British government: We will not react to the invasion of Albania on 7 April 1939
BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, NEVILLE CHAMBERLAINThe British Government's meeting of 10 April 1939.
Albania was captured within a few days by fascist Italy, 75 years ago, on April 7, but the European powers did not react at all. The key state in this situation was Great Britain, which should take a stand, but with the invasion of Albania, the British government increased its positions without much concern about Albania. Unlike public opinion and media in England, which strongly condemned the Italian attack, the British government tackled the situation differently to increase more security for British interests in the Mediterranean. The newspaper "Panorama" publishes today the record of the British government's urgent meeting after the occupation of Albania. This meeting took place on April 10th, 3 days after the start of the invasion, because ministers and English Premier were on vacation. The British served the invasion of Albania to cement their position in the Mediterranean with countries such as Turkey, Greece, and the withdrawal of Italian troops from Spain and Frank and some other islands. But regarding the case of Albania, the British Foreign Minister reported that the Italians claimed political independence for Albania, a similar situation that Egypt had for the British. "The Secretary for Foreign Affairs later read a telegram from our ambassador to Rome (No. 304) about his conversation and Container Ciano, who had just returned from Tirana. This conversation reiterates the guarantors that Mr. It collapses in connection with the withdrawal of Italian troops from Spain, including the Balearic Islands. The ambassador made clear to Ciano Contax how strongly public opinion reacted to the Italian action. It seemed that Italy is considering an agreement with Albania under the model of our treaty with Egypt, "it says in the record of the meeting of the English government. Further on, Ahmet Zogu's Albanian government protests are reported. "On Saturday evening, the Foreign Minister also met with the Albanian Ambassador who submitted a protest note against the action taken by the Italian government in violation of all voluntary voluntary international treaties that have been received and signed by governments, and appealed to the British government to do its utmost to help this small nation, desperately trying to defend its territory. The secretary replied that he would not miss a moment to address this issue in the cabinet, while the Albanian ambassador added that he hoped that at least Albania could receive moral support from the British government, "the document says.
FULL DOCUMENT Summary of cabinet meeting, April 10, 1939, 11:00 am International situation: Albania Prime Minister expressed regret that interrupted his colleagues' holidays, but in such conditions it was inevitable the meeting of the cabinet to hear more information the latest and analyze the situation. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said that members of the cabinet may not have seen letters yet and are not familiar with the numerous conversations he has done in majority with recent representatives of various countries, though they will feel familiar with the overall course of events, as reported in the media, beginning with Italy's holiday from Italy on Friday's good Friday. He met with ambassadors of France and the US on Saturday afternoon, April 8.
The second sees the case more or less in our view and, to add, sees Italian action, in a way, as a counter-response to the pact between England and Poland. The secretary of state added that since Saturday has collected a series of data, which make it to evaluate that the response theory is probably not quite accurate, while it has become clear that before the invasion of Albania Italy did not give very little Germany's announcements for its purpose, while Germany is not entirely happy with the Italian action. The prime minister added that it seems clear that this invasion was planned long ago and before the Anglo-Polish pact was signed. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said that the US ambassador affirmed that he would make efforts to keep the press in his country as comfortable as possible and to try to ensure that criticism on this issue do not turn to and guilty of England.
On Saturday evening, he also met with the Albanian ambassador who handed over a protest note against the action taken by the Italian government in violation of all voluntary international treaties that were accepted and signed by governments, and appealed that the government British people do their utmost to help this small nation, desperately trying to defend its territory. The secretary replied that he would not miss a moment to address this issue in the cabinet, while the Albanian ambassador added that he hoped that at least Albania could receive moral support from the British government. The Secretary of State said at the conference he held with the ambassadors on Saturday, expressed the view that it would be impossible for Britain to undertake a strong line than Yugoslavia is prepared to undertake.
At this point it is not in our duty to plunge all Europe into war for Albania, given the great interests Italy has in Albania, which are already known. However, he thinks this episode showed how necessary we are to take steps to reach agreement with Greece and Turkey, which would make it clearer that we will not tolerate any interference in these two countries. On Saturday evening, Mr. Crolla, Italy's job-maker in Britain, urged to wait urgently. Mr. Crolla said that Mussolini was surprised by the tone of the British press but also by the communiqué issued after the meeting of ministers, highlighting the part for "some dark and unclear sides about the situation". Further, Mr. Mussolini wanted to make some comments in order to clarify the situation. These points are as follows: 1-Italian interests have become known for a century in Albania and are clearly recognized by the Conference of Ambassadors. Italy's colossal expense in Albania 3-King Zog has betrayed his people. The treaty provided by Italy provides Albania's political independence. 4-The Italian government's assistance to Albania has been many in many elements for Albania. 5-Yugoslavia and Greece are quite quiet. The 6-Anglo-Italian agreement last April is not prejudiced. 7-The invasion of Albania will be carried out in a few days with the full consent of the Albanian people.
Mr Crolla added that personally he is worried by the behavior that newspapers may have on Sunday's number. In this way it may be suggested that the Anglo-Italian agreement should be denounced or that the British ambassador withdraws from Italy, or that Great Britain must conquer the island of Corfu. Finally, he said the Italians would not threaten Greece's independence and that any British invasion of Corfu would create risky reactions.
At this point, Secretary of State interrupted Mr. She collapsed and said she should take the idea that Britain could invade Corfu. This will not be the pattern of action we undertake but that we will take a threatening stance if any country attempts to conquer Corfu. He added that he was looking for him. It crumbled away any doubts, and if the political situation in Albania would change completely from what the Italians claimed, starting from the Anglo-Italian agreement it would be difficult to guarantee the security that was given to us. Mr Crolla appeared somewhat embarrassed to this question and was pleased to say the circumstances could have changed but he also referred to a Daily Telegraph news about withdrawing Italian troops from Spain and said there was no doubt Mr. Mussolini will keep the promises given to us in this matter. In this regard, the Secretary of State had made it clear that nothing would help them more in promoting good relations between Italy and Great Britain than commitments for the withdrawal of Italian troops from Spain be quick and thorough.
Following, the Secretary said that at 11: 15, Sunday morning, April 9, he met with the Greek ambassador, who had informed him of a report Italy had proposed to occupy Corfu between 10 and 12 April. He added that Greece would resist any Italian assault by the force of arms and had advised it that the British government maintain the same position. The secretary told him that he would report the matter to the government meeting. He also told the Greek ambassador that Mr. Crolla had informed her of a night before that Greece and Yugoslavia were quiet and told the conversation she had with Mr. It collapses over Corfu. He added that he would take steps to see what response he could give to the Greek government, but what can be assumed is that the British government will take a strong stance on this issue.
* * * At 11:30 on Sunday, the Secretary held a second conversation with Mr. Crolla, who reported that the Duce, given the previous night's conversation, was eager to give us the information below. First, the occupation of Albania was developing peacefully and with the enthusiasm of the population. Secondly, Albania's future status would have a character consistent with Rome's legal traditions.
* * * Third, that Italian volunteers in Spain will retreat after a military parade in Madrid. Fourthly, a crisis in Anglo-Italian relations would be a pity.
* * * The war on Albania's case is not worth breaking the relations between Great Britain and Italy. He told Mr. Crolla was grateful for this message and noticed that despite being informed by him the day before that Yugoslavia and Greece were quiet, he now had information that the Italian action had worried the Greek government and voices rumors that Italy is planning to catch Corfu. Mr Crolla replied that this was the first time he had heard such a hint and that under his responsibility he gave assurance that this was not at all the goal of Italy. However, the Italian government can not allow Corfu, which is a strategic and vital point, to be condemned by any other power or from Greece. The secretary expressed satisfaction with the guarantee given by Italy's boss, but added that "any action of Italy, whatever form to Greece, would send military action to the British government". He (Mr.Crolla) can provide Mr. Minister Ciano that the British government will do everything in its power to help maintain good relations between Italy and Britain. The secretary hoped that Mr. Crolla would report this full conversation in Rome, so there is no possibility of misunderstanding on this issue.
* * * Greek Ambassador who asked for a meeting at the Foreign Ministry about the course of events for Sunday afternoon was informed by a Ministry official. The Greek ambassador had said that this answer could hardly be considered a proper response to the Greek government, given what they wanted. Reading the Italian response, he said that this is a long way to securing his government. That is why the Italian government showed all the intentions regarding the Corfu case.
The Foreign Secretary left the idea of acting with Turkey and Greece in its shape to be thought in his mind, besides the signing of a pact of neglect. So we can set the line that, from the recent event that showed how anxiety is the public opinion for the eastern Mediterranean, we want to strengthen the provision in the agreement between Italy and England, which should resolve the issue of the status quo in the Mediterranean , giving maximum support to countries such as Turkey and Greece. He thinks we should inform the Italian government about this action, but that our position should be clearer on this point.
The Secretary of Foreign Affairs later read a telegram from our ambassador in Rome (No. 304) about his conversation and Conti Ciano, who had just returned from Tirana. This conversation reiterates the guarantors that Mr. It collapses in connection with the withdrawal of Italian troops from Spain, including the Balearic Islands. The ambassador made clear to Kontit Ciano how strongly he reacted against public opinion regarding the Italian action. It seemed that Italy is considering an agreement with Albania in the model of our treaty with Egypt. The prime minister said he doubted whether the cabinet could continue to discuss this issue further. He suggested that the Foreign Policy Committee should discuss the two points that were raised this morning. 1) What steps need to be taken to reassure the Mediterranean countries of their position. 2) What steps need to be taken to secure our position on further aggression from Germany. With regard to the second point, it was clear that it was difficult to treat Romania if it was attacked or if you could prevent an attack.
* * * However, we can make it clear that if it is attacked, then we should declare war on Germany. This can act as an obstacle. However, we had always foreseen that any assistance from Romania for us would be dependent on any action on Poland, which would secure war on two fronts. It was a hard time to see how we can take every step without the help of Poland. He suggested with the cabinet's agreement that the Foreign Policy Committee should be asked to review the issue and report it to the next cabinet meeting.
In answering a question, the premier explained that he did not intend that the discussion by the Foreign Policy Committee be limited to these two points, summarized above. There was no objection to the Foreign Policy Committee to take into account the position of Hungary or Denmark. The Cabinet agreed on what the Prime Minister proposed and a meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee was to be held at 4:00 am on that day.