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Revised December 1973
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+ U, S, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1974 0.545-129 (2146)

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article reprint



The People's Republic of Albania:
Shall We Now Enter An Era Of
Negotiation With It After
Twenty-five Years Of Confrontation? +


Reprinted from The International Lawyer, Volume 6, Number 4, October 1972
A Quarterly Publication of the Section of International Law, American Bar Association
Copyright © 1972 American Bar Association


The People's Republic of Albania:
Shall We Now Enter An Era Of
Negotiation With It After
Twenty-five Years Of Confrontation? +

Introduction - How Present Sino-Albanian Ties
Relate to the United States

The People's Republic of Albania is strategically located, and rugged yet vulnerable. Its great importance to world peace despite its small size is best reflected in the graphic sentence contained in a telegram dated September 17, 1968 from Communist Party Chairman Mao, Communist Party Vice-Chairman Lin Piao and Premier Chou En-lai, addressed to Albanian Labor Party First Secretary Enver Hoxha and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Mehmet Shehu, which appeared high on the front page of Peking's official Chinese-language daily, Renmin Ribao:

If the U.S. imperialists, the Soviet modern revisionists and their running dogs dare touch a hair on the head of Albania, nothing but complete, igno

minious and irrevocable defeat awaits them. Those prone to discount such a lopsided Asian-European military link, as at the most merely symbolic, should ponder the message published in the official English-language weekly Peking Review, No. 29, July 16, 1971, alongside the Hsinhua News Agency dispatch, announcing that Premier Chou En-lai and Dr. Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's Assistant for National Security Affairs, held talks in Peking from July 9 to 11, 1971. That message, dated July 9, was from the Minister of National Defense of the People's Republic of China to the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defense of the People's Republic of Albania, on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the founding of the Albanian People's Army, and concluded:

*Mr. Washburn, formerly attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser, Department of State, 1958-1966, and foreign affairs officer (consultant) to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the Department, 1970-1971, is currently a contract Russian language interpreter for the Department's Language Services Division. He was educated at Dartmouth College (B.A. 1946), John Hopkins' University School of Advanced International Studies (M.A. 1947), Columbia University (Certificate of the Russian Institute 1949, Ph.D. 1970) and University of Michigan (LL.B. 1957).

+In view of the very detailed references given in the text of this lengthy article, the author believes footnotes are neither necessary nor desirable. Research for the article was made possible by a grant from the Earhart Foundation, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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Let us, the Chinese and Albanian peoples, unite with the people throughout the world and strive jointly to defeat the U.S. aggressors and their running dogs completely!

A Review of United States Recognition Policies
Toward Albanian Governments: 1921- 1971

Since December 1921, the United States Government has continually been faced with appraisals and reappraisals of various Albanian governments, in order to determine the feasibility as well as the timing of according de jure recognition after considering conditions in that country, the stability of those in authority, existing or prospective American interests there, and whether or not other nations had arranged to accord de jure recognition.

United States conduct towards Albanian Governments, in according and in withholding de jure recognition between World War I and II, as well as during and after World War II, can with the benefit of hindsight provide us with useful clues as to what approach to try in 1972 with respect to the People's Republic of Albania. The instances investigated and reviewed below in considerable detail, are believed to hold the key in charting our future policy in the direction of recognition.

Prewar (1922) Recognition

In July 1922, Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes completed swift action to recognize an Albanian government, in the light of warnings received in April 1922 from Ambassador Richard W. Child at the American Embassy in Rome. He had expressed fear that American interests in Albania would be harmed, should other countries gain early ascendancy there. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover in Washington, had reached the same conclusion after talking with a representative of the Sinclair Oil Company negotiating for an Albanian oil concession. Ambassador Child had concluded:

It is quite possible that if skillfully handled some definite benefit could accrue to American interests through the promise of recognition and the

timely culmination of the event. Secretary Hoover, in his letter dated April 26, 1922 to Secretary Hughes, had pointed to recognition of the Albanian Government by England and Italy, and then asked him “to give serious consideration to the recognition of Albania." By the time (May 22, 1922) Hughes had answered Hoover's letter, help for American interests was on its way in the person of Consul General Blake, formerly Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Tangier. On Blake's recommendation of the "propriety and expediency of immediately according American recognition of Albania," based on the

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commitments in writing favoring American commercial interests made by Albanian Prime Minister Djafer Ypi under date of June 25, 1922, Hughes telegraphed Blake on July 25 that he could extend United States de jure recognition on July 28, 1922.

Prewar (1924) Non-Recognition

A new Albanian government seeking United States de jure recognition between June and December 1924, met with American inaction and was overthrown. Within a week of the public announcement in mid-June of the composition of the Albanian Government headed by Prime Minister Fan Noli, American Minister in Albania, Grant-Smith, had received the Prime Minister, who pleaded for recognition by the United States. The American Minister informed his visitor that American policy in Europe regarding recognition was one of “avoiding the impression of hasty actions.” He then reminded Noli that the prior Albanian régime "had failed to fulfill its promises as to equality of opportunity” and had not yet brought to justice those responsible for the murder of two Americans in Albania on April 6, 1924.

Secretary of State Hughes did no more than authorize Minister Grant-Smith to continue at his discretion to carry on relations with the then present Albanian Government; action constituting de jure recognition on the part of the United States Government was not taken. On October 10, 1924 the American Chargé d'affairs in Tirana reported that the Noli Government was as weak as ever and the Prime Minister remained abroad. He concluded:

I do not believe that it will serve American interests to take up formal relations at present with the Nationalist regime, in view of all the facts and considering that Greece is the only nation represented here which is not

reserving recognition for a more favorable time. On December 25, 1924 Minister Grant-Smith telegraphed the Secretary of State that the Albanian revolution had succeeded, Ahmet Zogu having entered Tirana that morning.

Prewar (1925) Recognition

Following the reconvening of the Constituent Assembly on January 15, 1925 for the purpose of regularizing the new regime, which appeared to American Minister Grant-Smith to be "relatively stable," a Republic was proclaimed on January 21. Ahmet Zogu became its President. In a telegram dated January 22, 1925, Secretary of State Hughes said: “There is nothing to be gained by indefinitely withholding recognition." Nevertheless, he requested certain assurances from President Ahmet Zogu, that more vigorous action would be taken with respect to those Albanians

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