875.01/7–145: Telegram

The Representative in Albania (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State

57. Following preliminary report on question recognition was being prepared when Deptel 22 June 2796 arrived:

Organization present regime as follows: 12 cabinet members, 6 alleged to be Communists and 6 non-Communists. 8 are civilians and 4 military. 8 studied abroad, 5 in France and 1 each in Italy, Russia and Turkey. Average age is 40. Cabinet functions under immediate supervision anti-Fascist National Liberation Council, the supreme executive and legislative govtal organ deriving authority from conference of Labinot July 1943, Permet May 1944 and Berat Oct 1944. Parallel and auxiliary to N1 Council is a Front Council, the two constituting dual form of Natl Liberation rule similar to Soviet and Yugos models. The Front Council represents the party and N1 Council the Govt. In each prefecture, city and village are miniatures of foregoing Natl Organizations each with similar but circumscribed coordinate powers. In addition General Staff of Albanian Army exercises much power and influence through control over security measures and jurisdiction in certain types of cases which normally fall within civil jurisdiction. Unions of Albanian, anti-Fascist women, youth and labor exercise considerable influence within their respective spheres as auxiliary organizations.
Regime bases claim of popular support on (a) decisions of conferences of Labinot, Permet, Berat composed of elected representatives of the people (b) elections of town hall type already held where candidates for new councils and fronts in all levels are nominated and voted on in an open meeting and (c) numerous telegrams and letters which continue to be read and published in official newspapers as emanating from youth, women, labor and such religious organizations as Bektasha and Sunni Moslems and Greek Orthodox. Roman Catholics constituting about 15% Miant: [sic] have abstained altho there are members of that faith on various councils. Roman Catholics were strongest supporters of Fascist regime especially Italian.
Regime has support of larger segment of population than any other aspiring or opposition group particularly among younger generation. Chief opposition which is not well organized and has no real program except opposition and fear of Communism comes largely [Page 39] from wealthy classes (land owners, industrialists and merchants), certain elements of professional classes and Govt officials of former regimes including some military.
Regime came into existence by coalition of groups including Communists resisting Fascist invaders. All available evidence indicates this is only group that put up effective resistance. They obtained control of country with moral and material support given thru Allied reps including OSS who fought with them for about 15 months.
By and large cabinet members and other high officials of fronts and councils are patriotic well intentioned individuals striving to bestow their abilities in their own lights to give Albania better Govt more considerate of well being of Albanian people than any other regime Albania has ever had.
Albanian people strongly desire natl independence as they do not consider themselves Slavs, Bulgars, Macedonians, or Greeks, Any attempt to federate them with Yugos or any other political units would encounter resistance and bloodshed.
Altho Albania possesses certain valuable natural resources its economic and financial situation is deteriorating and may become so serious as to jeopardize stability of present or any other regime.
Regime’s conception of govtal organization, administration and interpretation of democracy follows Soviet pattern altho regime has not yet attempted to go as far as Soviet Union or Yugos in regimentation of human activity.
There is some secret understanding between regime and Yugos and by inference with USSR because it is inconceivable that latter would permit former to recognize Albania97 and otherwise carry on secret negotiations and discussions of which world and Albanians are kept in ignorance.
One enigma of situation is attitude USSR, which has not declared its policy since Molotov’s statement in Dec 194298 that USSR supported principle of independent Albania. Believe that USSR as well as Yugos prefer to have Albania join Yugos federation but Yugos recognition of Albania almost certainly with Soviet approval would seem to belie that opinion. Possible explanation is that both USSR and Yugos are aware strong independence feelings of Albanian people and realize it would mean bloodshed if federation project were pressed; hence USSR prefers to await developments and let US and Gr Brit bear onus of recognition or refusal to recognize, preferring that they refuse.
Delay by US and Gr Brit in recognizing regime after having given moral and material support while it was fighting Fascists has driven and continues to drive that regime into arms of Yugos and USSR and affords the pro-Yugos Soviet element in Govt excuse for such action. Such delay also has given rise in Albania to feeling that western Allies are either indifferent to Albanian aspirations or have found regime wanting. This prevents many capable individuals from giving active support to regime and at same time meets [sic] a live moderate opposition which would cease were recognition accorded. In other words regime has had to expend considerable effort for past 6 months seeking recognition and trying to resist Yugos and Soviet pressure when all its energies were solely needed to meet increasingly difficult problems inherent in restoring order in devastated land.
Do not agree entirely with findings of Brit Mil Mission here to effect: (a) that strong opposition movement exists; (b) that opposition groups are better qualified to give country good Govt than present regime; and (c) that regime is fundamentally unfriendly now and [to?] US and Gr Brit.

In submitting recommendations at this juncture in view of tripartite meeting soon to be held have kept in mind various Dept instructions culminating in those contained in Deptel 308, April 7, to Caserta as well as that portion of Yalta Declaration on Liberated Europe to effect that US GrBritain and USSR would jointly assist people in Europe as liberated states to form internal govtal authority broadly representative all democratic elements in population and pledged to earliest possible establishment through election of govt’s responsible to peoples will. Also realize future developments before action is taken may require changes in recommendations which are at present as follows:

US, in agreement with GrBritain and USSR if their concurrence can be secured, should recognize present regime on following basis: (a) undertaking exchange of notes to hold within reasonable time (using word reasonable in liberal sense) elections according to some prescribed formula to enable Albanian people to choose reps to natl conference empowered to determine permanent form of govtal organization and (b) pending negotiation of treaty undertaking separate exchange of notes to guarantee diplomatic and consular representatives of US sent to Albania usual diplomatic immunities, privileges and rights customarily under international law and right to intervene on behalf of American nationals.
Variation of election idea might be found requiring commitment or [of?] regime to broaden its base by taking into govt some opposition members.
If at tripartite conf objection to holding elections as condition precedent to recognition should be found insurmountable, believe recognition [Page 41] should be accorded notwithstanding as it would be better for Albania to have some govt recognized soon than to let matters drift. Albanian people can be relied on to resist encroachments upon their rights and natl existence from within or without and appeal for help to United Nations organizations now in process of establishment.
If no other agreement can be reached between Big Three concerning Albania possibly trusteeship provisions of United Nations charter might be found applicable and invoked.
In discussing Albania problem with Brit and Soviet reps precaution should be taken against revealing publicly that US sponsor conditional recognition as believe such rep at least here would like to have us assume that responsibility. Full publicity should, however, be given to any agreement reached.
Irrespective of recognition immediate steps should be taken to restore postal telegraph and financial arrangements between Albania and outside world as these facilities are urgently needed not only for economic reasons but also to permit free flow of info between Albanians in Albania and Albanians abroad especially in US. It is estimated that about 25% of Albania’s population have either been in US or have friends and relatives who have been there. Several thousand Albanians have been educated in American schools in Albania. Cultural and sentimental ties therefore strong but need renewal and encouragement through reopening means communication.99

  1. Not printed; it requested a brief summary report by telegram of Mr. Jacobs’ findings and recommendations regarding the Albanian regime and the question of recognition in order to be prepared for discussions of future relations with Albania at the upcoming tripartite conference at Berlin (875.01/6–2745).
  2. Yugoslavia extended diplomatic recognition to the Albanian Government on April 28, 1945. The Yugoslav Minister to Albania, Velimir Stojnić, presented his credentials on June 2.
  3. See last sentence of footnote 12, p. 3.
  4. Telegram 44, July 24, 3 p.m., to Tirana, stated that the Department believed that Mr. Jacobs’ reports reflected objective observation of the Albanian situation and that his preliminary conclusions and recommendations appeared well founded and provided a tentative basis for an American approach should the question of Albanian recognition be raised at the Potsdam Conference (875.01/7–1445).