estonian state in 1918–20, worked for it during the inter-war period and struggled to keep its cause alive during and after the Second World War; it is also a study of the awkward relationship between the ambassador and the Foreign Office that lasted for more than three decades.
Table of Contents
AcknowledgementsList of illustrationsDavid J Smith and John Hiden: Foreword: August Torma and the importance of small statesIntroductionThe making of an “officer-diplomat” (1895–1930)First World War and British interventionEstonian military representative in KaunasHead of Foreign Ministry’s political departmentEstonian relations with RussiaEstonian-Russian prisoner and spy exchangesEstonia on the fringes of Europe (1931–1939)Difficulties in Baltic cooperationEstonian minister in LondonEstonia in crisis (1939–1940)Estonian-Russian mutual assistance pactRussian-Finnish war and Estonian neutralitySoviet occupation begins on 17 June 1940Keep calm and carry on (1940–1944)The question of an Estonian governmentBaltic envoys demotedCampaign for a fair deal for small nationsMaintaining the London legation (1944–1971)Estonian refugeesBritain accords partial recognition to Soviet annexationThe London legation’s financial problemsThe KGB identifies Torma as a British agentConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex