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SUMMARY This paper makes an effort to elaborate the position and relations of France towards Macedonia and the Macedonian people through the intertwining of relations and interests of the neighbouring Balkan states and their militant appetites and territorial aspirations towards the Macedonian territory in the past, which unfortunately lasts till present times. Official French documentation follows basically objectively the right and aspiration of the Macedonian people to create their own state, through their own national liberation strife, directed also against concrete conquerors and against foreign propaganda and the military activities of its Balkan neighbours who choked the national liberation efforts of the Macedonian people with a single goal - to take over their territory and people, denying by this their national Macedonian originality.

In this paper, the influence and interest are followed of France in regard to Macedonia and the wider Balkans, hereby setting apart several phases. A more intensive influence and a more stressed interest are present towards the end of the XIXth and during the XXth century. Views have been expressed in this study through the French findings on the French position regarding the implementation of the national rights of the Macedonians and on the creation of their state. Furthermore, various essential issues of vital interest to Macedonia and to the Macedonian people have been processed. Among these especially significant is the fact that France had accepted the reality both of Macedonia and of the Macedonian people, looking at them as one whole. Through the documentation, covered and represented are all three parts of divided Macedonia; its entirety is treated not only geographically, but also in regard to its national, economic and educational-cultural aspects.

Besides the aspiration of the Macedonian people for their own national liberation and creation of their independent state, the official French documentation follows in detail and stresses the Macedonian particularity ever since mid XIXth century. The population in Macedonia is marked as a separate people, essentially different according to its national characteristics, Macedonian language, Macedonian territory, traditions, habits and similar features characteristic for a separate nation, different from its neighbours. "The Macedonians decided to be different from their neighbours and it is even absurd to state that Macedonia is Bulgarian or that Macedonia is Serbian, as it is stated in Sofia and Belgrade". In regard to national belonging, it is stressed that "if you ask a Macedonian about this matter, he always responds that he is a Macedonian and that he supports the creation of an independent Macedonia, simply because in this he sees a solution and a manner to become free of the police tyranny of the Turkish, Serbian and Bulgarian authorities; therefore, this solution is most favourable for placing an end to the aspirations and opposition by neighbouring countries towards Macedonia ...". <Lazar Lazarov, VMRO niz francuskata dokumentacija, Skopje, ZUMPRES, 1997>

This study about Macedonia in French policy on the Balkans during the designated period consists of four chapters, handling concretely several issues from various aspects, among which primarily the Macedonian national particularity and the creation of a separate Macedonian state; the social-economic and political situation of the Macedonian people in neighbouring states; the situation of the nationalities, cultural and other civil rights and freedoms and their implementation in Bulgaria, Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania; ethnic changes and emigration of a part of the Macedonian people that was the result of the social-economic situation, national deprivation of rights, military and political situation, police persecutions and repression performed by the authorities over the Macedonian people in the neighbouring Balkan countries.

The second chapter devotes significant attention to Macedonia and the Macedonian people from its three parts. This issue was present at the Paris Peace Conference held in 1946. With that, the obstacles for achieving the national rights of Macedonians in the Pyrenean, Aegean and Vardar parts, respectively in the People's Republic of Macedonia are analysed from several aspects. Among the reasons for the unfulfilled aspirations for unity and freedom of the Macedonian people from the Pyrenean and Aegean parts of Macedonia, besides their own omissions, the propaganda actions and armed military actions by neighbouring states towards Macedonia are set apart and analysed as especially important basic negative factors. What is most important in the past is that none of the great powers stood behind Macedonia and the Macedonian people, which is not the case with her neighbouring Balkan states. Maybe in this regard a certain step forward is made by France which towards the end of World War I and directly thereafter presents her views on forming a Macedonian state, located on the territory between Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and the newly created state of Albania, with the explanation that this is a necessary condition in order to have peace in these Balkan areas, because in creating a Macedonian state, as France thinks, the conquering aims of the neighbouring Balkan states towards Macedonia would be neutralised. Besides this draft-proposal document for creating a Macedonian state, in the period between the two world wars, the standpoint of the French representatives is presented that the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians (SHS) has to be enlarged to become a four-name, i.e. the Vardar part of Macedonia as well is to become an equal subject, just like Croatia and Slovenia with respect to Serbia.

In the third chapter of this study, based upon authentic French documents, significant attention is devoted to the status of the People's Republic of Macedonia in the Yugoslav Federation. This is the period of World War II and directly thereafter, when the Macedonian people from the Vardar part actively took part through the People's Liberation War, standing on the side of the anti-Hitler coalition. Through their own military struggle they succeeded to gain national freedom and to create their own state. They decided of their own will to join the newly created Yugoslav Federation as one of its equal units. In this paper we are making an effort to elaborate from several aspects to what extent it was indeed equal, based upon authentic French materials. In the analyses and evaluations we give special significance to the issue of the characteristics of the newly created system in the People's Republic of Macedonia and in wider Yugoslavia.

From the political aspect, the ruling word in formulating political and economic development, and especially in this framework the industrialisation of the country, was that of the Party, the CPY-CPM (Communist Party of Yugoslavia - Communist Party of Macedonia) and its top leadership - the CPY Politburo.

In Macedonia as well as in Yugoslavia a principle of personal union of the Party with the state was achieved, i.e. this is evident through the identical person as first man of the Party (CPY) and president of the state. This is anticipated and stressed in the French official documentation, with an extensive elaboration in this paper.

This study follows and emphasises the formal equality of Macedonia in the Yugoslav Federation, while in reality it is utterly different. Namely, the all-powerful position of the centralisation in the highest party-state top is followed through a critical analysis. This position represents a commanding post in all areas: to the organs of the authorities, as well as to the economy and state administration, the army, police - or in brief, to the overall life in the country. The republic state-party organs only implement and carry out instructions given by the highest party-state authorities, lead by the Politburo of the Central Committee (CC) of the CPY and by Josip Broz Tito, the top man in the state.

This paper gives a sufficient critical analysis and raises the question why Macedonia did not have her representatives in the Politburo of the CC of CPY throughout the entire period after the Second World War. This issue is covered thoroughly and critically through the French official documentation. Thus, in contrary to all other republics in the Yugoslav federation that have their own representatives in the Politburo (Slovenia has the largest number, i.e. three - Edvard Kardelj, Boris Kidric and Franc Leskosek), Macedonia is not represented by even a single representative. Some mention the first party-state man of the Macedonian post-war society - Lazar Kolisevski, which basically is not correct. He was called upon and took part in the work of the Politburo, but only in exceptional cases when the issues connected to Macedonia were on the agenda and his role was in carrying out instructions of the highest party organ - the Politburo, on the territory of Macedonia.

Macedonia not only started her economic development as the most under-developed federal unit, but also the dynamics of her development with the Five Year Plan was not in accordance to the foreseen planned policy. A large part of the investments in constructions that were intended for Macedonia did not materialise and part of them were redirected to the central parts of former Yugoslavia, primarily to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia. This is the reason for a justified dissatisfaction in Macedonia and for the Brioni Agreement from 1952, when a certain amount of funds were set aside and several more significant constructions were built, which are mentioned in this paper. For this reason, in regards to the organisational construction and method of work and management of the state, French official sources call her a party state. This is because the entire administration both in the state organs as well as in the economy, police, army and the entire life of the country was in the hands of the Party (CPY) and her top authoritative organ - the Politburo. This Politburo represented the central nerve, a directive point and provider of orders to the republic leaderships, and especially to the Macedonian leadership, which executed them blindly, or as it is stressed in the French documentation - with religious faith. According to them, Macedonia and her leadership headed by Lazar Kolisevski represented the most faithful and strongest bastion of the communist ideology that was being created by Josip Broz Tito.

The municipal system, through the establishment of its units - municipalities, showed and offered great creative opportunities at the beginning in the field of direct decision making in the economy and the cultural-educational emancipation. However, it could not cancel the negative occurrences of autarchy and the unequal starting point in the development of the republics.

The system of labour or worker management did not prove immune to bureaucracy in the real practical life. On the contrary, even during the first phase of development of self-management and of the democratic process of transformation of the society from a centralist to a self-managed one, i.e. in the process of decentralisation, micro-dictatorships were developing and maturing, starting with those at the republic and regional level, and all the way to the local level in the communes, respectively municipalities. In this way, local oligarchies were being created and built, which we could see at all levels of party, state, economic and other leaders.

In the field of economy, agriculture represented the dominant economic branch because directly after the liberation over 70% of the population lived in villages and their main source of sustenance was agriculture. The French documentation is maybe too strict and criticising in the evaluation of the agricultural situation and development, placing it on a 19th century level. It concludes that if concrete steps are not taken, while natural climate and soil conditions enable this, agriculture would unfortunately remain primitive. Here, the following are singled out as especially negative factors: the application of the new co-operatives system, the obligatory buy-off as a forced measure, and especially the orientation of the state authorities since 1949 towards the collectivisation system, which practically left disastrous consequences in the relapse of the agriculture, a significant branch of the Macedonian economy.

Of course, the Resolution of the Informbureau in 1948 had a significant negative reflection upon the economic and overall development of Macedonia, when Macedonia and Yugoslavia as a whole were exposed to a full isolation, and especially to the economic-political blockade by the Soviet Union and the East European socialist countries. That was the time of hard temptations when it was a matter of survival of the population and the state. Furthermore, there was a draught for two consecutive years and other circumstances that had disastrous consequences upon the further development of the country. Being in a hopeless situation, in a full blockade by the Eastern countries, the Macedonian, respectively Yugoslav leadership was forced to ask for help and support from the western countries, with whom it did not establish almost any relations and links until then. So, according to the French analyses and evaluation, the USA and other Western countries used the social-economic and political situation in Macedonia and Yugoslavia as a whole. They saw a suitable possibility to elaborate a thorough strategy, by means of providing economic aid and support, basically aimed to attract Yugoslavia not only to the Western capitalist block, but also to force it to join in the establishment of the Balkan Pact of February 1953. These issues of Western economic aid and joining a Balkan Pact are analysed critically and quite in detail in separate chapters of this paper (see in the text the enclosed document on the views of the American experts on the economic situation in Yugoslavia). According to French evaluations, the total aid to Yugoslavia from the USA and other Western countries (also confirmed by official data in Washington), for the period from the end of 1949 and ending with 9 June 1955, amounts to 3 billion and 408 million dollars, expressed in US dollars of that time. Out of these, 64% is from the USA, 12% from Great Britain and 12% from France. Within the framework of this aid and support from the USA and the Western countries, besides the implemented idea to establish the Balkan Pact in February 1953, sufficient attention is given in the paper to the American draft-project from the spring of 1949 regarding the division of Albania between Yugoslavia and Greece. The fundamental explanation and aim of this division is to remove the Russian influence in the Balkans, because it was thought that Albania represents a Soviet military and political base and a stronghold of communism.

A special sub-chapter of the paper is devoted to the French study - a small study on Macedonia in 1952. In it interesting French analyses and evaluations of Macedonia are presented. Thus, regardless of the divisions of Macedonia in 1912/1913, this study views Macedonia as one entity not only in geographical, economical and cultural respect, but also in regard to other aspects. It stresses hereby that "this concerns a region that is completely differentiated, from Kumanovo to Thessaloniki, from the Rhodope Mountains to the Albanian border, along the valleys of the rivers Vardar and Struma to the Aegean Sea ... The Macedonians have highly affirmed the origin of their language ... In 1900, a written document was found in Prilep, dated 20 May 1637, in pure Macedonian language ...".<Archives diplomatique... Nantes. Fond, Etat General des fonds, serie, Skopje, vol. 1.>

Through the French dioptre, the study devotes significant attention to the efforts to renew the autocephaly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) that was abolished illegally in 1767. Hereby it is stressed that the decision by the Serbian patriarch Vicentie in April 1957, permitting the use of the Macedonian language for service and correspondence, the use of a seal with Republic of Macedonia in the three Skopje episcopates - Skopje, Ohrid and Strumica-Zletovo - to choose Macedonian clergy, etc., which according to the French opinion also "means recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in 1945, could not de facto prevent the Macedonian road to autocephaly, even though the Serbian Orthodox Church considered these decisions as their success. The religious question concerning the becoming independent of the church is an exceptionally important issue for the history of Macedonia ... ".<Ibidem,... Nantes... vol. 1.> Besides the becoming independent of the church-religion, an important place in the study is devoted also to the French interest in education, science and culture in Macedonia, whereby the accent is placed on the significantly fast development in this area. Also, critical French comments have been provided, especially in the area of higher education where the teaching is in the Macedonian mother tongue. "But the problems are serious, especially in relation to the quality of teaching at the Skopje University, which is subjected to the self-management, management by the Party (KPM - N.B.) ... In the selection of managing staff from among the teachers, a teacher is considered suitable if he belongs to the Party ...",<Ibidem,.. Nantes... vol. 3.> while the quality and other capabilities of the teacher were not considered.

Concerning the character and relation of the existing regime in the three parts of Macedonia (the Vardar part, respectively People's Republic of Macedonia, the Pyrenean part in Bulgaria and the Aegean part in Greece), and based on the deep analyses of documentation with French provenience, attention is devoted separately for all parts in special chapters. Here the situation has been shown by presenting assessments about the behaviour of the three existing regimes. The study presents a gradation in favour of the Vardar part, respectively PR Macedonia, but notwithstanding its being a state - but only in the Yugoslav federation as its equal federal unit, there is still an absence of freedom of opinion. Those who thought otherwise were pronounced to be oppositionists and opposers of the regime in Yugoslavia, and most of them were sent to labour camps under difficult conditions, or in short, the political police O.Z.N.A. is made equivalent to N.K.V.D. in the Soviet Union.<Ibidem,.. Paris, Serie Z, Europe, Sous-serie, Yougoslavie, vol. 20.>

In contrast to the Vardar part, or PR Macedonia, which won its national freedom and created its own state, the other two parts of Macedonia - Pyrenean and Aegean - continued to exist as parts of Bulgaria and Greece. The Macedonian people in them were oppressed, without any national, cultural and civil rights and freedoms. They were persecuted and mistreated whenever they showed any Macedonian national feeling and awareness about their Macedonian belonging.

Regardless of the aspirations and desires of the Macedonian people to attain their national rights and live together in one united Macedonia, one should also recognise and consider the make-up of international circumstances as a significant factor. More precisely, the events that followed after the Informbureau Resolution in June 1948 left a silent mark and reflected very negatively upon the realisation of the aspirations of the Macedonian people for their unification and establishment of an independent Macedonian state. Thus, if one goes through the documentation with French, Yugoslav and other origin, a significant change can be concluded in the orientation of the past Yugoslav state and party leadership, and even in specific time intervals. For example, just before the signing of the Balkan Pact on 28 February 1953, there is an abandoning and even total non-mentioning of Macedonia and the presence of the Macedonian people outside of the PR Macedonia, respectively Yugoslavia, let alone engagement by that Macedonian and Yugoslav leadership for the protection and unification of Macedonia and the Macedonian people in one state.

Seen as a whole, and regardless which level of penetration into the reality was achieved by the French representatives in the disclosing and understanding of the true situation concerning the position and national rights of the Macedonian people in neighbouring countries, still their conclusion and assessments are unavoidable about the enthusiasm of the clearly developed Macedonian national feeling. Based on the French documentation, this study not only stresses the separateness of Macedonia and the Macedonian people in its three parts and in specific periods, but it also justifies and supports the strife of the Macedonian people for the establishment of their own statehood and independence.