(We publish below an interview given in Tirana in December,1984 by Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the Central Committee Of the Party Of Labour Of Albania, to Professor Paul Milliez, President of the Franco-Albanian Friendship Association. Hoxha's wife, Nexhmije Hoxha, and Ramiz Alia, then Secretary of the CC of the PLA and Member of its Political Bureau, were also present).
Q: Monsieur First Secretary, you are a great figure. De Gaulle once told me that there were two people he admired in his time: Enver Hoxha and Boumedienne, although the latter had been his enemy.
A: We have many friends in France and other countries and we count on their friendship. But we also have enemies.
Q: It is normal that you have enemies.
A: The foreign policy of our country has been correct, and it will remain so in the future: an independent, free, sovereign and honest policy. I have expressed and express our opinion freely on events which occur in the world, but this is not to the liking of some people.
Q: Your Yugoslav enemies speak ill of you.
A: They are extremely hostile to our viewpoint, and say things about
US which no one can believe. For example, they claim that we desire the
destabilisation of Yugoslavia, although we have never envisaged or said
such a thing. They accuse us, further, of having provoked the events which
occurred in Kosova in 1981, but this is not at all true. The people responsible
for the tragic events in Kosova are the Yugoslavs themselves.
For our Part, we have stated Publicly, and also through official channels, Our Position in favour of the just claims of our Kosovar brothers, demands which are in conformity with the Yugoslav constitution.
Q: Western Europe has begun, with some difficulty, to understand your policy. It seems that the attitude of
Britain towards the problem of your gold is coming in Paris to be considered unjust.
A: We have waited for forty years for the British to return the gold
they looted. We thank France for the support she is giving us on this question.
As for the Americans, they are quite unscrupulous. They demand that we
hand over to them the wealth of Albanians now resident in the United States
- wealth which, according to them, has a value of around $1,900,000. But
we have told them: give us proof, supported by documents, on American property
nationalised in our country so that we may consider this question concretely.
The British, too, have taken an incorrect attitude towards our country and our people. The story they invented about the mines laid in the Corfu Channel, which were struck by their warships, is quite unfounded.' At that time we possessed neither mines nor the means necessary to lay them. Nevertheless, when the incident occurred, we sent craft to save their sailors. Concealing the truth, the British have not ceased to slander us.
We criticise the Germans also for the attitude they have adopted towards our country, and we base our criticism on documents. However, we notice a change in this attitude. Their press is not so hostile towards us, and this applies also to the press in certain other Western countries. We wish to establish good relations with the Federal German Republic, but at the same time we demand that she settles the war reparations which she owes us.
Q: In your country it is said that without Enver Hoxha there would be no Albania.
A: I am only a member of the Party of Labour and I only serve my people. Every success achieved here has its origin in our own forces; everything has been realised with the People and in unity with it. The enemies of our country say that I am a dictator. But a single person can neither act nor work with the necessary strength without being surrounded by friends and comrades.
Q: You have written a great deal, notably on Islam.
A: As long as I have the strength to stand on my feet, I shall not cease to write for my people and for my true friends, so that they may be aware of the struggle of our people for liberty, independence and socialism.
Every country conducts its own policy, by means of which it defends its rights. However, there are abroad some circles and individuals who accuse us of having destroyed the churches and mosques. To these people we say: we do not involve ourselves in the internal affairs of other countries, nor wish to. We wish, therefore, that other countries would not meddle in our affairs. As far as religion is concerned, we cannot permit in our country, among our people, a "state" which assists foreigners like the Vatican, which is dependent on imperialism. On the other hand we have not compelled, nor do we compel, anyone by administrative measures to renounce his religious views. Religion is a question of personal conscience. At the present time, the Greek Orthodox clergy represents the most reactionary circles directed against our country. It seeks to make people believe that all Orthodox Christians among us are Greeks. It ranges itself even against Papandreou, objecting to his policy in relations with our country. But everything will work out for the best, irrespective of the threats of the reactionaries.
Q: You have confidence?
A: Yes, we have confidence - and also patience. Our close bonds with the people are for us of great importance. over long periods we have surmounted a good many difficulties and have suffered many privations, but we have never encountered opposition or the part of our people. on the contrary, they are satisfied and aware that if the regime and the government have not done more for them, this is because it was impossible to do so. Our enemies say that Albania is alone, that it is isolated, that it has no commerce with other countries. But we have commercial exchanges with all countries which desire them on the basis of reciprocal advantage and non-interference in one another's internal affairs. For the Yugoslavs that is something abnormal. However, our economy has never been reduced to the state in which the Yugoslav
economy finds itself; our country has never relied upon loans and credits from abroad. And so it will always be, unlike what the Yugoslavs have done and continue to do in their country.
Q: Why, in your opinion, did Stalin not prepare for his succession?
A: Stalin did think about this. At the 19th Congress he enlarged the
central Committee and the Political Bureau in order to consolidate the
leadership of the Party after his death. But he was surrounded - a little
like de Gaulle - by camouflaged enemies who constantly presented him with
false reports. He told them: "After my death you will sell out the Soviet
Union", but he did not succeed in combating them in time.
Stalin was a great man. I knew him at close quarters: I had five meetings with him. He was a wise and level-headed man. He fought the enemies of the Soviet Union and of communism.
Before and after the Second World War Stalin consolidated the position of the Soviet Union politically, economically and militarily. He had noted that his country was being undermined - and undermined gravely. Khrushchev and Mikoyan told me with their own mouths that they had organised a plot against Stalin, that they had had the intention of murdering him in a coup but feared the people. That is the kind of criminals and assassins they were. Even after Stalin's death they continued to Cry: "Long live Stalin!" and to say: "Stalin was a great man". But, at a certain moment, after having consolidated their positions, they came out against him in their notorious attack. They accused Stalin of all the crimes and faults which they had committed themselves. That we never accepted, and we declared so openly at the meeting of 81 communist Parties in Moscow in 1960. That is why they accuse us of being Stalinists. But we are Marxist-Leninist Stalinists and we put into effect all that is good for socialism in Albania.
As for the name of Lenin, they have preserved it with a view to disguising their counter-revolutionary activity.
At present the new Soviet leaders, as is seen, seek to intimidate the West by giving indications that they wish to
"rehabilitate" Stalin. But the fact is that they retain the counter-revolutionary opinions which separate them from him. That is why their threats about the "rehabilitation" of Stalin cannot deceive us - and not only us! It does not deceive even the West.