The Ambassador in Italy (Phillips) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 5—2:34 p.m.]
115. According to information which is being given out by the Italian Foreign Office the Albanian Government recently approached the Italian Government suggesting certain amendments in the Italo-Albanian Treaty of Alliance.3 The Italian Government had been concerned with regard to developments which it considered might endanger its “heavy investments” in Albania and prepared a series of suggestions which would permit the Italian Government to send troops in the event that Italian interests in Albania should require their protection. In answer to these suggestions made by the Italian Minister who returned to Tirana on April 2 it is stated that King Zog ordered mobilization and refused to consider the Italian proposals. It was further explained that while the Italian Government has no wish to change in any way the juridical status of Albania it might be compelled to intervene if Italian interests are threatened.
No further information regarding the intentions of the Italian Government has been obtained from official sources and the official Italian radio announced last night that negotiations were under way looking toward a strengthening of Italo-Albanian military agreement. The Italian press is conspicuously silent with regard to the entire situation.[Page 370]
On the other hand, reports from Bari and Brindisi have established that troops have been concentrated in this area. A member of the Greek Legation returned yesterday from Bari and reported to his Minister that on Monday four Italian cruisers, the Zara, Fiume, Trento and Goritzia, as well as three transports accompanied by four destroyers arrived there on Monday and the light cruiser Giovanni delle Bande Nere, one transport and six destroyers were already in the harbor. According to his report preparations were under way to constitute Bari as a base for reenforcements. He maintained that he was impressed by the number of army officers, especially of the higher ranks, whom he saw in town.
On the other hand, the Yugoslav Consul in Bari has reported to his Legation that he was informed on Monday that orders had been received that all troop movements were to cease, as projected plans against Albania had been canceled.
When the British Ambassador saw Ciano4 yesterday he asked on his own initiative for reassurances regarding Italy’s intentions concerning Albania and was informed that Italy did not wish to take any action unless its interests were so threatened that intervention became necessary.
The British Embassy had this morning not yet received any information regarding the reported appeal of King Zog to the British Government and to members of the Balkan Entente; see telegram No. 15, April 4, 10 p.m., from the Legation at Tirana. Reports from the British Legation yesterday indicated, however, that Albania would resist any infringement of its sovereignty.