875.01/215: Telegram

The Commissioner in Albania (Blake) to the Secretary of State


Your instruction dated May 9th.

Although the Albanian State has not yet definitely emerged from the stages of hopeful experiment, it is nevertheless sufficiently established in fact to command international support. Its existence responds to political exigencies in the Adriatic and [is] equally supported by the positive nationalist will of the people. The State is founded upon the basis of popular representation, but pending the delimitation of its precise boundaries by an international commission now actively pursuing its task and the subsequent assembly of the constitutional convention, popular government is nearer a generic term than a practice. The Government as yet can be given little credit for constructive achievement owing to financial embarrassment, inexperienced leadership and totally immigrating [inorganic] administration.

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The attitude of the Albanian Government and people toward American interests is particularly favorable. They profess themselves anxious to accord every possible facility to the entry into the country of American commerce and enterprise. They fear the encroachments of financial groups whose activities may cover political objectives; the disinterested attitude of America encourages the Albanian Government to believe that it may with safety invite American capital to assist in the development of the country.

It gives formal assurances of most-favored-nation treatment to American interests; a decree of the Regents has been issued providing that American passports carried by naturalized Albanians will be accepted without demur and all holders of such documents now serving in the Albanian Army are being released.

After careful consideration of all aspects of the situation, based upon information drawn from various parts of the country and from individuals of all views and religious complexion, the propriety and expediency of immediately according American recognition of Albania is respectfully recommended for the following reasons.

As an act of spontaneous moral encouragement to the Albanian people in a critical phase of their struggle for independence who in spite of grave difficulties have given sufficient evidence of political stability to cause their admission to the League of Nations as a sovereign State and their recognition as such by some twenty European countries.
Material factors are equally worthy of consideration. The country has important commercial possibilities and possesses rich natural resources awaiting development. If the American Government without due cause continues officially to hold aloof legitimate American enterprises are at a disadvantage and a policy of delay and over-caution might be detrimental to present American prestige, now a great asset. Furthermore, suspicion might arise in evil quarters that the delay was for the purpose of associating improper conditions with recognition, a phase of affairs which I am confident the Secretary of State would desire to avoid under all the circumstances. As American recognition sooner or later is an inevitable corollary to the existing state of affairs it follows that prompt action to this end should have urgent attention especially as Parliament assembles early in September when important measures for the development of the country are expected to be presented for definite ratification.

If recognition is accorded a Legation should be established and a Minister Plenipotentiary to Albania immediately designated. The seat of the Legation should be either at Tirana, if housing facilities [Page 604] permit, or provisionally at either Durazzo or Scutari according to circumstances. Great Britain is now represented by a Minister of full plenipotentiary rank as [formerly] has been the case with Italy. The protection of legitimate American interests requires that the American representative should not have a rank inferior to that of any other power. It is understood that France and Serbia will soon designate Ministers although both Governments are now represented by Chargé d’Affaires; the British Minister now resides at Durazzo and the French Chargé d’Affaires at Scutari.

Direct telegraphic communication with the Commission at Tirana can be established if messages are routed via Belgrade.