By Hysen Selmani
Part twenty eight
Memorie.al/ European and American press have often addressed the subject of the memories of the Albanian King, Zogu i-r, which he wrote and dictated during his exile from Albania. Considering the notes and syntheses that his assistant, Colonel Hysen Selmani, compiled over the years in his service, – always, next to the King of the Albanians, both at home and in exile, these notes, more or less with parts of detached, without strictly following the usual criteria of memoirs, and without having the definite, final form of an edition, they are prepared by Hysen Selmani himself, who has dedicated most of his life, as in Albania, as well as during the exile, serving the First Zog, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
“Daily Sketch London” newspaper 17.03.1942
“King Zog gave this interview to the reporter ‘Norman Hillson’, the adjutant remembers. ‘I would like everyone to remember – he insisted – that my country, the small Kingdom of Albania, was the one that first made an attitude of a power armed with the new means of world attack. When it was attacked by Italy, without warning on Black Friday 1939, although we had a non-aggression pact with it, we resisted with war. We had no hope; we had no tanks, airplanes, or artillery, anything to be noted. We were defeated, but at least we tried to resist. We declared war. Albania is at war and will remain at war.” I talked with the King, the journalist is quoted, – and the suggestion that Albania had left behind, taking with it a large amount of money.
The King replied: “I and the Government left with only about 30,000 sterling. This sum was used for the Provisional Government at Istanbul, and for the maintenance of several Legates, of whom only two remained at Ankara and Cairo. This small sum was long since exhausted.
No Albanian diplomat receives a salary now. He is pleased to know that he is working for Albania. I am an expatriate, but I would like to explain my position and the position of all Albanians. We are firmly on the side of the Allies and believe in the final Allied victory. Albania had understood that there could not be a true friendship with Fascist Italy, after the attack against Abyssinia. Their hearts were during the hard struggle and equal to the Abyssinian heroes. In April 1939, Albania was attacked by that same wild zog and after a while, they had the experience of the disaster of the war against the enemy. My compatriots are fighting in the mountains, villages and cities of Albania”.
From Pakistan and Damascus Syria
On September 1, 1928, the full Constituent Assembly in Tirana restored the Albanian Monarchy by electing Ahmet Zogu as the 1st ZOG King of the Albanians. Many countries sent Diplomatic Missions and Albanian legates were placed in the capitals of Europe and America, and other countries in the Orient. And especially in Great Britain. All these are evidence that according to international laws, Albania was an independent state, recognized by the League of Nations. On April 7, 1939, when Fascist Italy attacked Albania, I was in Rome, more than a week ago.
When two days before the attack, the British ambassador told the Italian Foreign Minister, Ciano that; the Albanian issue could change the “Status-quo” in the Mediterranean, as stipulated by the agreement of the two Powers, on April 16, 1938, where he received assurances that Italy would fully respect Albanian independence. Two days after this solemn assurance, the fascist Italian attack against Albania came. When Count Ciano told him that a statement should be made on the Italian attack against Albania, he said that; “The future of the country depended on the will of the Albanian people”. Wasn’t this a mockery for Europe?!
The Albanian Parliament, gathered in the capital in Tirana, decided to resist and entrusted King Zog with the protection of Albania’s interests, according to the Statute of 1928. He also clothed him with the power of representing the state and abroad, together with his Government, to protect the interests of the Motherland. Many protests have been made by the Mohammedan world against the Italian crime and yet the League of Nations closed its eyes.
Being able to recall again with full spirit His Highness, the Aga Khan, who spoke in the name of all Mohammedans and the second of the popular demonstrations, in Damascus Syria. There, where the Islamic Flags were sitting, they gave speeches saying: “There is only one god” and that “Mussolini is the enemy of God”.
London 14.03.1942, Aga Khan
Istanbul, April 8, 1942
For this date, it is remembered that: Turkish Minister, Nexhmedin Sadek, publishes in the newspaper “Akshame”, this article under the title: “A small year, lost inside most of the worries”, where the Turkish official writes that: “Tamam tri years ago, a voice spread throughout the world, the news of a disaster. This voice was that of Tirana radio, which announced to the world that Italy was attacking Albania. Unfortunately, it seemed to the whole world, as small and without importance. It was forgotten, when the fairy asking for help ceased, and no one gave help.
It has been three years since Italy occupied Albania and some understood the importance of the disaster. The Italian installation in the Balkans marked the end of security and peace in this district. Indeed, what Italy was looking for was not the rugged mountains of Albania, but the Balkans. Today, people understand better the reasons for the occupation of Albania. The annexation aimed at the ‘death of Greece and Yugoslavia’, because those two countries did not understand the disaster that befell their neighbor. If Yugoslavia and Greece had people who could understand the situation they were in, if they had enough soldiers, or better not have accepted the policy of annoying each other and, under the cover of the alliance, if were not engaged in the policy of relying on Italy’s treacherous friendship, Italy might not have thought when it set foot on Albania.
It was relieved in this action, being certain that neither Greece nor Yugoslavia would budge. Indeed, both of them failed before the opportunity to give the smallest help to Albania. And, closing their eyes to the danger, they embarked on the path of agreement with Italy. This policy of good neighbors had a short life, this first attack, unfortunately gave birth to the current one. In an article that we published the day after the conquest of Albania, we wrote about Italy’s goal, which is: To use Albania as a way to enter deeper into the Balkans, or do you say that it is possible to have intended to help the Balkans, to stop an attack towards the east.
Neither the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Germans, nor the occupation of Albania by the Italians, is intentional actions in themselves. They are the first preparations for the implementation of a bigger plan at that time. They then realized that such a thing was not a big deal. While the democracies remained inactive and because they were afraid of war, they wanted peace and did not listen to the victims. England and France were unfortunately preparing. But for their current misfortune, making mistakes and making concessions in the Balkans. And yet, Germany intervened. Strange coincidence today was the anniversary of the occupation of Albania by Italy, and yesterday, the anniversary of the German attack against Yugoslavia and Greece. Of course, it has no value to remember, for these bitter memories, but it is necessary to keep them by learning a lesson for tomorrow”.
Istanbul, April 8, 1942 Nexhmedin Sadek
The letter exchange of the King of the Albanians with Faik Konica
“Mr. Cordell Hull made a statement on behalf of the United States last week and Mr. Molotof is doing the same thing today. The Albanians, although their country was the battlefield during the Italo-Greek conflict, have not shown resistance so great. For this they refer to the time when the Italians left their country, in 1920. But this feeblese (weakness) is owed to the Italians, who used the defensive alliance of 1927 as a means to gained full power in Albania, over the country’s economy and small army”.
After a statement from the American State Department, Faik Konica resumed his position as Albania’s representative in 1942. However, this did not last long, because he would suddenly pass away. The Albanian king openly expresses his annoyance, while his place, without any doubt, belongs to Monsignor Noli.
Conference in Persia, Iran, 10.10.1942
The conference of the Allies in Tehran was very enthusiastic and is explained as proof that the Allies got along well, especially in the field of future military operations. Persia received assurances of complete independence and help, as it will find with allies after the war. While in Egypt, the conference between Roosevelt, Churchill and Ismet Inonu, appeared to be quite successful. But it was noted that Turkey came without military experience. The Russians also participated in this conference, although they have an alliance with Turkey.
Churchill met many Allied dignitaries in Egypt and tried to resolve the French and Yugoslav problems. After this conference in Egypt, they dispersed without giving any news, in the decisions made in detail.
Washington, November 20, 1942
The American State Department called Monsignor Nolin and Faik Konica, Chairman of the Pan-Albanian Federation in America “Vatra”. The reason was to express their opinions on how the Albanian Government in exile could be organized. Among the points they noted were:
- Only an Albanian movement, which includes all Albanian personalities, will have the opportunity to call the entire people to do something for the United Nations.
- King Zog is the most important personality in Albania and we Albanians. And his exclusion would strip the movement of its strength.
- That no member of this common front will be forced to give up, until independence and Albanian integrity is ensured, at the Peace Conference. After which, every man will regain his freedom of action.
Mr. Minister, Boston, November 5, 1942
I received your letter of September 27, 1942, and have the honor to inform you that I accept to be the King’s representative in Washington. His Majesty should send a letter to the ambassador of the United States of America in London, begging him to transmit the contents of the letter to Washington. In this letter, he must tell about the painful exception that was made to Albania, not recognizing its Government in exile, and at the same time, Italy’s entry into the war. To make it known, sending an official minister to Washington, but, on the other hand, as will become more evident, that Albania can play a useful role in the near future in the issue of alliances. The King thinks to appoint in Washington as his personal representative, Faik Konica, who has been from 1926 to 1939, the ambassador of Albania to the United States of America.
Something similar would suffice, in my opinion, and to establish my position as an unofficial representative.
I greet you, Mr. Minister, and I assure you of my highest consideration for your person.
His Excellency, Sotir Martini
The representative of M.S. King ZOG I new
The ‘Manchester Guardian’ newspaper on 4th December 1942
By Edith Durham
“Albania, on November 28, 1912, was proclaimed in Vlora for the Independence of Albania. Later, it was recognized by the Great Powers. Even later, Albania was accepted as a member of the League of Nations and its status as an independent state is confirmed.
However, when the small country was attacked by a large and mechanized force, none of the fellow members of the League of Nations intervened to save the small country. The Grand Fleet remained comfortable and the Italian fleet transported troops without any interference. In reality, they offered Albania as a human victim to pamper Mussolini, not remembering that it is impossible to satisfy an insatiable adventurer and giving him more food. What was the result of our action or rather our inaction? The Adriatic became a closed sea for the Axis. And the Italians own their entrance. Until we destroy this situation, the Axis can and certainly does build submarines of any kind in the safety of the port of Trieste (formerly the base of the Austrian Fleet of Pola and Fiume). Meanwhile, Albanians are left in a painful uncertainty about the fate of their country.
Now is the time to rescue them from their greedy clutches and secure their independence, which will be restored and their integrity guaranteed. This alone is enough for an uprising against the Italian striker. Guerrilla warfare, the killing of Italians, and sabotage continue unabated, but the fear is that after the Italians leave, their country may be divided among the Balkan powers. And, this causes an uncertainty among Albanians, inside or outside Albania, about the path to continue. Get rid of this worry! Allow the Albanians to help clean the mouth of the Adriatic from the enemy. Guarantee the independence and integrity of Albania and you will not have more loyal and capable friends than the Albanians. Make sure the Atlantic Map is not a silly card. Let them help open the road that leads to Pola and Trieste”.
Yours faithfully M.E.Durham;
London, 20 December 1942
The sudden death of the distinguished diplomat, Faik Konitza
“The news, very urgent on December 20, 1942 that was given about the death of the patriot and diplomat Faik Konica, King Zog I deeply shocked him. This happened exactly, at this critical moment of Albania. Faik Konica, has been a from the champions of Albanian independence. Writer, who has published since his youth and his publications continued on the subjects of patriotism.
Faik Konica was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary in America in 1926 and remained in office until 1939, the fateful year when Albania was attacked by fascist Italy, on ‘Black Friday’. The last action, after the occupation of Albania by Italy, was that the Department of State recognized Faik Konica, that he could no longer enjoy diplomatic privileges. After there was no longer Albania and the Albanian Legation in Washington, it was closed. It was the period of pampering politics, but until 1939, to please Mussolini. But they didn’t know Mussolini, because he was greedy, and recently, they saw that he joined the war with Germany and now the United States was forced to enter the war against Italy and Germany. Meanwhile, the Albanians, forgotten by everyone, did not stop the war against Italy and always continue in the mountains of Albania.
Finally, Washington and London realized that the Albanians continued to their potential in the war against the Axis and could be a support for the United Nations. Thus came the historic statement of the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, on the 10th of this month. By which, Albania was assured that it will regain its independence, according to the Atlantic Map. King Zog, based on Mr. Hull’s words, reappointed Faik Konica as his representative in Washington and requested his recognition as the Head of the Albanian Government in exile. Faik Konica immediately appeared at the State Department, in the name of King Zog, on this recognition and this was Konica’s last action”.
Mr. Kordell Hull, in his historic statement on Albania, on December 10, said: “In continuation of its well-established policy, the United States Government did not recognize the occupation of land by force, and never recognized the annexation of Albania, from the Italian crown. If this statement has any meaning, this meaning is that the United States will recognize King Zog, and not the King of Italy, as the King of Albania.
Nice gesture, there is another proof that: The State Department’s response will be favorable. The American government decided to send the corpse of Faik Konitza to Albania, when the time will come for the end of the War. Such a procession is usually only given to foreign diplomats who die in active service.
This means that Faik Konica is known as a representative of the Albanian Government and that he died in active service. On the other hand, we greatly appreciate this noble gesture of the American Government and we know that Faik Konica was worth it. It is worth finding constant rest in the country, which served all his life with loyalty and loyalty. Now, the place of the late Faik Konica will be taken back by Magr. Noli, the most suitable person, who has collaborated with Konica and is known in Albanian and World politics. It is hoped that in the Department of State, this will take the place of Konica with a Decree of King Zog. Memorie.al
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