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P. Hodgson, Commander of the British Military Mission to Albania, Jacobs reported:
Finally I feel that unless present regime falls before my report is submitted which seems highly unlikely continued failure of the United States and Great
Britian to recognize will drive it completely into Yugo-Slavia-Soviet fold. Jacobs filed a preliminary summary of the findings of his survey mission on July 1, 1945, and sent a summary report incorporating final recommendations on August 15, 1945. His principal recommendation in each instance was to the effect that recognition should be accorded the present authorities on condition that they undertake to hold elections of a free and democratic nature subject to international supervision in accordance with a joint British-Soviet-American formula; simultaneous recognition by the three Allied Governments would follow as soon as possible. At sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers in London in October 1945, with Jacobs present to assist, arrangements were made for concerted tripartite notification of expeditious recognition of the Hoxha Government. In this connection, the French Government was requested to postpone its recognition of the Hoxha Government until the British-Soviet-American notification had taken place..
The Tripartite Notification of Recognition,
Concerted Allied action on recognition of the Hoxha Government appeared probable and imminent from Washington's viewpoint by the close of business November 8, 1945. That afternoon two telegrams were sent to Tirana to Acting Representative in Albania Harry T. Fultz. The first provided him with the text of the United States note on recognition for Colonel General Enver Hoxha; the second informed him that British and Soviet representatives in Tirana had been instructed by their respective Governments to communicate notes on recognition to Hoxha on November 10, and instructed him to deliver the note of the United States Government on that day.
On the morning of November 10, Fultz, who had received the second telegram but not the first, was compelled to improvise. Brigadier Hodgson, Fultz's British counterpart in the proposed tripartite notification procedure, informed him that Soviet representative Colonel Sokolov had already called on Hoxha at 8:00 a.m.; it was not known whether he had done so by instruction or on his own initiative. Fultz then arranged to accompany Hodgson to his meeting with Hoxha, which took place at 11:00 a.m. At that meeting Fultz handed Hoxha an informal note mentioning the con
certed tripartite notification procedure and then explaining that the United States note on recognition had been delayed in transmission but would be delivered to Hoxha immediately upon receipt; the note would be released to the press in Washington on November 10 as scheduled, however.
Colonel General Hoxha finally received the text of the United States note, delivered by Fultz, on November 12 at 11:30 a.m. By then the Anglo-American team had been placed in an awkward position in the Albanian press. A special one-page edition of Bashkimi on November 10 contained only the unconditional Soviet note signed by Colonel Sokolov, Head of the Soviet Military Mission, and Anglo-American notes of recognition were reported to have been delayed in transit. When Bashkimi's regular four-page edition appeared November 11, separate treatment was given to the British and American notes on recognition, bringing more loss of face to the United States. The process was culminated November 17 when Bashkimi printed side by side the British note on recognition containing one condition and the American note setting forth two.
The Belated United States Note on Recognition
The pertinent paragraphs of the United States note released to the press November 10 (and published in the Department of State Bulletin November 11, 1945), were candid and unambiguous:
The Government of the United States, having considered the request of the Albanian authorities for recognition, has instructed me to inform you of its readiness to enter into diplomatic relations with the existing regime in Albania as the provisional Government of Albania.
In establishing official relations with an Albanian Government, the United States Government desires to act in conformity with the obligations and principles to which it subscribed in the Crimea Declaration on Liberated Europe and accordingly requests assurances that the forthcoming elections for a Constituent Assembly shall be held on a genuinely free basis, with secret ballot and without threats or intimidation; that all democratic individuals and groups in Albania shall enjoy freedom of speech and the right lawfully to present and support their candidates; and that foreign press correspondents shall be permitted to enter Albania to observe and report freely on the elections and the work of the Constituent Assembly.
The Government of the United States also desires that the Albanian authorities shall confirm that the treaties and agreements which were in force between the United States and Albania on April 7, 1939, remain valid. The United States Government, on its part, confirms the continuing validity of these instruments.
Upon receipt of the assurances requested, the Government of the United States will be prepared to proceed with the exchange of diplomatic representatives.
I have also been directed to advise you that the present proposal of the
United States Government with regard to the establishment of diplomatic relations should not be construed as prejudicing consideration, at a later date, of other questions of an international character involving Albania.
I shall be most happy to transmit my Government your reply to the proposals set forth above.
Mutual Accommodation (November 15, 1945) on the
The official Albanian reply of November 15 to Mr. Fultz for transmission to the United States Government, contained one paragraph devoted to the subject of the continuing validity of Albanian-American treaties and agreements, which read in this writer's translation from the original Albanian text:
As for any treaties or agreements which have been entered into between Albania and the United States previous to April 7, 1939, we refer to our letter of November 13, 1945, in which we have requested that we be sent copies of these treaty instruments in order that we may look into them because the majority of the archives of the Foreign Ministry of Albania were burned or stolen by the invaders. However, we hope that this will not cause any delay in the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, so that our Government can quickly take into consideration all the agreements that may exist between the two states.
The last part of the original Albanian text is very misleading, for it meanders like a stream from “treaties” (traktateve) to "agreements” (mareveshjet), and from "countries" (vendeve) to "states" (shteteve). Faced with perhaps a deliberately misleading text, the mission staff translated it in a manner which tended to raise false hopes of Albanian accomodation. This translation, which had the approval of Albanian-speaking Harry T. Fultz, the Action American Representative in Albania, was sent to Washington in dispatch No. 120 dated November 22, 1945. The final Albanian sentence had been split in half, the final Albanian clause rendered in English as:
In this way our government will take over all the agreements which may exist between the two states. The key verb to be translated here is a compound one appearing in the original Albanian test as "marë shpejt në shqyrtim," which means literally "take quickly into consideration." Having rendered these four words as "will take over,” Acting Representative Fultz was committed to an overly optimistic interpretation of the note dated November 15, 1945, signed by Colonel General Enver Hoxha as Prime Minister of Albania:
In paragraph five, the final sentence of which reads, 'in this way our government will take over all the agreements which may exist between the two states', General Hoxha is apparently stating that his government in general will respect treaties previously entered into by the two countries but
seeks the privilege first of knowing specifically to what past governments have committed the country. This position does not seem to diverge greatly from the proposal made by the Department in its telegram no. 109, referred to above.
As a matter of fact, the Department's telegram No. 109 sent to Tirana November 15 may well have evoked the optimistic interpretation from Fultz, because it reflect genuine anxiety about facilitating recognition of Hoxha's Government:
Please inform Gen Hoxha that in view of destruction of Albania State archives and time required for copies of treaties to reach Tirana US Govt is willing, provided Albanian authorities will affirm established principle of international law respecting continuing validity of treaties entered into by former Govts and not legally terminated, to proceed with establishment of diplomatic relations upon receipt of assurances concerning free elections. You should add, however, that in accepting temporary postponement of reply by Albanian authorities confirming validity of specific treaties which were in force between US and Albania on April 7, 1939, this Govt will expect to receive assurances regarding status of these instruments as soon as possible after copies of them are made available in Tirana.
Enver Hoxha Cites a Legal Bar to Assurances
This United States Government offer to accept from Albania authorities in lieu of confirmation mere affirmation, pending subsequent examination of specific treaty texts, of the established principles of international law concerning the continuing validity of treaties entered into by previous Governments and not legally terminated, was transmitted November 17 to Colonei General Enver Hoxha. In his reply dated November 23, Hoxha cited a provision of Albanian law which, he contended, barred assurances by Albanian authorities of the continuing validity of such Albanian-American legal instruments.
The provision cited can be found on pages 4 and 5 of the Official Gazette (Gazeta Zyrtare), No. 1, December 21, 1944, published by the Democratic Government of Albania's Ministry of Press, Propaganda and People's Culture. The provision is actually the second of three operative sections of a decree issued May 27, 1944 in Permet, by the First Session of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council, which this issue of the Official Gazette identified in its Table of Contents as: “Decree of the AFNL Council on Forbidding the Return of Zogu to Albania - No. 3." Major excerpts from this official text are set forth below in this author's translation:
The Anti-Fascist National Liberation
Council of Albania
... Considering the destruction of the country's economy and the placement
The Anti-Fascist National Liberation Council, expressing the will of the
I. That the entry of Zogu into Albania is forbidden until the regime it will have has been decided by the people after total liberation of our country.
II. That all agreements, economic and political, concluded with foreign states be reviewed and those made by the Zogu government which are damaging to the Albanian people be breached and replaced by new ones.
III. That not one agreement and not one international commitment be accepted which was made outside or within Albania by reactionary cliques, whether acting as a political group or as a government.
An Analysis and Critique of Colonel General Hoxha's
Before undertaking an analysis and critique of Hoxha's legal citation, it is appropriate to quote a paragraph providing general coverage of this decree which appeared in an official, authoritative publication issued in