The Role of the Enquiry Commission in the Decision-Making at the League of Nations regarding the Albanian Issue

By Çali, Deona | Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review, April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

The Role of the Enquiry Commission in the Decision-Making at the League of Nations regarding the Albanian Issue


Çali, Deona, Studia Politica; Romanian Political Science Review


Introduction

The situation in Albania steadily worsened in 1919 since the Paris Peace Conference (1919) did not give the Albanian issue a resolution. Italy was still determined to keep Vlora and the mandate over Albania. This determination gave the possibility to Greece and Yugoslavia to raise claims regarding Albania and the reports that Italy was ready to accept these claims, along with the failure of the Albanian delegation to the Peace Conference to achieve recognition of the legitimate demands of Albania, rose anger in the country. At this time in the north agitation had started against the Italians, while the interim government press reported Venizelos-Tittoni Agreement which committed both parties, Greeks and Italians, to of Durrës had been inclined to cooperate with them (on the basis of the declaration of General Ferrero), thus the people lost the confidence1. During the celebration of the Independence Day of Albania in Vlora, on November 28th, 1919, there were incidents which increased popular anger. During this time, the Greek support the each other's Peace Conference claims, news that raised discontent in the country2. Albanians frustrated by the fluctuations of European diplomacy to resolve their problems, decided to revive their political lives by collecting Lushnje Congress. On January 28th, 1920 in Lushnje was convened a National Congress headed by Sulejman Delvina whose purpose was "full Independence and the protection of the homeland"3. In this way with the presentation of the program, the Congress declared in front of all civilized humanity that Albania had only one request: "we are looking for justice and that should be given to us"4.

At the opening of the Congress there was expressed the wish that the Albanians could live in friendly the common will of the Albanian nation and change its policy towards the Albanian issue, harmony with their neighbors. Regarding Italy, in the opening it was hoped that the latter would take into account renouncing previous policies and defending the independence of Albania. In the opening, gratefulness was expressed toward President Wilson5.

The Albanian government after the Congress of Lushnja and Vlora War focused on reasserting that the decisions of 1913 had the purpose of recognizing the independence and borders. Thus facing the pressure in both North and South, Albanians were aware that they had a defense at this moment. The League of Nations represented for Albania the only body where its problems would be recognized internationally.

Albania was admitted in the League of Nations on 17 December 19206. It became a member of the League with the condition that the admission would not affect at all the next decision of the Conference of Ambassadors in relation with its borders7. The activity for admission began with Sulejman's Delvina cabinet. Few days before the admission, respectively on 10 December, Delvina's cabinet was replaced by Vrioni's one8. Despite the fact that the government representatives were invited to take part in the main bodies of the League of Nations, the government was not recognized. The governments which had voted in favor of Albanian membership in the League decided not to recognize or establish normal diplomatic relations with it. In the beginning of March 1921 Vrioni's cabinet wrote to the Prime Ministers of Power members of the Conference of Ambassadors, respectively Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan requesting to establish diplomatic relations with them, but however, that was an unsuccessful act9. The cabinet made efforts in April and May 1921 for the achievement of friendship agreements with Greece and Yugoslavia, but those efforts were also without result10.

Even after the admission of Albania in the League, the Serbian and Greek troops continued to keep the Albanian territories under occupation. In a tense situation with its neighbors, Vrioni's cabinet, based on the right given by article 15 of the League of Nations, addressed to the Secretary-General of the League an appeal to invite Greeks and Serbs to retire from the territories unjustly occupied by them11. …

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