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The diplomatic representation of Georgia to the Kingdom of Sweden (1918-1920)

Since the proclamation of independence of the Democratic Republic of Georgia (26 May, 1918) one of its primary goals was de facto and de jure recognition of the country’s independence by the international community. In this context, the opening of diplomatic representations in the main European countries was an important precondition for promoting a newly independent country.

Establishment of a diplomatic representation in Sweden

In 1918 the Government of Georgia decided to establish a diplomatic representation of Georgia in the Kingdom of Sweden. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. Akaki Chkhenkeli sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Mr. Johannes Hellnor. On behalf of the Georgian Government Mr. Chkhenkeli presented the candidature of Mr. Michael (Mikhako) Tsereteli as a representative of Georgia to Sweden and expressed hope that his Majesty’s Government will support Georgia’s nomination. As soon as the agreement of the Swedish Government was received, on October 19th 1918 Mr. Michael Tsereteli arrived to Stockholm to present his credentials to His Majesty King Gustav V and set up a diplomatic representation in Stockholm. At the beginning, the Embassy operated at the Hotel Regina, later on - from January 16th 1919, the Embassy moved in the building at Tegnerlunden № 3.

Changes in the diplomatic mission

Ambassadorial term of Mr. Michael Tsereteli did not last long. He was recalled by the Georgian Government and was assigned to provide help to Georgian negotiators at the Paris Peace Conference and the League of Nations. On November 26th 1918, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Mr. Chkhenkeli, who was visiting Berlin at that time, sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Mr. Johannes Hellnor, informing him that the Georgian Government has taken a decision to appoint Mr. M. Tsereteli to another position. With the view of strengthening the independence of Georgia and developing commercial and economic ties with the Nordic countries the Government of Georgia presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden the candidature of Mr Aristo Chumbadze - a member of the Georgian Parliament. On behalf of the Government of Georgia Mr. Chkhenkeli expressed gratitude for the support rendered by the Swedish Government to the Georgian Ambassador and hoped that same support would be extended to his successor Mr. Aristo Chumbadze.

In the mean time, the Ambassador Tsereteli sent a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, in which he confirmed his nomination to another post and informed the Swedish Foreign Office that Mr. Aristo Chumbadze was named his successor. In his letter Mr. Tsereteli notified the Minister that Mr. Aristo Chumbadze was in Copenhagen acting as Georgia’s envoy to the Kingdom of Denmark and that in case of receiving an agreement from the Foreign Ministry of Sweden Mr. Aristo Chumbadze would promptly arrive in Sweden and will assume his duties. Mr Michael Tsereteli also informed the Mr. Johannes Hellnor about worsening of his health conditions and asked for permission to stay in Stockholm for a wile. He pledged the Swedish Foreign Office to leave the country as soon as his health is improved.

On 21st January 1919 Minister Johannes Hellnor responded to the Georgian Ambassador. He informed Mr. Michael Tsereteli about granting the agrément to Mr Chumbadze’s nomination and agreed that Mr. Tsereteli could further stay in Sweden and expressed his readiness to provide any needed assistance to the Georgian diplomat. At the same time Mr. Hellnor gave instructions to the Consulate Department aiming at the prolongation of visa validity for the Georgian Ambassador.

The activities of the Georgian diplomatic representation

The Embassy of Georgia in Stockholm also covered Norway, where Mr. Aristo Chumbadze was accredited as ambassador of Georgia. The Embassy had very limited financial and human resources. Since there was no Georgian Diaspora in Sweden, Georgian Embassy had to rely just on its own means. The principal aim of the Embassy was to actively work with the official Stockholm and Oslo, promote the country and facilitate the recognition of independence of Georgia at the Paris Peace Conference and by the League of Nations. Hence, in 1920, at the League of Nations, a secretariat was created to discuss the above-mentioned issue and a future membership of Georgia to this international organization, where Swedish deputy head of the mission, Theodor Adelswärd (who in 1911-1917 was Minister of Finance) was one of the active members, together with well-known Norwegian politician Fritiof Nansen. Mr. Nansen wrote a report on the Georgian issue and was a main supporter of Georgia during negotiations at the League of Nations (in 1922 Fritiof Nansen received a Nobel Peace Prize for his activity). In February 1921, with their help and active work of other delegations, Georgia was de jure recognized as an independent state.

Apart from this, the main priorities of the Embassy of Georgia in Sweden were to promote Georgia’s Democratic Republic based on European values and to attract Swedish capital and investments to Georgia for development of industry, communications and trade in the country. Unfortunately, because of lack of financial resources the Embassy did not operated in Sweden for a long time. In June 1920 because of mentioned circumstances Ambassador Chumbadze was forced to terminate functioning of the diplomatic representation in Stockholm.

Closing down the Embassy

On June 14th 1920, while closing down the Georgian Embassy in Stockholm, Georgian Ambassador to Sweden Mr. A. Tchumbadze wrote a letter (in Swedish) to the Swedish Foreign Minister: "… I have the honour to inform you that I am today relinquishing my post as Ambassador of Georgia. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Swedish government and people for excellent relations, great support which was rendered during the most crucial time of my country’s history and as well as assistance and generous hospitality I gained during my work in Sweden. This support was channelled in de facto recognition of the young Democratic Republic of Georgia. It is in the interest of both countries to continue political, cultural and economic cooperation, which will bring closer our two nations in future…”

The Ambassador of Georgia also informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, that Ambassador of Georgia in Berlin Dr. Vladimer Akhmeteli would act as Georgia’s representative to Sweden. In 1921, when the newly independent Democratic Republic of Georgia was occupied by the Bolsheviks’ Red Army, nearly Georgia’s all diplomatic representations abroad ceased their activities.

Since that date have passed very long 86 years, when Georgia reopened its diplomatic representation in the capital of Sweden (November 2006) and now, we believe, for good. 

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