711.75/10–1646: Airgram

The Acting Representative in Albania (Henderson) to the Secretary of State


A–79. Reference Mission’s telegram 517, October 10. Pursuant final paragraph telegram cited, submit following summary of 2-hour talk between Hoxha, Jacobs and myself October 9:

Jacobs stated I would assume charge of Mission in his absence and I was career officer. He then expressed thanks for courtesies and cooperation extended by Hoxha and Foreign Office during his stay in Albania, adding that, although some difficulties had arisen between Mission and Alb government, nearly all had been resolved (with exception of two he would mention later), and he therefore hoped to devote his undivided attention in Washington to major outstanding problem between U.S. and Albania, viz. bilateral treaties. However, [Page 29] he hoped that two pending problems of Mission caretaker’s wife and imprisoned Mission translator could be solved prior to his arrival in Washington because, although issues were very minor from official international standpoint, they loomed large from his personal viewpoint which included smooth functioning of Mission. He then outlined background of efforts to bring Marinschak’s wife from Italy to join husband here, and renewed earnest plea that her entry be approved; and pointed out serious handicap being sustained by Mission through lack of translator who has been arrested several weeks ago and not heard from since.

Hoxha thanked Jacobs for his kind words, on occasion of terminating his mission, regarding himself and Foreign Office, reciprocated compliments, ignored two pending problems, and began to discuss treaty question. He emphasized great concession made by recognizing multilateral treaties, and stated he was waiting for U.S. to extend recognition so that bilateral treaties could be discussed after diplomatic relations had been reestablished and U.S. Minister arrived.

At this point Jacobs called attention to fact that we were awaiting word from Alb government as to outcome of talks recently sustained between Tuk Jakova and officials of State Department, to which Hoxha replied that Jakova’s visit to Department was purely courtesy call during course of which major outstanding problem of treaties had naturally been discussed, but inconclusively since Jakova had no authorization to speak officially or make any decisions.

Jacobs stated reasonableness of U.S. expectations that Albania would recognize validity of bilateral treaties prior to recognition, since he and U.S. Government had shown willingness to recognize Albania nearly a year ago. He mentioned that he had fully expected diplomatic relations to be resumed late in 1945, and was amazed that treaty question had hit unexpected snag at turn of year about same time that attitude of Albanian government had apparently undergone an unfavorable change toward U.S.

Hoxha then skipped treaty question, stated any change in government’s attitude toward U.S. had been imaginary and provoked by unfriendly elements, since Albanian government felt from beginning and continued to feel nothing but friendliness toward U.S., to which Albania was bound by numerous important ties. But, he continued, the U.S. had certainly shown unfriendliness toward Albania by supporting Greek claims to Albanian territory at the Paris Conference, a circumstance which was incomprehensible to the new Albania in view of quantities of blood Albanian partisans had shed fighting for same cause as U.S.

At this point I begged to disagree with Hoxha by stating that U.S. had at no time supported Greek claims to Northern Epirus, to which [Page 30] he countered by saying that according to his sources the developments of the Paris Conference showed conclusively that U.S. had openly supported Greek claims. I replied that we did not know his sources but that I could assure him that I had followed developments at Paris Conference particularly with regard to Albania, with closest scrutiny, and reiterated statement that U.S. had not supported Greek claims. He then said that I must be misinformed because it was a matter of record that U.S. had voted for Greece and against Albania at Paris. I asked him to explain what he meant by this statement; he replied that U.S. had voted in favor of placing Greek claims on agenda of Conference, which was naturally tantamount to voting against Albania.

Next 45 minutes consumed in apparently futile attempt to convince Hoxha that in voting to place Greek claims on agenda we were simply fulfilling our repeatedly announced policy to maintain independence of Albania and to give consideration to any claims for border rectification only at eventual Peace Conference, and voting to place this border question on Conference agenda in no way implied U.S. support for claim. Department may be interested in Hoxha’s reaction to two analogies I drew to illustrate point: 1) I said that in U.S., for instance, concept of justice implied right of anyone to bring charges against anyone else and duty of courts to hear charges regardless of justness of charges; if charges were unfounded, court would quickly discover fact and throw them out without further ado; e.g. if Hoxha wanted to accuse me of being a thief, he would have the right to take the matter to court, where his accusation would be considered regardless of whether I actually was a thief or not. Hoxha’s comment was that the analogy did not apply because I was obviously not a thief, anyway. 2) Trying a closer attack I said: “General, what would your reaction be if Albania sought to have placed on the agenda of the Peace Conference a claim for some region, such as, for the sake of argument, the Kossovo region; and if the U.S. delegation voted against giving Albania the right to air its claim at the Conference? Would you not feel that you should at least have the right to have your claim discussed and studied?” Hoxha’s sole comment on this was “That is not an analogous case because we are not claiming the Kossovo region from our ally Yugoslavia.” Unwilling to give up quite so easily, I stated that as far as allies went Greece had fought just as valiantly with the Allies and against the Axis as Yugoslavia, Albania or any other country, to which he replied that that was very true, and that every true Albanian had cooperated with Greece in its noble fight against the Axis, but that the present Greek government had forgotten this fact and was now denouncing Albania as an Axis satellite and attempting to rob it of half of its already reduced territory.

[Page 31]

At this point, Jacobs made sound observation that to think that U.S. supported Greek claims to Southern Albania would be a contradiction in terms since U.S. had consistently maintained that Albania should remain independent, and if southern half of Albania were to go to Greece Albania could not remain independent.

Jacobs then said that, speaking personally and frankly, he felt that mistakes had been made by both Albania and United States during past year and a half. Albania, preoccupied with urgent problems of establishing stable, secure government, had perhaps overlooked international aspects of its efforts to achieve this; and U.S., preoccupied during same period with numerous international conferences of major import to world peace, had perhaps overlooked importance of small, though strategic, Albania.

In any case, he said, he hoped that treaty question would soon be ironed out so that diplomatic relations could be reestablished. He then reverted to question of Marinschak’s wife and Mission translator, asking that as personal favor to him Hoxha solve these two problems.

Re translator Hoxha said he was unaware of details of case, but that his arrest certainly had no connection with fact he was translator for U.S. Mission; he understood handicap to Mission of lack of translator and promised to see that competent replacement be made available as soon as possible. Re Mrs. Marinschak, he said that difficulty lay in her not being U.S. citizen but instead a national of some satellite Axis state, that she would have to be investigated, and that Marinschak should not feel too badly over separation from his wife since many Albanians in U.S. had not seen their families in Albania for many years. In any case, he said, he would look into both matters and see if they could be arranged shortly.

Interview, whose tone was friendly throughout, ended on optimistic note.