Paris Peace Conf. 875.00/28: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Commission to Negotiate Peace

72. Following received from Italian Embassy:

“By direction of my Government I have the honor to make known to your Excellency the enclosed letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Rome by Albanian residents in Switzerland about the future of Albania:

‘We, the undersigned Albanians residing in Switzerland truly voice the sentiments of all our fellow countrymen and take the liberty of submitting herein below to your Excellency, the grievances of our country at the moment when the destinies of the large and small states of the world will be settled on the basis of justice and the principle of nationality. This is not a place for us to make a history of our country which contains memorable pages. We shall say nothing of the five last years which have wrought deep changes in the Balkan peninsula. Those changes caused at the Conference of London in 1913, the creation of an independent and neutral Albania whose neutrality was guaranteed by the six great powers. But unfortunately, interior troubles caused by reasons already known have hampered that undertaking.

It was thus that Italy intervened by solemnly proclaiming the independence of Albania and promising to defend it against any foreign interference or snare. Recently your Excellency declared rightfully in your speeches that it belonged to the powers assembling for the general peace treaty to state the precise boundary of Albania in accordance with the principle of nationalities, the self-determination of the people as also proclaimed by President Wilson seeing that at the time of the partition of the Balkans in 1913 our country was sacrificed to the advantage of its neighbors and that on account of the imminent danger of European conflagration that should be adverted at any cost.

Now that the conflagration is over and about to be settled by the triumph of the right of all the peoples, we are fully convinced that the rich country that is purely Albanian and is indispensable to Albania will be rightfully returned to the Motherland.

Encouraged by your Excellency’s declarations, we come to you with the request that you kindly communicate the present petition to the other great powers of the Entente in order that our cause may be upheld to our benefit in common with the great powers to accord with indisputably great Congress and that permission be given to Albania which has also suffered from that war, [Page 375] to present through its representatives, its just claims in the interest of the country and of future tranquillity of the Balkans.

In the meanwhile and until the Peace Congress reaches its final decision we also express a very earnest wish that all the territory of our country be entirely occupied by the troops of Italy which has proclaimed our full liberty and independence with the object of tranquillizing our people and enabling them while so united by a natural administration to decide freely upon the final form of government and their own institutions.

Hoping that this appeal will be taken into consideration, we beg your Excellency kindly to accept. Signed Turkam-Sureya bey Vlora, Minister Plenipotentiary, with other signatures.’”