By Hysen Selmani
Part twenty three
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 Bird, the King of the Albanians.
Continues from last issue
Istanbul, November 20, 1940
The meeting of the Albanian representatives with the Turkish governors will remain interesting for this day. “His Majesty,” says the adjutant, “King Zog, orders our minister, Asaf Xhaxuli, to immediately go to Ankara, where there is a letter for President Ismet Inonue. The letter is in the British embassy in Ankara and there it will be delivered to the minister Xhaxhuli. The latter, upon receiving it, must present it to the President and contact the King in London by phone from Ankara.”
Thus, Minister Xhaxhuli immediately left for Ankara. “And as soon as he entered the British ambassador, the letter was immediately delivered to him. It must be said that the ambassador received him very well, but he did not have time to talk. They left it for the next day, that he would appear at the Palace of the President of the Republic and immediately, to request an audience with His Excellency, Inonue”.
The President of the Turkish Republic, His Excellency, Ismet Inonue, immediately received Minister Xhaxhuli and he presented King Zog’s letter to him. As he read it, he said: “Mr. Minister, we are well aware of all the efforts that King Zog is making in London, alongside the British Government, as well as the Greek Government. So, until the King resolves there is nothing you can do about this problem in London. It is hoped that the demands of King Zog will have a lot of room with the British Government, because it must be accepted that it is doing the war, and no one else. The whole thing depends on that. And we never lack your support.
The Turkish Government assures you of its support regarding the opportunities we have today, both with Great Britain and the Greek Government, and we will follow the situation that develops. We are allies with Great Britain, but the conditions of the cases will be seen. And if they go to war, then you don’t need to be our ally. But today, however, you must try to work with the English.”
Asafi returned very satisfied from the reception and conversation with the President of the Turkish Republic, His Excellency, Ismet Inonue. Everything he said to the President, he submitted to the King immediately, from Ankara, through the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Of course, with a number, than with the phone, it was not possible to understand well”.
Mehmet Konica said: “King Zog’s telegrams and letters clearly show us the Greek intentions. But the fault is that if Italy had stayed a little longer, and not for the British aid, the Greek Government would have accepted as it accepted the day of before the war with joy, allied Albania, in the common war. But now, he sees no need and is benefiting from the announcements and posters, which he is pouring out by the millions, among all the countries of Albania. By developing propaganda, both the name and the King Zog are in Athens, etc. Today we have a hard time denying that we empower the enemy in front of the people.
So we have no other way, except what the King is doing without measures, where it is hoped that Great Britain will find. So, it is the agreement with the Greeks that they give up those unreasonable and unrealizable claims that today we fight fascism together, in the same interests. The war is now going in favor of Greece. The Italian army does not advance. It seems they are retreating. They are very demoralized and it is seen that there is a rift between the army and the fascists. The occupied villages will soon be released, being organized north of the Albanian-Greek border. They have no faith in the Albanians and in what is supposedly theirs”.
Istanbul, December 8, 1940
His Majesty, King Zog I, sends you a telegram with instructions to Colonel Salman and Asaf Xhaxhuli. The telegram in this case is:
“Colonel Husein Selmani, His Excellency, Asaf Xhaxhuli, at the Albanian Legation in Istanbul.
I understood well, all your reports stop. I am doing my best to establish our right, as the stop deserves. Do not take any action until the regular Alliance Agreement with equal rights is approved. Always in brotherly harmony, with the Turks stops. I am very pleased with the behavior of all our compatriots in Yugoslavia stop. Thank you.
London 8 December 1940 BIRD I
We received an urgent report from the Groups in Yugoslavia. Where do they say that the messengers today returned from the mission that they had sent to Albania? They have had contact with many of our people, apart from the centers and officers. The messengers, according to the memories of the adjutant, describe us textually like this:
1-The Italian army has reached the peak of demoralization, so much so that they don’t want to fight. They loosen the lines of resistance effortlessly. And, they are drawn completely in disorder, in lines. “Mokër-Tersove – Gore – Hani Këlcyrës – Jug Tepelene – Gusmare”. It is said that this line must be defended at any cost. New divisions were brought in and along this line; great defensive works were carried out. And, this line will only come when it is destroyed from behind, because the Greeks will not be able to advance with any palm, without the cooperation with the Albanians. For the Greeks, this will be an uncrossable line and new weapons will be brought to us from Italy.
2 – Mussolini came to Albania. Completely invisible, he stayed one night in Elbasan, and went directly to Tepelena. It has not been banned at all in Tirana. He had General Cavalere and General Parion with him, he visited all the resistance lines; Moker-Account. He tries to raise the morale of the army and has brought in large quantities of war materials from Italy. The reporter says that when I returned I went to Martanesh and then I wanted to go to Librazhd. But they told me that they have taken great measures that Mussolini came to Elbasan. He was completely undictated and did not stay in Tirana for a single day. He immediately returned to Italy.
3- The Greek army, advanced without any obstacles, up to these current lines, where it is now in the following lines: “Starove – Hudenisht-Vaskop – Vithkuq and Leskovik – Delvine – Himarë”. The Greek army grew morally and now possesses modern war materials. It is almost superior to those of Italy, but now, they are left behind and cannot progress, because the winter has also damaged them.
4-The Greeks, both in Korçe and in Gjirokastër, have put up their flag. Many British officers were dictated to within them. Major Hill and Major Kripsi are among them. They are well known and make propaganda that Korça and Gjirokastra can remain in Greece. It was said that Zeko Borshi, being in opposition to the Greeks for the Greek flag in Gjirokastra, was killed by them along with some other friends. All of them had fought since the first day that Greece was conquered by the Italian army, for the Greeks. They even joined them, sabotaging the Italian army. But the Greeks, in the countries they have occupied, behave very badly.
5- It is persistently spoken among the people that the Greeks will not be helped. But, if the Greek atrocities against the Albanians are proven, because this progress of the Greek army up to this point is dedicated to the sacrifices of the Albanians, in the support you gave to their army, no Albanian will help them anymore. “Well, this line, they don’t have to cross it. Here the Greek bravery will be seen, which without the Albanian help, they have no palm to walk with. So, until they make friends with an equal alliance with Albania, respecting those Albanian rights with its 1913 borders.
6- The Greek words and attitude in Korçe and Gjirokastër, in case this Greek insolence continues, will force the Albanians, along with the Greeks, by throwing them outside the Albanian-Greek border. It is understood that, of course, this is beyond the Albanian desire, that they want a sincere brotherhood with the Greeks, and to fight the common enemy, fascism. Immediately throwing the Italians into the sea, in a Greek-Albanian alliance. But, they gave you all the orders not to resemble such an action in any way. That these leave us in a bad position next to Great Britain. It will be discussed with the British in London to stop the Greek actions against the Albanians. His Majesty the King is always in talks with the British Government. Do not do anything against the Greeks.
Versace Diber, Valjeva
Mustafa Gjinishi, Akif Lleshi, Colonel Kucuk Ullogaj
Shaban Tirana, Shaqir Dema, Major Murat Basha
Kadri Vasili, Jusuf Selmani, Captain Hamza Drini
Hasan Reçi, Mehmet Ali Bajrakt, Captain Abdulla Ymeri
Abedin Çiçi, Zejnun Binaku, Captain Shyqyri Baftiari
Mustafa Kaçaçi, Himçe Kaba, Captain Myslim Tushi
Ibrahim Farka, Haxhi Lleshi, Captain Kadri Rustemi
Versace December 22, 1940 Diber
This very important report was presented to His Majesty, King Zog, in London, verbatim. “Although, – writes the adjutant – we have ordered that in no way, an undesired act against the Greek army should be proven. Because, the talks in London are done by His Majesty, King Zog I and the British Government and that Yes, our Prime Minister, Koço Kotta, is in Athens and has told you to stay calm, and to organize yourself “so that when you receive the action orders, fraternally with the Greek allied army, you will act against fascism, since it is an enemy of common”.
Against these propaganda and annexations of Greek barbarism, in the Albanian lands, as well as the executions of our officers, who fought side by side with the Greeks, against the Italian army, these actions are intolerable. But it is good that the Albanian Government also gives a note to the Greek Government. Putting it in facts, everyone behaves in the Albanian lands. The Greek soldiers are completely hurting the Albanian people. And, as you know, enemy propaganda takes this as a winning weapon, to spread them even more than they are and to take measures.
Of course, by making them aware of the harshness of the people against these actions. And, it is understood that, if the Greek army does not give up on these bad behaviors in the Albanian people, then, unpleasant and undesirable things may also happen. Things that we have not wanted and we want, with the army, Greek brother. Regardless, we want to bond closely and fight the common enemy, honestly and with allies.
All these, in detail, they presented to King Zog I, in London. Likewise, a copy of the decision of the Albanian Royal Government, in exile in Istanbul, was immediately sent to the Albanian Prime Minister, Koço Kotta in Athens, for the Greek Government.
And we are waiting for telegraphic instructions from His Majesty, King Zog I, in London, to send messengers to Albania as soon as possible with the instructions, to calm the nerves of the people, against the barbarism of the Greek army. So, no small action should be taken against the friendly and allied Greek army, and don’t be deceived that these are more the propaganda of the fascist enemy. The same report was presented to the Turkish government and our minister, Asaf Xhaxhuli, went to Ankara as soon as possible.
There, he was immediately received by the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Ismet Inonue, where he presented all the events caused, during the years occupied by the Greeks, in the Albanian lands. On this occasion, they also printed some stamps with the view of Korça and Gjirokastra, declaring that; these are greek. They also did not take into account the irritation and anger of the Albanian people against the Greek army. Of course, this is also helped by the Italians.
President Inonue, through the Turkish embassy in London, Teufik Rushdi, referred to the King in London and said: You must order all your people, and the entire people, that in no way, any action against the Greek army; don’t forget that this act is in a very bad position. Losing every right near the allies, when the Puppet Government is put into action, what fascism has done in Albania? And by all means, stop a bad thing against the Greeks. Memorie.al
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