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 The validity of this contention is beyond the scope of this study, but suffice it to say that Britain did on different occasions support albanian positions against Belgrade. Moreover in 1921, Britain was influential in the Conference of ambassadors (this time in Paris), which, in addition to deciding on the borders of the new state, resolved that the territorial integrity of the albanian state to be a matter of “international interest.” Consequently, it was agreed that italy was to be endowed with the “protection” of albania within the League of Nations system. This meant giving italy a hand in albanian internal affairs, which seemed to put Belgrade on notice of italian intentions in the Balkans.
Serbian Premier Nikola Pašić had something to say about United States attitudes toward Serbia in those days. He had nothing against Wilson’s 14 points or his steadfast defense of the right of self-determination. But he felt that there was a flaw in Wilson’s personal insistence on alba- nia’s “independent” status. in the view of the seasoned Ser- bian politician, an “independent albania” under an italian “protectorate” was a contradiction in terms. Pašić believed that it would have been more logical to have the two states, Serbia (Yugoslavia) and albania, cooperate in defending the Balkan area against intrusions of foreign influences of all kinds. in one report to the National assembly Pašić de- clared that on the one hand Wilson “protects albania from us, and on the other hand, he brings italy into albania, the most dangerous enemy not only of the albanian people, but of the whole Balkan peninsula as well.”
in this “exit austria—enter italy” scenario Pašić saw the opposite of freedom from foreign intervention in Balkan affairs. in the multinational environment of the Balkans ethnic tensions and national conflicts were not to be dread- ed as much—he thought—as the exploitation of those ten- sions and rivalries by a foreign power. even if one attempt- ed to understand the concern of the entente (and the Unit- ed States) about maintenance of peace in the Balkans, to appoint italy to be the protector of albania and, indirectly, the guardian of the peace in the area was equal to assigning a fox as caretaker of the chicken coop, as events in the 1930s were to demonstrate.
Kosovo, ed. B.W.R. jenkins, Serbian Western american Diocese 1992, pp. 132–133.
Peter, King of Serbia, on his way to exile; young and unarmed recruits, aged 15 to 17, evacuating their cases of ammunition, going toward Prizren, stand around the oxcart on which the old Кing sits (photo taken by Vladimir Vecić).
Withdrawal of Serbian army over the Field of Kosovo, 1915
 Retreat of Serbian troops in snowy and hostile Albania in late 1915. Drawing by P. Omčikus

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