Letter to Dewitt Clinton Poole Jr from Ismail Verlaci – 1949

Dewitt Clinton Poole Jr was an American diplomat and educator who was also a spymaster during the Russian Bolshevik revolution of 1917 and an expert in anti-communist propaganda and psychological and political warfare. He joined the National Committee for a Free Europe (NCFE) in 1949, which had been established  with his active participation to deploy Eastern European exiles to distribute psychological warfare materials and run covert operations behind the Iron Curtain. Poole soon became the president of the NCFE, which included Radio Free Europe as its most important division, and remained in this position until January 1951. From 1951 until he retired in April 1952, Poole was the president of the Free Europe University in Exile.

The following letter was written by Dr. Ismail Verlaci as a follow up to Dewitt’s original letter of July 22, 1949. The letter is part of the private library of Ndue Gjomarkaj.

(Translation follows)

Mr. Dewitt C Poole

We welcomed the arrival of your letter from New York dated July 22, 1949.

The newspaper l’Albanie Libre is an organ of the anti-communist Albanian emigrant group called the Independent National Bloc, which has as its objectives: (1) the liberation of Albania from the Soviet yoke; (2) to return to the Albanian people the ability of freely expressing their will and deciding without constraints on their own destiny.

Among all the nations, which beyond the iron curtain are the subject of unspeakable persecutions aimed at consolidating Bolshevik imperialism, the Albanian one is the most ignored by the anti-communist world press. In proportion, it has had the greatest suffering and the greatest number of victims. The inhuman regime, created and supported by Russian agents, with ferocious repressions is putting into question the very existence of the Albanian race, which is the most ancient and tenacious of the Balkans but at the same time the smallest in number of inhabitants. Little is known in America and in the other Western countries of the armed resistance in the mountains and the facing of trials and firing squads sustained by Albanians in the name of homeland tradition, that make the overwhelming majority of them defenders of personal dignity, irreducible supporters of the belief in God and followers of the cult of healthy domestic virtues.

Those who know the nature of Albanians know that due to their ingrained spiritual formation they cannot accept and practice the subversive principles of communism. Three quarter of our clergy murdered in cold blood (including four Catholic bishops and three prelates of the “bektashi” religion), the highest ranks of our intellectuals destroyed by iron and fire, masses of innocent citizens of both sexes tragically eliminated in ruthless reprisals, who in dying affirming the will of the people not to want to renounce the most elementary human freedom in favor of the imperialist interests of Soviet communism.

Our newspaper interprets this desire sealed with blood and advocates, against the bloody Asian madness of violent domination, the principles that make Western democracies prosper.

With sacrifices, the Independent National Bloc, lacking both moral and material support, our group confident in a more serene future for the Albanian people, continues its hard but necessary task. To make it more effective we need above all the sympathy and understanding of the Americans. We will forward you our newspaper, in which we would like to reserve more space for articles and information in English.

If our information is correct, one of your representatives went first through Egypt and then Rome and had contacts with other groups of Albanian emigrants, but not with our own which is the only one who publishes a newspaper.

If this is true, we would be grateful if on a future occasion you would also like to give your representative our address. We are ready to accept with gratitude all your advice and suggestions in our determined struggle against the communist idea and the red tyrants who make it an instrument of massacres and devastation.

With sincere esteem

                                                                         President of the National Independent Bloc

                                                                                            (Dr. Ismail Verlaci)

Rome 5 August, 1949