Document Numbers 102 - 114

24 July 1914 - 26 July 1914
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(33822) No. 102.

Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Crackanthorpe.
Foreign Office, July 24, 1914.
Tel. (No. 17)
D. 9 30 P.M.

I have urged upon German Ambassador that Austria should not precipitate military action. (l)

It seems to me that Servia ought certainly to express concern and regret that any officials, however subordinate, should have been accomplices in murder of the Archduke, and promise, if this is proved, to give fullest satisfaction. For the rest, I can only say that Servian Government must reply as they consider the interests of Servia require.

I cannot tell whether anything short of unconditional acceptance will avert military action by Austria on expiration of time limit, but the only chance would be to give a favourable reply on as many points as possible within the limit of time, and not to meet Austrian demand with a blank negative.

You should consult with your Russian and French colleagues as to saying this to Servian Government. Servian Minister here implores us to give some indication of our views, but I cannot undertake responsibility of giving more advice than above, and I do not like to give that without knowing what Russian and French Governments are saying at Belgrade.

(Repeated to Paris No. 212, and St. Petersburg No. 347.)

Published in BB No. 12 (paraphrased).
(1) No. 99.

(33674) No. 103.

Sir H. Rumbold to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 24, 1914.
D. 8:40 P.M.
R. 11 P.M.
Tel. (No 89 ) Confidential;

Austro-Hungarian note to Servia.

French Ambassador saw Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs this afternoon and has given me an account of the interview. French Ambassador told Secretary of State that he was speaking without instructions and that his remarks were private.

Ambassador said that German Government could not maintain fiction that question at issue between Austria-Hungary and Servia was an internal one and could be localised. No question was internal which involved discussions between two Powers. Moreover, attitude of German press had, anyhow, deprived question of any local character, for Germany had publicly ranged herself on the side of Austria-Hungary.

On Secretary of State saying that Servian Government would doubtless give way, French Ambassador asked whether Secretary of State seriously thought that Servian Government could accept certain demands in note, such, for instance, as demand No. 5 and issue by the King of Servia of an order of day to army in the terms suggested. If King issued such an order the chances were that, in a country like Servia, he would be assassinated.

Secretary of State suggested that it was for the Entente Powers to advise moderation and compliance at Belgrade. Ambassador enquired whether German Government would not also enjoin moderation on their ally. Secretary of State, after some reflection, said that "that would depend on circumstances."

Secretary of State again denied that he had had any previous knowledge of terms of Austro-Hungarian note, and admitted note was too stiff. Ambassador then expressed surprise that he could endorse such a document. French Ambassador is inclined to think that Austro-Hungarian and German Governments are playing a dangerous game of bluff, and that they think they can carry matters through with a high hand. He thinks his conversation with Secretary of State has given latter much food for reflection. He begged me to treat what he had said as absolutely confidential, as he did not mean to report his conversation to his Government.

Cf. despatch No 160 and F No. 30


We can do nothing for moderation unless Germany is prepared pari passu to do the same. E.G.

(33652) No. 104.

Communication by the Austrian Ambassador.

Sir E. Grey,
Count Mensdorff telephoned after you had gone, to ask if he could see you this evening. I said you had left the Office and that I did not know when you would be at your house. He asked me if I could call at the Embassy on my way home.

I did so and he told me that he had just received a telegram from his Government authorising him to explain to you that the step taken at Belgrade was not an ultimatum but a "d‚marche with a time limit," and that if the Austrian demands were not complied with within the time limit his Government would break off diplomatic relations and commence military preparations (not operations). Count Mensdorff wished to let you know this as soon as possible in view of the concern you had expressed at the ultimatum; he said that though it might not be much of a difference it was undoubtedly a "nuance" of one.


Cf. A II No. 13.

(33827) No. 105.

Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Buchanan.
Foreign Office, July 25, 1914.
Tel. (No. 352.)
D. 12:10 A.M.

Austrian Ambassador has been authorised to explain to me that the step taken at Belgrade was not an ultimatum but a d‚marche with a time limit, and that if the Austrian demands were not complied with within the time limit the Austro-Hungarian Government would break off diplomatic relations and begin military preparations, not operations.

In case Austro-Hungarian Government have not given the same information at St. Petersburg (Paris) you should inform Minister for Foreign Affairs as soon as possible; it makes the immediate situation rather less acute.

(Sent also to Paris No. 216.)

Published in BB No. 14.

(33681) No. 106.

Mr. Max Mller to Sir Edward Grey.
Budapest, July 24, 1914.
D. July 24, 8:15 P.M.
R. July 25, 12:5 A.M.
Tel. (No. 2.)

Austro-Hungarian note to the Servian Government was communicated late last night by Count Tisza personally to press representatives. I hear that he could not disguise his satisfaction with its terms, for which he takes credit. Count Tisza made speech in Parliament this morning and explained necessity of form and tone of note adding that present situation was not state of war and need not even necessarily lead to war.

Note has been, on the whole, favourably received by press, which considers unusual tone justified by the circumstances. Financial circles are taken aback by its violence, and there has been a heavy fall on the Stock Exchange.

General opinion is that Servian Government cannot accept demands, and that Servia's day of reckoning has come.

Probability of Russian intervention is denied or disregarded, and Government apparently expects that war will be localised, in spite of fact that they have prejudiced their case by their intemperance.

I am informed that, if favourable reply is not received on Saturday, eight army corps will be mobilised on Sunday morning, and that monitors have already been despatched to Lower Danube.

(Sent to Vienna.)

Cf. despatches No. 191 and 242.

(33704) No. 107

Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 24, 1914.
D. July 24, 8 P.M.
R. July 25, 8 A.M.
Tel. (No. 51.)

I hear that in the event of war no attempt will be made to defend Belgrade and that Government will proceed to Krushevatz and thence possibly to Nish.

(Sent to Vienna.)

(33789) No. 108.

Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 25, 1914.
D. 12:32 P.M.
R. 12 noon.
Tel. (No. 168.)

Your telegram No. 207 of 24th July to Paris.(1)

Minister for Foreign Affairs asked me yesterday whether you had sent any instructions to Vienna. As he will probably repeat the question I should be glad to know what I should say.


Our telegram to Sir G. Buchanan of this afternoon (No. 353) (2) will have made it clear to Sir G. Buchanan what the position and views of His Majesty 's Government are. E. A . C. July 25.

A telegram was to have been sent this morning instructing Sir M. de Bunsen to give general support to a request to be made by the Russian Ambassador at Vienna that more time should be given.(3)

That is the telegram to send to Sir G. Buchanan. E. G.

(1) No 91.
(2) No. 112.
(3) No. 118.

(33828) No. 109.

Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 25.)
Tel. (No. 167.) En clair.
St. Petersburg, July 25, 1914.
<.pr> Following official communique‚ published to-day:

"The Government are much engrossed in events which have occurred and with the despatch by Austria-Hungary of an ultimatum to Servia. The Government are intently following the development of the Serbo-Austrian conflict, with respect to which Russia cannot remain indifferent."

(Repeated to Paris No. 225.)

See despatch No. 196.

(33845) No. 110

Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 25, 1914.
D. 12-5 P.M.
R. 1:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 101.)

Language of press this morning leaves the impression that the surrender of Servia is neither expected nor really desired. It is officially announced that the Austrian Minister is instructed to leave Belgrade with staff of legation failing unconditional acceptance of note at 6 P.M. to-day.

Minister for Foreign Affairs goes to Ischl to-day to communicate personally to the Emperor Servian reply when it comes.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 20.

(33846) No. 111.

Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 25, 1914.
D. 12:30 P.M..
R. 2:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 53.)

Your telegram No. 17 of 24th July (1) Austria and Servia.

I have seen my Russian colleague and new French Minister, who has just arrived from Constantinople, and read to them your views. They are as yet without instructions from their Governments, and in view of this and of proposed conciliatory terms of Servian reply (see my preceding telegram of to-day) (2) I have hitherto abstained from offering advice to Servian Government.

It appears to me highly probable that Russian Government have already urged utmost moderation on Servian Government.

(Repeated to Paris and St. Petersburg.)

Published in BB No. 22 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 102.
(2) No. 114.

(336783) No. 112.

Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Buchanan.
Foreign Office, July 25, 1914.
Tel. (No. 353.
D. 2 :15 P.M.

Your telegram No. 166 of 24th July (1): Austria and Servia.

You spoke quite rightly in very difficult circumstances as to attitude of His Majesty's Government. I entirely approve, and I cannot promise more on behalf of His Majesty's Government.

I do not consider that public opinion here would or ought to sanction our going to war in the Servian quarrel.

But if war does take place we may be drawn into it by development of other issues, and I am therefore anxious to prevent war.

The brusque, sudden, and peremptory character of the Austrian d‚marche makes it almost inevitable that in very short time Austria and Russia will both have mobilised against each other. In this event, it seems to me that the only chance of peace is for the other four Powers to join in asking Austria and Russia not to cross frontier, and to give time for the four Powers acting at Vienna and St. Petersburg to endeavour to arrange matters.

If Germany will adopt this view, I am strongly of opinion that France and ourselves should act upon it.(2) Italy no doubt would gladly co- operate.

But the co-operation of Germany would be essential. No diplomatic intervention or mediation would be tolerated by either Russia or Austria unless it was clearly impartial and included friends or allies of both.

(Repeated to Paris No. 218/19: "You should inform M.F.A.")

Published in BB No. 24 (slightly paraphrased).

(1) No. 101.
(2) See No. 116.

(33847) No. 113.

Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 25, 1914.
D. 1:15 P.M.
R. 2:35 P.M.
Tel. (No. 120.)

Your telegrams Nos. 190 and 191 of 24th July.(1)

I found this morning that the Secretary-General had cognisance of the suggestion that Germany, Italy, France and ourselves should work at Vienna and Petersburg in favour of moderation if relations between Austria- Hungary and Russia become menacing.

He is of opinion that Austria-Hungary will only be restrained by unconditional acceptance of note by Servia (? in so far as) (? otherwise) occupation of Servian territory is contemplated. Italian Government have information that Austrian intention is to seize Salonica railway.

Published in BB No. 19 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 99.

(33849) No. 114.

Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 25, 1914.
D. 12:30 P.M.
R. 8 P.M.
Tel. (No. 52.)

Reply to Austrian note is now being drawn up at Council of Ministers. Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs informs me that it will be drawn up in most conciliatory terms and will meet Austrian demands in as large measure as possible. He gave me in advance brief summary of projected reply.

Servian Government consent to publication of declaration in "Official Gazette." The ten points are accepted with reserves. Servian Government declare themselves ready to agree to mixed commission of enquiry, provided that appointment of such commission can be proved to be in accordance with international usage. They consent to dismiss and prosecute those officers whose guilt can be clearly proved, and they have already arrested officer mentioned in Austrian note. They agree to suppress Narodna Odbrana.

Opinion of Servian Government is that, unless Austrian Government desire war at any cost, they will accept full satisfaction offered in Servian reply.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 21 (paraphrased).

Cf. No. 111.

Created: 11 August 1996, 01:16 PM Last Updated: 11 August 1996, 01:16 PM