765.75/423: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy ( Phillips ) to the Secretary of State

121. When I saw Ciano at 6:00 o’clock this afternoon he gave me the same explanation regarding events in Albania as he had given to Perth (see my 119, April 7, 3 p.m.) and then launched forth in a diatribe against King Zog and his misgovernment. He said that Zog would have to go and that a new government would be set up which would be in sympathy with the Italian Government. He assured me that Italy had no intention of affecting the independence of Albania and that as had already been announced Italian troops would be withdrawn as soon as law and order could be established. He said that Italian garrisons would undoubtedly have to be left at strategic points but insisted that Albanian independence and integrity would not be impaired. Ciano then mentioned the preponderance of Italian interests, including oil, and stated that these together with Italy’s treaty relations gave the matter an internal aspect. He explained that naturally Italy did not want to do anything that might cause uneasiness to “its good friend Yugoslavia” and repeated that its sole intention was to establish law and order in Albania and to get rid of a government which was not only hostile to Italy but highly unpopular in that country.

He assured me that instructions had been issued to the Italian Air Force to refrain from bombing towns and the civilian population and that as far as he knew there had been no bombing whatsoever. He added that, of course, should there be an anti-aircraft attack against Italian planes they would be forced to reply but said that he had himself this morning flown over Albanian territory and saw no signs of real resistance.

Repeated Belgrade, Tirana.

Phillips