Document Numbers 221 - 235

28 July 1914
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(34449) No. 221.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 28, 1914.
3:50 P.M.
R. 4:15 P.M.

Servian Government expected immediate attack on Belgrade on departure of Austrian Minister and so removed at once. Plan of campaign is now to draw into interior as large a portion as possible of Austrian army so as to weaken Austria elsewhere. Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs tells me that Russian support is assured. Servian army is concentrated in Morava valley.

Skuptchina will probably meet to-morrow when situation may be clearer.


The statement that Russian support is assured is open to more than one interpretation. Perhaps this equivocal word was chosen on purpose. E. A. C. July 28.

(34475) No. 222.
Mr. Erskine to Sir Edward Grey.
Athens, July 28, 1914.
D. 4:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 128.)
R. 6 P.M.
Constantinople telegram No. 457 of 27th July.(1)

M. Venizelos, without consulting Greek Government, informed Grand Vizier through Greek Minister at Constantinople that, owing to grave situation and Bulgarian mobilisation he was returning to Athens.

Both Minister for Foreign Affairs and King have telegraphed urging him not to return as he is misinformed as to situation, and Bulgaria shows no sign of moving.

(Repeated to Constantinople.)

(1) No. 201.

(34431) No. 223.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 28, 1914.
Tel. (No. 220.)
D. 6:15 P.M.
Your telegram No. 97 of 28th July.(l)

German Government having accepted principle of mediation by the four Powers between Austria and Russia if necessary, I am ready to propose that German Minister for Foreign Affairs should suggest lines on which this principle may be applied, but I will keep the idea in reserve till we see how the conversations between Austria and Russia progress.

Published in BB No. 68 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 215.

(34476) No. 224.
Mr. Erskine to Sir Edward Grey.
Athens, July 28, 1914.
D. 5 P.M.
Tel. (No. 129.)
R. 6:15 P.M.
Bucharest telegram No. 24 of 27th July (1): Austria and Servia.

Minister for Foreign Affairs defines Greek attitude in similar terms, but does not commit himself as to attitude in the event of modification of status quo by Austria, having received assurance from Austrian Government that they contemplate no annexation of territory.

He states that Greek and Roumanian Governments have warned Bulgaria jointly that they will not tolerate her intervention and that he has received assurance that she will not move.

(Repeated to Sophia, Belgrade and Bucharest.)

(1) No. 316. This tel. was not received till July 30.

(34460) No. 225.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 28, 1914.
D. 2:30 P.M.
Tel. En clair.
R. 6:45 P.M.

Telegram received here that war declared by Austria.

Published in BB No. 66.
Cf. No. 233.

(34463) No. 226.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 28, 1914.
D. 12:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 118.)
R. 7:20 P.M.
Urgent. Minister for Foreign Affairs informs me that war with Servia will be declared to-day.

(34464) No. 227.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 28, 1914.
D. 1:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 114.)
R. 7:45 P.M.

I saw Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning.

His Excellency began by reading to me a full report of your speech of yesterday in the House of Commons, which is not reported fully in Vienna press. The upshot of our conversation is that Austria-Hungary cannot delay warlike proceedings against Servia, and would have to decline any suggestion of negotiations on basis of Servian reply.

Prestige of Dual Monarchy was engaged, and nothing could now prevent conflict. Will telegraph further.

Published in BB No. 61 (paraphrased and part omitted).

(34484) No. 228.
Consul Bosanquet to Sir Edward Grey.
Riga, July 28, 1914.
D. 7:43 P.M.
R. 8:45 P.M.

My telegram of yesterday.(1)

Ships now piloted in and out of port.

I am informed confidentially that Riga customs and port officials have been put under orders of the commander of the fortress. Reported that goods traffic suspended on certain lines owing to movement of troops. Yesterday business code telegram to Germany refused.

(Repeated to Embassy.)

(1) No. 178.

(34461) No. 229.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 28, 1914.
D. 7:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 92.)
R. 9:15 P.M.

In accordance with your circular telegram No. 242 of the 27th July to Paris,(1) I communicated to the Minister for Foreign Affairs ad interim this afternoon substance of your conversation with German Ambassador recorded in your telegram No. 208 of the 27th July to Berlin.(1)

Minister is grateful for the communication, for it confirms what he had heard of your attitude, and he feels confident that your observations to the Ambassador will have a good effect in the interest of peace between the Powers.

Published in BB No. 58 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 176.

(34465) No. 230.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 28, 1914.
D. 4:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 115.)
R. 9 40 P.M.

As directed by your circular telegram No. 242 of 27th July (1) to Paris, I spoke to Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day in the sense of your telegram No. 208 of 27th July to Berlin.(1) I avoided the word "mediation," but said that, as mentioned in your speech, which he had just read to me, you had hopes that conversations in London between the four Powers less interested might yet lead to an arrangement which Austro-Hungarian Government would accept as satisfactory and as rendering actual hostilities unnecessary. I added that you had regarded Servian reply as having gone far to meet just demands of Austria-Hungary; that you thought it constituted a fair base of discussion during which warlike operations might remain in abeyance, and that Austrian (sic) Ambassador at Berlin was speaking in this sense. Minister for Foreign Affairs said quietly, but firmly, that no discussion could be accepted on basis of Servian note; that war would be declared to-day, and that well-known pacific character of Emperor, as well as, he might add, his own, might be accepted as a guarantee that war was both just and inevitable. This was a matter that must be settled directly between the two parties immediately concerned. I said that you would hear with regret that hostilities could not now be arrested, as you feared that they might lead to complications threatening the peace of Europe.

In taking leave of his Excellency, I begged him to believe that if in the course of present grave crisis our point of view should sometimes differ from his, this would arise, not from want of sympathy with the many just complaints which Austria-Hungary had against Servia, but from the fact that whereas Austria-Hungary put first her quarrel with Servia, you were anxious in the first instance for peace of Europe. I trusted this larger aspect of the question would appeal with equal force to his Excellency. He said he had it also in mind, but thought that Russia ought not to oppose operations like those impending, which did not aim at territorial aggrandisement and which could no longer be postponed.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 62.
For Count Berchtold's account of this conversation se A II No. 90.

(1) No. 176.

(34474) No. 231.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 28, 1914.
D. 7:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 127.)
R. 9:45 P.M.

My telegram No. 125 of 27th July :(1) Austria and Servia.

Minister for Foreign Affairs has asked me to submit the following to you at once:

Servian Chargé d'Affaires this morning in a long conversation had said he thought Servia might still accept the whole Austrian note if some explanations were given regarding mode in which Austrian agents would require to intervene under article 5 and article 6.

Such explanations might be given to Powers engaged in discussions, as it was not to be anticipated that Austria would give them to Servia. The Powers might then advise Servia to accept unconditionally.

Meanwhile Austro-Hungarian Government had published a long official explanation of grounds on which Servian reply was considered inadequate.(2) Many points besides explanation, such as slight verbal difference in sentence regarding renunciation of propaganda, were, Minister for Foreign Affairs considered, quite childish, but there was a passage which might prove useful in facilitating such a course as Servian Charg‚ d'Affaires had considered practicable. It was stated that co-operation of Austrian agents in Servia was not to be in judicial or administrative measures, but only in investigation. This Servia was said to have wilfully misinterpreted. Here, therefore, he thought ground might be cleared.

I had not yet received text of Austrian declaration, and only reproduce from memory.

Above all, Minister impressed upon me his anxiety that discussion should begin at once. He had given Italian Ambassador a wide general latitude to accept at once every point or suggestion on which he could be in agreement with ourselves and Germany.

Published in BB No. 64 (paraphrased).

(1) No 202.
(2) See Appendix B.

(34462) No. 232.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 28, 1914.
D. 710 P.M.
Tel. (No. 93.)
R. 9:50 P.M

. Your telegram No. 244 of yesterday.(1)

I informed Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs this afternoon of your conversation with the Russian Ambassador recorded in your telegram No. 377 to St. Petersburg of yesterday.(1)

He is grateful for the communication. He quite appreciates impossibility of His Majesty's Government to declare themselves "solidaires" with Russia on a question between Austria and Servia which in its present condition is not one affecting England, and that you cannot take up an attitude at Berlin and Vienna more Servian than that attributed to the Russian Government in German and Austrian sources.

German Ambassador informed Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs that Austria would respect the integrity of Servia, but he gave no assurance in regard to her independence when asked whether that also would be respected.

Published in BB No. 59 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 177.

(34468) No. 233.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 28, 1914.
D. 6:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 59.)
R. 10 P.M.

Pessimistic news contained in my immediately preceding telegram.(1)

Servian Government telegraphed en clair to their representatives abroad to the effect that Austria had declared war. There is now some doubt a to authenticity of telegram. Prime Minister thinks that it may be a trap in order to induce Servia to attack, but he assures me that Servia will remain perfectly quiet until Austria shows her hand.


This explains an enquiry this morning from the Servian Charg‚ d'Affaires, whether the declaration of war had been officially notified to us by the Austro-Hungarian Government. E. A. C. July 29.

The official notification has been published in Vienna. A. N.

(1) No. 225.

(34470) No. 234.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 28, 1914.
D. 8:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 178.)
R. 10:45 P.M

. Following from Warsaw yesterday:

" (?Forces) of infantry leaving Warsaw for frontier."

(34473) No. 235.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 28, 1914.
D. 8:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 180.)
R. 11 P.M.

Foreign press correspondents have been informed at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that (? German Government have) refused mediation, as dispute is purely one between Austria and Servia, and that on the first move of Austria against Servia Russia would mobilise.