THE <<NAIM FRASHERI>> PUBLISHING HOUSE
C O N T E N T S
WITH TITO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tito's unexpected invitation to go to Belgrade * Official talks between the Albanian and Yugoslav delegations. Discussion of the question of Kosova and the other Albanian regions in Yugoslavia * Tito aims to gobble up the whole of the Balkans * Policy of extermination in Kosova * Tito's haughtiness and scandalous luxury * About the visits in Croatia and Slovenia * Ceremony in the Presidium of the Yugoslav Skupstina * A meeting with Tito in Bled. <<Nas Tito>> or <<Duce a noi!>>?- On the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid * <<Aid>> in driblets.
TITOITE AID -- CHAINS FOR THE ECONOMIC AND
FRIENDS OR PLUNDERERS?! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Grave situation of our economy after Liberation * The friends leave us to fend for ourselves in our poverty * Market sharks, generous in <<advice>> and <<orientations>> * The bitter history of the AlbanianYugoslav Economic Convention. On the problem of the parity of the currencies, the removal of tariff barriers, the joint companies, the unification of prices. Our objections to the true nature of the treaties signed * The ill-famed Savo Zlatic in Albania * Tito's accusation of <<two lines in the leadership of the CPA>> * On the visit of our top-level delegation to Moscow. Belgrade accuses us of <<anti-Yugoslavism>> * Tito and his men want to discredit our leadership with Stalin * The Yugoslavs keep us under surveillance and sabotage us * Further aggravation of our relations with them.
TITOITE AID -- CHAINS FOR THE ECONOMIC AND
TITO'S SECOND ACCUSATION AGAINST THE CPA
Tito's second accusation. . . <<The CC of the CPY is not satisfied with the relations with you>> * A heated debate with the emissary of the Yugoslav leadership. Tito seeks to turn <<Federative Balkans>> into a <<power>> concentrated in his hand. The demand to send back the Soviet advisers * On the ill-famed Co-ordination Commission * Tito decides to discard his former agent -- Nako Spiru. Koçi Xoxe seeks vengeance. Further aggravation of the situation in our Political Bureau * Why did Nako Spiru commit suicide? Belgrade demands the liquidation of the General Secretary of the CPA * Outbreak of the savage attack against the CPA, its leadership and the line it pursued. Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo acting to realize Tito's plans.
Tito's unexpected invitation to go to Belgrade * Official talks between the Albanian and Yugoslav delegations. Discussion of the question of Kosova and the other Albanian regions in Yugoslavia * Tito aims to gobble up the whole of the Balkans * Policy of extermination in Kosova * Tito's haughtiness and scandalous luxury * About the visits in Croatia and Slovenia * Ceremony in the Presidium of the Yugoslav Skupstina * A meeting with Tito in Bled. <<Nas Tito>> or <<Duce a noi!>>?- On the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid * <<Aid>> in driblets.
We had proposed to the Yugoslav comrades some considerable time before that we send a top-level government delegation, headed by me, to Yugoslavia. Through the visit of this official delegation there we aimed to take another important step towards further strengthening the relations of mutual friendship between our countries, peoples and parties and towards raising the prestige of our countries in the international arena, and to utilize the possibilities which would be created to hold top-level discussions on various problems of a political, economic and other character, which presented common interest.
The Yugoslav leadership replied that it agreed in principle
to welcome the top-level delegation at the appropriate moment, but months went by and the answer remained positive only in <<principle>>. They justified this delay with the many problems and difficulties they had, and without doubt, there was a real basis for this excuse. At the same time, however, we noticed something else: on the one hand, the Yugoslav comrades were <<extremely busy>> with work and problems, and <<could not receive>> the delegation headed by me <<quickly>>, while on the other hand, Djilas, Kardelj and Tito himself found the time to welcome and hold long talks with our youth delegations or working groups which went there and even found time to receive Liri Gega! Here I am not speaking about Koçi Xoxe, Nako Spiru or Sejfulla Malëshova (before he was condemned), who, when they went to Belgrade, were given such welcomes that Koçi <<could not find words to describe them>>!
Nevertheless, we continued to justify their failure to receive me on the grounds that Nako Spiru put forward, that perhaps <<the high rank>> of the delegation required a great deal of preliminary preparation(!); perhaps such a visit should be made at an important national or international moment, perhaps. . .
Many other <<surmises>> similar to these (each of them has a basis) could be listed, but I think that the main reason for the delay in accepting the visit of our delegation to Belgrade lay elsewhere: perhaps the Yugoslav leadership did not want the first top-level official delegation to be headed by me! After the mines which they laid at Berat they expected that I would be quickly eliminated from the leadership (they knew that in the Bureau which emerged from Berat I was one against four, if not one against six comrades), and consequently, they were awaiting my replacement, so the delegation would be headed by the person who was to take my place, their greatest friend Koçi Xoxe.
I base this hypothesis not only on the countless facts which proved that the Yugoslav leadership wanted to eliminate me at Berat. and since this was proved impossible there,
afterwards. I base this hypothesis on a whole mass of other facts, amongst which the feverish efforts of Tito and company to hinder and, if possible, to sabotage the visits of a delegation of ours at the same level to Stalin in Moscow, to Dimitrov in Bulgaria, etc.
As I said, at that time there were many things we did not know, therefore, we could only wait. And precisely when we had begun to discuss in the Bureau <<The theses for the re-examination of the 2nd Plenum of the CC of the CPA>>, the news came that the road to Belgrade had been opened to us.
We left off all the work we had in hand, and since the time before our departure was very short, we once again went over the matters which we would discuss with the Yugoslav leadership and Tito.
At those moments we, like all the other countries of people's democracy, were faced with the question that our economy should not be spontaneous, but organized, that is, a planned socialist economy. Despite our great poverty inherited from the past and from the war, we had commenced such a thing by carrying out a series of major transforming socio-economic reforms on the correct Marxist-Leninist course. We knew that for the construction of socialism we had to base ourselves, first of all, on our internal forces, but, especially in that initial phase, the co-operation and aid of foreign friends was necessary and indispensable for us.
Apart from other things, in this cardinal field which required endless forces and energies, we lacked not only means and funds, but also experience. We studied the Marxist-Leninist literature, the works of the classics of Marxism-Leninism, the written experience of the construction of socialism in the Soviet Union, though, understandably, this could not be learned from books alone. We had even taken the first steps in practice, but this was still only the very beginning. In the 5th Plenum of the CC of the Party, in particular, the necessity of defining and consistently pursuing a correct policy for the socialist transformation of the country was stressed
with the greatest force. It was decided that the economy should be developed according to a plan which must be carefully prepared with our own forces, but we felt it necessary to consult with our friends about the drafting of the plan. These things, then, were to constitute one of the main questions which our delegation was to discuss with the Yugoslav leadership and Tito. As I said, Nako had been summoned there in April and he had held some talks with Yugoslav comrades specialized in the economy and so certain preliminary work on this problem had been done. The aim of our delegation in regard to this problem was to seek the aid of the Yugoslav comrades to build up an economic plan with a perspective of at least two years, for the time being, in order to proceed towards a five-year plan.
We had reached agreement with the Yugoslavs to hold discussion and decided first of all, on the signing of a treaty of friendship and mutual aid between the two countries, a thing which we considered a major success for our policy, economy and defence. On this question our preparations had been made with great seriousness because of the great interest which the friendly relations of our two allied socialist countries presented, on account of our further economic development, and the joint defence of our two socialist countries bordering to the west and the south on enemy states and being, at the same time, two states of people's democracy, members of the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union.
We were going abroad for the first time as representatives of a people's government, of course, to a friendly country, and we had considered it our first duty to express to our friends, both the Yugoslav people and their leadership, the pure feelings of sincere friendship of our people, and tell them of our objective reality. On the basis of this reality, as well as their real situation, which they would have to present to us just as we would, we would put forward our requests and possibilities, would discuss them openly and sincerely, and take decisions in the common interest.
In the very close and sincere relations which (as we
thought at that time) existed between the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and between Stalin and Tito, we saw another reason which rejoiced us about the meeting we were to have with Tito. We had the impression and belief that <<Tito reaches agreement and consults with Stalin over everything>>, etc., an impression which was strengthened by the Soviet people who were in Tirana, let alone the Yugoslavs themselves. Therefore, at that time we thought that everything which we discussed and decided with Tito would be known to Stalin and he would be in agreement with us. Since it was impossible to have any contact with Stalin at that time (through the Soviet legation, which as far as I remember had just been opened in Tirana, and through no fault of ours, direct Soviet-Albania relations were very weak), we thought that the meeting with Tito would be, you might say, a transmission and an elaboration of the view of Stalin, too.
What Hysni had written in his radiogram that <<Tito has reached agreement with Stalin who had welcomed a visit of our delegation to Belgrade>>, further fostered the hope that through the mouth of Tito we would hear the opinions and advice of Stalin.
Of course, on all the problems which we were going to discuss and decide we had our own line, our own views, our own opinions, and we were convinced of their correctness. We were not begging even for the treaty of friendship and mutual aid, which we sought, and would not permit the slightest infringement of the vital interests of our socialist Homeland. We had shed our blood precisely so that there would be no repetition of the past. At that time, we believed that the Yugoslavs, too, had the same stand.
We had prepared ourselves, also, to portray to the Yugoslav comrades the international situation seen from our standpoint in the circumstances of that time, especially in regard to the situation and inimical subversive activities which the Greek monarcho-fascists were carrying out on our southern borders and the Italian neo-fascists, assisted by the Anglo-Americans, were carrying out on our maritime border
and in our airspace. We wanted to give the Yugoslav friends a clear picture of the very sound internal political situation, of the steel links of the Party with the people, and of the successes and shortcomings which we had in our work. Any fog or unclarity caused by the biased reports in a non-objective spirit, which those who did not want the development of the friendship between our two countries to proceed on the right course had certainly made, should be cleared from the minds of the Yugoslav comrades. Naturally, we were prepared to gain as much as possible from the organizational experience of the councils, the Party, the economy, and the army in Yugoslavia, experience which at that time we considered necessary. The comrades who had to prepare themselves especially on these questions and who were to take part in the delegation were appointed and, as far as I remember, apart from me, the delegation was made up of Nako Spiru, Myslim Peza, our ambassador at Belgrade, Hysni Kapo, and others.
Finally, we thought we should take a gift to Tito. We racked our brains about what to take, because we did not want to be disgraced, but we could find nothing suitable. I suggested to the comrades we might take him one of the old silver-chased Albanian pistols. This would do very well and the comrades approved the idea. We summoned Sterio Gjokoreci and charged him with finding one. He told us that during the confiscation of the property of a quisling criminal they had found three beautiful pistols from which we could chose. We told him to bring them to us and when he brought them, the representative of Yugoslavia, Josip Djerdja, was in my office. They really were beautiful pistols. I chose one and told the Yugoslav why I wanted it. He looked at it, liked it immensely and without the slightest shame said:
<<Tito will be immensely pleased, send him the three!>>
What could we say to this greedy collector?! We accepted his proposal. (In this way Tito got the three silver-chased pistols and put them in his arsenal of gifts.)
But another detail had escaped us: I did not have a
proper general's uniform! I said I would go in civilian clothes, but the comrades insisted that as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, I must also take the military uniform of a general. I had an ordinary uniform, but we had not such things as <<dress uniforms>>. Hence, we had to invent one, from the shiny boots to the braided cap. We had the boots and the blue trousers made with a wide red stripe, but how were we to manage the jacket! I summoned Sokolov (the Soviet military attache in Tirana) to my office and asked him:
<<Do you have a spare jacket?>>
<<Why?>> he asked me.
<<Don't ask,>> I said, <<but let me try on your jacket!>>
When I put it on I saw that it was too tight, then I explained the fix I was in. Sokolov said to me:
<<I've a piece of material for a uniform. I'll send it to you, and if you like it, make a jacket and a cap.>>
And so the question of the <<dress uniform>> was settled, too. We awaited the date which we had set for our departure and from the <<unlimited>> number of aircraft which were put at our disposal, I asked for only one. Indeed, I said to Djerdja, <<If it's difficult for you, five to six seats in the regular plane will do.>>
<<What are you talking about!>> said Djerdja. <<You can have as many planes as you like. A special aircraft will come.>>
The aircraft came and the first delegation of the Government of the People's Republic of Albania set out for Belgrade on a friendly visit.
Looking down from the aircraft on the territory of Montenegro and other regions of Yugoslavia I thought with deep grief and great respect of the hundreds of my partisan comrades who were killed in these parts while fighting the German nazis. On the order which I issued from Berat on the
 The visit of the government delegation of the PR of Albania headed by Comrade Enver Hoxha, to the FR of Yugoslavia continued from June 23 to July 2, 1946.
eve of the complete liberation of Albania two divisions of young men and women of Albania crossed the border and won fame in those parts for their heroism, self-sacrifice, discipline, internationalism and fighting skill, in fierce battles with the occupiers. Sitting in the aircraft I thought about those dear Albanian mothers who unhesitatingly sent their sons and daughters to join in the war for the liberation of the Homeland, a war which required these sons and daughters, educated by the Party of communists, to think about and go to shed their blood for the freedom of the neighbouring peoples, too. Thousands returned from these heroic battles, but hundreds fell on the battlefield in the territory of Yugoslavia, and at those moments I thought about the hundreds of Albanian mothers who were waiting for us to bring the sacred remains of their sons and daughters home. <<We shall do it!>> I said to myself, <<It is our duty! They will lie in the most beautiful places in the Homeland where the generations will sing to their glory and heroism throughout history.>>
The aircraft reached Belgrade and we were looking down on the capital. Josip Djerdja tried to point something out to me, but I could not distinguish anything clearly, because it was not easy to recognize things in a city which I was visiting for the first time. Besides this, we were especially excited in anticipation of meeting Tito and the other comrades of the Yugoslav leadership for the first time. Then, we were over the airport and came down on the runway, the aircraft taxied to a halt and the door was opened. We saw that there were many people there to meet us, soldiers, and a military band. We had never been through such ceremonies; these things were unknown to us, and we would have to take care to make no mistakes in the so-called rules of protocol. We walked forward and Tito came towards us. He held out his
 The remains of hundreds of our martyrs who fell in Kosova, Montenegro and elsewhere were brought back to Albania and buried in the Cemetery of the Martyrs of the Nation or in the martyrs' cemeteries of the respective districts in 1947 and in 1975.
hand and gripped ours firmly. We thought that we would embrace as is our custom. But no. Different rules and customs. These things made no impression on us. I introduced all the comrades in turn to Tito and we heard the strains of our national anthem. We stood at attention and after our national anthem, the Yugoslav anthem was played, too. Then, Tito took me to his right and we reviewed the guard of honour. <<The soldiers are like ours,>> I said to myself, <<brave former partisans.>> Their uniforms were better than ours and their weapons newer, Soviet ones. Ours had been captured from the enemy. Then, Tito introduced us to the Yugoslav personalities who had come out at the airport, and at the other meetings also introduced me to other personalities of the Yugoslav party and government. Most of them (with the exception of Djilas who had once passed through Albania in transit) we were seeing for the first time: Kardelj, Vlahov, Rankovic, Simic, Pijade, Popovic, Jovanovic, Kidric, etc. Passing through Belgrade, our column of cars arrived at Dedinje which was to be our residence.
<<An exceptionally great honour!>> murmured Djerdja. <<This is Dedinje where Tito himself has his main residence!>>
As they told us, and as we saw later, he lived and worked in the main palace of the former kraljs of Serbia. As the column of cars drove slowly through the streets of the park, Djerdja pointed out a building.
<<There,>> he said, <<that's the White Palace, the palace of the former kings. Now we have it, Tito has it!>>
The cars went a little further through the park and stopped.
<<The palace of the former prince regent!>> Djerdja told me. <<Now you are going to stay there.>>
I did not place any great importance on these details or on many other courtesies which were paid to our delegation, but which Josip Djerdja described as <<important, exceptional>>, and so on. With this he wanted to convince us and give the impression that <<exceptional care and affection>> was being displayed for Albania and that, allegedly, these
things and the measures which were taken for our delegation were not intended for other delegations. Naturally, the Yugoslav ambassador in Tirana had been charged with this task of adding to the lustre of things.
After we had rested (I don't remember clearly whether it was the same day or the next), they told us that we were to pay a courtesy visit to Tito in the White Palace. For the Yugoslavs who were constantly hovering around us the question was extremely complicated: How were we going to dress for this visit to Tito? Don't dress in this suit, nor in that suit. Even then protocol had begun its work in <<Tito's court>>. For us, however, the problem was quite simple. We had two suits each: the famous military uniform, of which I spoke earlier, and a civilian suit. Therefore, we dressed in civilian suits. After all, we were going to visit a comrade who was a communist as we were! And we set out to walk through the park.
Guards dressed in spick and span uniforms, and armed with automatic rifles were placed all round the palace. <<Why all these guards?>> I asked myself, when I recalled that only two partisans guarded my house and at that time people went freely up and down the street in front of it. However, I quickly found the <<reason>>: <<It's a big country, Tito is a great personality and they are quite right to guard him like this.>> In front of the palace there was a guard of honour, in the halls of the palace everything had been foreseen, from a clothes brush down to a man who wiped the dust from our shoes gathered during the walk through the park. <<Apparently you have to be all 'dolled up' to see Tito!<< I said to myself. <<Just think, all these heroes who are wiping your shoes and bowing and scraping all round you, were waging the war and living as partisans up till a year or so ago!>>
We entered the great chamber of the palace. Luxurious. Tito was standing alone under a picture at the head of the chamber, dressed in his white marshal's uniform, with gold embroidered collar and cuffs, with stars on his epaulettes, and a considerable number of medal ribbons on his chest. To the left of him came a series of comrades, one after the other,
members of the Political Bureau of the CPY and ministers; antique French armchairs of 17th and 18th century style lined both sides and there were beautiful Persian carpets in the middle of the chamber. From the door of the chamber to its head, till we reached and shook hands with Tito, who did not move from his position, we seemed to walk a kilometre.
After he sat down, they brought in cigarettes and drinks. Tito proposed a toast to the friendship between our two peoples, and to our health, asked some general questions about our country, the weather, the crops, the olives and the oranges. We thanked him, delivered the greetings of our people, Party and army and said good-bye. The first protocol audience with Tito did not last more than half an hour. Josip Djerdja did not fail to tell us that it <<went off very well>> and kept up his refrain with such words as <<marvellous>>, <<exceptionally cordial>>, <<audiences with Tito rarely go like this>>, etc.
Of course, protocol required that Tito should return the visit to us, but he did not do this. Other comrades came in his place, telling us that Tito <<begged our pardon because a very urgent and important matter had cropped up,>> etc., etc. But at that time these things made no impression on us, and we had no knowledge of protocol. Besides, we had Josip Djerdja with us and he found the <<reason>> for everything. The important thing for us was when we were to hold the working discussions with the Yugoslav comrades to solve a series of problems and get things moving.
The day for the discussions was set.
As I said above, we were prepared for these discussions. From the Yugoslav side, Tito headed the delegation. In my speech, which we had prepared in Tirana, I tried to be as concise, objective and realistic as possible. The problems of our country at that time were very grave and difficult to solve, but in themselves the problems were not complicated. We were aware that everything could not be solved with a wave of the magic wand and that we could not make demands on Yugoslavia beyond its possibilities. The economic questions were what concerned us, first of all, and here we wanted
them to give us aid on credit. We needed the credits we requested for the development of agriculture and industry. In agriculture we were in a bad way even for the simpliest agricultural tools, from iron plough-shares to harrows and cultivators. Naturally, we asked them also to give us some tractors and other agricultural machinery, from those they received from the Soviet Union, from UNRRA and elsewhere, to supply us with some seeds of grain and industrial crops and other such things. As can be seen, our requests were modest requests of the poor, but what else could we do!
In regard to industry, we told the Yugoslavs about our truly deplorable situation. Our country had inherited nothing apart from some backward handicraft workshops which we still kept going. Those few small, old factories, worn out and damaged by the war, we repaired to the extent we could, but it is understandable how short we were of spare parts for those old machines, for those old vehicles, in those conditions when we did not have even one plant that could really be called an engineering plant. Everything that existed in the country we had got working with our own forces and now it all had to be kept going, patched up and supplemented, because our needs were increasing.
The problem of the further development of the mines was important for our economy and we had to rely heavily on the development and exploitation of them. Therefore, we sought the aid of the Yugoslavs for the further development of industry, for the extraction of oil, bitumen, chromite, copper, etc. We sought aid, of course within the possibilities, for the setting up of some small factories of light industry to fulfil the urgent and essential needs of our country.
While outlining the international situation and telling them what was happening on our southern borders, I put before the Yugoslav comrades and Tito our view about the need to sign a treaty between our two countries, a treaty of friendship and mutual aid such as Yugoslavia had signed with the other countries of people's democracy. I argued that this treaty was very necessary, especially for the defence of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of the PRA from the permanent ambitions of the imperialists, the Greek monarcho-fascists and Italian neo-fascists. I stressed that this treaty would further temper the sincere friendship between our two peoples and, like the other treaties of the countries of people's democracy with the Soviet Union and with one another, would serve to strengthen our countries. I also told the Yugoslav comrades and Tito about the great love and loyalty which our people, Party and army nurtured for the Soviet Union and the great Stalin.
While I was speaking Tito took some notes on a note book and smoked cigarettes continuously, using a cigarette holder in the form of a pipe. He wore glasses and always sat serious, with furrowed brow as though deep in thought. It seemed that he was listening with attention. From time to time he filled the glass he had in front of him and drank mineral water. When I had finished, we took a break and went to a room where a buffet was richly spread with every thing, from cakes and sandwiches to Slivovica and soft drinks. There Tito began to talk, to crack jokes and laugh with his comrades about unimportant things to pass the time; the interpreters translated to us. Later I found these jokes and talks of Tito with Mosa Pijade identical with those of Khrushchev with Mikoyan, who went on and on with such things when they were together.
After the break the meeting recommenced and Tito took the floor. He outlined the international situation at that period, attacking the imperialists and reactionary governments. He put great stress on the <<major>> role which socialist Yugoslavia played, not simply in the Balkans, but also in Europe and especially in the countries of people's democracy, of course, <<after the Soviet Union>>, as he stressed. We noticed nothing suspicious in what he said, apart from the <<majestic>> tone in which he said it, the <<authoritarian>> words and the special importance he gave matters by saying, <<I said this to one>> and <<I said that to another>>.
He also briefly outlined the history of the war against
the Germans and against General Draza Mihailovic and the government in exile in London. Here he did not fail to point out <<the skill and cunning of Churchill>> with whom he had clashed over the question of Venezia Giulia which was still under discussion.
He did not dwell at length on the economic problems of Yugoslavia, saying only, <<we have many difficulties>>, and went on to our question, in regard to which he said: <<Despite these difficulties, we must assist you to the limit of our possibilities.>> Tito said that from their side they would appoint Comrade Boris Kidric.
<<Appoint your comrade,>> he said, <<and let them examine your economic problems one by one and present them to us to take a decision.>>
We agreed that Nako Spiru, who had come to Yugoslavia precisely on such problems in April, should continue this work. At that time we had Nako Spiru as minister of the economy and chairman of the State Planning Commission and, by appointing him to take part directly in the talks with the Yugoslavs on the economic problems, we showed what great importance we gave these problems.
After we talked about the development of education and culture in our country and I put forward some requests in this direction, too, especially about sending a number of Albanian students to the University of Belgrade, Tito asked me what I thought about the solution of the problem of Kosova and the other Albanian regions in Yugoslavia. After a moment's silence to sum up our views on this important problem so that I could present them in the most complete and concise way, I said:
<<You know about the historical injustices which the various imperialists and Great-Serb reaction have done to Albania. You also know the principled stands of our Party during the National Liberation War and the desire of our people for friendship with the peoples of Yugoslavia.>>
I went on to express to Tito the opinion of the Albanian side that Kosova and the other regions in Yugoslavia, inhabited
by Albanians, belonged to Albania and should be returned to it.
<<The Albanians fought,>> I told him, <<in order to have a free and sovereign Albania with which the Albanian regions in Yugoslavia should now be united. The time has come for this national problem to be solved justly by our parties.>>
President Tito replied:
<<I am in agreement with your view, but for the time being we cannot do this, because the Serbs would not under stand us.>>
After this Tito went on to another problem, that of the so-called <<Balkan Federation>> and sought my opinion on this matter.
<<There has been an idea on this question for a long time,>> I replied. <<Albanian democrats and anti-Zogites, including some communists in exile, had come into contact with the Comintern and had formed the political organization KONARE.
<<In contact with Comrade Dimitrov, this organization had adopted the Comintern's idea about a 'Balkan Confederation' and propagated this. This idea in principle was more in connection with the fighting collaboration of the working class and peoples of the Balkans against feudal monarchic regimes. The perspective of this issue was unclear and hopeless.
<<When I, personally, was a student in the Lyceum of Korça, but more particularly, when I went to study in France, I had the opportunity to read the KONARE newspaper Liria Kombëtare as well as occasional numbers of the magazine La Fèdèration Balcanique. Occasionally, they mentioned the idea of the 'Balkan Federation' but always as a question or slogan of the future.
<<When we began the National Liberation War and in the course of the war, we never thought about this problem and this idea was replaced with the common war of the peoples of the Balkans against the nazi-fascist occupiers. When Sej-
 National Revolutionary Committee.
fulla Malëshova returned from exile he talked in theory about the problem of the 'Balkan Confederation' or 'Federation'.
<<In principle we considered this idea correct and now the prospect for it was not so hopeless. But it required a great deal of work and, first of all, required victory in the war against the nazi-fascist occupiers.
<<We still have this opinion, but the situation has to mature, we have to do a great deal of work to overcome the old enmities and we would like you to explain this important question to us more clearly, because we do not know your view or that of the Bulgarians or the Greeks. . .
Tito listened to me very attentively and, when I had finished, said:
<<I understood you very well, Comrade Enver, and agree with what you said. We, too, have been and are in agreement that this federation should be formed, have made and will make concrete efforts, but, as you said, the problem is difficult, cannot be solved immediately and does not depend only on us. For our part, at the proper time we shall come out with concrete proposals and will examine all the possible ways, but in our hearts we want to build the federation. The example and experience of the new Federal Yugoslavia will assist greatly in this direction. However, let us leave this problem for today. I mentioned it more because we were talking about the future of Kosova. Within the 'Balkan Federation' the question of uniting Kosova with Albania would be very much easier.>>
<<Undoubtedly!>> I said. <<But we always stand by what we mentioned at the outset: Whether or not the possibilities for a 'Balkan Federation' are created is one problem, while the solution of the question of Kosova is another problem entirely. As you yourself said, work must be done to solve the question of Kosova justly.>>
<<We shall work in this direction,>> Tito <<gave me his word>>.
However, all Tito's words and pledges were a bluff. He
misled and deceived us over the truth about the idea of the <<Balkan Federation>>. As time and the facts proved, Tito was a savage anti-Marxist, a nationalist, chauvinist and agent of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. He was a <<Trojan horse>> in the socialist camp, in the international communist movement and, more especially, in the Balkans. By seizing on the idea of the <<Balkan Federation>> he aimed and struggled to annex the whole of the Balkans, including Albania, to Yugoslavia.
From 1947, when the relations between Albania and Yugoslavia developed, apart from the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid, we also signed the Economic Convention and a series of other economic agreements in connection with it about which I shall speak in detail later, a number of comrades of our Political Bureau, especially Kristo Themelko, Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo, on the urging of the Yugoslavs who were in or came to Albania, exerted continuous pressure on me to seek to enter into the <<Balkan Federation>> which, in their heads, meant that we should unite with Yugoslavia. I did not encourage this idea in them, but one day, about the beginning of 1948, they came to me and said: <<The 'Balkan Federation' is being formed between Yugoslavia and Bulgaria!>> I thought this problem had been talked over between Stalin, Dimitrov and Tito, irrespective of the fact that no opinion had been sought from us. In this situation we decided to write a letter to the CC of the CPY and Tito in which we asked them, among others, to make the matters clear to us because it was inconceivable that the <<Balkan Federation>> should be created with Bulgaria and Albania remain outside it.
We never received any reply or explanation. What was at the back of it became clear to us. Tito's Yugoslavia wanted to kill two birds with one stone: to annex Albania under the abortive so-called Balkan Federation and to extend its state power over this part of the Balkans, too.
Stalin who had devined Tito's expansionist plans, drew Dimitrov's attention to them and at the beginning of 1945 the latter declared publicly that he had been wrong in his
views about the Federation of Yugoslavia with Bulgaria.
Before I continue with the description of the visit, however, I want to say that Tito's words and the promises he made us about the question of Kosova were just as much a fraud as his words about the <<Balkan Federation>>.
This Tito, who expressed his agreement with me over the problem of Kosova so <<suavely>>, never allowed himself to say: <<Comrade Enver, I propose that you ought to go to visit Kosova besides other parts of Yugoslavia. We ought to show the Albanian people of Kosova that the time of true friendship with the peoples of Yugoslavia has come,>> and so on and so forth. Tito and company were afraid to do such a thing. Time was soon to reveal the deception and the great Serbo-Croat chauvinist savagery of Tito, not only against the Albanians who inhabited their own territories in Yugoslavia, but also against the People's Republic of Albania. Tito's secret plan was not that Kosova should be united with Albania, but that Albania should be united with Kosova and, together with it, be gobbled up by Titoite Yugoslavia. However, the Titoites were unable to achieve this diabolical aim. The year 1948 was a fatal year for them.
The falsity of Tito and company went so far that in regard to Kosova and all the Albanians who lived in Yugoslavia, they maintained a hostile stand even when these <<acts of friendship>> were taking place between our two republics, let alone after the year 1948, when they adopted a savage anti-Marxist, chauvinist stand of police persecution which was no different from that of the Serb kraljs. The relations of the PRA with Kosova in the period of de jure <<friendship>> were almost non-existent; they did not allow us to send people to Kosova allegedly because there were Ballists there, etc., etc. The terror imposed on the Albanians steadily mounted. Masses of people were imprisoned, killed, tortured and thrown into the terrible concentration camps of Rankovic, always under the pretext of the fight against remnants of the <<Ballist bands>>. This was a real genocide carried out with all means and in every way. In order to depopulate
Kosova, the Titoites, like the former reactionary regimes, forced hundreds of thousands of Albanians to emigrate to Turkey and elsewhere. In Kosova, not to mention Macedonia, the poverty was extreme, there were no Albanian schools and for this Tito and Rankovic found many pretexts. Although the land of Kosova was fertile and had great underground riches such as are rarely found in any other zone of the Balkans, nothing was invested there and its agriculture was the most backward in Europe. This was the policy Tito pursued there. He told us one thing, but did another.
During the days of our visit in no meeting or reception, either in Belgrade or elsewhere, did I see or meet any of the Albanian communist leaders of Kosova, although some of them like Fadil Hoxha, Ymer Pula, the Nimanajs and others I knew personally. The only <<representative>> of Kosova whom I met was the mother of Miladin Popovic. . .
We were at a rally when a grey-haired lady approached me, embraced and kissed me and whispered: <<I am the mother of Miladin and Mihajlo who fought together with you, my son, Enver Hoxha.>> Pressing her close to my bosom, I felt as if together with her I was embracing my beloved comrade Miladin Popovic, as if he were there close to me. I could no longer restrain myself and in my speech there I spoke of Miladin in the warmest words of admiration, as he deserved.
But let us continue further with the visit of our delegation to Yugoslavia.
Tito gave a big reception for us in the White Palace of Dedinja. It was <<majestic>>. We were dressed in <<official>> clothes, but when we entered the palace what did we see? It was packed with women, men, officers, diplomats. They were all dressed in brilliant uniforms, dress suits, the be-jewelled ladies in long silk gowns, deep décolletés, some with furs around their shoulders, the officers with all their de-
 Mihajlo Popovic was released from an internment camp in Albania by Albanian partisans. He was killed in a clash with the enemy in Montenegro.
corations. Tito, standing at the head of the room where he received us, was dressed in full uniform, with his chest stuck out and covered with decorations; on one finger he wore a ring with a great sparkling diamond. We were completely out of our depth! We made our way among the people who looked us over curiously from head to foot and applauded to the extent required by protocol. Only when we reached Tito and shook hands with him did we say to ourselves that we had escaped that ordeal and in fact we had. We were no longer subjected to the stares of the <<nobility>> of Belgrade. The central point again became Tito from whom we had stolen the limelight for no more than five minutes. The public of the White Palace no longer took any notice of us and we were relieved.
Tito wandered here and there, talking with one group after another, took me along and introduced me to some of them, but their names went in one ear and out the other. For me it was indescribable torture until we sat down at the table. Tito stood up, produced a sheet of paper which he read in his haughty tone, eulogized us to some extent, was applauded and sat down. After him I stood up, brought out my speech *, read it, received some laconic applause and sat down. This ordeal, too, was over but our tortures at this <<majestic>> dinner had not ended. To take coffee, Tito stood up and all of us followed suit. He took some of us, the Soviet ambassador Lavrentyev and some of his comrades out into the park. It was dark, but the lights were on and Tito led us. Where were we going? We came to a grotto and went inside. There everything was shining in the brilliant lights -- the carpets, the easy chairs, the tables loaded with drinks, with fruit, with cakes and soft drinks. We sat down without protocol at one table with Tito, Lavrentyev, Mosa Pijade, Kardelj and some others. Naturally, Tito conducted the conversation. We listened more than we spoke; Lavrentyev and Pijade spoke several times. I recall that at one moment when Tito was talking <<top-level policy>> with Lavrentyev,
* English in the original.
Pijade, who knew that I had been to school in France, began to speak about the literature and history of France. The talk came round to Cardinal Richelieu. Pijade defended the thesis that he was a savage and cunning statesman. I agreed with him, but I added that the cardinal was also a great statesman and we should judge his work dialectically, taking account of the period. The work of Richelieu in the creation of the unity of the monarchy and the blows which he struck at the great feudal lords is considered in the history of France as revolutionary. Mosa Pijade agreed; we also talked about the literary currents in France. Meanwhile Tito did not want to stay in the grotto although he took us there.
<<Shall we get up and return to the hall?>> he said, <<because the rain has stopped.>> While we were in the grotto a light rain had fallen, just enough to make the path muddy and to my distress, since the legs of my trousers were long, the cuffs of my trousers and the heels of my shoes became smeared with mud. When I glanced at them at the entrance to the chambers which were packed with people because the Marshal was coming, I blushed with shame. There was nothing I could do about it except that I should not move much, but this depended on Tito. I had to drag my feet so that the heels of my shoes would not be seen. And that is what I did. But I went through real torture. It was a blessing that the eyes of all were on the Marshal.
The room was so hot that we were sweating, people encircled the Marshal and us, but the heat dried me mud on my trousers and shiny shoes and made it more obvious. Finally, Tito said:
<<Come along, my friends, I'll show you round the palace where I live and work.>>
We thought we were saved! But there in front of us, with a crowd of women with low-cut dresses and jewels sparkling on their necks and fingers and men in formal evening dress following us, appeared a stair <<en colimaçon >>*.
* spiral staircase (French in the original).
We had to go up it and this time the trick of dragging my feet would not work. What was I to do? Against my desire and allegedly out of politeness I climbed seven or eight steps without turning my back so that people did not look at my feet, but went up backwards facing them and waving to them. I got through this final torture, too.
After climbing the stairs, we reached a balcony surrounded by a wooden balustrade; the guests were in the chambers below while we walked around the gallery off which opened a series of doors. The walls were hung with various paintings. Who among us knew anything about them? No one. Tito, as the host, proudly told us one by one the names of the artists, their artistic values. . . and, their monetary worth. We feigned astonishment, but we were thinking about the problems of our people. Tito opened a door, went through it and we followed him.
<<This is the room where I work,>> he said. It was a beautiful room with big windows, with paintings on the walls, and in a corner a desk furnished with everything necessary to write, everything on it valuable, but no book, no notebook. On one side of the table was a plated metal stand on top of which sat a model aeroplane, likewise beautifully plated; Tito pressed a button and the aeroplane began to spin round and round. It was a toy!
<<A gift to me from the workers,>> said Tito.
From the working office we passed into another room with beautiful armchairs, a big radio-gramophone and very modern furniture.
<<This is the ante-room to my bedroom. I have my breakfast here,>> said Tito. <<<Gottwald gave me this radio gramophone.>>
From here he invited us to look at his bedroom with a big luxurious bed, lace-edged sheets, silk-pyjamas lying on the bed and then he opened his wardrobe to show us his many
 K. Gottwald (1896-1953), chairman of the CC of the CP and President of the Democratic People's Republic of Czechoslovakia.
suits, shirts, etc. He did not fail to show us the <<sparkling>> bathroom, too.
When all this was over, Tito told us that he was going to show us the room of the party which, as he put it, <<not everyone enters, I keep the key in my pocket.>> We said to ourselves: <<He is doing us a great honour. Let us see what this 'sacred room' is like.>> It was a room like all rooms. On the wall there was a chart.
<<This,>> said Tito, <<is secret. It is the scheme of the organization of the party. The Congress, the Central Committee, the regional committees, their apparatuses and the basic organizations.>>
On one wall there was a small shelf with books by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and in another corner a safe. This was the <<secret room>> and with the visit to this secret room, we ended the grand soirée, wishing the Marshal good night.
The day after this dinner Josip Djerdja arrived in our residence, dressed as always in his dark suit, laughing and speaking that Albanian of his with his unpractised accent. It was a habit of his after each phrase to grip his nose between two fingers and bend it left and right as if to emphasize his words. He had come together with the chief of protocol to present to us the program of visits and sight seeing in Belgrade and in the other republics. Amongst other things, they proposed that we should visit Croatia and Slovenia and we agreed readily. In Belgrade we made no visits on foot; naturally, we laid a wreath at Avala on the grave of the unknown soldier of the Serbian army of the kraljs, adopted as an altar by the regime of Tito, too. There a Yugoslav general, a hero of the peoples of Yugoslavia, explained to us the development of the fighting for the liberation of Belgrade by the Soviet army and the Yugoslav National Liberation Army.
Later we visited a number of factories and a plant where trucks were assembled from imported parts. Naturally we rejoiced over what we saw. They were fine things, and the
Yugoslavs were much ahead of us. They had inherited some thing from the past and received very large reparations for the damage caused by the war, whereas we inherited nothing but poverty and want, and from reparations received a few very old lathes with which not even one engineering plant could be set up. From reparations we also received a worn-out ship which we named <<Borova>> in honour of the martyred Borova village of Kolonja which the German nazis totally destroyed, killing all the men, women and children they found in it as a reprisal against the partisans. The Yugoslavs did not fail to take the ship <<Borova>> from us under the pretext that we had no way to use it and when we fell out with them they seized it and did not return it to us, seized it as <<spoil of war>>, like all the other assets they took from us, because they took more from us than they gave.
During one of the days we stayed in Belgrade, which we visited going everywhere by car, they put on a reception for us at the House of Officers to which, if I am not mistaken, Tito came, too. The Soviet military attaché as well as other Soviet officers attended, too. The House of Officers was a multi-storeyed building put up specially for the officers. They welcomed us well, joyfully, with sympathy, like anti-fascist fighters of the great common war which we had waged. The Yugoslav officers had very good clothing and boots, beyond any comparison with what our officers had, but they did not outdo us in courage, daring and determination.
One evening after these visits Josip Djerdja came all smiles and, squeezing his nose between his two fingers, told us:
<<Tomorrow you are to go to the Presidium of the Skupstina, because Ribar sr. (the president of the Presidium, and father of Lola Ribar, killed during the war) is going to decorate you. You, Comrade Enver,>> said Djerdja, <<are to be decorated with the highest order that Yugoslavia has.>>
At the ceremony on the following day at the Presidium of the Skupstina, which was like a bourgeois parliament, because, in fact, it had been built by the Serb-Croat kraljs,
Dr. Ribar decorated all of us. He hung around my neck the Order of Hero of the Peoples of Yugoslavia, which was a gold medallion hung on a red ribbon with two black lines in the middle. Kardelj, Pijade, Djilas, Popovic and others were present at the decoration ceremony. I expressed thanks on behalf of the comrades and, among other things, I pointed out that this decoration belonged to the Albanian people and to their sons and daughters who gave their lives for the liberation of Yugoslavia, too. A few months after Liberation, the Presidium of Yugoslavia had decorated a number of our comrades with the Partisan Star. Thus, I had two Yugoslav decorations. After the breach with them and after all the evil things which the Titoites did against our country and our Party, we returned these decorations to them in protest.
We set out for Croatia and Slovenia. We were happy that we were to see new places and friendly people. Every where people like Bakaric and his comrades in Croatia and Miha Marinko and his comrades in Slovenia welcomed us warmly. We visited Zagreb and Ljubljana and other cities of these two Republics, visited factories, combines and museums. The people were well dressed, the country was more urbanized, and there were few wartime ruins to be seen. Slovenia was even more advanced, Ljubljana was almost undamaged by the war, the Austrian style of the Austro-Hungarian empire predominated, the standard of living was higher than that of the other places we visited those days, and the bourgeoisie more unharmed. We visited a metallurgical plant there and this impressed us. A thing that struck the eye was the fact that the church exercised great influence in these places and there were icons and crosses to be seen in the city streets and outside the towns.
They also took us to Bled, to a luxurious hotel beside the beautiful lake with the same name. They told us that foreign tourists came there and this was a source of hard currency.
Later, not on an official visit, I had a meeting with Tito on the shores of this lake, I think it was when I was on my way to the Peace Conference in Paris. I went via Belgrade, but
Tito was in Slovenia in a villa on the shores of Lake Bled. They took me by aircraft to meet him there. We talked on the verandah about the possible development of the problems which were to be discussed in Paris. Naturally we were in agreement. Tito kept me for lunch. It was a beautiful luxurious summer villa set amongst trees and flowers. At the edge of the lake below the villa white motor-boats were anchored. Lying at Tito's feet in the room was his big dog (the successor to the unfortunate <<Lux>>), which seemed to be asleep, snoring sometimes, and sometimes releasing a loud fart. In the end Tito could put up with it no longer and told General Todorovic, a former partisan who had also been in Albania: <<Put him out!>>
After we finished our talk, before we had lunch Tito proposed to me and Zujovic, whom he liquidated later together with Hebrang as Stalinists, that we take a trip on the lake. I did not refuse, although I did not know how to swim if the boat should capsize.
The motor started and the boat began to move. Tito's dog followed us swimming. <<At least,>> I thought to myself, <<this will cool his backside.>> From the edge of the lake men, women and children shouted:
<<Heroj Tito, druze Tito, nas Tito! >>*
This impressed itself on me because we had heard this slogan from the Italian fascists when they shouted, <<Duce a noi! >>** I was astonished how they could permit it. On the way back Tito said:
<<The dog's tired.>> And he called to him, <<Climb in!>>
The dog scrambled into the boat and since it was the size of a calf, the boat rocked a bit, but we came to no harm, except that when the dog shook himself the suit which I had for the Peace Conference was soaked.
<<We will dry it when we get back to the villa,>> said Tito.
Tito, Comrade Tito, our Tito!>>
** The Duce is ours! (It. in the original).
<<It doesn't matter,>> I said to him, giving the dog a hard look.
However, all this was a later occurrence, from which, apart from what I have just mentioned, I remember almost nothing, because in fact we did not discuss any weighty problem. As I said, Tito was on holiday and could not exchange his pleasures for anything else. Let us return again to the first visit, the official one.
When we returned to Belgrade from the visits to Croatia and Slovenia we were very tired, however we were young at that time and one day's rest was sufficient for us to recover from all the physical weariness. Now we had to complete the talks which we had begun. First, we reached agreement over the main content of the Treaty of Friendship and Mutual Aid and decided that the signing of the treaty would be done a little later in Tirana.
After this we went on to the economic problems. Nako and the comrades of the Ministry of Trade had held a series of meetings with Boris Kidric and others and had achieved some results which Nako considered <<satisfactory>>. The Yugoslavs had agreed to supply us with several objects on credit (I shall speak more extensively about this <<aid>> later), the question was especially about a sugar <<factory>> and a rope <<factory>>, would assist us with rails and a locomotive for the Durrës-Tirana railway, would supply us with some pipes for oil and some other minor items. At that time these things seemed to us quite a lot. Nevertheless I found the opportunity to ask Nako in an aside:
<<Is this all the credit covers?>>
<<In general, yes,>> said Nako. <<We shall go into this more concretely later. They are promising to give us large amounts of aid.>>
 This treaty was signed in Tirana on July 9, 1946.
panies to us, when we finally met to sign the documents, saying:
<<We have similar companies with the Soviet Union which are going very well, give results and are helping us in the construction of socialism!>>
We agreed to the formation of these companies in regard to which we subsequently drafted the constitutions, defined the procedure, payments, shares and the nature of participation. As to the truth in regard to these companies, too, I am not going to enlarge at the moment, but will content myself by pointing out that the aim of the Yugoslavs to plunder us meant that on paper these companies would exist as joint companies, but would be run by them. While all the material would be ours, they would not contribute or bring in anything, but would dominate them and take their production. Of course, the deception did not go on for long. The deception about the <<joint companies>>, which Tito advertised to us so vigorously, was unmasked like all the others.
When all the official documents were ready we signed them at a solemn meeting. Champagne was drunk. In the evening we were to put on the farewell dinner and of course Tito was invited. The dinner was to be given in our embassy.
Josip Djerdja arrived, not smiling this time. He begged us to excuse Tito who could not come allegedly for security reasons, because the embassy was in this and in that street, was amongst other houses, and we would understand the problem, etc., etc.! We were sorry, but there was nothing we could do. The others came.
The day for our departure for our Homeland arrived. At the airport they farewelled us with all the ceremony with which they had welcomed us. We climbed into the aircraft and returned to Tirana.
The joy with which I set out had evaporated. I returned with an inexplicable feeling, a mixture of trust and disillusionment over the haughtiness and scandalous luxury of Tito which was clearly obvious even at that time. I asked myself: How are we going to get on and work with Tito?
TITOITE AID -- CHAINS FOR THE ECONOMIC AND
POLITICAL ENSLAVEMENT OF ALBANIA
Grave situation of our economy after Liberation * The friends leave us to fend for ourselves in our poverty * Market sharks, generous in <<advice>> and <<orientations>> * The bitter history of the Albanian-Yugoslav Economic Convention. On the problem of the parity of the currencies, the removal of tariff barriers, the joint companies, the unification of prices. Our objections to the true nature of the treaties signed * The ill-famed Savo Zlatic in Albania * Tito's accusation of <<two lines in the leadership of the CPA>> * On the visit of our top-level delegation to Moscow. Belgrade accuses us of <<anti-Yugoslavism>> * Tito and his men want to discredit our leadership with Stalin * The Yugoslavs keep us under surveillance and sabotage us * Further aggravation of our relations with them.
The picture of the relations between our two parties and countries in the initial period after Liberation would not in any way be complete if we did not touch on our relations in the economic field, too. This is a very extensive field which has always attracted our attention and the attention of Tito's men as well. However, in dealing with the economic relations of the same period, the stands and assessments of them by the two sides are diametrically opposed.
While Tito, during his lifetime, and the whole of Yugoslav propaganda arsenal, before and after Tito's death, have praised to the skies the Yugoslav-Albanian economic relations in the years 1945-1947 as an example of <<fraternal relations>>, of the <<sacrifice>> and the <<generous spirit>> of the Titoites towards us, we, for our part, have always said the opposite.
Our conclusion, drawn not today, or even in 1948 (when Tito and Titoism were publicly denounced), but earlier, when in public declarations we were still describing each other as <<friends>>, has been and is this: the field of economic relations between our two parties and countries has been one of the fields in which the features of Titoite revisionism, as a whole, and all their anti-Albanian, nationalist and chauvinist intentions, in particular, have been displayed in a most obvious and unscrupulous way. In the <<theorizing>> and the first practical steps of Tito and company on the problem of the construction of socialism in Yugoslavia we distinguished more clearly their profound deviations from the theory and practice of scientific socialism. In their so-called economic aid for our country we very quickly saw and understood the attempts and diabolical aims of the Titoites to turn our economy into an appendage of the Yugoslav economy and one of the main ways they followed to place Albania under the chains of a new enslavement. Thus, the <<economic aid>> of the Titoites to us, if it can be called aid, had only one purpose: to help Tito to enslave Albania economically and politically more quickly.
Friends or plunderers?!
We were in the first years of Liberation. The country was devastated, ruined from every stand-point, there was great poverty, but the morale of the people was extraordinari-
ly high. We had smashed the reactionary feudal bourgeoisie, together with the occupier, and the people, led by their heroic Communist Party, had taken the new state power of people's democracy into their own hands.
Now, with Liberation, this people's state power had to be clung to tightly, had to be further strengthened in class battles, and the new Albania had to be built up from nothing, from poverty and ignorance. Irrespective of our material poverty, the people, led by the Party, were to accomplish this task with great and indescribable enthusiasm, with their own forces, without the aid of anyone in the first years. These were the most heroic years in the history of our people. It was the period when the people sweated, toiling with half-empty bellies, with rags on their backs and without roofs over their heads, the period when we fought against shortages of every kind, against the difficulties of nature and against the sabotage of internal and external enemies, but always with the unshakeable belief the Party had implanted in us that we would triumph over whatever difficulty and whichever enemy.
In the first two years after Liberation, in particular, we were given no aid on credit from the Soviet Union or from Yugoslavia, either. Those few urgently needed goods which were sent to us were very insignificant things, almost nothing at all, and all of them paid for, either in cash or by selling the Yugoslavs oil, kerosene, bitumen or other goods which they frequently seized almost without payment, as an <<obligation>>, as <<tokens of friendship>> and <<fraternity>>.
Hence, we can say that in the first year after Liberation we had trade relations only with Yugoslavia. However, the trade was virtually one-way and in our disfavour. We gave more than we received. We gave good products and received rubbish. We expropriated the big merchants of their property and sold the fabrics to the Yugoslavs at prices which they set, while the razor blades and minor things of this type which they sold us cost us the earth. We imported bread grain
from them, because we were short of it, some leather and iron plough-shares, and these they sold us at their internal prices which were very high. We sold them olives, cheese, olive-oil, etc., at a time when we did not have enough of them for ourselves. We shared everything with equal willingness.
At that time this whole situation seemed to us more or less normal, because we thought that Yugoslavia, too, was a country devastated by the war, as ours was, had economic difficulties and it was hard for them to help us. But we hoped that the situation would improve.
Apart from what I have mentioned above, both throughout the year 1945 and most of 1946, the good fraternal relations with Yugoslavia (and with the Soviet Union, too) consisted also of <<exchange of experience>>, the provision of some bursaries for our boys to study in Moscow and Belgrade and the sending of a few specialists to help us. Later, especially after my visit to Belgrade in June 1946, our economic relations began to develop more <<intensively>>, but this development consisted of talks, projects and declarations on paper, of endless promises, but for the time being nothing concrete. Nevertheless, the future seemed promising. Throughout this whole period, one of the most grave and most difficult, we managed to live, as you might say, <<on our own fat>> and it can be imagined what reserves we had been able to inherit from the past! Almost nothing. We had little or nothing, we were starving or half starving, but we did not let the people to die either of hunger or from cold, we began to fulfil the most elementary needs.
However, the task and aim of our Party was by no means merely the regulation of the life and fulfilment of the immediate needs of the population. The task of our Communist Party and the people's state power was to fulfil the supreme aspirations of the people for which so much blood had been shed. Major socio-economic reforms had to be carried out and the character of the economy had to be brought into conformity with the character of the new state power. That is, we had to lead the country consistently forward on the road
of the construction of socialism in all fields and, in the concrete instance, in the sector of the economy, too.
We knew that the fundamental factor for the socialist transformation of the country was the internal factor; we knew that the external auxiliary factor would be the Soviet Union of Stalin, in the first place, but especially in the conditions when we still had not established the necessary direct links with the Soviet state, we turned with open hearts to our neighbouring friends, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. They did not hesitate to <<assist>> us, especially with <<experience>>, with <<orientations>> which they gave us either through our people who went to Belgrade, or through pamphlets and reports, or through Stojnic, Djerdja, and later, through the ill-famed Savo Zlatic, as well as through a whole series of <<experts>> and <<political economists>>, as Sejfulla called them.
But where did all these officials <<direct>> us?!
I spoke above about the question of the <<stages>> of the revolution and about the <<concern>> of Tito, Kardelj and Djilas that we should <<not be hasty and skip the stages>>. Now these problems are very clear, and the Party has done a colossal job to ensure that even the school pupils thoroughly understand them, but in the years 1945-1946, even we who led the Party and the state were to some degree pupils ourselves. We were not lacking in devotion and zeal, but how difficult and what a great loss it was when we were often obliged to expend our zeal merely to discover what bad lessons were served up to us by our <<friends>>!
We spent a great deal of efforts and time, quarrelled with Sejfulla and with those behind Sejfulla who served up the idea of <<two parallel economies>>, who told us that
 Sejfulla Malëshova, influenced by the anti-Marxist theorizations of the enemies of socialism in the Soviet Union, where he had been for some time, advocated the view on the parallel existence of the two sectors -- socialist and capitalist, in the Albanian economy. This view was not different in any way from the theory of <<equilibrium>>, the reactionary essence of which had been rejected by J. V. Stalin long ago.
<<this is not the time for transformations of a socialist character>>, that <<we should go to socialism together with the bourgeoisie>>, etc., etc., and through these battles we did what Marxism-Leninism taught us. The fact is that, among the countries in which the regime of people's democracy was established after the Second World War, Albania set out more rapidly, more resolutely and consistently on the road of the socialist transformation of the country. Naturally, in this rapid progress we did not discard anything from the Leninist concept about the stages of the revolution. We discarded only the Yugoslav theorizing and the sinister aims which were hidden behind this theorizing.
Our <<friends>> greatly hindered and misdirected us also on the question of the Land Reform. Immediately after Liberation we began to carry out our promise to give the land to the tiller, but the Stojnices, Djerdjas and others hastened to <<advise>> us that we should not <<fall out>> with the former landowners; they told us to take a bit of their land (someone even <<advised>> to pay for it with money!), and to leave them a good part of their land which, in fact, represented areas ten or twenty times larger than those of the <<poor>>!
Under the pressure of Sejfulla Malëshova, at first, such a wrong <<orientation>> was approved, but we were soon aware of what dangerous consequences this step would have and made the necessary corrections. We set a fair limit for the area of land which would be allowed to each family (not more than 5 hectares per family) and took a series of other measures which would hinder the revival of the capitalist sector in the countryside (the buying, selling and renting of land were prohibited by law, etc.).
As for their <<orientations>> in the sector of industry the Yugoslavs had no need to rack their brains to find <<variants>>.
Initially, they <<advised>> us not to begin this work at all, because we were poor, we were short of food and foot wear, and we could not afford industry! <<Later>>, they said, <<we shall see what can be done with the mines and the oil, but for the time being record what you have, supply us with
raw materials, and we shall supply you with ample finished products.>>
<<Agriculture -- that is what you should go in for, as the backward agrarian country you are!>> they advised us.
Six or seven years later we were to hear the same <<advise>> from the mouths of those who usurped the leadership of the party and state in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin. I have spoken in more detail about this elsewhere. Here I want only to recall that when we were confronted with Khrushchev, Mikoyan and company, we had been tempered in the great school of Marxism-Leninism? in the school of the direct clash with Titoite revisionism, and as a result of this, we quickly distinguished the Khrushchevite variant of modern revisionism. In the first <<school>>, however, in the first clash, the difficulties and obstacles were greater, because there were many things we did not know, we had no experience, and we also suffered from that type of <<euphoric estimation>> of others that I mentioned above. It seemed to us that all of them were sincere, as we were towards Marxism-Leninism, both in theory and practice, and towards our Party and country. All these and other reasons, understandable at the time of this first clash with the revisionists, sometimes led us to take a wrong step or some decision which should not have been taken. But it is a great good fortune, or more correctly, a great merit of our Party that even in those extremely grave external and internal conditions, if we did <<slip>> into some wrong step, this was only on individual issues of the way of implementing the line, but we never permitted appreciable errors in the political, ideological and economic line.
I said above that from the very beginning the Yugoslav <<friends>> were opposed to the socialist industrialization of our country. The fact is also that in the first post-Liberation years we did not do anything notable in this field. But this
 See Enver Hoxha, <<The Khrushchevites>> (Memoirs), Tirana 1980, pp. 61-100, Eng. ed.
did not by any means come about because we accepted the Yugoslav orientation! No, we did not accept this orientation in any instance, but if we did not proceed rapidly on the course of industrialization, this was because we could go no faster, because we had no base from the past on which to rely, and at those moments, had no aid at all from the Yugoslav <<friends>> or the Soviets. As soon as any small possibility was created we exploited it immediately. This is what occurred, for example, with some old equipment for the engineering industry which managed to reach Albania as part of the minimal reparations which we were awarded. Since we ourselves <<did not know>> how to get the reparations which belonged to us, the Yugoslav <<friends>> became the <<handlers>> and <<intermediaries>>. After taking for themselves whatever looked best from what belonged to us, the Yugoslavs sent what was left over to Tirana. With the tools that came we equipped one or two workshops, put them to use and inaugurated the first engineering plant in Albania, precisely that plant which, since 1946, has borne my name, but which, over the years, has grown, been transformed and turned into one of the most powerful and modern combines of our engineering industry.
From these early moments we adopted the same correct Marxist-Leninist stand on every other aspect of the line of the Party and the socialist construction of the country. As I said, however, in individual aspects of the application of the line, mistakes, hasty or imposed decisions could not be avoided.
This is what happened, for example, with the orientation which we gave the peasantry in the years 1946 and 1947 about giving <<priority>> to certain agricultural crops.
The Yugoslavs talked on and on for hours and days on end to us about making agriculture as <<productive>> as possible, <<a great source>> of income and funds to buy equipment.
<<In your conditions, when you lack monetary or any other means to buy consumer goods or equipment abroad,>> they told us, <<the best way is to turn agriculture into a great source of funds and values. With this land and these marvellous cli-
matic conditions you have, you can achieve whatever you want!>>
And how concretely?
<<Forget about growing maize and wheat!>> Josip Djerdja advised us. <<Grain will never bring much sunshine into your life. It won't ensure even half the bread you need for your people, let alone provide you with any supplementary income. Plant sunflower! Do you know what sunflower is?!>>
The truth is we knew something about this crop, but we did not know what Djerdja knew.
<<It's a blessed plant!>> he <<explained>> to us. <<Oil, vegetable oil, is produced from it. Not only will you satisfy all your people's needs for oil, but we in Yugoslavia have great need, too. You could also sell it on the Western markets. Sunflower will open the whole world to you, will open up hard currency markets.>>
<<Our problem is bread,>> we opposed them. <<Our people are used to eating their meat and beans even without oil, but not without bread. And besides, most of the peasantry live solely on bread, a little cottage cheese and onions.>>
<<We will bring grain from Vojvodina!>> said Djerdja. <<You have no idea what Vojvodina is. It's a granary for Yugoslavia and for you. The wheat grows as tall as a man. We will be pleased to supply you, and with profit for you, in exchange for sunflower. Sunflower. . .>>
The same hymns to sunflower were sung in Belgrade, and not only the Yugoslav agricultural specialists, but also those who came on party matters, and even the militarymen, repeated the same hymns to us.
They did not hesitate to take a pencil and work out <<so much for this and so much for that,>> until we had no alternative but to accept that we had a great blessing before our eyes which we had not discovered!
So we gave the peasants the orientation to plant the fields with sunflower and not to worry about bread grain, because Tito would bring us plenty from Vojvodina (just as Khrushchev was going to bring it from the Ukraine 10-12 years later!).
To express the highest level of suffering and hardships, our people have a saying: <<To suffer the grief of the olive>>, but <<the grief of the olive>> was nothing at all compared with the <<grief>> we suffered from sunflower. Since we told them to do so, the peasants planted big areas to this crop, but the total lack of experience, the lack of conviction about the value of <<the flower>>, the deplorable conditions of the land at that time, the lack of seeds, mechanization, irrigation, etc., left us not only without <<hard currency and equipment>>, but also without bread! And when we mentioned the granaries of Vojvodina the Yugoslavs turned from <<generous>> friends into traders:
<<We shall supply you with grain, but you must either deliver the sunflower seed, as we agreed, or pay for it in cash! It can't be supplied free!>>
They were right! We had not carried out our <<contractual obligations>>!
Rather than to dwell any longer on this <<history>> over which we can smile now, but which in 1946 and 1947 caused us many sleepless nights, I want to say only one thing: the <<orientation>> of the Yugoslavs to give priority to sunflower over bread grain was not a chance <<mistake>> of theirs, was not the result of some foolish and superficial judgement of our conditions and possibilities of that time! No! Everything had been carefully considered, and the <<orientation>> which seemed <<agricultural>>, above all, concealed deliberate political aims.
In the context of the Titoites' all-round efforts to annex Albania, the imposition on us of a mistaken and wrong policy in agriculture would create the most suitable conditions for the leadership in Belgrade to realize its ambitions: our country would be threatened by famine, our Party would be discredited in the eyes of the masses as <<incapable>> of improving the life of the poor, and in the end we would be compelled to hold out our hand to our <<friends>> and they were just waiting for the moment to seize it and our whole body.
In short, they wanted to turn the whole of Albania into a <<sunflower>> which would turn its head and its body towards their <<sun>> -- Titoism and Titoite Yugoslavia.
They exerted similar pressure on us also over another <<source of hard currency income>>: cotton!
<<Cotton is gold!>> Djerdja and, later, Tito's other emissary Zlatic told us. <<Make the fields of Myzeqe, Vlora and Saranda shine with white cotton, because later your face will shine with joy!>>
So we told the peasants to plant this, too, but as is known, neither the fields we planted to it nor anything else turned out a <<shining success>>, but on the contrary, it simply increased our difficulties and hardships.
I by no means wish to say that even at those moments we underrated these industrial crops, or that our peasant was <<conservative>> and refused to embrace the new! Not at all. When the moment came, we planted sunflower and cotton and still do, and they are yielding ever better results. But in 1945-and 1946, when we lacked everything, when half the lowland zone was swamps and marshes, when bread had been turned into a sharp weapon which would determine our existence or non-existence, to give up growing grain in those conditions meant to set out on the road of failures and catastrophe. Soon, however, we were to be convinced that everything was wrong and anti-Marxist. The day was to come when the wheat <<as tall as a man>> of Vojvodina would hang over our heads like the sword of Damocles. However, we managed to escape the blow. The bitter experience of 1946-1947 became a great lesson. In practice, in conflicts, sometimes very dangerous ones, we were thoroughly learning the theory and practice of scientific socialism. Later, when that other Tito, Nikita Khrushchev, was to show us the way to come out in the sunshine through sheep, oranges and the orders of the fish, we were to laugh to ourselves with a mixture of irony and regret. <<History>> was repeating itself, but not our initial mistake. The <<sunflowers>> had taught us not to turn our heads either to Vojvodina or to the Ukraine,
but only to Marxism-Leninism! We had drawn lessons about what modern revisionism is in appearance and in content.
Meanwhile, with persistent all-round efforts we continued to seek other ways, means and possibilities to advance. Especially after the establishment of diplomatic relations at the end of 1945, we turned for aid to the Soviet Union, too.
In the talks which I had had with the officials of the Soviet embassy in Tirana on this problem, although they welcomed our proposals and requests, they always said: <<We shall report this to Moscow.>> It was natural that they should report to Moscow, but Moscow did not give any clear reply and indirectly implied, until they told us this openly, <<We shall give you economic aid through Yugoslavia, because we give it considerable aid, including some for you. Therefore, address your request to the Yugoslavs.>> Molotov repeated the same thing to us in Paris when we were there for the Peace Conference, and moreover, he said this in the presence of Kardelj and Mosa Pijade!
Although we did not understand this method of economic aid at all, we thought and believed that even such forms could exist between socialist countries. We could do nothing else but wait for the <<intermediaries>> to give us what they should. But if as the <<intermediaries>> for war reparations they gave us some scrap iron, as the <<intermediaries>> for the Soviet aid they gave us nothing at all.
Such was the much advertised <<aid>> for our country from the leadership of Belgrade up till to the middle of 1946: nothing concrete, mainly <<advice>> and <<orientations>>, and the sort of <<orientations>> I mentioned above.
After my visit to Belgrade in June 1946 it seemed as if a new, more advanced phase in our mutual economic relations was beginning. We put before Tito and company the request that they helped us with the methodology of drafting a unified plan, for the time being to cover one or two years, and gave us, according to their possibilities, some aid on credit, sent us some specialists for different sectors of the economy etc. This time our insistence on taking the first steps on the
road of socialist industrialization of the country made the Yugoslav leaders display more prudence in their <<orientations>>. They told us that they would help us in this field, too, but <<advised>> us that, apart from the development of some mines and the extraction of oil, we should concentrate our main attention on light industry and food-processing.
<<We shall help you with some credits, too,>> they told us, <<but we must reach agreement on the ways in which this aid will come. From our experience hitherto,>> they continued, >>we see that a very effective way for collaboration and aid is that of joint companies. We have created such companies with the Soviets and they are going very well. Let us create such companies with you, too!>>
The prolonged advertisement of the <<advantages>> of these companies and the repeated mention of the fact that such companies had been created with the Soviet Union, too, led us to agree in principle, at the time when I was in Yugoslavia, to the creation of these companies in the future.
<<Up till the end of the year,>> they told us, <<we have time to discuss them in detail, about how they will be set up, how they will function and how they will be run. But this is not a problem to be discussed in the leadership. Let the specialists of the respective sectors deal with this.>>
So we returned to Tirana with a series of promises and with <<proposals for a wider range of relations>>, although everything was left evasive, up in the air. After some months' silence they informed us that the time had come for the experts of the two countries to meet jointly in Belgrade and decide everything precisely. It seemed that 1947 was going to start well. About the end of October 1946 we dispatched Nako with a group of comrades from the Ministry of the Economy and the State Planning Commission and could only wait for the results of the talks. From this point begins the bitter history of the signing of the Albanian-Yugoslav Economic Convention at the end of November 1946.
The Economic Convention between Albania and Yugo-
slavia was the concretization of the alliance between our two countries. This Convention brought with it the protocols on 1he co-ordination of plans, on the unification of prices, on the establishment of parity of currencies, on the joint companies, on the removal of tariff barriers between the two countries, etc.
We signed these agreements but, as I shall describe later, during these negotiations over them we had doubts, questions, and serious objections. On the eve of the signing we repeated our objections and worries to the Yugoslav side once again, and they, naturally, did not like this. But they slapped us on the back:
<<Don't worry, everything will be in your favour!>>
It was not long before we understood clearly that the Economic Convention, with all its components, was nothing but a new savage weapon of Titoite diversion and sabotage to subjugate and gobble up Albania. As the first step, by means of this Convention the Yugoslav government aimed to further exploit and plunder our country through the well-known neo-colonialist forms; as the second step, it aimed to turn our entire economy into an appendage of the Yugoslav economy, to make our economy completely dependent on its leadership, and as the third step, to create the conditions in which we, like it or not, would accept economic and political <<union>> with Yugoslavia as the only way out!
To go into all the details of what occurred in reality with the Economic Convention would require whole volumes, which would portray both the theoretical arguments and the deceptions committed about them by the Yugoslav side, as well as a confrontation with figures and facts between what they promised us and what they gave us, between what was sold to us and what they took from us with the crudest methods. A correct Marxist-Leninist analysis of these problems has been made in many documents and materials of the Party, commencing from the report which I delivered at the 11th Plenum of the CC of the CPA in September 1948, and the reports delivered at the 1st Congress of the CPA in
November of that year, etc. Further, more detailed analyses have been made since, and they bring out clearly the neo-colonialist and anti-Albanian aims and stands of the Yugoslav leadership in the whole process of economic relations with our country, and in this context, also the nature of the Economic Convention signed in November 1946. Irrespective of this analysis, however, the bitter and danger-fraught history of that period still remains an open field full of interest for our scholars, especially those engaged in the history of our economic relations with the external world. The figures and facts are such that they prove in the most incontestable way that the aims and efforts of those who called themselves the <<communist leaders>> of Yugoslavia had no essential difference in content from the neo-colonialist aims and efforts of Italian, British, American and other capital in the black years of the Zogite monarchy. There was an apparent difference in form, in the disguises under which the new colonialists presented themselves, but there was a major factor which was decisively different: the fact that our Party and people, through their efforts, toil and sacrifices, did not permit 1939 to be repeated in 1947 or 1948. In the field of the economy, as in every other field, the plans and aims of the renegades of Belgrade were smashed to smithereens.
While I do not consider it necessary in this book of notes and reminiscences to repeat the things which have already been said, or to enter into details of figures and facts from the economic aspect, I want to mention something of the circumstances in which we were obliged to sign the Convention and the treaties in connection with it.
As I said, the head of our delegation was Nako. He maintained contact with us by radiogram and from his first reports it seemed that everything was starting well. The top functionaries of the Yugoslav economy -- Kidric (<<the genius of the economy>>, as the Yugoslavs called him!), his deputies --
 See Enver Hoxha, Selected Works, vol. 1, Tirana 1974, pp. 744-763, Eng. ed.
the Morices, Nekidrices and Petrovices, together with whole squads of other specialists and functionaries of medium or lower rank, welcomed and farewelled him.
Naturally, after the smiles and embraces, after the meals and the drinks, they got down to the business in hand. On the 27-28-year-old Nako, all the bosses  of the Yugoslav economy poured out a flood of knowledge: joint companies are set up on the basis of the size of the contributions to the initial funds; the policy of investments in them will be this and that; the initial profit, the net profit. . . ; the costs. . . ; the raw material. . . ; the country where the company functions has these rights and those obligations. . . ; the participating country has these and those; the credit will be provided on these conditions, will be repaid in this manner, etc., etc.
After delivering a lecture lasting a good two or three hours to him, the <<friends>>, people specially prepared for this work, left Nako <<in peace>> to work on his own <<without interruption>>; they left him 100-200 pages of theoretical and practical materials on the nature of the <<joint companies>> and instructed him very politely:
<<We can talk tomorrow in the morning session about any question which you have. Don't forget, this evening Comrade Kidric is expecting us for dinner.>>
And when Nako still had not managed to gain a clear idea as to the nature of <<joint companies>>, other specialists descended upon him to explain the projects for each separate company (<<the joint company for railway construction>>, <<the joint company for the drilling and extraction of oil>>, <<for hydro-power stations>>, <<for imports-exports>>, etc.). Again invitations to official, friendly and private lunches and dinners, further whole dossiers of working material, further discussions, but about other problems: about the unification of prices, about the unification of currencies, about the principle of the customs union, etc., etc.
 English in the original.
annoyed me because they told me nothing (I did not understand what was going on), but they also worried me. By urgent radiogram I sought details and explanations from Nako, but he either <<disappeared>> for whole days, or put me off with such reports: <<They insist on my attending an anniversary of liberation in a province of Slovenia stop will continue the talks after three days stop will send a detailed letter later stop Nako.>>
And precisely when Nako was immersed in the labyrinths of the Yugoslav economists, when he was left not a single hour to rest, or to explain things to us in a detailed letter, we received more disturbing news from him: <<The comrades (he meant the Yugoslavs) tell us that no accords on deliveries or anything else can be concluded if we do not immediately present our plan of development for the year 1947!>>
So this was what was occurring. Initially, we had reached agreement that the Yugoslavs would accord us what they could from the things we asked for and after this we would sit down to draft the plan, while now they were demanding the plan as a preliminary condition! In these conditions, Nako Spiru in Belgrade sat down and, amongst a thousand and one other jobs, worked out on his own the <<orientation plan>> for the development of Albania!
I do not want to say that either Nako or we, who allowed Nako to act in this way, were to blame for this. No, it was a whole policy which the Yugoslavs pursued to confuse us and to force us to accept instantly and hastily whatever they said and in the way that interested them.
This is how they acted in regard to everything else. Among the major problems which they put before us and for which they demanded immediate signature were those of the establishment of parity of the currencies, the unification of prices, etc. They overwhelmed Nako with their ideas, proposals and <<arguments>>; Nako, from the depths of the mire in which he was bogged down, appealed to me by radiogram: <<Help! Send me instructions how to act!>>
Here there is an important fact which must not be
forgotten. Many things in regard to the financial, technical. organizational, and other aspects we still did not know well and had no way how to know them. We were clear on the orientation that we must develop the country according to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, but in regard to how the joint companies would be organized concretely, what advantages and disadvantages they or the customs union, the unification of the currencies, etc., had, we did not have the necessary experience, and on some of them we had no experience at all. We considered Nako, for instance, as one of the most expert of us and I, in no way, wish to underrate his will or his abilities. But Nako, even as a specialist of the economy, leaving aside a series of other shortcomings he had, should be seen as he was at that time. He had not managed to complete his higher studies in economics, not to mention the fact that he was completely lacking in experience. It was like giving a young boy with two or three years of higher schooling the responsibility for handling such specialized problems of a country, no matter how small. Indeed, now the matter is simpler because even if one person, indeed a main functionary, cannot or does not know how to run things, there is a big, harmonious mechanism that the Party has created, which works like a clock, which introduces the young man to the job and management and teaches and qualifies him without causing any harm to the work in general. In 1946, however, matters were quite different: at that time the great mechanism of the socialist economy was only in embryo. Besides this, we were facing the old wolves of the Yugoslav economy. And not only that. They had long been thinking and consulting with one another and had matters worked out. They were close to one another, could meet and consult whenever and as much as they wished, and found a thousand and one tricks to outwit us.
Hence, in these conditions Nako was obliged to appeal to me. At that time, of course, I, too, could not pretend that I knew more than Nako about the <<fine>> problems of finance, credit, investments, etc. As for Koçi, he had reached the
limit of his capacities as an <<economist>> when he became a quartermaster of the stores at Panarit at the time of the war. Now he was concerned with <<other problems>>. Within the Party and the organs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs he had to apply the directives of Rankovic, had to do his evil work in secrecy.
Nevertheless, I had by all means to send Nako instructions and directives as clear and accurate as possible. Amongst all the other work, at that period, I completed a real course for the <<intensive assimilation>> of problems of the economy. For whole days and nights I read that literature from Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin that I could get hold of in French, which dealt with problems of the economy, summoned specialists in finance and other sectors (among them I shall not forget Naum Stralla), sought their opinions and, in this way, arrived at a certain conclusion and wrote to Nako:
<<Carefully, but clearly and accurately, express to the comrades our major reservations on the question of the equalization of the currencies. Tell them that the different levels of economic development of the two countries do not provide possibilities for a fair and realistic equalization of our lek with their dinar. Such an action is made even more unrealistic by the different levels of pay of the workers of the two countries; the different prices of goods which are produced in our country and those for their products, etc. Tell them that, apart from other things, such an action will give rise to many problems of a social and political character for us amongst the people and the confidence of the masses in our currency will decline, etc.>>
Likewise, in a concrete way I transmitted to Nako our serious and well-argued opinions about the impossibility of the immediate unification of prices, about the difficulties and dangers which might arise from the customs union, etc. I instructed him to talk dispassionately with Kidric, or if possible with Tito himself, and send us their reply immediately. However, a week went by and no news from Nako.
During those days Koçi Xoxe had gone there by special
invitation <<in order to honour our friends in the celebration of the 7th November>>! He, too, sent me an occasional radiogram in which he wrote about the red-carpet reception they were giving him, about the evenings when Rankovic and the others drank <<thirty toasts to the health of Albania>> (!) and even boasted to me that at one of the official dinners he had been drinking with the Yugoslav comrades until four in the morning, but he had lasted to the end like a man and had not disgraced us!
I could not contain my anger:
<<Are they in their right minds or not?!>> I said to the comrade who handed me the radiogram from the <<Comrade General>>. <<We are bursting our brains and they tell us about how long they have gone on drinking. Where's Nako's radiogram?>>
<<We are decoding it,>> the comrade told me. <<We gave priority to the 'Comrade General', because it might have been urgent news for you.>>
<<Very well,>> I said, <<but I urgently need 'Comrade Plan'.>>
Finally, they brought me Nako's radiogram. It was late, but he had filled the first two or three paragraphs with noughts: <<Import-export 1 000 000 new francs; the mines 2 000 000; the Bank 4 000 000; oil 4 000 000; electric power 2 000 000; the railways 4 000 000!!>>
All these series of noughts there in black and white were the amounts which the Yugoslav side was offering us for the year 1947, which they promised they would invest in 6 joint companies that would be set up. Besides, they also promised 3-4 factories, consumer goods, etc., etc., and then came the conditions: all these chains of noughts on paper would be turned into shekels, or more correctly, into shackles, if we were to accept the creation of companies, the unification of prices, the customs union, etc., etc.
 In the first years after Liberation the monetary unit was the franc.
given this reply: <<An expression of no confidence in the fraternal spirit of the Economic Convention>>!
I called the comrades together again and we began to discuss what Nako had written to us. But now he was in a great <<hurry>>. The following morning they handed me another radiogram of half a line:
<<Urgently await reply about yesterday's material>>!
For two or three days on end (they were the last days of November) Nako continued to send brief radiograms: the <<friends>> were demanding an urgent reply, the draft communique had been prepared, moreover, Nako had been appointed to draft it (!). Even the date for the signing had been set -- November 27. Only our reply was awaited: yes or no! Meanwhile Koçi Xoxe had returned and, apart from lengthy descriptions of his valour with the slivovica, he did not hesitate to pour out all his talent in the field of profound understanding of economic problems! He swore that the signing of the convention would be the open Sesame for us like in the tale of Ali Baba and the forty robbers.
<<Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!>> he told us. <<They say, 'Here you are -- take it!' and we are afraid!>>
In these conditions we finally decided to say, <<Open Sesame!>> On November 27 the convention was signed. A day or two later Nako Spiru and his group of collaborators brought us bales of documents and projects and, naturally, also chains of noughts on paper.
From the first meeting I had with Nako my worries and doubts about the step we had taken increased even further.
Apart from some minor exultation, in general Nako's tone was gloomy and pessimistic. Like me, he, too, had the opinion that the treaties which we signed were fraught with dangers and difficulties for us. He told me openly that the <<friends>> did not allow him any time at all to reflect deeply about the things they served up to him and they replied to our objections and suggestions curtly and with frowning faces.
<<This is only an agreement,>> I said, <<so let us proceed from the idea that it was signed by the two sides with the
best of intentions. Now that its practical application is to begin the advantages or disadvantages of each separate part and treaty will become evident. We shall make the necessary corrections and take all proper measures to avert any danger. I believe that the Yugoslav comrades will be guided by the same spirit.>>
<<They find it hard to accept any mistake in their opinions or actions,>> said Nako with his usual irony and pessimism.
I advised him to set to work and that we would do everything possible from our side, using our heads and exercising care and vigilance, not only to carry our work forward, but also to safeguard and strengthen our internationalist friendship with the peoples of Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav party.
Later, I was to discuss this theme and all its consequences for us with Nako time after time and, in one way or the other, he was to increase the dose of his objections and reservations about the <<sincerity>> of the Yugoslav comrades. Once he was almost ready to tell me something more, but suddenly stopped himself, became silent, withdrawn and enigmatic. It seemed that he was hiding something from me. After his suicide, and especially at the 8th Plenum of the CC of the CPA in February 1948, amongst many other things I was to learn something shocking and bitter which had to do with the <<enigma>> which he was nearly ready to tell me about, but never did tell me.
When he returned from Belgrade, after signing the Convention, he had said in confidence to some comrades, members of his <<intellectual élite>> (Liri Belishova, Fadil Paçrami, Niko Opari, etc.):
<<Well, are the people saying about me that Nako Spiru sold Albania to Yugoslavia just as Ahmet Zog sold it to Italy?!>>
It was true that Nako Spiru was known, as well as for many other vices and merits, for his sometimes bitter and sarcastic and sometimes exultant and euphoric expressions, and this expressed his complex and contradictory character. In this context this bitter, hostile statement, too, which he
had made in the intimacy of the members of his <<élite>> found a certain explanation. But he was gravely mistaken in this assessment and gave himself undue <<weigh>>.
In the first place, there could never be any similarity between the evil deed of Ahmet Zog and the motives from which he proceeded in signing treaties with other countries and the aims and motives from which we proceeded in signing treaties with Yugoslavia.
As I said, we set out from the finest aims and on the basis that, first, we had to do with a socialist state. Second, the revolution, which we had carried out and were consistently deepening, did not give Nako, or any other individual person, the possibility to sell or buy Albania as Ahmet Zog did in the past. Now the Party was in power, the people were in power, and they would not and did not allow the freedom and independence of the Homeland to be sold, or even in fringed in the least.
Besides this, however, I think that Nako's statement about his <<selling of Albania>> must certainly have had other, more profound reasons, which went beyond Nako. In the talks which he held for a month in Belgrade he must certainly have been faced with harsher demands and more ferocious pressures than what he wrote in his radiograms, or told us about when he returned. Perhaps the <<friends>> had hinted or even demanded openly that he should sign for much more than the <<economic agreements>>. The fact that Koçi Xoxe, too, was <<invited>> to be in Belgrade at the most critical period of the talks to give <<support>>, or perhaps to put pressure on Nako, is another argument for this hypothesis. Nako may have realized that in these agreements Yugoslavia was proceeding from the aim of <<tying the hands>> of Albania, irrespective of the disguise of fraternal <<aid>> with which this low-down deal was to be dressed up. Nako opposed them, but the Yugoslavs threatened him with facts and documents from the past which compromised his figure in our eyes (his role behind the scenes at Berat, the secret anti-party letters he sent them, etc.). In this case, the meanness of the petty-bourgeois spirit prevailed
over the revolutionarY spirit of Nako Spiru. He did not have the courage to tell us in detail what aims the Yugoslavs were concealing, but only pointed out <<some reservations>> (we ourselves had not just reservations but serious criticisms), and after receiving our authorization, he put his signature to a series of agreements which he knew were not fair and were anti-Albanian. Hence, if Nako knew that he was going to sign such an anti-Albanian document, then his action is inexcusable, because he did not warn the Party at the proper time of what was hidden behind the convention.
Moreover, even when he returned he did not find the courage and strength to tell us in detail what he may have known and which, undoubtedly, he did know.
The fact is, however, that after this Nako began to stay closer to me. He came frequently to meet me and consult with me, raised problems (and did not raise them badly), worked zealously and strove to ensure that matters in the economy proceeded as well as possible in the interests of the development and strengthening of our country.
A number of specialists, advisers and technicians of different sectors came from Yugoslavia at that time for the implementation of the agreement, and especially for the setting up of joint companies. At the same time, at our request, a number of Soviet advisers and specialists began to come, too.
Thus, the whole first period of 1947 turned into an intensive period of work for putting into practice those tasks which emerged from our economic agreements with Yugoslavia, along with other tasks. In the course of this work all the problems and difficulties which were implicit in the signed agreements were to emerge clearly. Among those which became immediately obvious was the open distortion from the Yugoslav side of the character of the customs union. We accepted this union and made every effort to ensure that this measure would serve to facilitate the exchanges between our two countries. As a preliminary condition to avoid confusion in the market and in all the exchanges, we proceeded
from the principle that, while the trade between us must truly be carried on without customs duties, it must always be guided and controlled by the state; that the lek in Yugoslavia and the dinar in Albania should circulate and be exchanged not in a spontaneous way, but on the basis of official accords; that the enterprises or private persons of one country should not be allowed to buy whatever they wanted and as much as they wanted in the other country outside the official accords, etc.
The Yugoslavs violated and rejected these basic premises. They described our just objections as <<capitalist stands>> (!), claimed that <<we wanted to look after our narrow interests>>, that <<we were violating the spirit of friendship>>, etc. Consequently, after pressure from the side of the Yugoslavs, the borders were opened and private and state Yugoslav enterprises, as well as smugglers from Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, etc., poured in and seized everything they found in our market at very cheap prices. Consequently, our market was being completely emptied of goods and the bank filled with useless dinars. Later, we were to strongly oppose this real robbery (we sold goods and bought dinars!), but the fact is that the market was ruined. The dinars accumulated were no good to us, because there was nothing to buy in the Yugoslav free market. Tito and company had taken measures, had rationed everything, and so the only things we could buy in the Yugoslav free market were children's toys, dolls and whistles!
We were seeing similar distortions in the other agreements, too. The creation of <<joint companies>> was decided, the first concrete steps were taken, but our partners wanted only to grab their part of the profit without putting a single dinar into the investment fund. They accorded us a credit of 2 billion dinars. But what did they realize from this credit they advertised so loudly? Almost nothing. On the basis of this credit, apart from some consumer goods, they were to supply us, and did supply us, with 3-4 <<factories>>, one for soap, one to make ropes, a sugar factory and, I believe, also a flour mill.
What were these in reality and how much did they cost?
The Yugoslav <<experts>> set the prices. They cost us the earth! The famous <<factories>> were only scrap iron, not even properly painted. The sugar factory, which we built in Korça, cost us a large sum in leks for its construction, we gave it the honoured name of Ali Kelmendi, but it did not work for one minute and did not produce a single gram of sugar in the real sense of the word.
The rope factory consisted of a few handicraft tools from the time of Prince Nikola. A few wheels, a few wooden axels and a drum to strip the hemp which it damaged so that it could never be made into string, let alone rope. The whole <<factory>> was installed in a shed in Rrogozhina, and so it was with all of them.
As I said, all these and others like them cost us extremely dear, because everything had to be paid for with oil, bitumen, minerals, etc. However, we ought to be <<satisfied>> with this robbery we were suffering, because the Yugoslavs <<were making sacrifices>> for us by giving us the <<credit>> (which was never realized), as well as endless <<advice>> and other <<orientations>> in all fields.
They were quite unscrupulous in these <<orientations>> and sometimes made themselves utterly ridiculous with them. At the beginning of 1947 we sent Tuk Jakova as minister of our legation in Yugoslavia to replace Hysni Kapo whom we recalled to Tirana, because I felt the need for his opinion, will and loyalty to the cause of the Party.
So, Tuk went to Belgrade and in a meeting with Tito to present his letter of credentials, after he replied to the Marshal's questions about the weather and the climate in Albania, he received the instructions of the occasion:
<<You must learn the Serbian language!>> was Tito's first instruction, <<because in this way we shall be able to talk together confidentially and with the others; you must learn as much as possible from our experience and inform us about the achievements and needs of Albania.>>
Tito had gone into such detail about our situation that Tuk had been greatly moved to see that the great Marshal
had found time to interest himself in the sheep and goats of Albania and to tell him from his own mouth that goats are destroyers of forests!
After this <<touching>> meeting, a visit was organized for Tuk to acquaint himself with Bosnia-Hercegovina, where he was so inspired by what he saw and heard that, apart from writing detailed letters, the Muse prompted him to come to Tirana to report to us personally.
<<In Sarajevo,>> he told me, <<the deputy-prime minister of the Republic, himself, received me and we had a great talk and he gave me very valuable advice. It is of interest for our conditions.>>
<<Yes, yes,>> I said, <<I'm listening to you.>>
<<Especially about goats and sheep!>> said Tuk to my surprise. <<They asked me whether we do or do not have local sheep and goats and whether they do or don't have horns. I told them they have horns like pitchforks. 'Do you know what we are doing?' the comrades in Sarajevo told me. 'We are getting rid of the traditional goats and replacing them with Vojvodina or Maltese goats. Each goat produces 5-6 kilos of milk and eats only grass. A handful of grass and 5 kilos of milk! We increase production and save the forests! Because goats destroy the forests!' Then,>> continued Tuk, <<they asked about us and they were shocked when I told them that many households in our villages have 10, 20 or more goats and sheep of the traditional local breed and in each flock we keep 2-3 billy-goats and rams.>>
Our ambassador was <<astounding>> me with these <<pearls of wisdom>> he was telling me, but I was more <<astounded>> at the profound interest of the Yugoslavs in our goats and sheep! So I allowed Tuk to continue and I listened to this wonder through to the end.
<<Do you know what they do in Sarajevo?>> he went on to tell me. <<With one pedigree ram or billy-goat they inseminate whole flocks. They have eliminated all billy-goats and rams running with the flocks. They advised me that we, too, should follow suit. 'Slaughter all the billy-goats and rams and the
nanny-goats, too, because they damage the forests,' they told me. 'We will give you pedigree flocks. We need those goats of yours for meat and hides, but we need the horns, in particular! We buy the horns at the highest price!'>>
I looked Tuk right in the eye to convince myself whether or not he was in his right mind, but he was speaking quite calmly and seriously. I had no doubt that the things he told me were true. The Yugoslavs wanted horns! There was no joke or any insinuation about this! It was precisely so, but what they needed the horns for remained a mistery to me for some time. However, the day was to come when Savo Zlatic would enter my office with a long sheet of paper and lay it before me:
<<You are not carrying out your contractual obligations!>> he protested. <<You have not sent us so many thousand tons of oil!>>
<<I know this,>> I replied, <<and I am sorry about it. But have you asked why? The joint company, ours and yours, extracts the oil. Under the contract you should first have brought the respective equipment for drilling wells and extracting the oil. These you should have brought a year ago, but you have not done so and, as you know, the oil does not flow up of its own.>>
Zlatic continued with two or three other items and then, unwittingly, mentioned a word which had almost been erased from my memory: horns!
<<What's that?>> I asked. <<What was the article you mentioned?>>
<<Several hundred quintals of horns,>> he said in a serious tone. <<We have signed a contract and you have not fulfilled it!>>
<<Our ambassador in Belgrade has told me something about this,>> I said, <<but to tell the truth, it seemed to me so ridiculous that I did not want to believe it. However, since it is apparently true, why do you need the horns?>>
<<Why do we need them?!>> asked Zlatic, scandalized at my <<ignorance>>. <<Those beautiful combs and hair-clips we sell you are made of horn!>>
I laughed inwardly for a moment, but quickly pulled myself together. However, I was happy that my <<ignorance>> in this field impelled me to prevent the sacrifice of the nanny goats, rams and billy-goats of Albania, because our friends wanted the horns.
Thus, we were to become accustomed to hearing <<accusations>> and complaints from our friends even over ridiculous things, like the story I have just mentioned and others like this. Only today do such stories sound ridiculous, but at the time when they occurred they caused us serious difficulties and obstacles.
Of course, we could not remain indifferent, therefore, collisions with our <<friends>> were to be inevitable. Indeed, even when we still had not realized that we were dealing with robbers, that is, when we still called them friends, with prudence and sincerity we continued to present to them our criticisms and to propose the respective alterations, corrections and adjustments. But it seemed that this was just what they were waiting for: they accumulated our criticisms, <<discovered>> others even where none existed, and prepared themselves for a new anti-Albanian attack. It would not be long before we were face to face with this attack.
Behind Tito's accusation of <<two lines>>
and <<anti-Yugoslavism>> in the leadership of the CPA
The new attack, which is known in history as Tito's first accusation against our Party, the Yugoslav leadership launched at the end of June 1947 through its main emissary in Albania, the ill-famed Savo Zlatic.
 In the <<White Book -- Yugoslav-Albanian relations 1939-1948>>, published in Belgrade in 1949, the Yugoslav officials complained, among other things, that <<the Albanian side did not fulfil its contractual obligations to sell the Yugoslav side 245 quintals of horns.>>
Some time had passed since this top Yugoslav emissary had come to our country as the delegate of the CC of the CPY to the CC of the CPA, recommended by Tito and his men as a <<very good>> comrade, <<with great experience in party matters>>, <<an expert on questions of the economy>>, <<a qualified organizer and co-ordinator>>, etc.
In short, this was a person with such all-round qualities that we were obliged to think that Yugoslavia would be weakened and was making a great sacrifice in sending this <<marvel>> to us, but then Albania would be strengthened!
In fact, Savo Zlatic was sent to lead all the Yugoslav activity in Albania. He came to take in hand all the reins for the final attack which the Titoites were preparing against our freedom and territorial integrity and, no doubt, in the imagination of the Yugoslav leadership played the role of the imperial viceroy in the <<Albanian province>>. De jure he was engaged with official relations in Albania, but de facto he was engaged in political, economic, military, espionage, and other matters. All the Yugoslav citizens, who worked in various sectors in Albania, were under his orders. He was <<responsible>> for all party work and any other activity of the members of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia who worked in our country.
To give the devil his due, he was wily. He set about his work with great tact and diplomacy. He knew how to pose as a comrade who was not going to meddle with the affairs of Albania and our Communist Party.
<<Nevertheless,>> he told us, <<I shall always be at your disposal, whenever you feel the need for my assistance.>>
He seemed to be calm, authoritative, and serious, spoke slowly and his words were prudent, carefully considered and extremely polite.
At first, our meetings with him were very rare and this came about, apart from his concern <<to avoid interfering in our internal affairs>>, because of language barriers.
At the first meeting which I had with him I spoke about the situation in our country and in our Party and deliberately
mentioned the discussions which we had held in our Political Bureau about the re-examination of the events at the 2nd Plenum of the CC of the Party, about the non-too-healthy situation in our leadership (all this he knew, indeed knew more than I did, because he came from Belgrade), and I told him also about the enlargement of the Bureau with three new comrades, Hysni Kapo, Gogo Nushi and Kristo Themelko.
<<I insisted on this enlargement of the Bureau>>, I told him, <<because with the situation that the Berat Plenum created for us it was difficult to advance. The new comrades will undoubtedly enliven our Political Bureau and help to deal thoroughly with all the old reservations and distortions.>>
He listened to me all attention, nodding his head with the same rhythm when I spoke both about our successes and about our weaknesses, but took no stand, either good or bad.
I told him that we would consult with him about various matters so that he could help us. I told him also that from time to time other comrades of the Bureau might discuss various problems with him. He agreed to this method of work, but in essence, his desire was to take part in the proceedings of the Bureau. But we had suffered from this before and we had learnt from it. Odriçan and Berat would not be repeated.
Once, when I was not in Tirana (as far as I remember I was on holiday), Savo Zlatic took part in a meeting of our Political Bureau. There, under the pretext of giving his experience, he had discussed the method of work in the Bureau, and concentrated especially on economic questions, how these important problems should be studied, how they should be solved, etc.
It was reported to me that at this meeting there were differences of views about the economic situation in our country between Koçi and Nako. In fact, this was the only meeting of the Bureau in which Savo Zlatic took part. Meanwhile, he held meetings with various members of the Bureau. His contacts with me were made through Koçi Xoxe, as an intermediary, and the three of us together discussed those
things which he had to tell us. First of all, his interventions in the initial meetings were made with good behaviour and great tact (and this continued right up to the time when he launched the attack).
What did he inform us about in these meetings? Nothing apart from telling us about various organisms which had been created in the state apparatus of Yugoslavia. He made some superficial comments about the views of Kardelj on the organization of councils and the state power (we had received information about them previously), spoke to us in exulted terms about Tito's speeches on the Front, pointing out that the question of the Front was <<something new>> that Tito had added to Marxism (!), and that all the people's democracies ought to study the experience of Tito attentively and apply it!
The <<all-rounder>> Zlatic wanted to give us the impression that he was a very competent person on all matters, but the impression was growing steadily stronger on me that his only competence was in intrigues. His so-called aid had no more than minimal value. As I said, he reported to us on things which we had long known and, moreover, what he told us amounted to brief summaries of directives which they sent him from Belgrade, plus deductions which he had drawn from reading the articles or speeches of Tito and Kardelj. We never saw him enlarge on these problems, go into them profoundly, or tell us anything new. His was the nature of the <<official>> activity of Savo Zlatic. However, his work as a back-room organizer for the sabotage of our plan, as leader of the silent war, which he was preparing against us and against the Soviet civilian and military advisers who were in Albania, was very extensive.
This work of sabotage against us and discrimination against the Soviet advisers was carried out gradually and constantly extended through the Yugoslav specialists, engineers and technicians and all the officials of the Yugoslav legation. The inspirer of all this hostile work was Savo Zlatic, but, as the double-dealer he was, he took all measures to hide his hand in this dirty work. However, our work con-
tinued on its normal course, on the right road, despite the efforts and the continual frictions we had with the Yugoslavs in the practice of the work. Of course, this situation was not to the liking of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia and its plenipotentiary, Savo Zlatic.
In the first months of 1947, in particular, when practice was showing up the shortcomings and distortions in the agreements or the economic treaties with Yugoslavia, as we called them at that time, we began to raise our voice loudly for the revision and correction of them in a right and friendly way. Since the Yugoslav side was carrying out none of its obligations under the signed contracts, and the danger existed that the plan for the year 1947 would remain only on paper, we sent Nako Spiru to Belgrade in April to talk quietly and openly with the <<pontiff>> of the Yugoslav economy -- Kidric, and his collaborators. Once again they kept Nako hanging around with plenty of excuses and promises. But now our criticisms were based on clear calculations, now we had learnt how to navigate through the whirlpools of the acute economic problems. The Yugoslav leadership sensed the danger that we would discover the anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian essence of the agreements and its other actions and, in order to avoid an undesirable attack, chose the course of a surprise counter-attack.
By the middle of June Koçi Xoxe came to me and said:
<<The Yugoslav comrades are displeased with us.>>
<<Displeased? Why?>> I asked him.
<<Because we are not completing the work for the unification of prices, but delaying it. This is what Comrade Zlatic told me.>>
<<But does Zlatic know why we have delayed it?>> I asked Koçi.
<<I tried to tell him something,>> muttered Koçi, <<but he did not want to discuss the matter and only expressed their discontent to me.>>
I did not give this any importance, because at that time the <<discontent>> of the Yugoslavs over trifles was endless.
On one occasion Zlatic, this great delegate of the CC of the CPY to our Central Committee, came to me and complained:
<<Such and such a specialist of yours has impaired the prestige of Yugoslavia.>>
<<Is that so?!>> I asked him. <<We must look into this matter, but first, tell me in what direction he has impaired the honour of friendly Yugoslavia.>>
<<He accompanied our cotton specialist to Berat and rejected the advice of our comrade in front of the farmers!>>
<<But what was the advice of your comrade? Was it on political matters?>> I asked pointedly.
<<No, it was about the cotton,>> replied Zlatic all seriousness. <<Our specialist said, 'It's done like this,' and yours said the opposite.>>
<<And you call this violation of your prestige?!>> I asked him in a tone of mixed surprise and sarcasm. <<Leave the specialists to get on with their discussions, Comrade Zlatic, because this does not impair your prestige or ours or even that of the cotton!>>
<<No, no!>> insisted Zlatic. <<Matters must be gone into more deeply. How does your comrade know all those things he said about cotton?! You have no experience. It turns out that someone has taught him. It turns out that he prefers his own opinion or, more precisely, the opinion of those that have taught him. Is this not an insult to Yugoslavia?!>>
I understood he was not referring to us alone. The <<someone>> who had taught (?) our comrade, according to Zlatic, was one of the Soviet specialists. For some time we had been aware of this <<new>> method in the assessment of our stands and actions on the part of the Yugoslavs. Whenever we raised any opposition, they immediately thought that the Soviets <<had prompted us>>, although, without denying their merits, in 1946 and even 1947 the Soviets regarded us mostly through the eye of the Yugoslavs. I turned to Zlatic and gave him the reply that he deserved. Quietly, with seriousness and concern combined, I advised him to be more tolerant in
his conclusions, both with his collaborators and with us. He went away muttering and, indeed, begged my pardon for worrying me, but added, <<I proceed from the principle that we can discuss everything.>>
He came back again subsequently over similar trifling matters, but we had always parted with the problems <<cleared up>>. This time, however, the <<displeasure>> which they transmitted to me through <<Comrade>> Xoxe was a warning of something stronger. Two or three days after this Nako came to me and said:
<<Comrade Zlatic told me that a second line is crystallizing in the Party in Albania!>>
<<What's that!>> I exclaimed staring at him in surprise.
<<According to Zlatic,>> said Nako, speaking quietly and with a note of irony, <<there are two economic lines in our country: the line of the Central Committee, which is correct in principle, and, parallel with this, the concretization of a second line in practice, contrary to that of the Central Committee!>>
<<Astonishing!>> I said. <<But what did he base this on?>>
<<He did not offer any argument.>>
<<But didn't you ask him?>>
<<He put it forward in principle, and I did not consider it in order to prod him,>> Nako replied blushing red.
<<You made a mistake!>> I told him. <<Zlatic's statement is not an observation, it's an accusation. You should have gone into it at length and demanded precise details.>>
<<You are right,>> said Nako, <<but I did not take it so seriously!>>
I instructed him to meet Zlatic immediately and to talk the matter over thoroughly with him. The talk was held and the truth began to come to light somewhat better.
<<They base their accusation on the failure, on our part, to carry out the unification of the common prices,>> Nako told me. <<For this they lay the blame on the economic sector, that is, on me. According to Zlatic, we had decided that the list of our prices should have been completed at the end
of May, but up till now it has still not come out. From this they say that I am obstructing the correct line of our Central Committee. Hence, I am allegedly pursuing a second line in the Central Committee.>>
It seemed to me impossible that the Yugoslavs could base such an accusation on quite an obviously stupid reason, so I decided to continue the talks with Zlatic, except that now I sent Koçi Xoxe, who clearly enjoyed the sympathy of the Yugoslav friends, together with Nako. About the 20th or the 21st of June they talked with Zlatic and reported back to me, and even brought me a two-page letter in which Zlatic presented the Yugoslav <<arguments>> in support of the accusation they made against us.
All the arguments about <<two lines in the leadership>> amounted to nothing, but Koçi Xoxe had taken them extremely seriously.
<<These things are grave,>> he said to me in Nako's presence. <<We must look into them thoroughly and seriously, I think we should put them before the leadership.>>
<<What, do you also accept that the Central Committee has been wrong, that a 'second line' is crystallizing among us?>> I asked him.
<<I didn't say exactly so!>> Xoxe softened his tone. <<The Yugoslav comrades don't say it of the whole Central Committee, either. Indeed, they say that the line of the Party is correct in principle, but is being distorted in practice, turned into a counterline. The comrades of the respective sector are doing this. Comrade Nako, as responsible for that sector, must explain this to us in the Bureau.>>
Nako could hardly sit still in his chair, and said to Koçi angrily:
<<I agree, let us raise the question of the 'counterline' in my sector before the Bureau and we shall see who is right! Don't forget that for a year we have been wanting to raise the question of your sector before the Bureau, but you still haven't presented the material on the organizational questions!>>
<<Don't hop off to another branch,>> Xoxe <<broke out>>. <<We are not talking about the organizational matters because I don't permit two lines there! We are talking about the economic lines.>>
As I have said, quarrels between them had erupted long before.
<<This is no place for your rows,>> I said to them, <<and I don't think the accusation has to do with Nako at all. It is much more serious. Let us raise it in the leadership and thrash it out thoroughly.>>
After the presentation which I made of Zlatic's accusation, the leadership of the Party rejected it, and even Koçi Xoxe could not object. In the first days of July I summoned Zlatic and had a long tumultuous talk with him which, as far as I remember, we continued with intervals over two days.
<<With Koçi Xoxe, first of all, and then with Nako Spiru,>> I told him, <<you have made what we might call politely the 'remark' that a second line, opposed to that of our Central Committee, is crystallizing amongst us!>>
<<That is correct!>> agreed Zlatic.
<<As we understand it,>> I continued, <<this serious remark of yours is based on two arguments, first, because the prices from our side should have been unified in May and this work dragged out till the end of June, and, second, that at the end of May the problems of rates of pay were not definitively resolved, but are being resolved about a month or so late, that is, in July. Is this the case, or am I mistaken?>>
<<Tako je, tako je! *>> agreed Zlatic with feigned politeness. <<Indeed, I have handed over in writing my theses on this problem!>> he added.
<<Do you still stand by them?>> I asked him.
<<Naturally!>> he replied.
This talk was held on the 4th and 5th of July 1947.
* That's so, that's so (Serb. in the original).
in your judgments if you are saying with sincerity those things you have alleged.>>
<<Please,>> he said, <<you are insulting me. I am the emissary of a country and a party which have proved themselves. . .>>
<<Precisely because you are their emissary, I am sorry that you are lowering their prestige with such impermissible accusations and about a comrade who is quite young.>>
I saw his expression change.
<<Listen, Comrade Zlatic,>> I continued, <<let us take matters more quietly and examine what is hasty, your accusation about our line, or my accusation about your hasty and unfounded judgment. You base your accusation on the fact that the two 'central' problems of prices and pay rates were solved by our side not at the end of May but a month or so later, at the beginning of July. Because of thirty days' delay you come out with such accusations?! Is this reasonable? Even simple formal actions or the examination of a letter are frequently delayed for several days, let alone such important problems which have to do with the economy of the whole country. We are friends,>> I went on, <<we have created various links which have been continually extended. We have our obligations for the development and strengthening of these links just as you have your obligations. In practice, however, it occurs that there are some things which our comrades cannot do, and there is also ignorance, procrastination, negligence and lack of understanding. But we find the same phenomena with your comrades, too. Even in your country it has occurred and does occur, for one or the other reason, that a problem or ten problems are not solved precisely at the time envisaged. If we open the contracts, plenty of such examples can be found. Is that not so?>>
<<Tako je! >> repeated Zlatic like a parrot.
<<Well, then,>> I said, <<should we accuse your Central Committee of having a 'second line'? Should we accuse you that you say one thing and do another? You would be angry about this, wouldn't you?>>
He lowered his head, noted something down, but his favourite expression <<tako je >> did not come from his lips this time.
<<The thing is, Comrade Zlatic, that we should judge matters correctly and with clearer minds. We would not object at all if you were to raise truly worrying problems and arguments, but on the contrary, would thank you. However, these things that you say are not arguments.>>
I saw that he was sitting tense and rigid, waiting another opportunity to object, so I continued:
<<Even if we consider the delay of a month a matter of importance, have you thoroughly considered the problem of why this delay has come about?>>
<<There are various reasons!>> he said curtly.
<<Agreed!>> I continued. <<I shall list mine and, then, you add those that I leave out. In regard to our side, if there has been a certain delay, this has come about because the comrades of the base, and indeed of the centre, are only now learning certain things in connection with prices. Have you taken account of the fact that only two or three years ago the majority of those who are now engaged in the work for the organization of the state in our country could hardly read?! Moreover, since this problem has to do with an accord established between our two countries, we have mobilized the best forces we have in the economy in order to carry out this work at the proper time. And merely because they were a month late with it, you accuse us of having a 'second line'! Our view is that from this delay we cannot arrive at the deduction that there is a distortion of line or a second line in this. There might be anything else, but never a second line. This,>> I told him, <<is not only my opinion. I put my opinion before the leadership of our Party and also presented to them your 'theses' and the 'arguments' which you provide and all the comrades rejected them as without foundation and out of order.>>
He raised his head from the piece of paper on which he was taking notes and stared at me almost as if to ask me, <<Is it true that all of them agreed with you?!>>
However, he drew in his horns again and said nothing.
<<Nevertheless,>> I went on, <<the main cause of the delay does not rest with us, or with any ignorance or negligence of ours. The main cause rests with you, with your comrades, beginning from Sergej Krajger, as the main representative of the Yugoslav side for the development of economic relations with us, and including all his collaborators here and other comrades of yours in Belgrade.>>
<<How can you say such a thing?>> the wily Zlatic broke his silence angrily. <<You are throwing mud on our aid and sacrifices, you. . .>>
<<Not at all,>> I interrupted him. <<And Iet us put such general terms aside. Let us refer to the facts:
<<You know that the discussion between our two sides on the problem of the unification of prices and pay rates began at the end of January or the beginning of February of this year. In February we wanted to know how the prices would be equalized between Albania and Yugoslavia. At the beginning of March, Krajger, through one of his aides, Perovic, presented us with some lists about the equalization of prices and agreement was reached that we would begin the joint work for building the structure of our prices. However, your comrades delayed this work until the end of March. The specialists whom you sent simply travelled round Albania and did nothing. This was hindering the drafting of our plan and our budget. Krajger insisted that our prices should be set quickly from Tirana, while we and even Krajger's aides said that this work had to be done in the terrain. Agreement was reached to go to the terrain, to the enterprises, but your comrades preferred Belgrade to the Albanian terrain. They returned to Tirana at the end of April, but now with a new proposal: that a stereotyped unification of prices in the two countries should not be done but we should proceed on the basis of a common structure of prices! We studied your new proposals, which seemed to us more fair, and in the first days of May gathered all our economists and sent them to the base. Our comrades were instructed to do
the work of four or five months in less than one month. At the beginning of June we completed our work as best we could and handed the results to your side to examine. In the middle of June they were returned to us with a number of further criticisms and orientations to discuss which we will need at least ten to fifteen days. This is the history, Comrade Zlatic, and you know this history very well. Therefore, I have the right to ask you: Why did your comrades hold us up for four or five months on end? And by what right do you blame us for your fault?!>>
Now Zlatic could hardly contain himself.
<<Causes and justifications can be sought and found,>> he said, <<but I insist that, regardless of your presentation, these problems could have been solved more quickly. We had studied the method of setting prices in Yugoslavia and there was no reason to go deeply into studies and analyses in the enterprises here. Our prices could be applied in your country, too, and there was no reason to go through all the stages.>>
<<Excuse me,>> I said, <<but as far as I know you are also a specialist in the economy! How can the prices of our products be set the same as those in Yugoslavia when the conditions of production, the raw materials, the qualification of the workers, the productivity, the level of technology, etc., etc., are completely different?!>>
However, diplomacy works wonders. Zlatic knew how to seal his lips and not say a word.
I continued with similar arguments to prove that on the other questions, too, such as those of the unification of pay rates, the question of the budget, of our plan for 1947, etc., the blame for the delays did not rest on us at all, but on them.
<<If you are satisfied with your work, then you are mistaken,>> said Zlatic. <<The implementation of the plan carries a great responsibility towards our peoples and all the democratic world. If we do not implement it as we should, Stalin himself will pull our ear. I say that you have not mobilized your cadres as you should have done.>>
<<We cannot cheer that we have done everything,>> I told him. <<We are conscious that we need more work, mobilization and knowledge. But for the concrete problems which we are discussing our mobilization has been total. Many things have been demanded from us urgently and insistently from your side and we have thrown all our people into the work for studies, the lists, observations, but as soon as they manage to make some progress, Krajger comes and produces other variants, Kiro Gligorov comes and overturns the former orientations and gives new ones, Perovic comes and brings further piles of variants and themes for study. Do you understand what a situation this creates for us?! Instead of getting on with the work, our people are engaged in studies and plans which are worthless, and the fault is not ours. And since you mention Stalin, I am convinced that if he has to pull someone's ear over these things that are occurring, it will not be ours.>>
<<These are complicated problems,>> said Zlatic retreating instantly and I noticed a light twitch in his face. <<If the first orientations are changed, this is done in favour of a better, more correct orientation.>>
<<I fully agree!>> I said. <<But how long is this going to continue?! You accuse us of 'two lines', because, through no fault of ours, we presented the list of prices thirty days after the set date. What are we to say about you who delayed the plan for 1947 till the end of April and even to this day you have not stated precisely what you are going and what you are not going to give us from the credit which you have accorded us?! You know very well that we had decided that our budget should have been approved in the first months of this year. Kiro Gligorov promised that he would send us a finance specialist in April. To this day the problem of our budget is not being solved because you insist that your specialists should examine it, since the co-ordination of joint plans requires this. What are we to say to you about these five or six months of delay and obstruction?!>>
The meeting went on for a long time and I did most
of the speaking. Zlatic put in some short comments, tried to defend himself and repeated what he had said at the outset:
<<I insist that two lines are crystallizing!>>
When I saw that even after the detailed concrete arguments which I presented to him, he still persisted in his opinion, without presenting any kind of argument to support it and being unable to refute anything of what I presented to him, I said:
<<One thing is more than clear. On simply economic matters your accusation about 'two lines' does not hold water. Are you referring to something else?>>
<<I told you my opinion!>> he replied. <<Besides, matters should not be regarded simply as economic or political questions. Both are connected. You, for example, did not adopt those lists and that methodology which we had worked out and gave you for the setting of your prices. Your technicians and specialists began everything from the start. Why? Did these comrades have no confidence in our lists and methodology? Such a thing completely obstructs the work, because there cannot be co-ordination between your plan and our plan, if the method of operation in our country is different from that in your country. This seems to me a bad thing. Moreover, this tendency, which is crystallizing, expresses distrust towards Yugoslavia. I have other facts, too, which smell of anti-Yugoslavism!>>
<<Now you are making the problem much more serious,>> I said, <<and I do not know whether this is only your personal judgment. From what you say, it turns out that the 'two lines' is not a problem which has to do simply with us, with the economic policy of our leadership, but a problem which has to do with you. That is, it turns out that amongst us there is allegedly a 'pro-Yugoslav' line and an 'anti-Yugoslav' line! Is this what you want to say?!>>
<<I would not put it in that way,>> Zlatic tried to <<soften>> the accusation, <<but there are certain manifestations, certain tendencies leading in that direction.>>
<<You make very hasty judgments and arrive at mistaken
and harmful conclusions,>> I told him. <<We have one line and one line only, whether in our internal problems or in our relations with friends, and in this case with you. During the presentation which I have just made I showed with arguments that from our side there has been nothing which has unfairly opposed your opinions, proposals or demands. If we stick to the facts, the opposite has occurred. Don't look for 'anti-Yugoslavism' amongst us. The discussions, objections, or agreements which we have had quite rightly over various problems, whether economic, political, technical or anything else, can never be called 'anti-Yugoslavism' or 'pro-Yugoslavism'. If you have other arguments or facts which lead to that conclusion, then tell us and we shall discuss them.>>
<<No, this is not the occasion. I stick to what I said. I want only to add that I do everything for the sake of our friendship. We have special relations, and we must safeguard and strengthen them. It must not happen that a few technicians or specialists disorientate us in the general line with the details and manners of their craft.>>
<<This will never occur from our side,>> I told him. <<But since we are ending this meeting, I want to repeat to you: I express my regret that you still persist in a conclusion which you should not even have presented. In the name of the leadership of our Party, I tell you that we do not accept it, because it is completely wrong.>>
This brought the meeting to an end and I was more than ever convinced that matters with the Yugoslav comrades were becoming more acute and complicated. They were accusing us quite unjustly. But why, I asked myself, even after our detailed and well-argued explanations did they not budge from their positions?! What was hidden behind this insistence of Zlatic on his absurd accusation about <<two lines>> and what impelled him to exert the pressure precisely at this moment?!
Everything dubious and obscure which remained from the accusations of Zlatic and from the meeting I had with him was very soon to become clear.
Two or three days after I ended this meeting with him we received a very pleasant news: a government delegation of the PR of Albania headed by me would be welcomed in Moscow. We were to leave about the 12th or the 13th of July 1947.
I informed Zlatic of this news on the eve of our departure, but the way in which he received the information I gave him made a profound impression on me: his face muscles twisted a little, his eyebrows rose and I noticed that his smile seemed to cost him a great effort.
<<I am delighted,>> he said coldly. <<Perhaps you will have the occasion to meet Stalin, too.>>
This was the moment to add ironically: <<So that he can pull our ear,>> but I restrained myself. However, I suspected that he must have known in advance, possibly before we did, the fact that we were going to Moscow. There and then a series of questions came to my mind: could Zlatic have made all those accusations and exerted that pressure a few days ago because he knew that we were soon to go to Moscow?! Could he regard this visit as a sign of <<anti-Yugoslavism>>? I had reasons for these doubts and time proved that my suspicions were well founded, indeed, they were much milder than the bitter reality.
To send a top-level delegation to the Soviet Union was an ardent desire which we had long cherished in our hearts. Like every communist, I personally could hardly await the opportunity to see the homeland of the October Revolution which the great Lenin led, to acquaint myself at first hand with the experience of the Soviets, to learn from them and to hear directly the words, advice or criticisms of the great Stalin. We were his pupils, and would listen with great attention and respect to every word he would say to us. In short, our visit to the Soviet Union was not only a desire, but also a need. On account of the war we had waged, the line which we pursued, the course on which we were struggling to lead Albania, we thought that we deserved the honour of going to the Soviet Union. We had
expressed this to the Soviet comrades who were in Albania in the first years, had also sought the aid of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in this direction and, later, when the embassies of the Soviet Union in Tirana and ours in Moscow were opened, in one way or the other, we had expressed our desire officially.
The replies were all smiles, but the smiles did not say anything. Why was this?! Was there some mistake in our course and our work which had become an obstacle? We were not without shortcomings, but we could not find any cause such as to close the way to us. Then, there was some thing else we did not understand: if we had mistakes, then why didn't they tell us this openly as one communist to another?
Long after, we were to learn the truth. The Yugoslavs were the obstacle to our going to Moscow.
Tito himself and his associates did everything in their power to keep the road to Stalin closed to us as long as they could, if possible forever.
They struggled to create the opinion everywhere that for us the <<centre>> of everything was Belgrade, that for us Tito was <<the Stalin who outdid Stalin>>! Regrettably, this propaganda did not fail to have some effect at that time. Not only had faithful agents of the Titoites, like Koçi Xoxe, Pandi Kristo and others, adopted and propagated this idea, but a number of other comrades, too, had the idea implanted in them that <<it is Tito who can go to Stalin>>, while we <<must go only to Tito>>, that <<we have no reason to go to Moscow, Tito goes there for Yugoslavia and Albania and raises his problems and ours with Stalin>>.
At that period the slogan <<the road to Moscow runs through Belgrade>> had become fashionable in the judgments and opinions, not only of the Yugoslavs and their agents in our ranks, but also of a number of other comrades.
After his return from one of his countless trips to Belgrade, Kristo Themelko came to me one day and <<reported>>:
<<They could not have welcomed us better!>> he began
all exultation. <<They invited us to a big meeting with the Yugoslav leaders. They were talking about the future of Belgrade, and Tito said that Belgrade would grow and extend and become the centre of the Balkans. 'All the new democracies of Europe will come here to gain experience,' he said.>>
It was the time when the Information Bureau had just been formed and, as is known, at first its centre was in Belgrade and the theoretical organ of the Information Bureau, For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy! was published there. This assisted Tito and company to present themselves and Belgrade in their propaganda as the centre of the Balkans and the centre of Central Europe, and even as the <<centre of the people's democracies>>! They exploited this fact in our direction, especially, to close the doors to us to relations with the other fraternal countries and to keep us completely bound to Yugoslavia.
It was strange! Whenever we put forward the idea of sending a delegation to the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere, the Yugoslavs became so annoyed that they could not hide their feelings at all. And when, in the end, some low-ranking delegation managed to go to one of these countries, then it <<would be put>> under the tutelage or the survelliance of the Yugoslav gangsters. The secret aims of Tito towards us and towards others required that in the international arena, even when we spoke through our own mouth, we should say only those things which suited the Yugoslavs and repeat what the Yugoslavs dictated to us from Belgrade. And when we refused to accept this <<working practice>> with a prompter, the protests of Tito's men would burst out.
This is what occurred with a cultural delegation consisting of Nako Spiru, Nexhmije Hoxha and others, which went to the Soviet Union in May 1947. Our delegation had not settled properly into its hotel when the Yugoslav embassy in Moscow was placed in a state of alarm. The Yugoslav ambassador demanded an urgent meeting with our ambassador in
Moscow, and later the Yugoslav military attaché sought out the Albanian attaché, the wives of the Yugoslav diplomats stuck like glue to the wives of our diplomats and the Yugoslav students to the Albanian students: <<Why did your delegation come to Moscow?>>, <<Whom have they met?>>, Did they meet Molotov yesterday?>>, <<They say that Mikoyan welcomed them well and an economic agreement was signed,>> etc., etc. The radiograms which came from our comrades in Moscow were disturbing and worrying. And to cap it all, a few days after the return of the delegation to Albania the Yugoslav ambassador in Moscow, in a quite brutal manner, lodged a protest with our government about the visit of the Albanian cultural delegation to the Soviet Union! He called this visit <<a violation of agreements arrived at with Yugoslavia,>> and ordered that on any other such occasion we must first receive the blessing of Belgrade!
In particular, Tito and company did everything in their power to prevent me from making any contact with the sister parties and countries and with the Soviet Union, above all. As it turned out, they had taken <<the problem about me>> to Stalin, completely distorting and turning our whole situation upside down. Kardelj and Djilas personally have testified to this. They write, in their memoirs that, when Tito went to Moscow in 1946, Stalin had allegedly said to him: <<I have several requests from Albania to invite an official delegation
 Amongst other things, the Yugoslav ambassador in Moscow expressed himself as follows in connection with the visit of the Albanian cultural delegation to the Soviet Union: <<We should understand clearly that our two countries are linked by a wide-ranging economic treaty. We do not understand how at a time when we are linked economically in this way you seek to make other economic and trade agreements with other countries, we cannot understand how you take such action without consulting us and reaching prior agreement with us. You could make such agreements if you were not in agreement with us. These actions are not good, must not be done in this way again, these thing are incompatible with our agreement.>> (Radiogram on the meeting with the Yugoslav ambassador in Moscow. June 5, 1947. CAP.)
headed by Enver Hoxha to Moscow,>> and gone on to tell Tito that <<up till now we have hesitated because we do not know them well,>> that <<the Albanians have, disagreements in the leadership,>> that <<the comrades there ask us (?!) permission to send, together with the General Secretary, Koçi Xoxe who is the organizational secretary,>> etc., etc.!
Whether this conversation really took place and how it developed I do not know and I would not swear to its truth. In the meetings which I had with Stalin in 1947 and afterwards, he never mentioned this conversation which it is claimed he had with Tito and his collaborators. The fact is that my relations with Stalin became very friendly and intimate and Stalin was one of those men who did not dodge the truth regardless of how it stood. Therefore, if the name of Koçi Xoxe was mentioned in this meeting as they claim, this was certainly done by Tito, Djilas and Kardelj. As history proves completely, from the end of the war they did everything possible to ensure that Koçi Xoxe occupied the top positions in the country. Obviously, Tito and Djilas had no reason not to serve up to Stalin their opinion and dreams about their favourite, while deceiving him about the truth. And later, to <<divert>> attention from the truth they shamelessly attribute their plots to Stalin, at a time when Stalin had no idea that such a person as Koçi Xoxe existed in Albania.
However, their scheme required that Tito's favourite Koçi Xoxe in July 1947 should enjoy the honour which the Yugoslavs tried to do him; through their intervention he displaced Nako Spiru and came to Moscow as deputy-leader of the delegation and even took part in the meetings we had with Stalin, but during the whole time he sat silent like a gawk. He did not say one word and I remember clearly that Stalin did not display the slightest interest in him. If Stalin had known something about him he would have addressed at least one word to him or asked him a question, even if just to satisfy his curiosity about this person who represented the <<proletarian conscience>> of the CPA!
I have written in detail in a special book of memoirs about my unforgettable meetings with Stalin, therefore, here I want to point out something else: the visit of our delegation to Moscow in July 1947 was to serve as a powerful catalyst to bring out more clearly all the filth which the revisionists of Belgrade were hiding in their relations with us. This was noticed as soon as we returned to Tirana.
Those days Zlatic was preparing to return to Belgrade under the pretext that he was to carry out studies about our draft-five-year plan. I informed him about the credit which the Soviet Union accorded us, told him especially about our impressions, how the Soviet comrades welcomed us and what great joy we felt when we met Comrades Stalin, Molotov and all the other Soviet leaders, etc. He listened to all this with great displeasure and with an icy coldness. I told him also that our minister Tuk Jakova had been sent especially to Belgrade with a letter to inform Tito about the agreement signed with the Soviet Union.
Zlatic went to Belgrade and certainly informed Tito about all these things and, in fact, although Tuk Jakova three times sought an audience from Tito, he was not received by him.
These cold stands made us reflect more deeply. We ourselves had returned from the meetings with Stalin with greater confidence and enthusiasm about the correct line we had followed and were following. The fact is that neither Stalin nor the other comrades, such as Molotov, Zhdanov, whom we met, had said anything against Tito or the people around him, but they had not said anything else about them in the positive sense, either. Only when I mentioned to Stalin the violation of our airspace by Yugoslav aircraft he said to me:
 In the book <<With Stalin>> (Memoirs), Tirana, December 1981, 2nd Eng. ed.
Apart from this, no further mention was made either of Yugoslavia or of our relations with it. However, from the problems that we raised and the opinions which Stalin expressed, we automatically sensed the great contradiction between the orientations which the Yugoslavs gave us and the things that Stalin said. Stalin, for example, was in full agreement with our line for the socialist industrialization of Albania and for the mechanization of agriculture and generously promised and gave us the aid which we asked for, advised us to extend our relations with the other countries, especially with those of people's democracy, etc., etc. Moreover, the manner and tone in which Stalin spoke to us and advised us was completely different from the arrogant, commanding tones of the Yugoslavs.
Now we analysed all these things calmly, made comparisons and arrived at the proper deductions. Among the first measures which we took in this period was the issuing of clearer orientations about the draft-five-year plan which we were preparing. Naturally, it was to be based on our own resources and possibilities at that time, but in regard to aid from abroad we would not confine ourselves only to the <<promises>> and <<orientations>> of the Yugoslavs. The credit which Stalin gave us would be included in this draft.
Meanwhile, a real campaign of pressure and attacks on us was launched by the Yugoslavs. Both the officials of the Yugoslav legation in Tirana and the Yugoslav specialists in the central government departments and the economic enterprises quite openly expressed their discontent, indeed their <<astonishment>>, about how we came to sign a trade agreement with the Soviet Union! They described this lawful and, indeed, overdue action of ours as a <<violation of the spirit of the Albanian-Yugoslav agreement>>, as an act which would lead to our ruin! At a <<working>> meeting the Yugoslav <<economic plenipotentiary>> in Tirana Sergej Krajger said to our comrades quite openly:
<<Albania is like a clock. It cannot work with all kinds of tools. Some may be better, others may be worse, but
whatever they are they must be of the one brand! Not some Yugoslav and some of another production. Since a Yugoslav foundation has been laid in your country, everything that will be built upon it must be Yugoslav alone!>>
The Yugoslav legation in Tirana, through its chargé d'affaires Drago Kosmerlij, a great enemy of the Soviet Union, declared officially after our return that, <<the policy of the Albanian government towards Yugoslavia has changed since the return of General Hoxha from Moscow>>.
We heard all these things with a mixture of concern and regret. The reports which came in from round the country were even more disturbing. Cautiously, with some hesitation (and this was understandable), but openly, the comrades from the base were telling us about damage, no longer accidental, but deliberately planned damage by the Yugoslav specialists. We had decided and long ago reached agreement with the Yugoslav side, for example, that the first phase of the Tirana Elbasan railway should be inaugurated on November 7, 1947, in the context of the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution. In August and September the Yugoslav side produced <<arguments>> that this could not be achieved. For our part we fulfilled our obligations two to threefold so as to leave no pretext at which they could grasp. After they raised a hundred pretexts, and we overcame all of them, they told us:
<<There are no sleepers!>>
We mobilized great forces and took to the forests with axes. The sleepers were delivered, but the Yugoslavs did not accept them.
<<Our specialists have not branded them on the spot!>> they told us.
We cut others and in the end the sleepers were secured. They raised other excuses. Then our youth, who were thoroughly fed up with them, declared to the Yugoslav <<specialists>>:
<<On November 7 the train is going to run. If we are short of rails or sleepers we are ready to lie on the track
and let the train pass by over our bodies. But we are not going to break the word we have given the Party!>>
This wonderful revolutionary spirit of our people filled us with fresh confidence and strength to cope with the mass of difficult problems of those years. 'The time had gone when we could still have doubts or find <<excuses>> and <<arguments>> to cover up the faults of our friends. We were becoming more and more convinced that we were not dealing with true communists <<who made mistakes>>, but with people who were not friends.
Everything from their side turned out to be well calculated and co-ordinated. The time had come for deep reflection. We had shown ourselves to be excessively generous, excessively patient, excessively sincere in our relations with them.
The great gas fires which broke out in Kuçova, the drilling of wells without criteria or studies, the obstructions and delays of every kind on our railway, the losses <<on the way>> of millions of dinars of credits (we were told, <<They were sent from Belgrade, but we don't know where they have been held up>>), the lack of progress on the work at the Selita hydro-power station and the worn-out rubbish which we discovered under the fresh paint on the <<famous factories>>, etc., etc., we had excused as the mistakes of individuals, <<specialists>>. Moreover, initially we considered Zlatic's accusation of <<two lines>> and <<anti-Yugoslavism>> as a crazy personal opinion. But now everything was becoming clear. It was becoming clear that we were facing anti-Albanian and anti Marxist sabotage activity planned and guided by the chiefs in Belgrade in order to realize their old ambitions: to hinder the development of our economy and make it completely dependent on theirs, to discredit our Party in the eyes of the broad masses of the people as <<a party incompetent to govern the country independently and guide the people towards their future>>, to discredit the leadership of the Party as incom-
 Later it was called the <<Lenin>> hydro-pawer station.
petent to cope with the situation, and to combat all those leaders who were an obstacle to the realization of their plans. Their other aim was to combat the trust and love which our Party had for the Soviet Union and, concretely, to weaken the confidence we had in the Soviet advisers, to discredit these advisers and to compel us to demand their withdrawal. This would bring the isolation of our country and our Party from the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, would create illusions and bad opinions among the sister parties and, thus, isolated and disorganized, we would easily fall into the Yugoslav trap.
During the summer and autumn of 1947, the efforts of Tito and company to achieve these ambitions became more frenzied than ever. The first accusation which was made of us through Zlatic marked the preparatory stage of this general attack. Our resolute rejection of the accusation, our visit to Moscow and the endless frictions with the Yugoslavs over a whole mass of problems after our return from Moscow led the leadership in Belgrade to the conclusion that they must delay no longer. There was the danger that Albania would slip through their fingers. The next blow, the heaviest and most dangerous up to that time, against our Party and country was being urgently prepared.
TITO PUTS INTO ACTION THE PLAN TO
GOBBLE UP ALBANIA
Tito's second accusation. . . <<The CC of the CPY is not satisfied with the relations with you>> * A heated debate with the emissary of the Yugoslav leadership. Tito seeks to turn <<Federative Balkans>> into a <<power>> concentrated in his hand. The demand to send back the Soviet advisers * On the ill-famed Co-ordination Commission * Tito decides to discard his former agent -- Nako Spiru. Koçi Xoxe seeks vengeance. Further aggravation of the situation in our Political Bureau * Why did Nako Spiru commit suicide? Belgrade demands the liquidation of the General Secretary of the CPA * Outbreak of the savage attack against the CPA, its leadership and the line it pursued. Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo acting to realize Tito's plans.
The period from the beginning of November 1947 to March-April 1948 will remain in history as one of the gravest and most dangerous periods which our Party and people have ever gone through. These were the months when we were facing the final attack of the Titoites for the elimination of
the CPA and the gobbling up of Albania. At the same time, however, this was a battle of special importance not only for the Titoites. For us, too, this was one of the sternest and most glorious battles against modern revisionism.
Tito and company were to go on the attack in a terrain with which they were acquainted in detail. During the 5 to 6 years of mutual relations they had gained a thorough knowledge of where their weak points and strong points lay, where they had opponents and where they had supporters amongst us. It was completely the opposite with us. We had just arrived at the opinion that we had to do with the leadership of a party which was not following a correct Leninist course, at least towards us. But the worst of it was that our conclusion about the Yugoslav leadership, as a perfidious leadership which was pursuing an anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian line towards us, could not be stated openly at those moments, even in our Political Bureau. The pro-Yugoslav lobby headed by Koçi Xoxe existed within the Bureau and was striving to take total control. This meant that we had to define and pursue cautious, well-considered tactics, to take steps forward, but the situation and the time required that in our declarations we must say some good words about the Yugoslav <<comrades>> and Tito's Yugoslavia.
On the other hand, at this stage and in all our battles with the Yugoslav revisionists we were almost alone, facing ferocious enemies with long experience in their infamous, villainous actions. There was no one beside us at those grave moments to tell us whether we were right or wrong, whether we were opposing the leaders in Belgrade correctly or incorrectly. Of course, when I say <<no one>> I have in mind concrete parties, concrete comrades of sister parties, because we cannot negate a major factor which we always had on our side -- Marxism-Leninism. Confrontation of our stands and actions with the guiding theory of the proletariat told us that the only way to save the situation was to oppose the attack from Belgrade firmly, but prudently and cautiously. Nevertheless, both the
situation at that time and our still limited experience made us ask ourselves time after time: <<Are we making a mistake?>> <<Do the others, especially the leadership of the CPSU, not see what the leaders of Belgrade are?!>>
In any case, the dagger was pointed right to our hearts and we could not remain idle. Hence we were obliged to face up to the attack from Belgrade alone. All these factors were to make the finale of our first battle against modern revisionism much more difficult and more complex than the other battles to which we would commit ourselves later. Consequently, in this first battle we would also be obliged to pay the <<penalty>> for the past -- for our former excessive trust and sincerity, our lack of experience, our inadequate ideo-political level, the lack of direct aid and support from others, etc. For these and other reasons, at one moment, the existence of the Party, the freedom and independence of the Homeland and the cause of the revolution and socialism in Albania were to be put seriously in doubt.
However, we were to overcome all these things with complete success and were to emerge triumphant from the first direct battle with the Titoite variant of modern revisionism. And when the letters of the CC of the CPSU addressed to the Yugoslav revisionist leadership came into our hands in April 1948 our satisfaction would be great and justified. In the main content of these letters we saw, amongst other things, the confirmation of the correctness of the struggle to which we had committed ourselves. We had done this at a time when we knew nothing about the fact that the leadership of the CPSU, headed by Stalin, had long been waging the same struggle against the Belgrade renegades. The loyalty of our parties to Marxism-Leninism had led us to this common resultant. Precisely in this and nowhere else lies the explanation for the immediate and complete solidarity of our Party and people with the letters of the CC of the CPSU. This also explains the other fact which <<astonished>> many about how we settled accounts with the Titoites so quickly and con-
Tito's second accusation against the CPA
Early in November 1947, I received a note from Savo Zlatic in which he told me that on the orders of the CC of the CPY he had been charged to have a talk with me and <<with Comrade Xoxe>> <<on some problems of Albanian-Yugoslav relations>>. After transmitting the order, as the diplomat he was, he did not forget to close his letter by saying that he would be <<at our disposal on any day>> and in expectation of my reply took the <<felicitous opportunity>> to present his <<good comradely>> greetings.
Both the seriousness with which Zlatic gave <<the order of the CC of the CPY>> and the <<good comradely>> greetings with which he ended the six lines in telegraphic style, implied to me that what he had to communicate would be extremely important. I summoned Koçi, gave him Zlatic's note and the following day, November 6, 1947, we were facing <<the good comrade>>.
<<These things I shall communicate to you,>> he opened the conversation, adopting a very stern mien, <<have been formulated on the basis of the most recent deductions of the CC of the CPY in connection with our relations. I have to tell you from the outset also that Comrade Tito is informed of these matters and I am speaking to you on his behalf.>>
Koçi Xoxe nodded his head and looked me in the eye. Perhaps he was thinking to himself: <<Now you're in for it!>> Meanwhile Zlatic began:
<<The Central Committee of the CPY has arrived at the deduction that our relations during this period are not satisfactory. They are not even clear, when they should be close
and firm. A general decline in our relations is being observed, and especially in the economy our relations are quite sluggish. If we take our joint companies there are such clashes between partners that the Arbitration Commission has to intervene all the time. The attitude towards the Yugoslav technicians is so bad that time after time it leads to acts which cause great damage. We have to say that your people, the Albanians, do not benefit from and do not want to accept the aid of Yugoslavia. There are people who are afraid of our collaboration and aid.
<<Instead of joint efforts to overcome the obstacles, from certain Albanian comrades there is an unfriendly attitude towards us, they always talk about the obligations which Yugoslavia should fulfil, but their attitude towards the obligations which you Albanians yourselves should fulfil is liberal.
<<The Central Committee of the CPY is not satisfied with these relations, which are very bad, and we raise the question: is this not a situation that the enemy desires, that is, is this being done to satisfy the enemy?>>
My temper rose and I was about to interrupt, but Zlatic <<begged>> me to let him finish the communication of the conclusions of the leadership of his party.
<<These relations,>> continued Zlatic, <<have reached this point from your side precisely when the nine communist parties, members of the Information Bureau, have met and decided that the relations among the countries of people's democracy should be strengthened. It is truly astonishing and disturbing to us that our relations with you should be like this at a time when the other countries of the Balkans and Central Europe are linking themselves as closely as possible with Yugoslavia. We regret that the Yugoslav party and government observe that the relations with Hungary and Rumania (not to speak of Bulgaria) are much better than with small Albania, with which we are linked by the war and all the other things.>>
Zlatic laid the piece of paper he was holding on the table and took out his handkerchief, giving us a look as if to say
Now I have you in the trap.>> I don't know why I remembered the meeting of the Bureau at Odriçan when the other Yugoslav, Velimir Stojnic, striking the same pose, launched essentially the same accusations against us. History was repeating itself. Since Zlatic extended the interval of silence, I thought that this was all he had to communicate to us on behalf of Tito, therefore I said to him:
<<We listened to your communication and at the proper moment we shall reply to you. But in order to be more clear, I want to ask you: on what does your leadership base the conclusions at which it has arrived? Second, has it analysed the causes which have brought relations between us to this point?>>
<<I shall tell you all this!>> replied Zlatic. <<But I have not finished with the deductions of the Central Committee. We have studied the situation thoroughly and we shall speak with our cards on the table. You asked whether we have looked for the causes?! Yes! Our conclusion is that we must seek the cause of the breach in the policy which the Albanian government and its organs pursue towards Yugoslavia. Such a policy, let us say frankly, such an anti-Yugoslav policy, is especially obvious in the economic sector, where your orientation is completely opposed to the line which has been laid down and should exist between our two countries.>>
I saw that Koçi Xoxe's face brightened for a moment. Not only was his <<sector>> left out of the attack, but what was better for him was that the attack was made on the government (the <<sector>> which, according to Xoxe and the Yugoslavs, pertained to me) and especially on the economy (the <<sector>> which, according to them, pertained to Nako Spiru).
After this Koçi Xoxe began to take notes on the pieces of paper in front of him. The <<friends>> were putting forward officially the platform on which he could now operate <<legally>>, in conformity with their strategic plan to overturn the situation in Albania. Meanwhile, Zlatic was presenting the <<arguments>> and <<facts>> on which Tito's deductions were based.
<<Let us take your draft of the five-year economic plan,>> he said. <<This draft does not contain the main thing, that is,
it does not mention our credit. This cannot be seen. The draft has an autarkic content and takes no account at all of the economic relations with us. We must assume that this has been disregarded. Let us take the directives which have been given for the five-year plan. Those directives lead your economy towards autarky. Industry, the railway, the port of Durrës, etc., have been planned with inflated capacities. But what is missing? The Albanian economy has not been seen as linked with the economy of Yugoslavia and we have the impression that this orientation does not take into account the agreements with Yugoslavia and the directives of the Central Committees of our parties. We have no objection to the Albanian government's taking measures for the production of bread grain or the development of light industry, but we must not forget that today we have common obligations and we shall fulfil each other's needs on the basis of them. There is no reason for you, too, to begin to make the things that we make.>>
While he was speaking, or more correctly, communicating the things which Tito and the Yugoslav leadership had put forward, I managed to control myself with great difficulty. From all that he said the truth was being disclosed more completely and was coming out quite clearly, likewise, I was becoming even more convinced that my suspicions and conclusions about the point we had now reached were more than correct. It is putting it mildly to say that the Yugoslav leadership was behaving perfidiously towards us. Now it was telling us openly that the purpose of the agreements signed about a year earlier was nothing but the integration of our economy into their economy, that is, the transformation of it into a part, into an appendage of the Yugoslav economy and that, if it were <<to be developed>>, it would be developed in the way that interested Yugoslavia and to the extent that Yugoslavia desired.
No, we had never proceeded from such a basis, and indeed, when we suspected this at the first moments we put our doubts out from our minds, because we could not imagine
that a socialist country could try and aim to subjugate another socialist country and put its economy in its clutches.
The preparation on our part of the draft five-year plan of the economic and cultural development of the PR of Albania in itself was in conformity with the line of the gradual but independent development of our country. Sincere and convinced about our line, we had sent the draft plan to the Yugoslavs for them to examine, to suggest their ideas and to give us a final answer about those parts of the plan which we had based on a credit of 20 or 21 billion dinars which they had promised us in the spring of that year. And now it turned out that Tito and company were furious about our line for the independent development of Albania!
This was what the second accusation, that our draft plan was <<autarkic>>, aimed at. But this was the direct, you might say, economic attack. Behind it lay the political aim: a <<realistic>> plan, <<linked with the Yugoslav plan>>, according to them, would lead not only to the economic, but also to the political union of our two countries. This was not simply logical reasoning. Zlatic had come so full of himself that he communicated this to us quite openly:
<<A line, an orientation which is not in accord with our joint agreements exists in Albania,>> he said. <<According to your orientation we do not move towards the strengthening of our links but towards the weakening of them.
<<The CC of the CPY insists that the relations of Yugoslavia with Albania ought to be characterized every day by the idea that our union should be sounder and our friendship should move in the direction of the fraternization and collaboration of our peoples, including Bulgaria, too.
<<Because of its backwardness the Albanian economy is not capable of developing independently. The aid of Yugoslavia is necessary. The criterion of this aid is not that you should take everything ready and rely on us in a parasitic way! You will advance by linking yourselves more strongly with us, and our Central Committee thinks that the Yugoslav aid will be greater when we bring about an economic union between our countries!>>
The crazy recklessness of the Yugoslav leadership had gone as far as that! Quite openly they demanded from us not collaboration, not mutual fraternal aid, but economic union with Yugoslavia! And the most shameless thing was that they wanted to involve our Central Committee, too, in this vile trafficking, in this haggling, in which not goods, but countries and peoples were bought and sold. At no time had our Central Committee come out with such <<directives>> or even discussed such a development of affairs. The period when Nako returned from Belgrade after the signing of the Economic Convention immediately came to my mind. I recalled his pessimism, his lack of any confidence in the Convention, and that strange enigma which, it seemed to me, was gnawing at him, but which he never explained to me, either then or later. Again I asked myself: was the question put openly in this spirit to Nako in Belgrade?! Was it precisely here that his enigma lay hidden?! Zlatic's declarations, made so openly, led to this conclusion.
However, it was neither the moment nor the atmosphere to oppose them there and then. In response to two or three interruptions from me about the things Zlatic was saying, he replied in the superior tone of <<the master>>:
<<Comrade Enver, I see that many of these things which I am communicating to you are causing you to react. However, I did not seek today's meeting for a discussion. I have been instructed that today I should only communicate to you these deductions which are not mine, but of our Central Committee. I am communicating them to you in detail. Afterwards study them, analyse them and, whenever you consider it reasonable, you have me at your disposal. We can discuss them and debate them as much as you wish. . .>>
<<Certainly, that is how we shall act,>> I told him, <<but there are some among the things you are saying which we cannot receive with the coolness in which you are communicating them.>>
<<Please, don't interrupt me,>> he said. <<In this way, irrespective of whether or not you agree with what I am communicating-to-you, at least, you will understand the essence
of my communication more correctly and it will be easier for you in the discussions we may hold in the future.
Koçi interrupted in an undertone:
<<These are grave things, Enver. They can't be passed over with just a talk here!>>
I, too, agreed to listen calmly while Zlatic hurled colossal <<chunks of mud>>, with the idea that immediately afterwards we would hold a meeting with the comrades and give them the proper reply which the anti-Albanian and anti-Marxist deductions, at which the Yugoslav leadership had arrived, deserved.
Left in <<peace>>, Zlatic continued his communication. In order to imply to us (although matters were quite obvious) that the economic union would be in many planes and the main step for <<union>> in every other field, Zlatic did not hesitate to tell us through his own mouth the following <<conclusions>> of Tito and company:
<<We must see the economic collaboration from the standpoint not just that we are going to build up the economy together, but we must also be clear that we are going to fight and advance jointly in other fields too, in defence, culture, foreign policy, and so on.
<<This is the spirit in which we must educate our peoples, and not as you have proceeded up till now. Both your autarkic plan and your general orientation of cultural development foster in the people the idea of shutting yourselves away in isolation. However, if we foster in the people the sentiments of a kind of anti-internationalist, or, as you might say, a nationalist independence, we are simply building up opinion against our common bases, that is, against union!>>
<<Apparently what Nako wrote to me when we were in the Soviet Union was true>>, I said to myself as soon as I heard the words of Zlatic about <<union>>. I recalled the short letter which they handed me in Leningrad in which Nako wrote me that, on the eve of our departure for Moscow, Vukmanovic-Tempo (who was in Tirana those days) had told Koçi Xoxe: <<The union of Yugoslavia with Bulgaria has been achieved in principle. It is not good that Albania should lag
behind.>> I immediately asked Koçi about this report of Nako's, but Koçi told me: <<This conversation did not take place. I know nothing about it.>> I left the matter at that, but now Zlatic, through his own mouth, was officially communicating to us what Tempo had told Koçi behind the scenes. There and then I put two ,and two together: was Tempo's presence in Tirana at the beginning of July, on the eve of our departure for Moscow, fortuitous?! Not on your life! Neither was the meeting which he had had with Koçi Xoxe and which they had kept secret from me fortuitous. The Titoite secret agency was operating in 1947 just as in 1943!
I threw a quick glance at Koçi Xoxe who was sweating as he tried to note down the dictates of Zlatic. I wanted to ask him: <<Why have you kept this idea and plan of the Yugoslavs secret from me? And when I asked you in Leningrad, why did you lie to me so shamelessly?>> But it was neither the moment nor the atmosphere to address the person sitting beside me. Zlatic continued the <<communication>> of the Yugoslav leadership about its plans for <<union>>.
The possibility that such profoundly hostile and reactionary conclusions and directives had been arrived at had never crossed my mind. Nevertheless, the <<conditions>> were agreed on, I had to listen quietly and savour twice over, first in Serbian and then in Albanian (the meeting was conducted through an interpreter), the venom and spleen which Zlatic vented. The idea that we would reply to these monstrosities immediately the opportunity was given us kept me sitting there, so, suppressing my anger, I tried to hear the <<communication>> through to the end. I thought that the real torture I was suffering would not go on much longer, since Zlatic began to present Tito's idea about the future of the Balkans. According to the Yugoslav leadership, the <<economic union>> of our countries (including Bulgaria) should be carried out as the first step, and then we would go on to the other steps.
<<The 'economic union',>> communicated Zlatic, <<in fact, will constitute the basis of the future federation. The present-day Yugoslavia is its embryo, the nucleus of the federation.
After this comes the question of phases, but our leadership thinks that this is not a current problem. In practice the 'economic union' is the federation itself. This will ensure the true progress of our countries, which cannot be achieved separately. Being united we will emerge before the world as a minor power!
<<On this basis,>> continued the representative of the <<minor power>> in Tirana, <<we must present the matter to the people, too. For the time being we must be cautious and speak only about the 'economic union'. On the other aspects we should preserve the formal appearances of independence, retain the respective foreign ministries, etc., but the foundations will be federative. This,>> he repeated, <<is the opinion that our leadership has arrived at.>>
It seemed to me that there was nothing more to be said, but I was hasty. The leadership of the <<minor power>> had gone into all the details and, convinced that it would encounter reactions, found it necessary to give us besides the <<imperial order>>, some <<sincere>> explanations and to swear that there was nothing evil in its wicked intentions:
<<It is not the intention of our Central Committee>>, continued Zlatic, <<to exert pressure on you over these problems, but we consider that this is the best way for the rapid development of relations of our joint economies. As to what we shall do later, this is something we shall examine, this will depend on the will of the people, the Party and the Central Committee. This might be taken by some cadres as pressure, but you must explain things to your people. You yourselves must understand that Bulgaria might be able to go it alone, but Albania can never last on its own. You must implant this thoroughly in people's minds.>>
<<Are you finished?>> I asked him.
<<No,>> he replied in his former tone. <<I still have two important matters. The first has to do with the series of new measures which our leadership proposes to apply in our joint relations.
<<The Central Committee of the CPY thinks that the existing organizational forms in the joint economy are inadequate
and, if they remain as they are today, will be a real obstacle to the development of matters in the way I mentioned above.>>
Continuing, he issued the concrete proposals of the Yugoslav leadership which, in essence, had to do with the total integration of our economy into the Yugoslav economy. Among them two impressed me particularly:
<<The joint planning which we will do in the economy must be applied rigorously and it must not occur that someone else gives advice about a completed project or that projects are made upon projects!>>
<<Can you explain more clearly,>> I asked, <<so that we understand what your leadership is referring to?!>>
Zlatic was silent for a moment and looked at me with controlled anger.
<<You must understand what I am referring to,<< he said, <<and I don't know in which way to take your interruption, Comrade Enver! However, I'm speaking to you openly, of course, as comrades, and you ought not to place us in such difficult positions. The point is that not only our advisers are working here. We gave you our orientation of the five-year plan, and if you had based yourselves on it the plan would not have come out autarkic and unrealistic. I don't know whether you sent Nako Spiru or he went on his own to Moscow, but the fact is that he put his trust in the advice of the Soviets. Our orientation was discarded, the opinion of others was accepted, and you see what sort of a plan Nako brought out.>>
<<We have discussed and approved that plan in general outline in the Bureau,>> I told him, and added, not without a purpose: <<It is not Nako's plan, or the Soviets' plan, it is the work of the leadership of our Party.>>
<<And are you still not convinced that it is wrong, unrealistic, anti-Yugoslav and anti-Albanian?>> he exclaimed angrily. <<What have we been talking about up till now?>>
<<We have not been talking,>> I said, <<we have only listened. We shall talk after we have heard the communication of your leadership to the end and studied it. Up till now we have said nothing.>>
<<Then why do you interrupt me?! Even here you are indicating that we shall have many things to discuss together.>>
<<I did not interrupt. I asked simply in order to understand the essence of your proposal better.>>
<<The essence,>> he said indignantly, <<is this: if our plans are to be common plans there is no reason why the Soviet advisers should give us advice. Their advice will be unnecessary, irrespective of the fact that they are our close friends. . .>>
<<Is this your opinion or that of your leadership?>>
<<The opinion of our leadership is that there should not be projects upon projects and advice upon advice. What I said was an explanation that I made of the deduction in order to make it clear to you.>>
<<Clear!>> I said.
The second proposal which has stuck in my mind (as I said he issued many of them) had to do with the <<necessity>> for better organization and strengthening of the Co-ordination Commission.
<<This commission,>> said Zlatic, <<will have a very important role. It will be like an organ which links the Republics, except that in the concrete case its epicentre will be the links and co-ordination between Yugoslavia and Albania.>>
<<I don't wish to interrupt your speech or to express any opinion about it for the moment,>> I said to Zlatic there and then, <<but can you explain more clearly to us what role your leadership allocates to this commission?>>
<<This commission,>> replied Zlatic readily, <<will be very important, will be, as we were told, a kind of joint economic government, which will ensure the direction of that policy which we proposed earlier.>>
<<I'm still not clear and must interrupt you again,>> I said. <<In what relationship does your leadership think this commission will be with the governments of each country?>>
Zlatic's face went red, he was silent a moment and then continued:
<<I communicated the essentials. The main thing is to establish in principle the best organization of this commission
with important attributes, and then see what to do next. I do not know the details. We did not go into these details which you are asking for.>>
<<Clear,>> I said.
He continued with <<proposals>> about the budget, saying that <<in Yugoslavia nothing has been planned for your plan>>, that <<we propose that the autarkic five-year plan should be rejected>>, indeed that <<the idea of any kind of five-year plan should be rejected>>, and that <<a one-year plan should be built for 1948! We shall assist you with so many millions here, so many millions there, so many trucks, so many tractors, so many consumer goods>>, etc., etc.
<<These,>> he said, <<were the proposals of our leadership!>>
I made ready to say to him what had to be said about this session, but he proved to be <<quicker off the mark.>>
<<I spoke at length,>> he said, <<but, as you saw, the problems are extremely serious. Now I have something much more important. What I said above has to do with the two sides, with us and with you. Now I have the final deduction of our leadership which pertains only to you. At the beginning Comrade Enver quite rightly asked whether we had studied the causes of the unpleasant situation in our relations and I gave him an answer. But I want to dwell especially on this and to communicate more extensively the opinions of our leadership.
<<The leadership of our Party has arrived at the conclusion that in this whole situation your comrade Nako Spiru, in particular, and some of his collaborators, have played an astonishing and destructive role. We base this conclusion, apart from other things, on the following facts: when the working groups at ministerial level discussed the problem of drafting your five-year plan, Nako Spiru, as your main delegate, expressed opposition to the orientation of the comrades Krajger and Perovic. In essence, Nako Spiru's opposition finds its reflection in that draft-plan which you have worked out and approved. We think that Nako Spiru has cunningly managed to deceive the comrades of your leadership, or
imposed his opinion upon them, and thus succeeded in having his autarkic project with an anti-Yugoslav spirit approved in general outline by you and sent for us to examine it.>>
<<You continue to speak about major mistakes and make grave accusations, but only with words or 'facts' without foundation,>> I told him. <<Please, on what do you base these things you are saying?! Second, I must say right now that you are putting a great deal on Nako Spiru. It turns out from your words that he has allegedly directed all of us, the Political Bureau and our Central Committee! This cannot hold water from any standpoint.>>
<<In principle you might be right,>> Zlatic tried to get over the difficulty <<cooly>>, <<but sometimes it happens that even a single person deceives the whole leadership when great weight is put upon what he says. Unfortunately, this is what Nako Spiru has done with you.>>
<<What you say is astonishing,>> I replied. <<On what do you base this?>>
<<Nako Spiru,>> began Zlatic, <<has deceived you in connection with the so-called 21 billion dinars which, according to him, our side has agreed to accord you as a credit for the five-year plan. Our comrades have not made this promise. Nothing of this figures in our budget. Our idea is a smaller amount, because such are our possibilities.>>
<<How is it possible?>> I asked. <<This figure was not stated yesterday or one month ago. We were told about those 21 billion as early as May this year. The sum has been referred to many times, but only today we are hearing that this is not the real figure. How was it that you raised no objection earlier?>>
<<I'm telling you what I have been instructed to communicate. Nako Spiru has fabricated this figure.>>
<<That is not so,>> I told him. <<When this figure was given us in May, Nako Spiru was in Moscow. The figure was given to our comrades who were in Belgrade.>>
<<You should not defend Nako Spiru!>> Zlatic told me and added with obvious cynicism: <<I have other facts about him. From a whole mass of facts it turns out that Nako Spiru has
kindled the flames of anti-Yugoslavism in Albania. He has wanted to ruin not only the relations between us, but also our relations with the Soviet Union and with Comrade Stalin.>>
There was no end to the dirt that he heaped upon Nako Spiru. He mentioned the railway, the hydro-power station of Selita, the oil, the olive groves, our obligations towards the peasantry, etc., etc., and everywhere portrayed Nako as the person who, with a blazing torch, was setting Albania aflame and, indeed, this fire had become so great that the smoke had reached Belgrade and disturbed Tito.
<<Others, too, have acted and are acting in this spirit and under the influence of Nako Spiru and we can say that the line of anti-Yugoslavism has already crystallized among you. This must be stopped for the common good.>>
<<I repeat that today we shall only listen,>> I said, <<but just one thing I must tell you. To approve or not to approve one, ten, or twenty orientations, conclusions, and so on, of your party can never be called either pro- or anti-Yugoslavism. Anti-Yugoslavism must not be confounded with the fair objections we have had. None of us, not even Nako Spiru, has ever proceeded from the idea that we should harm Yugoslavia. These things that you communicated to us are grave and we do not accept them. Please present to us the arguments on which you base this accusation of 'anti-Yugoslavism'.>>
<<I shall present them to you,>> he said, <<at the proper time and in detail. But the main one is that those things which I mentioned speak of anti-Yugoslavism.>>
He paused for a minute and added:
<<We have formed the conviction that Nako Spiru is carrying out this anti-Yugoslav and anti-Albanian activity as an agent of imperialism! He is working for the foreign secret services against our socialist countries.>>
These last words of Zlatic struck me like a thunderbolt, although this occurred under a threatening sky that promised nothing but thunder and lightning.
<<What is this you are saying, Comrade Zlatic? On what
do you base such grave accusations against Comrade Nako Spiru?!>> I demanded.
<<I'm communicating the deductions of our leadership,>> he repeated. <<And to close this whole history, Comrade Tito instructed me that you should investigate these masters thoroughly, especially the question of Nako Spiru. That is where the evil begins and that is where the cure should start. Such things occur in the revolution. And it should not be forgotten that he has not been operating alone. Even in the Bureau, in the main leadership of your Party, he has had and still has comrades who have backed and supported him. All these things should be looked into thoroughly. We tell you these things as brothers who love you and follow your situation and the situation of the dear Albanian people with concern. Now I have finished.>>
Koçi Xoxe had put his hands to his head, although with the manner in which he expressed his <<great shock>> he made himself quite ridiculous. He was like a tragi-comic clown.
<<We listened to your communication,>> I said curtly and with a calm that dumbfounded Zlatic. <<It is all exceptionally grave and we shall give your leadership our reply at the appropriate time. Today I've only one request: on account of the important and delicate character of the problems which you raised, please let us have the communication of your leadership in writing.>>
<<In writing?>> exclaimed Zlatic. <<Why is that necessary? I spoke very plainly. If you like I shall repeat the whole or the parts of it on which you are unclear.>>
<<No! For us, I'm speaking in the plural because I believe that Koçi, too, is of the same opinion as I, everything is clear. However, we want your communication in writing, so that later, either in our leadership or in your leadership, it won't come round to 'we said it like this, but it was understood like that', 'here Comrade Zlatic is at fault', or 'there the comrade interpreter'.>>
<<Don't concern yourself about me,>> said he <<I shall take all the responsibility for everything!>>
<<Nevertheless, I make this request to your leadership as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Albania. You, as an intermediary must fulfil or transmit this request.>>
<<In that case we must consider this request!>> Zlatic <<retreated>>. But this cannot be done today. I shall formulate in writing what I told you, send it to the leadership in Belgrade to see and then let them decide. I simply communicate.
In general outline, this was the content of the <<conclusions>> of the leadership of the CPY, which was presented to us in November 1947 and which, in the history of our Party, is known as <<Tito's second accusation against the Communist Party of Albania>>.
Zlatic got up to go, but left amongst us all the filth that he had poured out. As he was leaving I repeated once again that we expected everything he told us in writing and after receiving this we would put the <<deductions>> of the Yugoslav leadership before the leadership of our Party and would present our opinion about them.
The fact is, however, that the communication in writing from Belgrade did not come (Tito knew where and why to leave documents), but the worst of it was that at those moments, indeed for months on end, we did not give Tito and company the reply they deserved over their profoundly hostile anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian accusations.
Why and how this came about I shall relate below. Here I want only to point out that Tito's accusation, from beginning to end, represented one of the most vile and detestable acts which could ever have been devised by renegades from Marxism-Leninism. Later, especially at the 11th Plenum of the CC of the CPA in September 1948, at the 1st Congress of the CPA in November 1948, and elsewhere, we were to analyse the Titoite accusation, like everything else, in detail and with maturity, and in the light of subsequent events we were to bring out in the open its hostile anti-Albanian essence and aims.
Without going into detailed arguments, I consider it necessary to point out briefly our conclusion about this accusation:
The main purpose of it was to make our country the seventh republic of Yugoslavia, to make it subject to the orders of Belgrade, to turn it into a colony of Yugoslavia in which our independence would be formal, covered up and disguised with the formulas of bourgeois pseudo-independence. The aim of the accusation was to separate Albania from the socialist camp, to alienate it from the Soviet Union, and to drag our Party onto an anti-Marxist course. For the Yugoslav Trotskyites Albania was to be that small state of the socialist camp in which they would conduct their first experiment to put into practice their line of betraying socialism. They had been working in this direction for a long time, but the resistance of our Party had-not been quelled and was very far from being quelled. Our Party had great intrinsic strength, therefore the Yugoslav leaders had to work to sap this strength.
In order to achieve this purpose, first of all, they thought they should conquer the will of our Central Committee and the General Secretary of the Party, in whom they saw a great obstacle. The base accusations of the Trotskyite Yugoslav leadership addressed to the Central Committee of our Party, were aimed against me rather than against Nako Spiru, because as General Secretary of the Party I emerged as the person mainly responsible for <<the mistaken policy>> of the Central Committee. They were well acquainted with the situation in the Political Bureau and in the Central Committee of our Party, knew about the differences which existed between members of the Bureau, especially between Nako and Koçi, as well as about the situation created between me and Koçi. They knew, also that Nako's views in connection with our relations with Yugoslavia, on all the points which were right, were in accord with my views. They knew very well that Nako did nothing in this direction without consulting me and receiving my approval. Thus, the Yugoslavs had based their calculations on the situation which existed in our Political Bureau, a situation which was due, first of all, to their vile intrigues.
Here lies the reason, also, why they demanded that Xoxe,
too, should take part in the meeting where Zlatic delivered his communication. Xoxe knew he had the support of the Yugoslavs but now he was told: <<Now we have laid the cards on the table in front of Enver Hoxha and the day has come for you to act!>> And Koçi Xoxe, one of the most sinister and notorious figures in the history of our Party, would now wreak vengeance. He was to play the primary anti-Albanian and anti-party role in putting the Titoites' plan into practice.
The vengeance of the Yugoslav Agents
It was the time when the whole Party and its leadership, in the first place the Political Bureau, had to analyse the Yugoslav accusations dispassionately and with adherence to principle, that is, first to bring out their injustice and falsity, and then to discover the true motives and aims from which the chiefs in Belgrade were proceeding. With undaunted revolutionary spirit, but with well-considered and cautious tactics, we had to refute the accusations one by one, accusations which in essence were nothing but the links of a single chain, the chain of the new enslavement which was threatening us.
It could not be put off, the work had to begin immediately in our Political Bureau. But even before the Bureau met I knew that our advance would be very difficult, indeed, a grave situation might be created for us and we could get into a hopeless position.
The proper unity of thought and action was still lacking in the Bureau and this was expressed mostly in the endless quarrels between Koçi and Nako. It is of no value to mention here their endless series of quarrels over major and minor issues, but I want to say that in this whole process which
had steadily built up, I had formed the opinion that Nako Spiru, regardless of his great shortcomings and weaknesses, had managed to take a more correct and principled stand than Koçi Xoxe. Above all, Nako was much more active than Koçi in work, took a vigorous part in the discussion and following up of problems, reported to me frequently, and knew how to grasp the most important aspects. In two fields or aspects, in particular, Nako proved to be extremely active and open with me: in the field of the economy and in the field of <<criticism>> towards others, especially of sectors covered by Koçi Xoxe and people who were known to be <<close>> to Koçi.
In regard to discussions of economic matters (and here our relations with the Yugoslavs occupied a large place), I listened to Nako, advised him, gave him directives, and in general, our opinions were in accord. In regard to the other field, that of the criticisms of Koçi's <<sector>>, here more than anywhere else I saw Nako's old disease: unhealthy ambition, attacks from personal positions, and a tendency to underrate or push Koçi Xoxe aside. Without underrating Koçi's endless defects, the truth is that I did not support or take account of Nako's <<criticisms>> of Koçi and I did the same in regard to Koçi's <<criticisms>> of Nako. It was obvious that each of them was ready to throw out the other. Koçi Xoxe, for his part, was puffed up and haughty, and always remained a <<locked door>> for me and the Bureau. He did not raise important problems, even about the sectors that he covered as organizational secretary and minister of internal affairs, kept these things from us, because they were <<secret>>, and in the Bureau mostly maintained the pose of arbiter who listens, observes and takes notes.
In fact he was not at all so <<withdrawn>> or <<inactive>> as he seemed. Indeed, he worked a great deal, but behind our backs, in obscurity, in the secrecy of the ministry of internal affairs and the <<sector>> of cadres.
He displayed <<activity>> in the Bureau only when it came to criticizing some aspect which had to do with the sectors
which Nako covered, and displayed even greater <<activity>> when he was alone with me or when he took me aside <<to tell you something which has been reported to me through my channels about that Nako>>.
I cannot say that at that period I had come to realize fully that Koçi Xoxe was an agent of the Yugoslavs. I was well-aware (and everybody knew this) that he was very close to the Yugoslavs, absorbed everything they said and applied it blindly, was inclined to support any crazy act of the Yugoslavs, and we knew and saw that for the Yugoslavs he was their favourite, the closest to them, but we thought that this came about since Koçi pleased them by being obedient to their commands and approving everything they said. We knew, and I knew especially, of Nako's continual frictions with the Yugoslavs, of his permanent dissatisfaction with the activities of Tito's emissaries, but in essence, I found Nako's observations and criticisms of the <<friends>> generally correct and principled. I myself had the same criticisms of the Yugoslavs and had long arrived at the opinion that they were not on the right road.
Meanwhile Koçi and Nako had each worked on and won over their own <<supporters>> and <<backers>> even in the ranks of the Bureau. Pandi Kristo and Kristo Themelko were always on Koçi's side, while on Nako's side were three elements who, after the enlargement we made to the Bureau in the summer of 1946, were not admitted as members or even as candidates, but as <<three comrades close to the Bureau>>. These were Liri Belishova, Mehmet Shehu and Fadil Paçrami. Hysni Kapo and Gogo Nushi were two of the most balanced and serious among the new comrades who were co-opted to the Bureau in the summer of 1946 and they did not fall into the traps of either opposing side, but judged and spoke with maturity about the problems which were presented. As for Bedri Spahiu and Tuk Jakova, just as previously, they did not play any particular role and mostly maintained a liberal, conciliatory stand. They could go over to either side, but mostly preferred to be neither with Nako nor with Koçi, and indeed, as they themselves said
at the 8th and 11th Plenums of the CC, <<We were useless in the Bureau.>> With this they meant that they had been outside these <<conflicts>> and <<backstage manoeuvres>>.
In general outline, this was the composition and situation in our Political Bureau at those moments when we should have acted as a united body, like a steel fist to cope with the danger which was threatening us. Obviously, our fist could not be united and it was difficult for it to strike where it should with the necessary force. However, I placed great hope in something essential: true, I thought, there are quarrels and feuds between comrades over different problems, but now that our Party and country are facing grave accusations which come from abroad they ought to find the strength to put aside their personal antipathies and unite in the battle that awaits us. In the heat of this battle we will strengthen the desired unity.
In essence this judgement was more than correct, but the foundations on which I had built it were wrong. As I said, I did not know that for Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo, on the one hand, and Nako Spiru, on the other hand, the question was not simply one of spite or <<personal antipathy>> but one of their role as secret agents. They were long-standing agents of Belgrade. In the accusations they made against us, Tito and company had taken good account of this factor, which we did not know or recognize. They were aware of the differences in the Bureau, because they themselves had implanted and fostered them and used them as the main weapon which would give them success in their attack on the line of our Party. The tactics used by the Yugoslavs this time told Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo openly, <<Your struggle against Nako and the Commander is well-founded, the enemy has a finger in this. Nako Spiru is playing a strange role, Enver Hoxha supports him a hundred per cent, so now the road is open to you, go on the attack.>> In fact, Nako had gone half-way to a turn for the better, kept close to me, consulted me more frequently, did not bow to the directives of the Yugoslavs, based himself on the Soviets, in which he was right and I supported him.
In this battle which he was about to begin Koçi Xoxe
saw a reliable course towards the realization of his old dream. For him Nako Spiru was finished. I remained the only obstacle, but as the <<supporter>> of Nako, according to him and the Yugoslavs, I had to suffer the same fate. In this way the fire would quickly burst out in our Political Bureau.
Two or three days after Zlatic's accusations, Koçi Xoxe and Pandi Kristo came to <<visit>> me at home. As soon as they came in I understood that they had discussed matters thoroughly with each other. Without even the usual greetings, they began their abuse and accusations.
<<It's a disgrace! It's a disgrace for us that we have allowed such an element to exist and manoeuvre so long at the head of the Party!>> <<complained>> Pandi.
<<We have been soft and have overrated him. He blinded us with figures and his constant criticism,>> added Xoxe.
It was evident that indirectly all these things were aimed at me. The situation became tense. More or less the conversation, allegedly <<between comrades>>, was being turned by them into a kind of meeting of the Bureau, although we were only three and the others were not summoned. They insisted that we should summon Nako alone <<to inform him and demand an accounting>>.
<<Very well,>> I told them, <<but we should not be hasty. First of all, we must collect our arguments, discuss the matter with the comrades, and put forward Zlatic's accusations in the Bureau.>>
<<With which comrades?>> Koçi asked me. <<With those of the Bureau? I disagree, Comrade Commander. The accusation does not include Nako alone, but Nako's whole clan.>>
<<The accusation does not include only Nako, or only his 'clan', but is a grave accusation of the whole line of the Party and its leadership. In no way are we permitted to leave the Political Bureau out of this,>> I told them. <<First, all the problems which were raised must be analysed and examined. Then, the question of Nako will be cleared up there, too.>>
<<I'm totally opposed!>> objected Koçi Xoxe wrathfully. <<Did you see how Comrade Zlatic put it: 'The evil lies in the question of Nako Spiru and the analysis should begin there'?
Enough of Nako Spiru's doing what he pleases. Now we shall take him to pieces.>>
<<Comrades!>> I said very worried. <<We know your quarrels and the unpleasant scenes which have occurred not infrequently. But now I think that the problems placed before us require that we put grudges aside and reflect on what are the main things. We must reply with arguments as to whether our line and orientation in general, and towards Yugoslavia in particular, has been right or wrong.>>
<<All the evil starts from Nako and the supporters of Nako. We must clean them out. This is how the analysis should start!>> insisted Koçi Xoxe.
With pain and grief I finally convinced myself that we were not going to act in unity in the struggle ahead of us. Moreover, Koçi and Pandi did not speak simply as an <<opposition>> to Nako Spiru, but precisely as if they were delegates of the Yugoslavs. And, in fact, that is what they were. Although not <<present>>, the Yugoslav leadership, through its agents, was to manipulate the whole <<analyses>> which we were commencing.
We continued the debate for a long time and when they saw my unshakeable opposition, Xoxe threw off the mantle of <<gentility>> and hurled the next bomb:
<<Comrade Commander, let us make things clear at last. Don't forget that we have always commented that 'you listen a great deal to what Nako says'! Don't forget that you, of course urged by Nako, have insisted on the autarkic plan! Do you still want to continue the old line? You astound us with this insistence! After all, we have no reason to spend much time listening to the enemies in the Bureau. Let us summon the main one of them and the others will fall after him.>>
They both continued to raise <<arguments>> and exert all sorts of pressure. I felt that for these two the Yugoslav accusation was no longer a question of the Bureau and analysis. Everything had been worked out and pre-determined by Belgrade and the Yugoslav embassy in Tirana. After a great deal of debate we reached agreement on a <<compromise>>: Nako
would not be summoned directly to the Bureau and all the accusations made against him there, but initially we would inform him about what Zlatic communicated to us and then begin the discussion. Now that I was convinced that Koçi and Pandi would be in favour of the Yugoslav thesis, the stand of Nako Spiru, in particular, assumed great importance.
About the middle of November we summoned him (Koçi Xoxe, Pandi Kristo and I were present) and informed him about Zlatic's accusation in connection with <<anti-Yugoslavism>>, about <<his role in the economy>>, but without mentioning the accusation that he was <<an agent of imperialism>>. Nako listened without a tremour, quietly lit a cigarette (usually he lit one cigarette off the other) and when we had finished, to my astonishment, after blowing out a cloud of smoke, he said:
<<Is that so? And this has shocked you?! Give me two weeks and I'll make the whole of Albania pro-Yugoslav!>>
In the 7 or 8 years that I had known him I had been angered and disappointed by him so many times (just as I had been rejoiced by his good aspects), so many times, besides words of praise, I had given him the sternest criticism, but the shock and disappointment which I suffered from this <<wisecrack>> was the most powerful of all.
<<How dare you speak like this?>> I said, unable to control myself. <<What is this Albania that, according to you, in two weeks you can make 'pro-Yugoslav' or 'anti-Yugoslav'?! Who do you think you are that you are able to work such miracles?!>>
He stopped dumbfounded. Koçi and Pandi smiled with satisfaction and expected the quarrel to burst out.
<<Excuse me!>> said Nako, pulling himself together. <<Perhaps I was wrong. But what can I say? There has been nothing anti-Yugoslav in my work. I have acted according to the line of the Party in my sectors. It has never been my aim to damage the relations with the Yugoslav comrades, but I have only made comments and criticisms about those things which have not seemed to me to be right. You have not opposed me.>>
<<Not opposed you!>> exclaimed Koçi Xoxe. <<We have quarrelled constantly!>>
<<I am not referring to our quarrels,>> said Nako coolly, and fixed his <<eyes on Koçi Xoxe's face. <<They have been something else. The accusations raised here are quite different!>>
<<That's what they have been about,>> said Koçi angrily. <<I saw what you were like, that's why I opposed you.>>
<<If we are talking about why you opposed me and why I opposed you, this warrants a whole analysis,>> said Nako quietly with a look which left Koçi Xoxe pale and confused. <<Comrade Enver has asked for this several times.>>
<<No, no, Nako, let us take up what was said to us,>> replied Koçi Xoxe in a docile, frightened, almost begging tone. For a moment the two fighting cocks lowered their feathers.
<<What is being said does not pertain to me alone,>> replied Nako.
<<Comrade Zlatic said it did and that is why we summoned you to inform you and help you,>> said Koçi Xoxe as though <<casually>>.
<<The backing off>> of the two sides, especially of Koçi Xoxe who just a few moments before was brandishing his sword, was showing once again, but with much greater force, that between Koçi and Nako there was a secret, a delict, an enigma (for me) which terrified, indeed completely disarmed them both. For years I had known that there was something of the sort, that the beginning of the tangle lay there, but they were so terrified of it that they immediately retreated and reached a momentary <<accord>> in order to continue their everlasting quarrels. Perhaps the new situation created would bring everything to light at last.
We went on in this way for some hours and, eventually, it was agreed that we would raise the problem in the Bureau on the following day. Nako was instructed that there he must present his ideas and arguments on the question of the plan calmly and without passion or bias, just as we others would
do. Thus it seemed to me that things were on the right course. I was convinced that Nako would know now to defend the correct line we had followed, I would support him and, as a result, the Bureau would be orientated correctly and judge with maturity.
However, such a procedure was not in the interests of Koçi Xoxe, Pandi Kristo and company. If the analysis of the main problems were to begin they might lose the day. Therefore, right from the beginning of the meeting of the Bureau, immediately after I presented the main outlines of the Yugoslav accusations, Koçi Xoxe got up and said:
<<The Commander forgot one thing! Nako Spiru is not accused of distorting the orientation of the economy out of ignorance. No, Nako Spiru has done this as an agent of imperialism! This is the direction in which we must make our analysis and hear what he has to say.>>
Nako went deathly white. For the first time I saw him, an impulsive type who could not keep his hands still as he was, go rigid, as though frozen to the spot. Koçi's words took me by surprise, too, and I felt myself hard pressed, because we had decided that for the time being we would not mention the Yugoslavs' accusation that Nako was an agent of imperialism.
<<The problem is extremely serious,>> said Nako, <<extremely serious! It is an accusation rather than a problem. The whole thing is grave and quite unexpected. However, I shall have my say.>>
<<Let us hear you,>> said Koçi.
<<No,>> said Nako, <<I shall prepare myself and then reply.>>
<<What will you prepare?>> asked Pandi menacingly. <<Bring out here all those things you have been preparing for years and let us, the Bureau, judge them.>>
<<I want at least five days to prepare myself,>> insisted Nako.
<<Why do you want to prepare yourself? To cover your tracks? But we are not going to allow you to cover them up, because it has been hard enough to uncover them. Of course,
it's the merit of the Yugoslav comrades that your dirty linen has been brought to light,>> Koçi raved. <<As far as I'm concerned, in all cochience (for some time, in order to appear to have some theoretical training, he had started to use foreign words, of course, so mispronounced in his own peculiar way that he made himself quite ridiculous. However, the atmosphere was too grave to permit even the flicker of a smile), as far as I'm concerned,>> continued Koçi, <<this is what you have been for a long time. But what could I do with the others who listened to you as if you were the Apostle Paul! The General Secretary will see for himself where his responsibilities and our responsibilities lie in your anti-Yugoslavism. . . In short,>> concluded Xoxe, <<I propose to this Bureau that we examine the 'question of Nako Spiru' not later than 8 o'clock tomorrow evening. Nako's request for a postponement is a trap and an attempt to throw dust in our eyes and to create grave situations for us.>>
<<I beg the comrades,>> said Nako again, <<to reflect and to understand me. Without preparation I am not in a position to speak as I should.>>
<<Comrade Koçi,>> I intervened. <<Don't be hasty either in your words or in your 'ultimatums' about the hours when the Bureau should meet. We are here and will decide in the fairest way. Here you threw on the table one of the accusations of the Yugoslav leadership which Zlatic transmitted to us and only that one linked with Nako, while Zlatic presented to us the conclusions of Tito and his comrades about our whole line, therefore, that is the point from which the analysis and discussion of the Bureau should begin, and all the comrades of the Bureau should reflect and prepare themselves for this. Naturally, Nako must reflect more deeply and prepare himself more, but,>> I turned to Nako, <<you don't need five days.>>
A silence fell and then Nako Spiru raised his head and asked:
<<Have you informed the Soviet Legation about this analysis?>>
<<What has this to do with the Soviet Legation?>> shouted
Koçi Xoxe jumping up. <<What are you getting at? We are a party, we are the leadership, we don't take our line from the Soviet Legation.>>
<<No>>, said Nako, his face pale. <<I do not say that the line should be taken either from the Soviet Legation or from the Yugoslav Legation, but just that they should be consulted.>>
<<Nako,>> I intervened, <<we still have not made our analysis and consulted as a Bureau. . .>>
<<We know with whom we consult!>> said Koçi. <<And you are not going to teach us! We've had enough of you doing as you like. Now you must render account. You must render it down to the last detail.
He was silent for a moment and then as though he had made a great discovery he turned to us:
<<I think we should thoroughly examine the statement of this element, 'Have you consulted with the Soviet Legation?'. In connection with the analysis which we are making many things are being concealed. According to what he said, Nako thinks that if we inform the Soviet Legation it might take Nako under its protection and tell us, 'Don't do anything to him'. Let us assume that we would do what those of the Soviet Legation tell us; What would result? Two great parties, two sister parties would be alienated -- the glorious Yugoslav party and the VKP. That is what Nako Spiru wants to lead us to with his villainous cunning!>> shouted Koçi, <<There you see his anti-Sovietism, too!>>
<<What's that?>> asked Nako in a low voice, but also with a certain irony. <<So you make me out anti-Soviet, too?>>
<<Certainly I do. Anti-Yugoslav, anti-Soviet, anti-Albanian and whatever else you like. That's what you are. Render account!>> roared Koçi while Pandi Kristo nodded his approval of the <<political>> deductions of the minister of internal affairs.
I saw that matters were very far advanced and it would be difficult to stand up to them correctly. The conspiratorial
 VKP(b) -- The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (b) (initials in Russian).
mind of Koçi Xoxe was ready to hatch up any intrigue and to make any imaginary deed real.
He thought that the time had come when neither the Bureau nor the Secretary could take decisions any longer. The <<General>> was waving to big stick. We decided to continue the meeting at 8 o'clock in the evening on the next day.
Before I closed the meeting I added:
<<In the coming meeting I shall not permit anyone to speak in this tone and we must be clear that we shall make an analysis of the line of our work and in this context we shall also discuss what Comrade Nako is responsible for and to what extent, but not only in connection with the accusation that Zlatic made and which Koçi raised here against the person of Nako.>>
When the meeting was over, I approached Koçi and said to him:
<<You attacked him very harshly. You were hasty. The question should have been put forward and judged more calmly and dispassionately.>>
<<Oh, Enver, we are trying to make things clear to the others. . . the enemies, and we can't make things clear to ourselves! All this time I've been telling you: you are supporting Nako Spiru too much. I beg you, don't support him any more!>>
<<I'm not supporting Nako,>> I said. <<I support that which seems to me right.>>
And so we parted to meet again the following day or, more precisely, in the evening, because the morning of November 20, 1947 had almost arrived.
There could be no talk of going to sleep. I was convinced not only that all the problems were proceeding at headlong pace on the most mistaken and distorted course, but also that simply from the viewpoint of the most elementary rules of the internal life of the Party we were acting incorrectly. However, I thought that now the stand of Nako Spiru had importance. I was convinced that in essence he was not wrong about the problem which was raised, I was convinced that his
collisions with the Yugoslavs in the concrete instance were correct and inevitable collisions. But how and for how long would he stand up to the attack?!
The way he flared up immediately when we told him what the Yugoslavs had put before us in the address of the Party and in his address, in particular, did not please me at all. I did not like the way he was stunned and bemused later, or the way in which he asked for five days for preparation. In essence, I was of the opinion that he should have not five days, but even more to prepare himself if need be, but I did not like the way in which he asked for them, as if begging for mercy. I knew his impulsive temperament which often made him say cutting things. At those grave moments those defects were especially out of place.
About midday Nako Spiru knocked at the door and came in. He was shaken, demoralized and broken from every point of view.
<<I wanted to beg you once again,>> he said, <<you understand my grave situation. Use your influence so that they give me five days' time.>>
<<Listen Nako,>> I told him, <<we have gone through the most difficult times and moments together. We have gone through moments when we were facing the enemy and we knew how to reply to him, but we have also gone through moments when we had the enemy amongst us and it was not easy to distinguish and attack him.>>
<<Even you think that I'm an enemy?>> he said his shoulders sagging.
<<No, I don't say that, and I never have said it. That is a statement, an accusation which comes from someone else, from another party. You were told it openly. Very well then, do you have to cry about it? No, this does not befit you, does not befit a communist. You must refute it. You must give your ideas, your arguments.>>
<<That's why I came, give me time to prepare myself!>>
<<I don't decide that -- the Bureau has decided it,>> I told him. <<Listen Nako, why do you need five days? We're among
comrades, we should say things just as they are. The only help I can give you in this situation,>> I said, <<is this: speak openly and sincerely. The day has come, Nako, to lay on the table everything that has been kept secret, covered up for years. The moment has come when, not only you, but all of us must answer those questions which I have continually raised: what is this situation, why has it come about, is it right, where do the causes lie, what must be done?! Now you are placed in the 'dock'. But the criticisms don't rest only on you. They go wider and deeper. Answer what you are charged with with coolness and courage, qualities which I believe are not lacking in you. In this way we, the Party, the Central Committee, will be able to judge correctly and give the proper answer to the accusations.>>
<<I need time to prepare myself, to remember everything and put it in order.>>
<<This does not depend on me and you were at the meeting yourself,>> I told him. <<However, everything won't be over this evening. Let us begin from the analysis and then things will be cleared up one after the other. And there let it come out whether it is you, I, Koçi or anyone else who is right or wrong. That's all I have to say to you.>>
<<I shall try,>> he said and went away.
Nako's strong stand, the complete opening of the records, the bringing to light of everything, I thought, would possibly be one of the main and surest ways to escape from that grave situation. And here the question was not about Nako, myself or any other individual. From our stand, from the open and sincere analysis of things, everything would come to light. I thought that in this way the truth would emerge clearly and the Party and the people would escape from the danger which was threatening them. . .
However, precisely when I thought that the time had come and the conditions were ripe for us to do what should have been done long ago, to do what they did not allow me to do in 1946, the door banged open and Koçi Xoxe came in:
<<I told you so,>> he shouted, <<he's an enemy, a scoundrel.
He killed himself and died like a dog. Now he has proved that he's been an enemy and worse than an enemy!>>
<<Who?>> I asked. <<What are you talking about?>>
<<Nako Spiru has killed himself. He ended up as he deserved!>>
He spoke in an angry tone in which it was not difficult to distinguish a deep, inner gloating. Thus, the only obstacle to the conspirators' directing their attack against me had been removed from the scene.
For Koçi this meant a big stride forward towards his final aim. Nako Spiru's suicide shook me deeply and I had reason for this. If he considered himself innocent he had no reason to commit suicide. He had the main responsibility for the economic problems and if he were convinced that the Yugoslavs' line in the economy was not correct, then he should have risen to defend our line which he himself considered correct and which he knew very well also had my full support and backing. This he did not do. Was this fear or something else? Moreover his statement, <<Give me two weeks and I'll make the whole of Albania pro-Yugoslav,>> made me reflect deeply. Examined dispassionately this <<expression>> made me wonder whether, in the criticisms he had made up till now (and which in themselves were correct) Nako had proceeded from an anti-Yugoslav basis. The doubt arose in my mind whether he had seized on the mistakes and the distorted stands of the Yugoslavs, using them for deliberate purposes and aims not in the Party spirit.
Nako Spiru would have assisted the Party greatly if he had revealed the manoeuvres of the Titoites behind the scenes and the role of Koçi Xoxe. But together with this he would also have disclosed his own faults and, faced with this dilemma, he did not have the courage. He put his <<name>> above the interests of the Party and killed himself.
Only a few months were to pass and the truth was to be made completely clear. Nako Spiru had opposed the Yugoslavs because they left their man of Berat in the lurch and preferred Koçi Xoxe to him. Then Nako turned his eyes in
another direction, to a greater <<power>> than the Yugoslav power. He linked himself with the Soviets. We regarded these contacts of his as something more than correct and in order, in favour of our cause and socialism, but Nako did not see them in this way. He had not linked himself with them simply out of the feeling of respect and affection. He saw his rapprochement with the Soviets as a means, as a way to impose himself on others, especially on Koçi, with the aim of displacing him and taking his position. What role the Soviets (I'm speaking of the officials of the Soviet legation in Tirana and the low or medium rank apparatchiki in Moscow whom Nako had met) played in nurturing Nako's ambitions, I do not know. I know only that the Soviet advisers and specialists in Tirana, in particular, liked and quite openly preferred Nako Spiru and listened to his opinion, just as he listened to theirs. The fact is, however, that from the side of the Soviet comrades we never had any intervention to favour Nako Spiru. After his suicide one of the comrades of the Soviet embassy, called Gagarinov, informed us orally that Nako Spiru had sent them a letter in which he said that, <<after the grave accusations which the Yugoslav leadership has made against me I am obliged to kill myself. . .>> That was all we were told. The Soviet advisers, and especially the main Soviet adviser for the economy, Troitsky, shed tears over the loss of Nako and did not hide their grief over him, but they did not take any action before this act or to prevent his act. I believe that they knew nothing about what was going on, or if one of the people of Nako's circle informed them, the Soviets did not consider it in order to involve themselves in this question. Perhaps it was not without purpose that Nako said in the Bureau, <<Have you consulted with the Soviet legation over this analysis?>> and for this reason sought five days' time to prepare himself, or to put it better, to send a call to Moscow, <<S.O.S! Save me!>>
However, it was to be proved subsequently that the other side, the Yugoslavs, acted urgently and it was they who drove Nako Spiru to the base and unpardonable act he committed. Warned by Koçi Xoxe that Nako Spiru might reveal
in the Bureau all the threads of the plot that had begun in Berat and continued to operate, the Yugoslavs confronted Nako with the incriminating documents in which he expressed himself against our Party and me. Finding himself in that grave situation, Nako, judging like a petty bourgeois, thought that he would lose my support, too, and considered himself in a hopeless position.
His end finally sealed off the only remaining road for us to get out of the situation which the Yugoslavs had created for us. He took with him in his grave the secret of the plot hatched up. At the same time the end of Nako was the most powerful weapon which the Yugoslavs and their agents, Koçi Xoxe and company, were now to use in order to realize their aims. The way was open for them to concentrate the attack on me.
To make more than clear what the Yugoslavs were aiming at, on the day following Nako Spiru's suicide, Savo Zlatic said to Tuk Jakova:
<<Great attention should be paid to what is happening in your Party, because similar things have occurred in the past in our Party, too. The former general secretary of our Party, Gorkic, turned out to be a traitor. . .>>
All this was aimed directly against me. Savo Zlatic was savouring the first fruits of his victory.
The agents of Belgrade, Koçi Xoxe, Pandi Kristo and others, took up the banner and began the most vicious attack against the Party, against its line and against me. The process of endless <<meetings>> and <<analyses>> began in the Bureau in which Koçi Xoxe now openly predominated and directed.
The Yugoslavs' criticisms were accepted as correct. Not only that, but the efforts and correct views on my part, on Nako's and other comrades', were all turned against us and exploited to point out our lack of faith in <<the correct line of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia>>. The theses for the re-examination of the Berat Plenum, my reply to Savo Zlatic over the Yugoslavs' first criticism, all these things were studied and used to show that
distrust towards Yugoslavia had long existed in me and in Nako. Some acts of the youth on the railway and other projects were condemned as hostile acts against the Yugoslavs and against the line of our Party and the blame was laid mostly on Nako. All the reports of our organs of control and of the comrades of the Party on the railway and elsewhere were rejected without the slightest hesitation. Things which proved the accuracy of the correct views of our people were gathered and examined in detail in order to <<prove>> the opposite, in the direction which interested the Yugoslavs. Nako was classed with the spies and traitors within the Party!
The Party and the Homeland were going through the gravest and most tragic moments. <<Work>> was going on to present all these matters to the Central Committee of the Party and then to the whole Party and the people.
Precisely at the climax of this grave atmosphere from which to many it seemed there was no way out, I received some news which brought us joy: Georgi Dimitrov, in the name of the sister party and government of Bulgaria, invited a government delegation of the PR of Albania, headed by me, to pay a visit to Bulgaria. The invitation was official, in response to a request we had made earlier and the Yugoslavs and their agents within our ranks were faced with an accomplished fact. Considering the grave moments through which our Party was passing, it can be assumed that this invitation had not been issued without the suggestion of Stalin as a counter to the manoeuvres of the Yugoslavs. Nevertheless, their general euphoria and certainty that matters would go as they intended led the Yugoslavs to <<retreat>>: we postponed our analyses for later and began our preparations to go to Bulgaria.