The Chargé in Albania (Swift) to the Secretary of State

No. 152

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department that a concession for making archeological excavations in Albania was signed on August 28, 1923, by R. Mitrovica, Minister of Public Instruction, for the Albanian Government, and by Monsieur J. Beguin Billecocq, the French Chargé d’Affaires, for the French Government. The concession must, however, be ratified by the Albanian Parliament before it becomes effective.25

The contract has been read in Parliament and is now being examined by a special committee formed for the purpose. There has been a certain amount of opposition to the ratification of the contract although Mr. Hunger, the Financial Adviser, has advocated its acceptance by the Government. Members of the opposition have proposed that Dr. Patch, the Director of the Government Museum, submit his views as to the advisability of the ratification of the contract.

According to the terms of the concession, the French Government is to have the exclusive privilege of making archeological explorations over the greater part of the Prefecture of Scutari, approximately half of the Prefecture of Durazzo, and about one-fourth of the Prefecture of Berat. All expenses in connection with the explorations are to be borne by the French Government. Albanian scientists are to be permitted to aid in supervising the work of exploration. Any articles of gold or silver that may be found shall become the property of the Albanian Government, although the French Government is to have the exclusive right to purchase articles which may be found at prices to be fixed by the Albanian Government, should the latter decide to part with them. The French Government is to be permitted to acquire duplicate articles of precious metal, sculpture, statues and inscriptions which may be discovered. The French Government, according to the contract, is not to be permitted to lease to any other government the concession for making archeological explorations, or to become associated with any other government in carrying out the terms of the contract.

The concession is to run for a period of thirty years and may be renewed by mutual agreement.

I have [etc.]

W. Merritt Swift
  1. The concession was ratified, with slight modifications, Sept. 22, 1923.