23 février 2014



JUL3 1962
JUL3 1962

University of Toronto
I. — Geographiçal arguments

Au Monténégrin rivers belonglng to the Adriatic watershed flow into the Lake ot Scutari whose waters flow into the Adriatic by the médium of the river Boyana.

That is the only natural road of Monténégro to the sea. It is sufficient to cast a glance on the map to see it and to be convinced that Scutari has always been the geographiçal centre of the ancient Serbian province of Zêta, named to day Monténégro. Scutari is there fore the natural outlet to the sea for the major part of Monténégro which constitutes its natural hinterland. Monténégro could be separated from Scutari only by violence.

2. — Historical and Ethnical arguments

The town of Scutari was founded by Alexander the Great in tho 4-th century B. C.

After the arrivai of the Serbs in the B-alfeans, in the 7-th century A. D. the second independenc entre of the Serbian people was the ancient Dioclea whose chief town was Scutari. Since that epoch one has always considered Scutari as one of the centres ofthe Serbian State. In the ii-th century, one ofthe sovereigns of Zêta, Michael Voislavljevitch obtained from Pope Alexander II, the Royal title which was borne later by other sovereigns of Zêta, his son Bodin, his nephew Radoslav, etc. Bodin and Radoslav and other members of the Royal family were interred in the wellknown monasteries of Saint Serge and Vakhur la Boyane, whose ruins can still be seen.

The fîrst of thèse sovereigns founded the first Serbian Roman Catholic Archbishopric in Antivari, a see which was confirmed by the Bull of Pope Alexander H in 1067. Its name was " Archiepiscopus totius regni Serbiae " and, since the XIV century : Primaria sedes totius regni Serbiae ".

Mère ;is a classical proof showing that Scutari was Serbian. In 1093 one of thechiefs of the first crusade, Raymond of Toulouse, writesin the description of his journey : ''AViast we arrived ni Scutari where the Slav King lives". Orderic Vitalis, another writer of the same epochj states that this King's name was Bodin.

In the 13-th and 14-th centuries, Scutari has played an important part in the Serbian State under the celebrated dynasty of the Nemanitçh. Monasteries and churches, built on both banks of the Boyana and vhose ruins still exist, are the best proof of this.

Queen Helena, of French origin andmarried to Urosh Nemanitçh the Great (1242 to 1276), built, between Cattaro and St. John of Medua, thirteen monasteries and churches, as is proved by historical documents as well as by the inscriptions which can still be read on the ruins of St. Serge.

The heirs to the throne and the aged members of the family of Nemanitçh used to dwell there because Scutari and the whole.of Zêta had been given to them as appanage. Emperor Dushan, while he was heirapparent, used to live there.

After the death of the last Nemanitçh, Emperor Urosh in nyi, and after tliè dismemberment of the Serbian State, the Baltitchs reigned in Scutari. One ôfthem, George Strachimirovitch, under tlieonslaught of the Turks and wishing to save the rest of his countrv, ceded Scutari to the Venetians. Some time after, his wife Yela re-took Scutiiri. Ilis son Balsha III reigned there till his death in 1421. Al this date tho Venetians occupied it again and kept it until 147c); thon thev were obliged to cède it to the Turks, obtaining from the latter in exchange certaiil commercial concessions. Thus Scutari remaincd under Turkish domination till 1913.

It is clearly évident therefore that Scutari has boon tho organic centre around which the second Serbian State cristallied ilsolf.
The population of the town and the environs were Serbian. Ail ils moituments prove it. The Serbian élément was still so strong in the 10-th centunthat a Serbian printing press was founded in Scutari. But on one side under the Venetian pressure and on the other side under the Turkish tyranny this élément suffered very much. One part took refuge in the mountains of the présent Monténégro, theothers who vere attached to their land were obliged to change their religion and some of them became Roman Catholics, others Mohammedans. The Albanian minority which lived in the mountains very soon accepted to serve the Turks; the Serbs were the only ones who were considered by thèse as enemies. In order to save their lives, the Serbs were obliged to learn the Albanian tongue, the language of a nation which enjoyed the greatest confidence with the Sultans of Constantinople.

Thus it came to pass that tribes of pure Serb race like the Krasnitchi (or Krstnitchi), Groudé, Klémenti, Hoti, Kastrati, Shalié and others became Albanizedafter a certain time, shorter or longer. The Groudés remained Orthodox till the end of the i8-th century. Besides the aforementioned historical monuments one could prove the Serbian origin of nearly ail the tribes of upper Albania by the fact that they preserved the Serbian character Jand custoras as well as the gousle (musical instrument); the Serbian national songs are as popular there as in any other Serbian région (i).

One knows that the Slava is an essentially Serbian festival which is not kept by any other nation. Thèse tribes celebrate in their songs the heroes knovn to be Serbs and they still celebrate the Slava even though they are Mohammedans or Roman Catholics.

This is a feast which the Serbians celebrate every year in honour of the patron saint of the family as a rememberance of their conversion to Christianity. With a greater part of thèse tribes, one still (inds souvenirs of the time when thëy were Orthodox, another proot showing that from the ethnical point of view nearly ail the environs of Scutari are Serbian is in the names of the villages, the

I ) The Serbian people has devoted niany of its national songs to Scutari and one of the most remarkahle of thèse is the song descrihing the foundation of Scutari on the Boyana,rivers, tlie mountains (Kamenitza, Stara, Boritch, Golemi, Brditza, Ohod Velye Polye, etc.), which are purely Serbian.

One does not possess any statistics concerning the number of the inhabitants around Scutari, living on the right bank of the Drin, but ve can indicate the area of the contested territorv : about 3600 square kilomètres. Résides the Orthodox Serbians residing in Scutari, there are some others in différent neighbouring viUages Vraka, Vramenica, Derigniat, etc., as well as several thousands of Mohammedan Serbians Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

3. — Political arguments

Scutari vas reconquered from the Turks by the Monténégrins, with the aid of Serbian troops in 1913, at the cost of enormous sacrifices, proved by the thousands of their graves vhich are in and around Scutari.

One remembers that on this occasion Austria-Ilungary consented to leave Scutari to Monténégro, but onlv under the condition that the Lovchen should become Austrian or was at least neutralized. Monténégro rejected this offer and vhen the Austrian pretensions threatened to provoke a European \var, the Monténégrin Government consented to dehver Scutari into the hands of international troops. This Monténégro rendered a very great service to its Alles.

The surrenderof Scutari to the Great Powers was onlv a provisional measure, leaving Montenegro's right intact so that the question remained in suspense lowever, the arbitrarily fixed limits (in iqi) greatly facilitated, in it)i4 and U)i5, the Albanian incursions into Monténégro, directed bv the Austro-Hungarian consul of Scutari. In order to stop them and lo render possible the revictualling of Monténégro via the Boyana and the Lake of Scutari, the Monténégrins reoccupied Scutari in idis as well as the whole région to the Drin. Besides, they had been askcd to do so by the population itself.

Within a short time they succecded in regulating and organi ingill tlie services required for the maintenance of order in Ihe town as

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well as in its environs extending to the Drin and to the sea, a thing which the local Turkish authorities and even the International troops had never succeded in doing.

This administration lasted till the Austro-Hungarian invasion. To-day, after the defeat of the enemy on the Macedonian front, the Serbians arrived hère the first and after severe fighting occupied the town of Scutari for the third time.

It is well known that the création of an Albanian State is not the resuit of an Albanian struggle for freedom or union. Austria-Hungary wanted to create, under the name of Albania, an Austrian province in order to erect thus one more obstacle to the development of the Serbian nation. The Albanian tribes, especially those inhabiting the environs of Scutari, hâve absolutely no feeling of nationality, no notion of a State.

Although the enemies of Monténégro frequently made use of thèse tribes in order to cause troubles on the frontier, the tribes of the environs of Scutari hâve often given proof of their désire to join with the Monténégrins in order to fight against the Turkish régime.
This same thing occurred again both in iqio and iqi2. Several timies, especially in 1873, Monténégrin chiefs helped to reconcile hostile
Albanian tribes.

Foreign propaganda has always been able to obtain temporary results with the Albanians. The few foreign agents installed in Scutari are not at ail qualified to represent the wishes of the population of Scutari and its environs.

Those who know the habits and the sentiments of the tribes established in the environs of Scutari and on the right bank of the Drin, and their affmity with the Monténégrin population, must be convinced that thèse tribes would be more disposed to enter the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State than to belong to Albania, on account of their économie interests. Nothing binds them to the tribes of central or Southern Albania, neither customs nor language nor their past. Lastly, religion also is no obstacle, as equality of confessions has already been proclaimed in the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State where the Roman Catholics and Mohammedans would find numerous fellow- believers.

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Notwithstanding the propnganda vvhich is madein Alhania against the Serho-Croato-Slovene State, the tribes of Krasnitchi, Gachi ind Boutitchi, which are the most important tribes on the right bank of the Drin, hâve alread- manifested, in their dechiration of the (j. Februarv iqu), through of their représentatives the désire to be united to this State. This désire has been submitted to the
Peace Conférence. There is no doubt that this example will be followed A the other tribes as soon as thev get their liberty of action. One knows in what measure Serbia and Monténégro hâve contributed to the fondamental changes in political geography in the Balkan Peninsula, and it is just that their vital interests in thèse régions be respected.

One can only justifv the division oJ the Lake of Scutari and a séparation of Scutari from Monténégro and Old Serbia, if one desires to legalize and sanction the results obtained by those Albanians, who, under the direction of the enemies of the Serbian nation, hâve contributed to its extermination and to the forcible albanization of the Sime.

Scutari, like Prizren and Djakovo, has been under Turkish domination for more than four centuries and has been Serbian before that for more than seven centuries and has never belongedto the Albanian State. Besides, even at the most brilliant epoch of their history under Skander Beg, the Albanians never vvent beyond the limits of the River Drin (Consult Georgius Merula Alexandrinus: Bellum Scodrense).

4. — Economie arguments

Ail thèse historical and national reasons demand that Scutari should become Serbian, but économie reasons demand it still more imperiously.

The Lake of Scutari constitutes, vvith its environs, an indivisible whole.

From the économie point of vievv artiticial frontiers, arbitrarily fixed by the enemies of the country, hâve separated Monténégro from

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its granary and national centre, Scutari, ând hâve prevented the normal development of this town, leaving it in misery. Besides, the flowing of the Drin into the Boyana since 184b and the carelessness of the Turkish administration hâve caused the level of the lake to rise and submerge the hest lands ; ancient fields and vineyards are at présent nearly two yards under water. Ail the promises made concerning the canalization of the Boyana hâve remained vain till now and will remain so in future if the environs of Scutari are assigned to Albania.

It is only with the cession of Scutari to the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State that the regularization of the Boyana would become possible. The lowering of the level of the Lake would, according to the opinion of compétent engineers, free about 12.000 hectares of araable and fertile land, and greatly improve an equal number of hectares. Independently of this great and appréciable gain, one also would obtain a good resuit from the hygienic point of view, as marsh-fever and malaria which are endémie around the Lake of Scutari would disappear. By the regularization of the Boyana, Scutari would become an excellent port of the Adriatic Seg.

The maritime outlet of Monténégro is Scutari and not Bar (Antivari) which is separated from the rest ot the country by mountains, while the road to Scutari crosses the plain and the lake. It was only owing to unfavourable circumstances that Bar lias become Montenegro's port.

The narrow guage railway Vir-Bazar-Antivari will never be able to become a commercial route because its declivity is too great (40 /oo)-In the past, Bar was the maritime port of Scutari; it must be that also in the future, especially for the big ships vhich could not go up the Boyana even after its canalization.

Scutari and its environs are the lungs with which the people of Monténégro breathes, and for lack of which it was suffocating ever since the Turks deprived it of Scutari and the Austrians hindered it from retaining that citv in U)i3. Our people claims the restitution of its ancient capital, and this claim is based on the principles of justice and libertv, the possession of Scutari being a vital necessity for our nation and the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State.

Scutari has been the political and économie centre of the south-west part o( the Serbian countries ; it has also, at ail times, been the centre in which an important part of the Serbian commerce converged. Ail the commerce of north-western Macedonia and of part of Serbia vvas directed westwards through Scutari.

Scutari will rise again and become more prospérons than ever as soon as the railways from the Danube to the Adriatic (Danube-Nish-Prishtina-Diakovitza, valley of the Drin, Scutari-Bar, or eventually Cattaro) will hâve
become a reality. When one examines the map and the land communications one sees immediately the importance of the Trans Balkanic Danube-Adriatic line which can pass only through Scutari.

At the London Conférence of iqi Serbia's right to an outlet on the sea in this région was already recognized and admitted.

Scutari is the natural outlet for a great part of the ancient territory of the Kingdom of Serbia, for the ancient Sanjak, for Monténégro and for north-western Macedonia.

While in the régions situated on the left bank of the Drin nearly ail the roads run towards Alessio and Durazzo, ail the routes on the right bank are directed towards Scutari. No natural link exists between Scutari and Albania, whose centre was in Kroya and must also in future be placed in the environs ot the ancient capital of Skenderbeg.

The configuration of the land and the direction of the rivers constitute Scutari the only outlet for the neighbouring Serbian countries, the mountainous territory not permitting the profitable construction of a railway line which would pass through Herzegovina or Monténégro in order to connect Serbia with the Adriatic.

As part of the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State Scutari would become so prosperous that it would compete with the greatest cities of the Balkan Peninsula. On the other hand it would be doomed to vegetate if one attributed it to Albania, for Scutari without the garrison of the Turkish times, without the hinterland of Old Serbia, separated from Monténégro, would indeed be in a precarious position and would offer no fmancial resources to Albania.

The vital interest of Scutari ilself demands therefoiv that this towii should not be separated from the régions which ahjnc would give it life in exchange for the great économie senices that it would afiford them.

An economical prohlem so clear might provoke incalculable complications in the future, if it were given a mistaken solution.


The union of Monténégro with the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State does not in any way diminish the importance of the reunion of Scutari with the former, because the économie development of Monténégro dépends only upon Scutari. Scutari will make Monténégro prospérons.

Monténégro, which has suffered so much, is entitled to enter the great Serbo-Croato Slovene community undespoiled. We sincerely wish the création of an independent Albania, but we wish our rights to be recognizes as vell.

The question of Scutari has not been dealt with in the same way as that of Albania, and the Government of that country has not extended its authorityto the région and the town of Scutari. For ail thèse reasons we are convinced that our indisputable rights will be recognized.

One glance at a the map suffices to convince ever}'body that Scutari is the gâte of Monténégro with which it forms an indivisable whole. It is not a question of conquest but of the réparation of an old injustice.

On several occasions in 1913 Austria-Hungary proposed to Monténégro, to leave Scutari to that countr under the condition that the Lovchen should became Austrian or was at least neutralized. Had Monténégro accepted, it would hâve to day been the undisputed possessor of Scutari as well asofthe Lovchen. But it refused and in rendering this great service to the Allies it had to abandon Scutari. Austria-Hungar has ceased to exist. This only obstacle having disappeared, one may expect that the Allies, in uniting Scutari to the people of Monténégro, will reward them for haing safeguarded the interests of the Allies when they refused to cède the stratégie point of Lovchen, even

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in exchange for Scutari itself. Sculari constitutcs not onl with Monténégro, but also with ail the neighbouring Serbian régions oneprganic whole, and its séparation from thèse régions would cause a ver)' great préjudice to the town itself. On the other hand, the tribes of the région of Scutari would find in the démocratie constitution of the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State ail the guarantees necessar}- for their pros- perity and their national development. The Drin, from the point where the White and the Black Drin meet, to its mouth in the Adriatic, would, as frontier, be the guarantee of a durable friendship between the Serbo-Croato-Slovene State and Albania.

The construction of the great Danube- Adriatic railway line could perhaps entail a slight déviation of the frontier to the left bank of the Drin, as well as the right to construct and maintain blockhouses on the frontier. The exent of this territoiy is about 400 sq. km.

If one considers ail thèse reasons, can one refuse the Monténégrin people the région of Scutari, which is of vital necessity to it for which it has fought for five centuries and which in the Balkanic vars cost it one-third of its children ?

That is why the Monténégrins hope that the injustices which they hâve suffered from Austria at the eve of the last war will be repaired by their noble and powerful Allies, for, we repeat it, Austria-Hungary has wrenched Scutari from us, This is the point of view of the Monténégrins, thèse are their wishes.

Paris, April 14-th. 1919.

Deputy, Monténégrin Delegate to the National Assembly of the State of tiie Serbs, Croats and Slovènes, late Président of the Monténégrin Committee for National Union, late Prime Minister....


Deputies, assistant delegates of Monténégro the National Assembly of the State of the Serbis, Croats and Slovènes.




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