Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Thompson)

Participants: Mr. Hoyer Millar, Counselor, British Embassy1
Lord Jellicoe, Second Secretary, British Embassy
Mr. Llewellyn E. Thompson, EUR

The British Minister came in at my request. I stated that we wished to inform them of the thinking in the Department on the Albanian [Page 320] question in order to be sure that there was no important difference of view between us. I handed him a copy of the Attachéd statement and pointed out that this represented our thinking at the present time, although, of course, it was subject to change in the light of developments.

Hoyer Millar said that offhand he thought British views were completely in accord with ours but that he would be glad to check with the Foreign Office. He said the only point on which he had any question was the last paragraph with respect to Northern Epirus. While he thought the British view was the same as ours, he was not sure whether they had ever made any specific public statement on this point.

Llewellyn E. Thompson

Department of State Policy Paper on Albania1


I. Basic Long Range US Objective in Albania

The establishment of an Albania which is free of foreign domination and whose government is responsive and responsible to the will of the Albanian people.

Admittedly, no Albanian regime, because of the inherent weakness of the country, can be free of foreign influence or independent of foreign support. Moreover, in the foreseeable future, representative institutions can exist in Albania only in a rudimentary form. It is in our interest, however, that foreign influence in the country should not be allowed to take the form of domination, and that it should be directed toward helping the Albanians to govern and to support themselves. We would expect that such developments would make possible good relations between Albania and Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy, respectively, and would orient Albania toward the West.

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II. Short Range US Objectives in Albania

The weakening and eventual elimination of the Soviet-dominated Hoxha regime.
Cessation of use of Albania as a base for guerrilla operations in Greece and possibly Yugoslavia.
Prevention of partition of Albania by Greece and Yugoslavia.
Encouragement of rapprochement between Belgrade and Athens.
Encouragement of rapprochement between Belgrade and Rome.
Denial to the Soviets of military rights and bases in Albania in time of peace which would facilitate the conduct of possible future Soviet military operations.

Suggested Present Action to Obtain Foregoing Objectives

Utilization of US, UK and French influence in Athens to prevent the Greek Army from entering Albania (except in case of a direct military aggression from Albania).
Direction of present UN consideration of the Greek case toward condemnation of, and mobilization of world opinion against, the present Albanian Government in order to weaken its international position, without however going so far as to support direct enforcement action under UN auspices.

Utilization of US, UK and French influence, at the proper time, in Belgrade to prevent Yugoslav military intervention in Albania.

On a recent occasion Tito informed Ambassador Cannon that it was vital to Yugoslavia that Albanian independence be respected, and that Yugoslavia’s chief concern was the danger of action on the part of Greece. Cannon replied that we had given the Greeks strong advice to stay out and that the US had always stood for the independence of Albania.2

The US Embassy in Belgrade need not at the present time take any further initiative in discussing the Albanian situation with the Yugoslav authorities. If the latter should again approach US officials on the subject, the reply should be that the US naturally shares Yugoslavia’s distaste for the present Hoxha regime, but believes that whatever regime replaces it should be freely determined by the Albanian people themselves and not be under the domination of any foreign power. US officials might indicate that they understand Yugoslavia’s [Page 322] basic interest in the future of Albania but would take a serious view of any direct Yugoslav intervention in Albania. They might state that Albanian political refugees throughout the world, in Yugoslavia as well as in Western countries, naturally have an interest in any government which will supplant the Hoxha regime and that the US believes that these refugees should play an important role in determining the future of Albania. This would of course mean that any Albanian group in Yugoslavia, should they so desire, would be quite free to cooperate with the recently formed Free Albanian Committee or any other group of Albanians organized to support the cause of Albanian independence.

Yugoslav authorities, however, should be given clearly to understand that the US would be forced to re-examine its present policy toward the Belgrade Government should that Government provoke, or be mainly instrumental in participating in, a situation in Albania which might involve grave risks of a general conflict in Southeast Europe.

The US and UK Governments should maintain continuing contact with a view to controlling any action on the part of Albanian groups, particularly the Albanian National Committee, presently planning action looking forward to the overthrow of the Hoxha regime, and to having that Committee be as representative as possible.
Maintenance, on appropriate occasions, of our present position in favor of respect for existing frontiers in the Balkans. With respect to the Greek claim to Northern Epirus, we would of course be willing, as we have indicated in the past, to have this claim considered by an appropriate international body at some later time. We should not permit this issue to interfere with the more important immediate objective of ending the guerrilla menace and establishing more normal relations between the two countries.
  1. Sir Frederick Robert Hoyer Millar was the British Minister in the United States.
  2. This paper was apparently prepared in the Office of European Affairs of the Department of State. A copy of this paper was informally forwarded on October 5 by Deputy Under Secretary of State Dean Rusk to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In a letter of October 11 to Deputy Under Secretary Rusk, not printed, Maj. Gen. J. H. Burns of the Office of the Secretary of Defense observed that he could perceive no objection to the use of the contents of the paper in exploratory talks with the British. Burns did, however, suggest that addition of a new paragraph which appears in the source text as Section II, paragraph 6 (711.75/10–1149).

    A summary of the substance of this paper was transmitted to the Embassies in London, Paris, Rome, and Athens in a circular telegram of October 21, not printed (800.00 Summaries/10–2049).

  3. The report under reference here from Ambassador Cavendish W. Cannon in Yugoslavia Was transmitted in telegram 964, September 21, from Belgrade. For text, see documentation on the interest of the United States in the conclusion of the Greek civil war and the solution of the dispute between Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania scheduled for publication in volume vi.