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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 02, 1951

RECORD OF I.V. STALIN’S CONVERSATION WITH E. HOXHA ABOUT CERTAIN FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC PROBLEMS OF ALBANIA

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    Stalin, Hoxha, and a collection of other Soviet and Albanian political figures, discuss the political, economic, and military situation in Albania.
    "Record of I.V. Stalin’s Conversation with E. Hoxha About Certain Foreign and Domestic Problems of Albania ," April 02, 1951, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Vostochnaia Evropa, edited by G.P. Murashko, et al, vol. 2, pp. 504-09 (APRF, f. 45, op. 1, d. 249, l. 90-97). https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134391
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Record of I.V. Stalin’s Conversation with E. Hoxha

About Certain Foreign and Domestic Problems of Albania

Moscow

April 2, 1951

22 hours, 00 minutes

TOP SECRET

Present: V. M. Molotov, G. M. Malenkov, L. P. Beria, N. A. Bulganin and Chief of the Albanian Staff Bekir Baluku.

Comrade Stalin greets Enver Hoxha and Bekir Baluku, and asks them to have a seat at the table. The he asks them, what questions they would like to ask him.

Enver Hoxha says that the Central Committee of the Albanian Labor Party and the government of the People’s Republic of Albania instructed him to ask Comrade Stalin for help and advice in resolution of a number of issues facing the party and the government.

Comrade Stalin asks to present the questions.

Enver Hoxha says that first of all, he would like to present the contingency plans that were prepared by the government for a possible enemies’ attack on Albania. The first version of the contingency plan starts from the assumption that Albania is attacked from three sides, namely from the Yugoslavian, Greek and Italian ones. The second version of the contingency plan starts from the assumption that one of the above mentioned countries would attack Albania would occur from three sides simultaneously. The third version is a contingency plan for waging a guerilla war, mainly in the mountains. Enver Hoxha says that they brought detailed military maps with them that illustrate each version of the contingency plan separately. These maps show the main directions of possible enemy attacks against Albania. Enver Hoxha says that the first version of the contingency plan assumes that the Albanian government would be able to mobilize the army of approximately 150-175 thousand men, and with reserves it would reach 218 thousand. The Albanian army is currently armed with the Soviet weapons. The Albanian government also has trophy weapons, both German and Italian. Trophy weapons are old and are kept in storage. However, some border units are armed with the trophy weapons.

Comrade Stalin asks, if they have tanks.

Enver Hoxha responds that they have very few tanks: only 25. They also have very few planes. The Albanian army has only one aviation squadron.

Enver Hoxha then says that the Albanian government has information about the concentration of the enemy forces along the Albanian borders. Subversive acts and provocations continued to happen along the border. Very recently, for example, a Yugoslavian regiment came up to the Albanian border and began to dig trenches. However, some time later that regiment left.

Comrade Stalin notes that the Yugoslavs wanted to scare them. But they should not be scared and should not be provoked.

Enver Hoxha says that the subversive acts and provocations are also carried out from the Greek and Italian sides. That is why the Albanian government believes that an attack on Albania would occur from three sides simultaneously.

Comrade Stalin asks, how does the Albanian government know that Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy would attack Albania.

Enver Hoxha responds that the Albanian government does not know exactly, whether these countries would attack Albania. But the Albanian government believes it is likely that Yugoslavia, Greece, and Italy could attack Albania simultaneously. In this connection, the Albanian government developed the contingency plan in three versions. The Albanian government asks Comrade Stalin and the Soviet government to provide assistance in giving the Albanian government the necessary amounts of weapons and ammunition.

Comrade Stalin says that they do want to attack, but they cannot do that. There have been and will be more provocations, but they should not be afraid. The main task is to strengthen the army and the people’s economy. They should not be provoked. Comrade Stalin recommends to address Bulganin on all the military issues, and asks them what other questions do they have.

Enver Hoxha says that he would like to tell Comrade Stalin about the international situation in the country and in the party. The internal situation in Albania is quite solid. The population supports the government and gives it substantial cooperation in the struggle for liquidation of the enemy nests. The government has wiped out the gangs. Currently, they only have some scattered gangs that are hiding in the mountains. Those gangsters and subversive elements are trying to organize subversive acts. The biggest subversive act happened next to the building of the Soviet mission.[1] The Albanian government expresses its apologies in this connection, and fully accepts the blame for not having been able to prevent that subversive act. The situation inside the party is also solid. However, the Central Committee, the Politburo and the Secretariat have made serious mistakes in their work. The leadership was sitting in their offices and did not carry out the work among masses. The criticism and the self-criticism were not at the necessary level. Such situation existed not only in the Central Committee, but also in the low-level organizations. They had to purge themselves from the opportunists and enemies, who infiltrated the party. First of all, we should classify Tuk Yakov, who could not carry out his work as the Secretary of the Central Committee from Personnel and Organizational Issues, as a deep opportunist. He turned out to be a convinced opportunist, who agreed with the party in his words, while practically doing different opportunistic things.

The Central Committee condemned the opportunistic line of Yakov Tuk and removed him from the Politburo. He was also removed from the position of the Central Committee Secretary. However, taking his self-critical statement into account, the Central Committee left Tuk Yakov as its member. Former Minister of Justice Manol Konomi was removed from the Central Committee for his opportunism as well. Currently, candidate member of the Central Committee Bikit Ndou[2], who was closely connected with former Deputy Minister of the Interior Sali Armeni, who committed suicide is under arrest. The party continues to fight the hostile elements.

Comrade Stalin asks, what assistance in that issue do they need.

Enver Hoxha says that the Central Committee of the party and the government ask Comrade Stalin for advice, what to do in the future.

Comrade Stalin says that the main task is to purge the party of the enemies and to strengthen the internal security organs.

Enver Hoxha says that the Central Committee of the party and the government ask Comrade Stalin for advice, what to do in the future.

Comrade Stalin says that the main task is to purge the party of the enemies and to strengthen the internal security organs.

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government appeals to the Soviet government with a request to send 8 additional advisers for state security. Besides, the Albanian government asks the Soviet government to provide various kinds of weapons and ammunition, and 30 cars in addition what has already been provided.

Comrade Stalin says that Enver Hoxha should raise this issue with comrade Mikoyan.[3] Then Comrade Stalin asks, if the Albanian government has some kind of plan for the development of the people’s economy – whether a five-year plan, a three-year plan, or a two-year plan.

Enver Hoxha responds that they have a two –year plan of development of the people’s economy, but it ended in 1950. Currently, they prepared a five-year plan of development of the people’s economy, which includes 1951. The Albanian government plans to significantly expand the industry. To increase the extraction of petroleum products, bitumen, copper and coal. The Albanian government plans to have 600 collective farms by the end of 1955, which will cultivate 140 thousands hectares of land. As far as the collectivization is concerned, the Albanian government follows the instructions that were given by Comrade Stalin. We are moving forward, but very cautiously. Before 1951, we had 60 collective farms, now we organized 30 collective farms more. However, 94 percent of all sowing land remains in the hands of private owners.

Comrade Stalin notes that they should not rush with this, and asks, what do the Albanian peasants primarily sow – corn or wheat.

Enver Hoxha responds that peasants prefer to sow corn, because they eat corn bread. The government took some measures to encourage peasants, who would sow cotton, but the peasants only unwillingly leave part of their land for cotton.

Comrade Stalin says that the peasants obviously do not see any benefit from sowing cotton, they do not have any material interest in sowing it. Then Comrade Stalin asks, how to collective farmers live – whether they live better or worse than other peasants.

Enver Hoxha responds that collective farmers live better.

Comrade Stalin says that when the peasants are convinced that it is beneficial for them to be members of collective farms, then they would join the collective farms. Comrade Stalin asks, what type of collective farms do they have in Albania.

Enver Hoxha responds that there is a small sector in the Ministry of Agriculture that is in charge of the seeds.

Comrade Stalin asks, whether the Ministry of Agriculture of the Albanian government visited the countries of people’s democracy that are undertaking collectivization.

Enver Hoxha responds that they have not.

Comrade Stalin says that they devote serious attention to the industry, but insufficient attention to agriculture. Soviet agricultural organs almost never receive any requests from Albania regarding agriculture. The Soviet government could provide seeds and assistance with collective farms specialists. You need to put the specialists to work directly in the collective farms.

Comrade Stalin asks, what other questions do they have.

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government would like to expel all the Greeks—more than thousand of them—from Albania, taking its international situation into account, and to expel the monarch-fascists, who are currently contained in the concentration camps first of all. They could be relocated to the countries of people’s democracy.

Comrade Stalin says,--who would need the monarch-fascists in any of the countries of the people’s democracy? He cannot not speak for those countries, because their representatives are not present at that conference, you would need to consult with them.

Enver Hoxha says that he made a request to Zahryaris[4] but he still did not do anything.

Comrade Stalin says that we would have to ask them ourselves. Then Comrade Stalin asks, what other questions do they have.

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government has 2556 kilograms of gold and more than 3 thousand kilograms of silver in its reserves. The Albanian government appeals to the Soviet government with a request to allow them to send their gold and silver for safekeeping to the state bank of the Soviet Union. The Albanian government believes that that gold and silver would then be in a more reliable place, which would benefit the interests of the people.

Comrade Stalin says that Enver Hoxha should discuss this question with comrade Mikoyan.

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government decided to open three institutes: agricultural, political[5], and pedagogical. Some preparatory work had been already done. In this connection, the Albanian government appeals to the Soviet government with a  request to send one deputy for education, and two or three professors to each institute.

Comrade Stalin notes that these professors do not know the language, how will they teach?

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government is asking the Soviet government to give a permission to exchange the Albania cotton (1,600 tones) for Soviet cotton of higher quality. Enver Hoxha explains that the machines of the textile factory, named after Comrade Stalin, which would be opened in December of this year, are designed to process cotton with length of 27 to 28 millimeters, whereas the length of the Albanian cotton is 24 to 25 millimeters. Soviet specialists recommended them to do this exchange.

Comrade Stalin expresses his doubts regarding the conclusions of the specialists, and recommends to discuss this issue with comrade Mikoyan. Then Comrade Stalin asks, whether they have other questions.

Enver Hoxha says that the Albanian government and the Central Committee would like to consult with Comrade Stalin regarding a possibility of concluding treaties with the countries of people’s democracy on the model of the treaty, which Albania has with Bulgaria.

Comrade Stalin says that Albania already has treaties and it receives credits and conducts commercial agreements under those treaties.

Enver Hoxha says that he does not have any more questions.

This ends the conversation.

The conversation lasted 1 hour 55 minutes.

Comrade K. F. STARIKOV translated and recorded the conversation.

Original.

[1] He refers to the bomb explosion near the building of the Soviet diplomatic mission.

[2]  As in the original. Should be: Bekir Ndou.

[3] See Document no. 177

[4] As in the original. Should be: Zakhariadisu.

[5] As in the original. Should be: Polytechnical.