768.75/7–845: Telegram

The American Representative in Albania (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State 18

73. Lengthy despatch19 with enclosures20 concerning Greek Albanian relations compliance Dept’s airgrams 3, 4 and 5 June 9 and 12,21 but in view Big Three22 discussion Balkan problems and fact Albanian and Yugo press and radio have started propaganda war following provocative statements and broadcasts by Greek authorities believed Dept might be interested following. Unable find evidence recent past or present persecution Greek minority by Albanian authorities. During recent trip thru southern Albania heard nothing, and various members that minority who saw me could have mentioned matter if they had desired.

… sources unable confirm Greek claims. In this connection Kotoko, now at Janjina [Ioannina?], who claims to be Archbishop of Gjinokaster and around whom Greek claims seem to center, fled from Albania because his pro-German and pro-Italian collaboration and is no longer recognized by Albanian Orthodox Church. Concerning individuals [Page 320] named Dept’s airgram 3, June 9, have ascertained that such persons fled or have been arrested because their failure pay war profit taxes which while drastic are being levied upon all merchants in Korce and elsewhere in Albania without discrimination.

Concerning southern boundary problems authorities here feel Gr Brit and US especially former, should compel Greek authorities desist agitating this question as Albania authorities did not initiate agitation and as Western Allies, especially US, have taken position that boundaries should remain as in 1939 until disputes can be settled peaceful means.

Regardless possible pro-Italian, pro-Germans, and pro-ELAS activities on part some Chamerians, Greek authorities have far more to explain in uprooting and driving into Albania some 200,000 men, women and children to become charge upon Albanian people ill equipped to take care of them.23 I met such refugees during my trip south and reports Brig Hodgson24 and his staff which did not exonerate Greeks were submitted by AmPolAd25 as enclosures Caserta despatch May 4 (sent Dept; as rptd Caserta as 80).26 My thoughts resolution this problem are that for future safety refugees should remain Albania, that cost settling them on vacant Albanian lands should be borne by Greece and any dissatisfied members Greek minority in Albania should be sent to Greece.

  1. The gist of this telegram was repeated to Athens in telegram 671, July 11, 7 p.m.
  2. Despatch 47, July 7, 1945, not printed.
  3. None printed.
  4. See footnote 77, p. 303.
  5. Reference is to the impending conference at Potsdam between President Truman, British Prime Minister Churchill, and Soviet Premier Stalin.
  6. In an enclosure to despatch 1377, August 3, 1945, from Athens, the Assistant Military Attaché in Greece (McNeil) reported substantially as follows regarding the Chamerians or “Chams”: A small Moslem minority, perhaps 200,000, of Epirus, and discontented with their Greek nationality, the Chamerians had urged incorporation of their districts into Albania at the time of the Italian occupation; additionally they alienated the Greeks, by their service in a special gendarmerie which at times perpetrated brutal acts upon the subject Greek population. At the time of the German withdrawal from Greece in 1944 most of the Chamerians fled into Albania, the German Army even providing motor transport for their removal. The few who remained behind were subsequently severely harried by Greek nationalist bands and nearly all of the Chamerian villages were burned to the ground. (768.75/8–345)
  7. Brig. D. E. P. Hodgson, commander of the British Military Mission to Albania.
  8. American Political Adviser, Allied Force Headquarters.
  9. Not printed.