Memorandum by Mr. Cloyce K. Huston, Secretary, United States Delegation 15
Doc: Although my Conference assignment has no special reference to Albania, I hope you will not mind if, on the basis of my past association with Albanian matters, I make a few observations in connection with the Yugoslav proposal regarding that country.
I presume it is our general position that Albania should be heard in the Conference but not take part as a voting member. This would be reasonable because, whereas Albania does have a cause and has earned the right to defend it, it was not included in the setting up of the Conference, was not technically at war with Italy, and it does not now have official relations with most of the twenty-one states, including, notably, ourselves.16
Between the wars, the Albanian people and Government were exceptionally friendly to the United States. No small part of their sentiment toward us was based on the fact that the United States intervened on Albania’s behalf at Versailles, and it is a popular conception among Albanians that if it had not been for President Wilson Albania would have been “partitioned” and ceased to exist as an independent state. That small reservoir of good-will is still there, despite the anti-American attitude of the Tito-like Hodza [Hoxha] regime, and it may still be useful to us. This sentiment would, of course, be largely dissipated if the Albanians found we were opposed to their being even heard this time.
Other pertinent facts are that, as you know, Albania was invaded and occupied and put up a continuing resistance against, first the Italians, and later the Germans. Hoza’s [Hoxha’s] Communist-dominated resistance group edged to the forefront just as Tito’s did in Yugoslavia. Since our diplomatic relations were severed after the Italian [Page 830] occupation, formal relations with the Hodza [Hoxha] regime required a positive act which we have not yet taken. Actual Albanian participation in the Conference would simply mean another stooge vote and make it more difficult to accomplish anything. An Albanian hearing at the Conference is probably not very important with respect to the Italian treaty, but is important with respect to the fantastic territorial claims which Greece will undoubtedly endeavor to put forward.
- This memorandum was directed to Mr. Matthews.↩
- Secretary Byrnes set forth the U.S. position on Albania’s desire to participate in the Peace Conference at the 9th Plenary Meeting, August 9; an extract from the Verbatim Record of that meeting, including Byrnes’ statement, is printed in vol. iii, p. 163. For documentation on U.S. efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the Albanian regime, see vol. vi, pp. 1 ff.↩