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VOL. 193, No. 5683


LONDON, APRIL 23rd, 1949



REPUBLICS AT LARGE The Issue Before the Commonwealth Conference


Reflections on a Recent Decision in the House of Lords THE HIGHLAND PROBLEM “APE AND ESSENCE” I : Yesterday. By George Scott-Moncrieff Reviewed by Christopher Hollis

SPRING IN THE BALKANS T HE Greek Government has reported new successes on the Macedonian frontier and in the Grammos area, but however firmly the guerrillas may be repressed for the moment, the fighting continually flares up, and an end is not yet in sight. So long as the Albanian Government aids the Greek Communists the war is bound to go on, even if Greece is allowed occasional breathing spaces in between attacks. The Greek Army and gendarmerie are now reorganized, and they have given a good account of themselves in the recent fighting, but the strain of guerrilla warfare tells very heavily upon regular forces, and though more effective training and the inspiring leadership of General Papagos, the new Commander-in-Chief, make the aims of the rebels more difficult to achieve, the problem is not one to be solved by such methods alone. The whole strategical position has to be altered in Greece’s favour and some way found by which the Albanian and Yugoslav frontiers with Greece can be effectively sealed. This is the test for American and British statesmanship, and though there are factors in the situation very much in our favour, particularly Marshal Tito’s deviation, the difficulties remain very real.

in Kukes or dropping containers of weapons and ammunition three or four times a week. A special squad was formed, under the supervision of Colonel Vavilenko, Soviet commander of the Kukes base, to keep the aerodrome clear of snow, to unload supplies and reload them on Albanian lorries for despatch to Greece. This account confirms reports from Germany, to which attention has already been drawn in these pages, that in the Soviet zone a deputation of the “ Greek Democratic Army” has been busy collecting “ gifts,” as well as recruiting men for the fighting in Greece. This mission was headed by General Lambru, who played a conspicuous part in the fighting in the Grammos mountains last year. Stalin’s Solicitude

The Albanian delegation which has just returned from Moscow clearly went there to discuss ways and means of intensifying the attack upon Greece and the pressure upon Yugoslavia, and Enver Hoxha, the Albanian Communist leader, referred in a parting message to “ our dear great Stalin’s solicitude” for his country, a solicitude which does not bode any good for Albania’s neighbours.

The Greek Government has been protesting again against the shamelessly open way in which Albania has been aiding the rebels. Albanian territory is used as their base for operations in the Grammos, to which a force three thousand strong recently crossed through the Golio and Kamenik Passes. The Albanian Government has also been conscripting the Chams, Albanian Muslims from the Thesprotia district of Epirus, who collaborated with the Germans during the occupation and fled to Albania when they retreated. At the other end of the Greek frontier supplies and men are being poured in from Bulgaria, and lorries are constantly unloading arms in the Anghistron sector and the area north of Serres, while a thousand men have during the past three months been sent from the Berkovitsa training camp in Bulgaria.

Albania is now cut off by land from communication with the other Cominform countries, and although a limited amount of supplies comes by sea from the Soviet Union or Rumania, the strict control of the Straits which is enforced by the Turks makes this an unsatisfactory route. The greater part of the supplies sent to the Greek Communists comes by air from Hungary, and there is a regular service between Budapest and Tirana which, under an agreement signed last month, provides for four flights a month, and serves to disguise to some extent the unofficial traffic which is taking place on a very much bigger scale.

Information about the supplies sent in this way has been provided by pro-Tito Albanian Communists who have taken refuge in Yugoslavia. Towards the end of last month the Minister of the Interior of the “ Serbian People's Republic,” Slobodan Penezitch, received a deputation of these Albanians in Belgrade, and one of their spokesmen, Saban Uka, who comes from the Kukes area, then said that in February and March Soviet transport planes from Hungary were landing

Since the dismissal of General Markos, the Greek Communist rebellion has lost something of the nationalist veneer with which its ultimate aims were previously to some extent concealed. The reconstructed “ Government” has even less claim, upon the most superficial examination, to be considered a patriotic movement. Two of its new members are foreigners upon any showing, the Albanian Stavro Gotchia and the Macedonian Pascal Mitrovsky ; and the Greek rebels’ intention of detaching Greek Macedonia and handing it over to a new “ People’s Republic” is unmistakable.

The present disturbed situation in Macedonia is the reflection rather than the cause of the split between Tito and the Cominform, but now that the split has taken place both sides are doing all they can to revive and inflame animosities inherited from the past. Macedonian nationalism, especially as expressed in the terrorist organization known as IMRO, has traditionally looked for support towards Bulgaria, while Greece and Serbia, both of which annexed Macedonian territory at the beginning of the century, have been the objects of their attack.

But during the war the Yugoslav Communist Party, with its programme of federalism, on the Communist pattern, was able to gain control of the Macedonian Communists, and in August, 1944, a Macedonian “ Anti-Fascist Assembly of National Liberation” met and proclaimed the “ liberation of the Macedonian people within the frontiers of Yugoslavia,” as one of its six People’s Republics. The new Bulgarian regime was less ready in practice to grant autonomy to its own Macedonians, but at the meeting between Tito and Dimitrov at Bled in August, 1947, it was agreed that Macedonia should be united within a South Slav federation, and that in the meantime school-teachers and booksellers

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