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It is thus that the Congress of Berlin of 1878 first, and the Conference of London in 1913 later, sanctioned the mutilations of the national Albanian territory for the benefit of Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece, mutilations which were all the more iniquitous because they abandoned, without any guaranty, large groups of Albanians that formed a crushing majority in the sacrificed territories.
Let it be permitted to us to observe, in passing, that the superiority of the Greek and Slav civilization, which has been so much talked about, is not very consistent with the systematic persecutions, the destructions and arsons, and so many other horrors perpetrated by the Greeks and Serbians on the peaceful populations of Albania, facts which are sufficiently known by the great Powers not to need any circumstantial recital at this juncture.
As the present Congress is not inspired by hollow formulas, but by real principles of rights which have been acclaimed by the entire world, hope springs again, with just reason, in the hearts of the Albanians.
The claims which the Albanian nation lays before the Congress have for their object the restitution to the Albanian State, whose independence has been recognized and guaranteed by the Conference of London of 1913, of the following:
1. The Albanian territories incorporated in Montenegro as a result of the decisions of the Congress of Berlin and of those of the Conference of London of I9I3;
2. The Albanian territories incorporated in Serbia as a result of the decisions of the Conference of London of 1913;
3. The Albanian territories incorporated in Greece as a result of the decisions of the Conference of London of 1913.
While Albania is setting forth in this manner her just claims, there are rumors in circulation, a little vague, it is true, to the effect that certain of the Balkan States would lay forth new pretenses to the territories which have been comprised within the frontiers of the independent Albanian state as fixed by the acts of London and Florence, which had already committed a flagrant injustice by not taking into account the legitimate rights of the Albanian people. It seems superfluous to demonstrate how iniquitous are these new pretenses, but it is equally necessary to examine the arguments that may be advanced for their justification.
The Serbians have invoked in the past the necessity of an outlet to the sea through the Albanian territory. But this reason does not exist any longer today, inasmuch as Serbia will not lack ports on the Adriatic. In any case, such a commercial necessity was not of the nature of justifying a similar spoliation.
All the statistics presented by the Greeks in support of their claims in Albania are based on a quid pro quo.
In the acts of the Civil Registry, given out by the Ottoman authorities, all the Orthodox Christians of the Empire were called "Roum" (Greeks). This is explained by the fact that all the Christians were under the jurisdiction of the (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople; but this could not mean at all that these Christians were of Greek origin.
It is exactly by making these Christians pass as though they are of Greek origin that the Hellenic government manages to find a certain majority in some parts of Albania. But, according to this account, one should believe that there is not a single orthodox Albanian in Albania.
It is not, then, for new mutilations that the Albanian nation should prepare itself, but, on the contrary, it should seek to see itself reintegrated within its ethnical frontiers, to see the return into its bosom of the large groups that have been taken away from it by violence in the past, to see that its good claims are recognized; and it is this sacred cause that it asks to have sustained before the Peace Congress through the instrumentality of its representatives whom preceding Congresses have never cared to hear.
As is shown by the geographical map annexed to this Memorandum, the ethnographical frontier of Albania starts from the Bay of Spitza (north of Antivari), proceeds toward the northeast, incorporating into Albania the clans of Tousi, Hoti, Gruda, Triepshi, the city of Podgoritza and, following the Montenegrin frontier as it stood before 1912, takes in the district of Ipek, the eastern part of the district of Mitrovitza, the districts of Prishtina, Guillan, Ferizovitch, Katchanik, a part of the district of Uskub, the districts of Kalkandelen, of Gostivar, of Kerchovo, of Dibra, to join the mountain called "Mai i Thate," between the lakes of Ochrida and Prespa. From this point, the boundary follows the frontier drawn in 1913 up to the crest of the Grammos Mountains and continues toward the South in order to end near the Gulf of Preveza.
All the territories situated westward of this frontier constitute the ethnical and historical Albania.
Within the limits of the above mentioned territories there are living about two millions and a half of Albanians, of which nearly a million is to be found within the confines assigned to Albania by the Conference of London in 1913 and one million and a half in the regions ceded by the same Conference to Montenegro, Serbia, and Greece.
After the upheavals that have taken place in Albania during the last years—massacres, emigrations, etc., it is very hazardous to give precise statistics on the actual situation, but one may say,without departing from the truth, that in the regions ceded to the above-mentioned states, the Albanian population forms a majority of 80 per cent, over the Greek and Slav elements. In some of these regions as, for instance, in the districts of Ipek, Jakova, and Prisrend in the north, and in that of Tchameria in the south, the Slav and Greek elements form an insignificant minority.
We are asking for nothing that is not Albanian. We have never aspired to incorporate in the Albanian State groups belonging to other nationalities which might, by their irredentism, provoke troubles that we have every interest to avoid.
We demand the return of the territories that have been taken away from us by the treaty of Berlin and by the Conference of London.
We demand the independence and territorial integrity of Albania, and respect for the sovereign rights of the Albanian people.
We also demand economic reparations for a considerable number of villages burned down by the Greeks in the southern part of the country (Northern Epirus) and for the devastations committed by the armies of the Central Empires during the occupation of the country by their troops. The country being invaded and without government, it has been impossible up to the present time to estimate in a precise manner the amount of the damages. The Provisional Albanian Government which was chosen on December 25 last is drawing up the list and estimating the amount. This list will be submitted to the Congress for examination with the least possible delay.
The Albanian nation desires to work in peace for the development of the resources of its country, to become an element of order in the Balkan Peninsula, and to take its rank among the civilized nations.
The unjust decisions of the past have been an encouragement to greed and have reinforced the conviction that one has but to dare against the weak; they, therefore, became the source of many misfortunes and sufferings.
In providing a remedy for the injustices of the past and rendering to every one what is his own, the present Congress would establish the basis for a durable peace in the Balkan Peninsula where periodical troubles have continually occupied and above all preoccupied the governments of the Great Powers.
Paris, February 12, 1919.