Therapia', 26 July, 1880
A report of Goschen sent to Granvillle
...Amongst other questions that ought to be solved, it is the treatment of the provinces inhabited by the Albanians, a question that should be considered from both the aspect of general politics and local necessities.
The situation is complicated by the way in which the fate of part of the inhabitants on the land of Albanians is involved in the pending cessions of the territory to Montenegro, and the trouble caused among the Albanians by the proposed cession of the region of Janina and other areas to Greece, that the Albanians claim to have been inhabited by the people of their race; and if I have delayed my addressing to your Lordship about the general question of the future of the Albanian land that would remain to Turkey, it has been in the hope of finding out some more details dealing with the agreements on frontier disputes, and so being able to deal with the matter in all its bearings, concerning both the general policy and the wants of the mentioned provinces.
The question as to the best mode of dealing with the Albanians in the Vilayet of Shkodra (Scutari), and particularly of Albanian Catholic tribes, was partially taken into consideration by the government of her Highness, on the initiative of Mr Kirby, dealing with the cession of Ulqin (Dulcigno) to Montenegro.
I think that the accord of administrative reforms of this vilayet, with higher independence from Turkish control, would make the Albanians accept this surrender without much resistance.
...Whatever the history of the movement were, I take the courage to suggest your Lordship, as I have also done earlier, that the Albanian excitement cannot be passed over as a mere manoeuvre conducted by the Turks to mislead Europe and evade its will.
Nor can it be denied that the Albanian movement is perfectly natural. As ancient and distinct a race as any of those surrounding them, they have seen that the nationality of every one of them has been taken under protection of different European powers and gratified in their aspirations to lead an independent life. They have seen Bulgarians fully emancipated in Bulgaria, and made masters in Eastern Rumelia. They have seen the ardent desire of Europe to liberate the territory inhabited by the Greeks from the Turkish rule. They have seen the Slavs in Montenegro protected by the great Slav Empire of the North with enthusiastic persistence. They have seen the Eastern question being solved on the principle of nationality, and the Balkan Peninsula being gradually divided, as it were, among various races on that principle. Meanwhile, they can see that they themselves do not receive similar treatment. Their nationality is ignored, and the territory inhabited by the Albanians in the north is handed over to the Montenegrins, the protJgJ of Russia, and in the south to Greece, the protJgJ of England and France.
Territorial exchanges have been proposed, other difficulties arise, but it is still to the detriment of the Albanians, and the Albanians are to spread among the Slavs and Greeks without regard to the principle of nationality.
I am putting the case of the Albanians very roughly, in order to illustrate the natural character of their resistance to the will of Europe. This attitude of theirs seems to me neither artificial nor blameworthy. It is a natural outcome of the general movement in the Balkan Peninsula ...
I am availing myself of the opportunity that has been offered to me by the discussion of the plan to crush the Albanian resistance by threats, that they have been seldom, if ever, used under such circumstances, to point out that, in my judgement, the Albanians do not deserve any special penal treatment. After all, in their resistance, and deep-rooted objection to the fact that a number of their countrymen should be handed over to an alien rule, the Albanians are simply acting on the same principle of nationality that has recently formed the basis of the treatment of the Eastern question, and on which basis its further solution will probably be found.
Analogous considerations lead me to the conclusion that I humbly venture to submit to your Lordship, that the Albanian nationality is an element that ought not to be overlooked in any future political combinations. On the contrary, I believe that it may be utilised with much advantage to general interests, and accordingly I would be sorry for any partial measures that might impede the formation of a large Albanian province.
If the creation of such a province now is premature or impossible, I would certainly abstain from any measures that would make the impossibility permanent, or would at least cause future difficulties. I would recommend that the possibility for creation of a united Albanian province should at least always be kept in view ...
If the foregoing reasoning is correct, your Lordship will be able to see at once that another advantage may be gained. If a strong Albania should be established, the pretext for its occupation by a foreign power in case of the decay of the Ottoman Empire would have weak grounds. A united Albania would bar the remaining entrances from the north, and the Balkan Peninsula would remain in the hands and under the sway of the races who now inhabit it. Otherwise, the Albanians might become an incurable difficulty if troubles should arise. A population, in great part Muslims, would be a source of the greatest difficulty to the Slav or Greek countries around it. Only a European Power would be strong enough to deal with them and restore order. I consider that by settling the Albanian national question, the possibility for European intervention in the Balkan Peninsula would be diminished ...