The Prime-Minister of Lithuania Saulius Skvernelis expects to return the original copy of Lithuania’s Act of Independence of February 16, 1918, which had been found in Berlin’s diplomatic archives, to Vilnius. The act was kept in the group of cases entitled “The Future of the Baltic provinces: Lithuania”. Next to the German version, in fact, was the Lithuanian version of the resolution clearly with all 20 original signatures. The authorities are going to do its best to find opportunities for its returning. I think that Lithuanian authorities are counting on the goodwill of the German side, it would be Germany's best gift to the Republic of Lithuania marking its 100th anniversary” – promised Skvernelis.
The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed her sincere hope that the legal status of the document would be established and Vilnius would be able to contact Germany and asked to study the possibility of the return of the document home.
The act of independence of Lithuania was signed by Council of Lithuania, chaired by Jonas Basanavicius on 16 February 1918 in Vilnius. The original document was given to Basanavicius and it was stored in the archives of the presidential Palace in Kaunas until 1940. After that date the document disappeared.
On February 16, 2017 Lithuanian MG Baltic business group announced the award of one million Euros to anyone who finds an original copy of Lithuania’s Act of Independence of 1918.
If for more than seventy years no one has been able to find a document of great historical value, then, there are two variants of the development of events: either nobody seriously searched, or the Act really disappeared," said the president of the company Darius Mockus.
MG Baltic decided to "put an end to this protracted history" to the 100th anniversary of Lithuania's independence, which will be marked in 2018. One of the secondary goals of the initiative is the encouragement of memory and interest to the history of the state.
Lithuania lost its independence in 1795 in result of the partition of the Union of the Polish-Lithuanian state. The Soviet Union was the first who recognized the independence of Lithuania. On February 16, the country celebrates the Independence Day. Earlier, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has congratulated the citizens of the Baltic republic on the holiday.