Memoranda Submitted by the Albanian Government on the Draft Peace Treaty With Italy
Memorandum No. 15
Italy has always tried to make the Adriatic an Italian sea and Albania a bridgehead for her imperialist expansion in the Balkans.
The occupation of a portion of Albania by Italian troops in 1917, the Titoni–Venizelos Agreement of 1919, the decision of 9th November, 1921 by which the Ambassador Conference, under Italian diplomatic pressure acknowledged Italy’s privileged position in Albania, all the agreements, arrangements, conventions and treaties [Page 800]of every type imposed by Italy on Albania between 1922 and 1939 reveal Italy’s imperialistic designs on our country.
The armed aggression of 1939 was the brutal realisation of this policy. When, after the occupation, the independence of Albania was abolished, Italy employed every means to put an end to every right and freedom, even to the physical existence of our people.
All this proves that Italian policy constituted a permanent danger to the existence of the State and people of Albania.
In the face of this danger the people of Albania unreservedly and at the cost of immense sacrifices fought the Italian invader and made an important contribution to the common victory over Fascist Italy.
Having suffered so much at the hands of Italy, Albania asked the Paris Conference to see that the Peace Treaty puts an end to all Italian imperialistic designs on her in future and provides her with reliable guarantees.
The draft Peace Treaty grants Albania rights and imposes on her obligations which have an ultimate bearing on her economic and political life and her national independence.
To this end the Albanian Delegation proposes an amendment to the Peace Treaty with Italy acknowledging Albania’s right to be considered, for the purposes of this Treaty, as an Associated Power.
In addition it ventures to propose a number of other amendments to various Articles of the Peace Treaty with Italy.
1. As can be seen, Article 21 of the Draft imposes on Italy an obligation to respect the sovereignty and independence of Albania but makes no mention of her territorial integrity.
In order to reinforce the guarantee which this Article provides for Albania and to avoid any misinterpretation to which the present wording might possibly give rise, the Albanian Delegation has ventured to amend it so that the guarantee will also cover the territorial integrity of the country.
2. Article 23 of the Draft deals with the renunciation of [by] Italy of all property, rights, interests and advantages acquired by Italy in Albania, but it does not refer, as it should, either to Italian concessions wrested from time to time from Albania or to Italian parastatal institutions and enterprises in that country.
Yet it is well known that these concessions were obtained in circumstances favouring the Italian State and under conditions unfavourable to Albania and that they were exploited not for the benefit of the country’s economy but for military purposes and in order to facilitate the economic absorption of Albania and, therefore, Italy’s political grip on the country.[Page 801]
These are the reasons why we propose the amended draft of Article 23 herewith.
It should also be emphasised that, in order to make the meaning of the last sentence of the same Article more specific and clear, it has been felt necessary to complete it by a reference to the legal instruments on which the special interests of Italy in Albania were based.
3. The Albanian Delegation notices that in the Section of the Draft Peace Treaty with Italy dealing with Albania, there is no reference to debts owing to Italy or her nationals by Albania or her nationals.
Now one feature of Italy’s imperialistic policy in Albania was the imposition on Albania, by continuous pressure, of Italian financial aid for purely military purposes and with a view to the economic and political endowment of the country. For this reason the Albanian Delegation deems it necessary to suggest the insertion, in Section V of the Draft, of a new article to be numbered 23a.
4. In order to fill a gap in Section V of the Treaty concerning Albania, the Delegation proposes to insert in Article 25 a new paragraph, so as to extend the application of this Article of the Draft to treaties, agreements, conventions and arrangements concluded between Italy and Albania before 7th April, 1939.
5. Lastly, since a large number of Italian, German and other war criminals responsible for crimes committed in Albania and Albanian war criminals who collaborated with them, are now in Italy, a new paragraph 4 should be added at the end of Article 38 enabling Albania to benefit by the provisions of this Article.
6. Further, in view of the damage suffered by the small Albanian Navy as a result of Fascist oppression, the need for Albania to own a few units for the protection of her long coastline and the policing of her territorial waters, the Albanian Delegation would ask for a reasonable quota of Italian naval vessels, proportionate to her needs, to be allotted to Albania.
In this connection it should be emphasised that Albania has already sent a note to this effect to the Council of Foreign Ministers in May 1946.
7. Since the armed forces left to Italy under the Peace Treaty could constitute a menace to the security and independence of Albania and of the other Balkan countries, the Albanian Delegation ventures to propose two amendments suggesting a further reduction of the strength of Italy’s armed forces.
The Albanian Delegation feels sure that these amendments, prompted as they are by the wish to establish an enduring peace and maintain collective security, will be considered and adopted as reasonable.[Page 802]
amendments to the draft peace treaty with italy
This Article should read as follows:
“Italy recognises and undertakes to respect the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial integrity of the State of Albania.”
This Article should read as follows:
“Italy formally renounces in favour of Albania all property, (apart from normal diplomatic and consular premises), rights, concessions, interests and advantages of all kinds acquired before or after 1939, by the Italian State or its parastatal institutions in Albania, or belonging to them. Italy also renounces all claims to special interests or special influence in Albania, which she acquired as the result of the aggression of 7th April, 1939, or which may have been granted to her under earlier bilateral or international instruments.
Other Italian property and other economic relations between Albania and Italy will come under the economic clauses of this Treaty applicable to all the Allied or Associated Powers.”
After Article 24 add a new article 24a, worded as follows:
“Neither Albania nor Albanian nationals shall repay to Italy or Italian nationals any debt incurred before or after 7th April, 1939.”
Add a new article 24b, worded as follows:
“The Italian Government undertakes to restore to the Albanian Government any gold reserves of the former National Bank of Albania located in Italy.
The Italian Government recognises that this obligation is not affected by any transfers or withdrawals of gold which may have been made from Italian territory for the benefit of other Axis Powers or of a neutral country.”
Add a paragraph 2 reading as follows:
“Article 37 of the present Treaty will apply to all treaties, agreements, conventions and arrangements made between Italy and Albania before April 7th, 1939.”
After Article 26, add a new article 26a reading:
“For the purposes of this Treaty, Albania shall be considered as an Associated Power.”
or else amend the first paragraph of Article 77, to read as follows: [Page 803]
“Any member of the United Nations Organization not a signatory to the present Treaty, which is at war with Italy, and also Albania, may accede to the Treaty and upon accession will be deemed to be an Associated Power for the purpose of the Treaty.”
At the end add the following paragraph:
“The provisions of this Article shall also apply to Albania.”
In paragraph 1, sub-paragraph “a”,
- for “Two Battleships” read “One Battleship”,
- for “Four Cruisers” read “Three Cruisers”,
- for “Sixteen Torpedo Boats” read “Twelve Torpedo Boats”,
- for “Twenty Corvettes” read “Fourteen Corvettes”.
In paragraph 1, for “65,000 Carabinieri” read “30,000 Carabinieri”, and for “250,000 men” read “215,000 men.”
Add a final paragraph reading:
“The benefits of these provisions will apply to Albania as to all the United Nations concerned.”
After “the 1st September, 1939” add “and after April 7, 1939, in the case of Albania.”
After “June 10, 1940” add “and on April 7, 1939, in the case of Albania and Albanian nationals.”
The first paragraph should read as follows:
“Each of the Allied and Associated Powers shall have the right to seize, retain or liquidate all property, rights and interests within its territory, which on the day of Italy’s entry into war, and until the coming into force of the present Treaty, belonged to Italy or to Italian nationals or had been acquired by Italy or Italian nationals.”
Paragraph 5, sub-paragraph b, should read as follows:
“Property belonging to religious bodies or private charitable institutions and used for religious or charitable purposes, unless such institutions were engaged in political activities on behalf of the enemy on occupied territory.”
At the end add: “and also to Albania”.
Memorandum No. 26
Italy has always coveted Albania particularly since the last world war.
On the strength of the decision of the Conference of Ambassadors dated November 9, 1921 which unfairly granted Italy a privileged position in respect of Albania, Italy imposed on the latter, from 1922 to 1939, a whole series of conventions, agreements and treaties such as the Postal Agreement of 1922, the S.V.E.A. Agreement of 1925, the Agreements concerning concessions for minerals and the Treaties of Tirana of 1926 and 1927 guaranteeing Italy virtual domination over Albania. Italy granted Albania loans for the maintenance of the Albanian Army and for construction works, mainly of a military character such as certain roads and fortifications for imperialistic purposes, like the Fort of Durazzo, which largely exceeded the requirements of the country. These constructions were executed in the main by Italian State and parastatal enterprises, which acted as powerful agencies for Fascism in Albania.
By the armed aggression of April 7, 1939, Fascist Italy attempted to satisfy by force her longstanding greed for Albanian territory for 4½ years from April 7, 1939 to September 9, 1943, Albania was occupied by Italy and subject to the systematic destruction and spoliation. Italy exploited all the resources of the country and, in order to frustrate the Albanian Liberation Movement it devastated the country by fire, pillage and massacre; the Italian Army, the Black Shirts, the Carabinieri, the Italian administrative and political organisations, the Italian economic and financial corporations and enterprises did their worst to ruin completely our economic system, to decimate our population and to make our country a battle-field for an Italian imperialistic war.
The losses and damage caused by Fascist Italy during the occupation of Albania have seriously affected every aspect of the country’s life.
Agriculture, Livestock, Forests
Albania is an essentially agricultural country. The Italian invaders requisitioned our corn to feed their troops; during their reprisals against the fighting population they set fire to our cornfields and large quantities of wheat in the villages, devastated the forests, the vineyards, [Page 805]in particular in the Korça, Leskovik and Pogradec regions, killed and looted the cattle and took away livestock.
The various measures adopted by the Fascists: price policy, taxes, looting, destruction or requisition of beasts of burden, displacement of the population, reduced Albanian agricultural livestock and foodstuff production by 50%.
The fisheries became a monopoly of the Italian Pescalba concern and were exploited quite irrationally.
Industry and Trade
Our small industry has suffered heavy losses at the hands of the Italians; installations have been destroyed or damaged, machinery and equipment removed, raw materials and other products requisitioned in almost all cities and in all industrial regions.
The country’s industry has also suffered losses owing to the competition of the Italian finished Article, competition which has systematically hampered and paralysed our industry, and trade and caused them considerable loss and damage.
Large stocks of goods have been looted, requisitioned or burnt, particularly in the towns of Bilishti, Permeti, Leskovik and Berat.
The most of our salt-works have been ruined and large areas of land expropriated.
Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones and Transport
The Albanian telegraphic network was partly destroyed during the war between Italy and Greece; another part was transferred by Fascist Italy to Greece and Yugoslavia after the occupation of those countries by the Axis Powers. The postal services were ruined or devastated in various localities as a result of the war.
No postal or telegraphic dues were ever paid for by the enemy.
Almost all transport facilities were removed, destroyed or requisitioned by the enemy. An important Italian parastatal enterprise, the S.A.T.A., was granted a monopoly of passenger transport which succeeded in paralysing the small Albanian enterprises.
Roads and Bridges—Port Installations
Our road system suffered great damage owing to the continual movement of enemy troops, bombing, and attacks by partisans. Bridges of all sizes were blown up.
Our harbours, especially the port of Durazzo, suffered almost irreparable damage, and 114 sailing ships with auxiliary engines were destroyed or removed. Some of these are still in Italian ports.
Government and Private Buildings
The Italian invaders destroyed or systematically set fire to our towns and villages, schools, sanctuaries, and houses, in order to terrorize [Page 806]the inhabitants and prevent them from fighting a war of liberation. Entire districts, such as Piza, Mallakastra, Skrapari, Kurveleshi, were razed to the ground; churches of inestimable historical and artistic value, such as those of Voskopoja, Vithkup, Berat were looted and set on fire.
The museum of Vlora, the archeological institutes of Buthrotum and Pojani were despoiled of their ancient works of art by the Italian Fascists.
Finances, Customs, Pensions
The Italians never paid any port, quarantine, or landing dues. The cost of their army of occupation was a heavy burden for Albania and after the capitulation of Italy, more than 70.000 Italian soldiers found refuge and aid there through the generosity of our people who kept them for two years.
The abolition of the Albanian Customs (Legislative Decree of April 20, 1939), inflicted great loss on Albania.
Italy, an aggressor nation, must compensate the Albanians for the expenses incurred on behalf of the Army of National Liberation, and for military aid to the Allies.
The families of thousands of victims of the Italians, and those wounded in the war against Italy have a right to pensions. Compensation should be paid to the thousands of Albanians deported or employed on forced labour during the occupation.
In the course of their punitive expeditions, Italian soldiers looted a great quantity of valuable objects from the civilian population, and from sanctuaries.
Italy controlled the former National Bank of Albania. She collected all the Albania gold, about 300.000 gold francs, and transferred it to Italy. After the occupation, the Italians caused serious inflation of the Albanian currency which cost the Albanian people 150.128.826 gold francs. The gold reserves, constituting a cover of 8.062.827 gold francs for the Albanian paper currency in 1939, were transferred by the Banca d’Italia to the Reichsbank in Berlin.
This is a brief summary of the losses inflicted on Albania by Fascist Italy; they attain the figure of 3.544.232.626 gold francs, a figure far below the real losses of the country.
These losses and damages have gravely imperilled the Albanian economic structure which cannot recover without adequate compensation by Italy which was responsible. By reason of her contribution to the common victory, Albania demands as a right that Italy should be compelled to make reparation to the greatest possible extent, and to restore the objects which were removed.[Page 807]
The Albanian Delegation to the Paris Conference, therefore proposes the two following amendments:
amendment to the draft peace treaty with italy
After Article 25, add a new article 25a, reading as follows:
“Italy shall restore to Albania, without delay, all works of art, or of historical, archeological or religious importance belonging to Albania which were removed to Italy after April 7, 1939. The Government of the People’s Republic of Albania will submit a list of objects to be restored.
“Italy shall restore to Albania all official archives and documents belonging to Albania, and all surveys, and plans of works already executed, or to be executed in Albania.”
Under heading B, “Reparation for other Powers”, insert the following:
“(1) Italy shall pay, over a period of seven years, commencing from the entry into force of the present Treaty, reparation to France to the value of . . . . . U.S.A. dollars, to the Yugoslav Federative People’s Republic, to the value of . . . . . U.S.A. dollars, to Greece to the value of . . . . . to Albania to the value of 1.106.655.468 U.S.A. dollars 1938, and to Ethiopia to the value of . . . . .
(2) Deliveries in respect of reparation shall come from the following sources:
- Part of Italian industrial plant and machinery intended for the production of war material, which are neither necessary for the military forces authorised, nor immediately adaptable to civilian use, and which are taken from Italy in pursuance of Article 58 of the present Treaty.
- The installations of the Bari refineries specially built for refining Albanian oil.
- The Italian mercantile marine, the aggregate registered tonnage of which is . . . . . , an estimated figure based on the average tonnage of Italian ships.
- Current Italian industrial output, to be delivered in seven equal yearly instalments;
- Any surplus of the gold reserves of the Bank of Italy, after the settlement of the liabilities under Article 65 of the present Treaty;
- Work carried out by Italy in countries which have a right to Italian reparations.
(3) The total quantities, and categories of goods to be delivered by Italy, as well as the works to be carried out shall form the subject of an agreement between the Italian Government and the governments which have a right to Italian reparations. Italy undertakes to conclude these agreements within six months of the coming into force of the present Treaty. Such agreements shall be concluded on the basis [Page 808]of the plans to be submitted, in agreement with the Italian Reparation Commission, by the governments owing right to such reparation. Until these agreements come into force, Italy shall effect, on the same conditions as for reparation and by way of reparation, deliveries from her industrial output up to the amount of . . . . . dollars to France, of . . . . . dollars to the Federated People’s Republic of Yugoslavia, of . . . . . dollars to Greece, of 1.106.655.468 dollars to Albania, and of . . . . . dollars to Ethiopia.