When representatives of the five Powers and six smaller nations comprising the Council of the League of Nations* assembled at Geneva last week for their regular quarterly meeting, they found that a document pregnant with international discord had been filed with the League by order of President-Dictator Ahmed Bey Zogu of Albania.
Because Italy holds a virtual protectorate over Albania, the note of Dictator Zogu received the respect appropriate to a communication undoubtedly approved if not ordered written by Italian Dictator Mussolini. It declared that the national honor of Albania had been insulted by "brutal and unconciliatory demands" made upon Albania by Jugoslavia, recently, to obtain the release of a Jugoslav spy arrested and jailed in Albania.
When these demands were refused by Albania, the note continued, the Jugoslav Government last week withdrew its Legation from Albania and gave the Albanian Minister in Belgrade just 24 hours to leave the country.
Such action pertinently suggested that Jugoslavia, after breaking off relations with Albania, would shortly declare war. The Albanian note to the League Council last week was therefore in the nature of a national alibi, registered with the League, so that, if war breaks out, Dictator Ahmed Bey Zogu of Albania may disclaim all responsibility before the world.
Actually Jugoslavia (backed by France) and Albania (backed by Italy) have been snapping and snarling at each other for so long that if war should break out between them the responsibility would be mutual.
The League Council Members, notably Sir Austen Chamberlain, M. Aristide Briand and Dr. Gustav Stresemann (respectively foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany) had power last week only to scan the Albanian note, make it a matter of record. They then proceeded with the humdrum but important routine business of the League.
* Powers with permanent seats: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan. Nations with temporary seats: Chile, Poland, Rumania (3 years) : and Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Salvador (1 year).