Memorie.al publishes some documents extracted from the secret archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana (already declassified), which deal with a correspondence of the Albanian diplomatic mission to the UN and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana, regarding a request made by US Congressman Joseph Kennedy, the eldest son of US Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who in August 1989, submitted a request to the Permanent Representative to the Albanian Mission to the United Nations, Bashkim Pitarka, asked them to provide him with a visa, as he wanted to come for a visit to Albania, giving occasional explanations about the reasons that forced him to undertake that trip, as well as the concrete plans he had to help the country small Balkan. Who was the mediator who facilitated the meeting between the senior US politician and the Albanian mission to the UN, who was also the first American official expected of them since the end of World War II and the heated debates that took place between them regarding with the reasons presented to him and the negative response and categorical refusal that official Tirana was making to his request…?!
In the late 1980s, when “Western winds” began to blow across Eastern Europe, which “finalized” with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of the borders of some former communist states, such as Hungary. etc., (where crowds of people flocked to West Germany), in communist Albania it seemed that things were standing still and the “waters” were not moving! The opposite was even happening! Thus, unlike most former communist countries in the East who said ok to “Gorbachev perestroika”, supporting and implementing it, Ramiz Alia, the successor of Enver Hoxha, who had sworn to “continuity”, was being held “The word given”, and with his attitudes and statements, such as: “Taraboshi is not shaken by the wind”, Albania is neither Easy nor West “,” I will eat grass, but we do not violate the principles “, etc. it seems that he was sending clear signals to both the East and the West, that those things could never happen in Albania.
And based on these attitudes and statements of Enver Hoxha’s successor, many foreign analysts who followed with special attention and interest the events in the most backward communist small country in Europe, viewed with skepticism the changes that could occur, even for due to the almost half a century of isolation that communist Albania had and that was still going on. Maybe this, also because of the little information they had about what was happening in this small Balkan country, as well as the little interest that the world, or rather the West, was showing for it?! This thesis, that is, the “low interest of the West” towards communist Albania, after the ’90s, was used as an excuse by the former communist leader Ramiz Alia and some of his associates, to justify not only the delay of reforms in the economic and political aspect that happened in Albania, but also the extremely miserable and catastrophic situation where their political line that followed for almost half a century led the country.
Yes, was there really a “little interest of the West” towards communist Albania, at least in the period “post Enver Hoxha” under the leadership of Ramiz Alia?
With the exception of Strauss’s visit to Albania in the mid-1980s and his negotiations that began during Enver Hoxha’s lifetime, there is almost no evidence or other fact to confirm this. At least publicly in the press or in memoir books, by former diplomats and senior officials of the time who, for work reasons, were given the opportunity to deal or negotiate with foreign officials who had expressed interest in communist Albania.
For example. Albanian diplomats at the UN diplomatic mission, where in mid-1989, US Congressman Joseph Kennedy (sucker of the well-known American family and son of Robert Kennedy), made large demarches to visit Albania, promising him concrete help and arguing with convincing facts why he wanted to come to visit and help Albania?! But they, that is, the Albanian diplomatic mission to the UN, after the categorical refusal of their superiors in Tirana, not only did not allow the well-known American politician to come to Albania, but they made all sorts of very absurd pretexts (absurd and for at that time), and did not approve his request?! Even after the prayers and requests of one after another of his letters and meetings, the attitude of the top communist leadership was firm: “Joseph Kennedy, he should not come to Albania”
Regarding these and other events and facts about the request of the American Congressman, Joseph Kennedy, to come to Albania, as well as the debates that he held with the diplomats of the Albanian mission in the UN, this was the first American official they met since the end of the Second World War, etc., we are introduced to a series of archival documents (already declassified), which are published for the first time exclusively by Memorie.al
Information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the request of the American journalist of Albanian origin, Peter Lukas, for the request of the American Congressman, Joseph Kennedy, to visit Albania
- In recent days, the American political journalist of Albanian origin, Peter Lukas has sent a telex in which he says that “American Congressman Joe Kennedy, the nephew of the late president, would like to visit Albania, on September 1”, together with to.
When he was in Albania for a visit, Peter Lukasi called Joe Kennedy “his personal friend and one of the most prominent personalities in American foreign policy, who also influenced the American Congress for the adoption of the resolution on the Kosovo issue.”
Joe Kennedy, the US Congressman, is the grandson of John F. Kennedy and the son of Robert Kennedy, the presidential candidate, who was also assassinated.
We intend, for the time being, to avoid this request, instructing our Mission in New York, to communicate with Peter Lucas and tell him to discuss the matter when our delegation arrives, which will take part in the 44th session of the UN General Assembly.
- The President of the Albanian-American Lobby, Joseph Dioguardi, living in New York, through various patriotic Albanians living in the US, has expressed his desire to come to Albania as a visitor. He was the congressman for the state of New York and now, as a private citizen, he has been put in charge of the Albanian Lobby, which has been created for about 6 months, with the main goal: to propagate the situation of the Albanian people in Kosovo and in the areas of Yugoslavia as a result of the terrorist violence of Serb chauvinism.
He himself is of Arbëresh origin which he propagates, in any case, with pride. He is now politically engaged in directing the activities of the Lobby, which played an important role in the adoption of resolutions against Yugoslavia by the US House of Representatives, as well as by the US Senate. He has numerous recognitions in the U.S. legislative hierarchy. According to the above-mentioned sources, in no public case has he spoken negatively about our country.
Although Dioguardi’s case is a little different from that of Joe Kennedy, because Dioguardi is a private citizen and has the advantage of being of Albanian origin, we think that, for now, we should avoid his request, leaving the possibility open. Our delegation, during their stay in New York, appears to learn more about Dioguard’s person and actions.
Tirana, August 17, 1989
Letter from Congressman Joseph Kennedy to the Albanian Ambassador, Bashkim Pitarka, in the USA
Albanian Committee for Cultural Relations
Friendly with the outside world.
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
CHAMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES
WASHINGTON DC 2015 September 5, 1989
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador
Permanent Representative of the RPS of Albania
Near the United Nations
Dear Ambassador Pitarka,
I am writing to you with respect to express my strong interest in visiting your country.
As a member of the United States Congress from Boston, the state of Massachusetts I am interested in Albania through my friends from the Albanian community here. The Albanian-Americans have made a great contribution to our nation, and I am confident that a closer relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Albania would be to the advantage of both countries.
The purpose of my trip will be to better understand the culture, history and needs of your country and to reach a greater understanding of the United States. Through a mutual commitment and agreement, we can explore the possibilities for opening some economic and cultural ties between Albania and the United States. For example, we could agree on an exchange from both countries of steering groups in the field of business, academics or cultural organizations. Such trips could be used to further identify opportunities for developing mutually beneficial relationships.
I believe that the Albanian people have a lot to offer to the people of the United States and I would like to visit your country so that we can start a dialogue. I would hope that such a trip could be arranged for a period right there at the end of this year or early next year.
Thank you for reviewing my request. I would be pleased to meet with you in person, Mr. Ambassador, when you have the opportunity to discuss this further.
Joseph P. Kennedy II
Member of Congress
Instruction from Tirana: Joseph P. Kennedy, not to come to Albania
President Kennedy’s nephew, Joseph Kennedy not to visit Albania. It can be expected at the meeting by the ambassador if he requests and to be correctly told that this wish for known reasons of the degree of relations with the US is not realized at present (from the US we do not see any gesture towards Albania to justify a visit to such).
- Former Senator De Guardia if he wants to come, since he is an Arbëresh, his request can be seen.
- Officials of American and Soviet international organizations should not be accepted to come to Tirana.
Information of Ambassador Pitarka to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tirana regarding the request of the Congressman, Joseph P. Kennedy, who insisted on a visa to Albania
Prot. Nr. 383 New York, me 15.10.1989
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
T I R A N Ë
Attached we send you the documents:
Information “On the request of the American Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II to visit our country and his meeting in the mission worked by comrades Bashkim Pitarka and Sazan Bejo;
Information “On the general debate of the economic and financial commission”, prepared by sh. Kadri Cenko.
On the request of Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II to visit our country and his mission meeting
As it is known, in July of this year, the journalist of Albanian origin from Boston, Peter Lucas, sent a telegram to Tirana, asking him to help the member of the US Congress, Joseph P., to pay a private visit to our country. Kennedy II. On September 5, 1989, US Congressman Joseph Kennedy himself, in a letter to the head of our mission to the UN, Bashkim Pitarka, presented his request to pay a private visit to Albania, arguing his desire to see recognized our country as a friend of the Albanian-American community of his state electorate in Massachusetts and to “open a dialogue to explore opportunities for establishing economic and cultural ties between Albania and the United States.”
Insisting on his request to make this visit, Congressman J. Kennedy telephoned our mission and asked to speak to the head, and since the latter was not on the mission he begged him to return the call. Sh. Bashkim Pitarka, according to the instructions, got on the phone and after hearing again the request of Congressman Kennedy, to organize a visit to Albania, he told him briefly that for now this visit could not be realized and that since he could not give explanations on the phone any more detailed, was willing to welcome the congressman to the mission meeting when he was presented with the opportunity to come to New York. In fact, the congressman requested the meeting a few days later through his friend, journalist P. Lukas.
On September 13, 1989, we received at our UN mission headquarters in New York a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Joseph P. Kennedy II, a representative of the state of Massachusetts. In the meeting he was accompanied by two Albanians, P. Lukas and Lul Theodhos, as well as by his executive assistant James E. Mahoney. Bashkim Pitarka and the first secretary of the mission, Sazan Bejo, participated from our mission.
Congressman J. Kennedy, after thanking us warmly for being received by us in the Albanian mission and expressed his satisfaction for the acquaintance with us, said, among other things: “As I explained in the letter I sent to you some time ago, as well in the conversation I was given the opportunity to have with you on the phone, I have long wanted to go for a private visit to Albania. This desire was born not only from the interest to see a country like Albania, which we do not know much, but also from the friendship I feel for my friends of the community of Albanian origin of my electorate in Massachusetts, who has given and gives a very valuable contribution to our nation. I have also started from my positive and friendly predisposition to contribute to the recognition and rapprochement between our two peoples. I would very much like you to mediate to give me the opportunity to visit Albania, to get to know the people of your country, the culture, history and life and needs of your country, as well as to make a direct contribution to achieving a broader understanding of the US. The time has come to take the initiative to establish ties and contacts to achieve the improvement and establishment of relations between the two peoples of our two countries. This would be to the benefit of both countries. Such an achievement would fulfill the old and very great desire of our Albanian-American citizens, who for a very long time have remained unrelated to their homeland of origin. I am talking here especially about the younger generations, who have grown up without first knowing it. From my Albanian-American friends, I learned about the development of your country and the changes that have taken place there. I have learned that you have achieved a good development of agriculture, education and culture and in other fields; that your country does not have acute social problems, such as crime, unemployment, etc. Above all I have been told that you have a very beautiful place and nature, which I really desire and passion to see up close.
I, continued J. Kennedy, am really a government official, a member of the US Congress, but I still want my visit to be…. / Memorie.al