Memorandum by the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Secretary of Defense1


Subject: United States Objectives in Albania.

In accordance with the request contained in your memorandum of 20 October 1949, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have formulated the following comments on the State Department policy paper on Albania which you enclosed:2

The Joint Chiefs of Staff are fully in agreement with the memorandum which was furnished the Deputy Under Secretary of State by your office on 11 October 1949, and which in fact stated a short-range United States objective in Albania. In support of this memorandum, they suggest strengthening of Section I of the policy paper by including in the basic long-range United States objective toward Albania the thought that not only should that government be responsive and responsible to the will of the Albanian people, but also it should be not unfriendly to the United States. In order for the policy paper to be consistent with this thought, a statement should also appear in Section I to the effect that the foreign influences supporting the Albanian Government should be not unfriendly to the United States. This matter is important because of United States military interests in Greece, the Free Territory of Trieste, and in the lines of communication thereto.

There have been reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that recent Soviet military activities in Albania are believed to include continuation of Greek guerrilla training, organization of guerrilla units for employment in Yugoslavia, establishment of military installations [Page 324] along the Albanian coast, and the establishment of an advanced base for submarines in the Valona Bay area. The latter would be of use at this time in connection with sea-borne guerrilla operations against Greek and Yugoslav islands. In view of these reports, there is little hope for improved conditions for peace to be derived from the recent cessation of large-scale Albanian-based operations against Greece. Consequently, while the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not advocate direct enforcement action against Albania under United Nations auspices, they wholeheartedly endorse steps on the political level for the purpose of deterring the Albanian people from participating in or supporting further breaches of the peace and security of the Balkans.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff understand that the United States Government has already participated in the denial of Albanian representation on two international bodies, namely, the International Routing and Reporting Authority, and the Mediterranean Zone Board of the International Central Board for Mine-Clearance of European Waters. In continuance of this policy it is recommended that the following subparagraph be added to the section of the policy paper entitled “Suggested Present Action to Obtain Foregoing Objectives,” and that the succeeding subparagraphs be appropriately renumbered:

“(1) Utilization of U.S., U.K. and French influence to prevent Albanian participation in international organizations during the Hoxha regime.”

In the interest of our taking full advantage of changes in the Balkan situation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff further suggest the addition of a new subparagraph in the policy paper along the following lines:

Because of the possibility of internal dissension within Albania and in view of the extremely unstable situation throughout the Balkans generally, United States action to achieve its objective toward Albania should be kept especially flexible.

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Hoyt S. Vandenberg

Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
  1. The source text was transmitted to Deputy Under Secretary of State Rusk under cover of a brief transmittal letter of November 18, 1949, from Maj. Gen. J. H. Burns of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In a reply to Burns dated December 28, 1949, not printed, Rusk observed that the suggestions made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in their memorandum had been substantially incorporated into a redraft of the Department of State policy paper on Albania (the earlier draft dated September 21 is printed as an attachment to Thompson’s memorandum of his conversation with British Minister Millar on October 18, p. 320) with the exception of the recommendation that American, British, and French influence be used to prevent Albanian participation in international organizations during the Hoxha regime. Rusk explained the Department’s view as follows:

    “It may be desirable to oppose Albanian participation in certain international organizations, particularly those of the type mentioned in the Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum. However, since a rigid policy of exclusion might possibly complicate rather than assist efforts to achieve the objectives set forth in the paper, for political reasons it seems desirable to maintain a flexible policy on this point.” (711.75/11–1849)

  2. Not printed.