Document Numbers 300-320

30 July 1914
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(36820) No. 300.
Communicated by Russian Ambassador, July 30, 1914.

Télégramme de M. Sazonoff à l'Ambassadeur de Russie à Londres du 16/29 Juillet 1914 (N 1551).

L'Ambassadeur d'Allemagne m'a informé aujourd'hui de la décision prise par le Gouvernement allemand de mobiliser ses forces armées, si la Russie n'arrâtait pas ses préparations militaires. Les mesures en question n'ont été prises par la Russie qu'après que l'Autriche-Hongrie eut mobilis‚ huit corps d'armée et quand il fut devenu manifeste que le Gouvernement Austro-Hongrois ne montrait aucun désir de consentir a quelque moyen pacifique pour aplanir son differend avec la Serbie.

Le Gouvernement Impérial ne pouvant pas obtempérer au désir exprimé par l'Allemagne, il ne lui reste plus qu'à hâter ses armements et à compter avec l'éventualit‚ de la guerre devenue probablement inévitable. Veuillez informer de ce qui précède le Gouvernement de Sa Majesté Britannique.

Cf. No. 294 and Un Livre Noir, vol. II, p. 289.

(34866) No. 301.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 30, 1914.
D. 12 noon.
Tel. (No. 131.)
R. 2:45 P.M.

I saw the German Ambassador, who had just returned to Rome, last night. He thought that if Servia could be induced to submit and ask for peace early, say as soon as Belgrade was occupied, Germany would be able to prevent Austria from making any exorbitant demands. He said that, owing to configuration of the country and strength of positions round Nish, it would require 400,000 to 500,000 men to ensure success of operations if campaign were pushed to a conclusion, in which case Austrian terms must be more difficult.

Could discussions, in which Germany might take part with us, once be engaged, he thought that Russia would gladly suspend any action pending their issue. There was menace of acute distress in Russia, and round his wife's Russian properties people's food supply was in danger, so she had every reason to avoid war if she could obtain some small measure of satisfaction. Germany's difficulty was that during recent years she had so often intervened to prevent her ally from chastising Servia that at Vienna value of her alliance began to be called in question, and now she was pledged to secure Austria liberty of action in Servia.

I put forward personal suggestion that Germany might embody some formula which she could accept for exchange of views, and on returning to Embassy found your telegram No. 226 of 29th July to Berlin(1) from which it appeared that you had already urged this course.

Parts published in BB No. 100 (paraphrased).


I think it is unnecessary to repeat this. Only Russia can induce Servia to submit, and we know how Russia would meet the suggestion. G. R. C. July 30, 1914.

(1) No. 263.

(34855) No. 302.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 30, 1914.
D. 1:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 185.) Urgent. Very Confidential.
R. 3:15 P.M.

Minister for Foreign Affairs received French Ambassador and me this morning. He told us he had yesterday afternoon conversation with German Ambassador in which latter had said that his Government would guarantee that Austria would not violate Servian integrity. Minister for Foreign Affairs had replied that though territorial integrity might be respected Servia would inevitably become vassal of Austria just as Bokhara, though its territory had been left intact, was a vassal of Russia. Were Russian Government to tolerate this, there would be a revolution in country. High words were exchanged on both sides, Minister for Foreign Affairs accusing Austria of pursuing a policy of blackmail and Germany of being animated by desire of gaining time to complete her military preparations.

Russian Government, Minister for Foreign Affairs told us, had absolute proof of military and naval preparations being made by Germany against Russia more especially in direction of Gulf of Finland. Yesterday evening it was decided to issue this morning order for partial mobilisation thirteen army corps referred to in my telegram 182 of July 29th(1) and at the same time to commence preparations for general mobilisation.

At two o'clock in morning German Ambassador had second interview with Minister for Foreign Affairs in which former, seeing that war was inevitable, broke down completely and appealed to latter to hold out a last straw and to make some suggestion he could telegraph to his Government. Minister for Foreign Affairs then read out text of French formula given by him to Ambassador of which following is translation:

"If Austria, recognising that her conflict with Servia has assumed character of question of European interest, declares herself ready to eliminate from her ultimatum points which violate principle of sovereignty of Servia, Russia engages to stop all military preparations."

If Austria rejects this proposal preparations for a general mobilisation will be proceeded with and European war will be inevitable. For strategical reasons Russia can hardly postpone converting partial into general mobilisation now that she knows that Germany is preparing and excitement in country has reached such a pitch that she cannot hold back if Austria refuses to make concession. Minister for Foreign Affairs is to see Emperor this afternoon.

(Repeated to Paris No. 270, Berlin No. 234, Vienna No. 188, Rome No. 230: "For information only.")

Published in BB No. 97 (paraphrased parts omitted).

A telegram from M. Sazonof containing this was also communicated to the Foreign Office by Count Benckendorff either on July 30 or 31 as follows:

(36818) (b.)
Télégramme de M. Sazonoff à l'Ambassadeur de Russie à Londres, le 17/30 Juillet 1914.

Je télégraphie à l'Ambassadeur de Russie à Berlin:

"L'Ambassadeur d'Allemagne vient de me poser la question si nous pouvions nous contenter d'une promesse du Gouvernement austro-hongrois de ne pas porter atteinte à l'intégrité du Royaume de Serbie. J'ai répondu que cette déclaration ne suffisait pas.

"Pressé par l'Ambassadeur d'indiquer à quelles conditions nous consentirions encore d'arrˆter nos armements, j'ai autorisé l'Ambassadeur à télégraphier d'urgence à Berlin:

"' Si l'Autriche-Hongrie, reconnaissant que la question austro-serbe a assumé le caractère d'une question d'intérêt européen, se déclare prête à éliminer de son ultimatum les points qui portent atteinte au droits souverains de la Serbie, la Russie s'engage à cesser ses préparatifs militaires.'

"Veuillez télégraphier quelle attitude prendra le Gouvernement allemand en présence de cette preuve nouvelle de notre désir de faire tout le possible pour une solution pacifique. Veuillez le faire d'urgence, car nous ne saurions accepter que de tels pourparlers ne servent qu'à gagner du temps au profit de l'Autriche et de l'Allemagne.

(1) No. 276.

[NOTE. The account of these events given in telegram 302 (a) differs from that given by the German Ambassador at St. Petersburg. According to his statement in "Am Scheidwege zwischen Krieg und Frieden" p. 41, which is supported by the telegrams published in "Deutsche Dokumente," Count Pourtalès saw M. Sazonof in the afternoon of July 29 (DD No. 365), and again about 7 o'clock (DD No. 378) in the evening when he communicated the message from the German Chancellor referred to in No. 300, and a third time, at the invitation of M. Sazonof, about midnight (DD Nos. 401 and 412). He also saw him about midday on July 30. The conversation referred to in the first paragraph of Sir George Buchanan's telegram is, according to his account, that which took place in the middle of the night (DD No. 412), and it is not then, but on the morning of July 30, that M. Sazonof, in answer to Count Pourtalès' appeal, wrote down the formula recorded in the third paragraph (DD No. 421). The telegram of Count Pourtalès to the German Foreign Office recording this interview was despatched at 1 P.M. on July 30, and begins "I have just had a conversation with M. Sazonof." If this is correct Sir George Buchanan must have received the information from M. Sazonof immediately after Count Pourtalès left him; the interview must have been a very short one and, not unnaturally, he did not get quite clear as to what happened in each of these separate interviews. On the other hand, the account given by M. Paléologue (F No. 103) agrees with that of Sir George Buchanan; they both received the information at the same time from M. Sazonof, and this agrees with the account given in a Russian publication containing the Diary of events in the Russian Foreign Office. The telegrams as published later from the Russian archives and translated in "The Falsifications of the Russian Orange Book" throw no light on the matter as the hours of despatch are not given, but the Russian Ambassador in Berlin did not receive the telegrams informing him of the new formula till some time after Pourtalès' telegram to the Foreign Office had been received late in the afternoon.]

(34734) No. 303.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 231.)
D. 3:30 P.M.

Your telegram No. 102.(1)

You must inform German Chancellor that his proposal that we should bind ourselves to neutrality on such terms cannot for a moment be entertained.

He asks us in effect to engage to stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies.

From the material point of view such a proposal is unacceptable, for France could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy without further territory in Europe being taken from her.

But apart from that, for us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France would be a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover.

The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have a regards the neutrality of Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either.

Having said so much, it is unnecessary to examine whether prospect of a future general neutrality agreement between Germany and England would offer positive advantages sufficient to compensate us for tying our hands now. My answer must be that we must preserve our full freedom to act as circumstances may seem to us to require in any development of the present crisis, so unfavourable and regrettable, as the Chancellor contemplates.

You should add most earnestly that the one way of maintaining the good relations between England and Germany is to continue to work together to preserve the peace of Europe; if we succeed in this object, the mutual relations of Germany and England will, I believe, be ipso facto improved and strengthened. For that object His Majesty's Government will work in that way with all sincerity and goodwill.

And if the peace of Europe can be preserved, and this crisis be safely passed, my own endeavour would be to promote some arrangement to which Germany could be a party, by which she could be assured that no hostile or aggressive policy would be pursued against her or her allies by France, Russia, and ourselves, jointly or separately. I have desired this and worked for it, as far as I could, through the last Balkan crisis, and, Germany having a corresponding object, our relations sensibly improved. The idea has hitherto been too utopian to form the subject of definite proposals, but if this present crisis, so much more acute than any that Europe has had for generations, be safely passed, I am hopeful that the reaction and relief that will follow may make some more definite rapprochement between the Powers possible than was possible before.

Published in BB No. 101 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 293.

(35070) No. 304.
Consul Bosanquet to Sir Edward Grey.
Riga, July 30, 1914.
D. 1 P.M.
R. 8:40 P.M.

I am informed that the Russian Asiatic Steamship "Mittava" is ordered to Reval for Government use and others of the same company are likely to follow.

No ships could leave Riga yesterday but possibly some to-day. Railway bridges have small guards. Entrance to Libau probably mined.

Secret police reported to have information of possible Russian general strike to-morrow.

(Repeated to St. Petersburg.)

(34865) No. 305.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 30, 1914.
D. 1:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 103.)
R. 3:35 P.M.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs informs me that immediately on receipt of Prince Lichnowsky's telegram recording his last conversation with you(1) he asked Austro-Hungarian Government whether they would be willing to accept mediation on basis of occupation by Austrian troops of Belgrade or some other point and issue their conditions from there.(2) He has up till now received no reply, but he fears Russian mobilisation against Austria will have increased difficulties, as Austria-Hungary, who has as yet only mobilised against Servia, will probably find it necessary also against Russia. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs says if you can succeed in getting Russia to agree to above basis for an arrangement and in persuading her in the meantime to take no steps which might be regarded as an act of aggression against Austria, he still sees some chance that European peace may be preserved.

He begged me to impress on you difficulty of position to Germany in view of Russian mobilisation and military measures which he hears are being taken in France, beyond recall of officers on leave a measure which had been officially taken after, and not before, visit of French Ambassador yesterday Imperial Government had done nothing special in way of military preparations. Something, however, would have soon to be done, for it might be too late, and if, and when, they mobilised, they would have to mobilise on three sides. He regretted this, as he knew France did not desire war, but it would be a military necessity.

His Excellency added that telegram received from Prince Lichnowsky last night(3) contains matter which he had heard with regret, but not exactly with surprise, and at all events he thoroughly appreciated frankness and loyalty with which you had spoken.

He also told me that this telegram had only reached Berlin very late last night; had it been received earlier Chancellor would, of course, not have spoken to me in way he had done.

(First two paragraphs repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 98 (with slight verbal differences).

(1) Nos. 263, 285.
(2) See DD No. 395
(3) This refer to Prince Lichnowsky's account of the conversation recorded in No. 286.
(cf. DD No. 368). Cf. No. 317 and 677.

(34870) No. 306.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 30, 1914.
D. 4 P.M.
Tel. (No. 104.) Urgent.
R. 4:35 P.M.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has just telephoned to say that there is no truth in the rumour circulated this morning in special editions of newspapers here that orders for German mobilisation would be issued to-night.

(34876) No. 307.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 30, 1914.
D. 3:50 P.M.
Tel. (No. 135.)
R. 5 P.M.

News of Russian mobilisation is still carefully held back, press making no mention of it this morning. French Ambassador tells me that official notification made yesterday by Russian Ambassador at Paris concluded with the statement that the Russian Ambassador had not yet been recalled from Vienna. Russian Ambassador will see Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day. He does not yet know how Austro-Hungarian Government are taking it, but hopes that mobilisation will be regarded as what it is, namely, a clear intimation that Russia must be consulted regarding the fate of Servia. Russian Ambassador says that Russian Government must have assurance that Servia will not be crushed, but would understand that Austria-Hungary is compelled to exact from Servia measures which will secure Slav provinces of Austria from continuance of hostile propaganda from Servian territory. Mobilisation is proceeding at Odessa, Kieff, Moscow, and Kazan, not, as I heard yesterday, at Wilna and Warsaw.

Italian Ambassador read me to-day Montenegrin manifesto denouncing aggressive action of Austria against Servia, and declaring that Montenegro identified herself with Servian cause. His Excellency believes that Austria will not invade Montenegro unless attacked first.

French Ambassador hears from Berlin that German Ambassador at Vienna is instructed to speak seriously to Austro-Hungarian Government against acting in a manner calculated to provoke European war.


Unfortunately German Ambassador is himself so identified with extreme anti- Servian and anti-Russian feeling prevalent in Vienna that he is not likely to plead cause of peace with entire sincerity. I am privately informed that German Ambassador knew text of Austrian note to Servia before it was sent off and telegraphed it to the German Emperor, but I am not able to verify this, though I know from German Ambassador himself that he endorses every line of it.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 95 (paraphrased and parts omitted).


If it is true that the German Emperor had previous knowledge of the ultimatum, this would explain the great difficulty in which the German Government now find themselves in speaking to the Austrian Government. A. N.

(34835) No. 308.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 271.)
D. 5 P.M.

Your Excellency should inform Government to which you are accredited that His Majesty's Government have authorised British man-of-war to leave Durazzo, and have decided, in view of Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Servia, and of possibility of complications that may involve Montenegro, to withdraw Colonel Phillip and the British detachment from Scutari and Alessio.

(Sent also to Berlin No. 235, Vienna No. 189, Rome No. 231, and St. Petersburg No. 409.)

(34959) No. 309.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Buchanan.
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 412.)
D. 7:35 P.M.

German Ambassador informs me that German Government would endeavour to influence Austria, after taking Belgrade and Servian territory in region of frontier, to promise not to advance further, while Powers endeavoured to arrange that Servia should give satisfaction sufficient to pacify Austria.(1) Territory occupied would of course be evacuated when Austria was satisfied. I suggested this yesterday(2) as a possible relief to the situation, and, if it can be obtained I would earnestly hope that it might be agreed to suspend further military preparations on all sides.

Russian Ambassador has told me of condition laid down by M. Sazonof, as quoted in your telegram No. 185 of 30th July,(3) and fears it cannot be modified; but if Austrian advance were stopped after occupation of Belgrade, I think Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs' formula might be changed to read that the Powers would examine how Servia could fully satisfy Austria without impairing Servian sovereign rights or independence.

If Austria, having occupied Belgrade and neighbouring Servian territory, declares herself ready, in the interest of European peace, to cease her advance and to discuss how a complete settlement can be arrived at, I hope that Russia would also consent to discussion and suspension of further military preparations, provided that other Powers did the same.

It is a slender chance of preserving peace, but the only one I can suggest if Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs can come to no agreement at Berlin. You should inform Minister for Foreign Affairs.

(Repeated to Paris, No 274.)

Published in BB No. 103. A copy of this telegram was telegraphed in English by Prince Lichnowsky to Berlin, at 9:56 P.M., DD No. 460.

(1) See DD No. 439.
(2) No. 285.
(3) No. 302.

(34959) No. 310.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 275.)
D. 74:5 P.M.

My telegram No. 412 of 30th July to St. Petersburg.(1)

You should inform Minister for Foreign Affairs, and say that I know from his telegram to M. Cambon to-day(2) that he has been urging Russia not to precipitate crisis, and I hope he may be able to support this last suggestion at St. Petersburg.

(Sent also to Berlin No. 234, Vienna No. 188, and Rome No. 230.)

Published in BB 104 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 309.
(2) No. 294.

(34882) No. 311.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 127.)
R. 9 P.M.

Russian Ambassador, on leaving Minister for Foreign Affairs this afternoon came to French Embassy, where I happened to be, and gave French Ambassador and myself account of his interview.(1) It was quite friendly. Minister for Foreign Affairs said that of course as Russia had mobilised Austria must do so also, but this was not to be considered as a threat, but merely as adoption of military precautions similar to those taken across the frontier. Also there was no objection to conversations between Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Austrian Ambassador at St. Petersburg being continued, though Minister for Foreign Affairs did not say that they could be resumed on basis of Servian reply.

On the whole Russian Ambassador is not dissatisfied. He had begun to pack up his things on the strength of rumour that Austria would declare war in reply to mobilisation. Russian Ambassador now hopes that something may yet be done to prevent war with Austria, but he hears from Berlin that German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was much annoyed by mobilisation and threatened a German mobilisation both on Russian and French frontiers, though Russian mobilisation was only against Austria. Russian mobilisation is still kept dark in Vienna.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 96 (paraphrased and last 3 1/2 lines omitted).

(1) A III No. 45.


This looks at last as if some German pressure were making itself felt at Vienna. E.A.C. July 31.

Surely it was Austria who mobilised before Russia did. A. N.

(34881) No. 312.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 30, 1914.
D. 7 :50 P.M.
Tel. (No. 126.)
R. 9:20 P.M.

Following for Director of Military Operations from military attaché:

"11th corps, Lemberg, received orders to mobilise yesterday. It is not yet known whether Landwehr of this corps is affected, or whether 1st and 10th corps are to mobilise. 37th regiment left Vienna day before yesterday. In all, 4th, 19th, 99th, and 37th have left corps.

"5th horse artillery brigade in Komorn has been mobilised, which may indicate that 16th cavalry brigade or whole 2nd cavalry division are mobilised for service in Galicia.

"10th cavalry division, Budapest, is mobilised, but it is not known whether it has proceeded north or south, probably former.

"According to all accounts mobilisation has proceeded with perfect smoothness and without any untoward incident of any kind. Czechs and Southern Slavs have made no protest whatever. Concentration has proceeded simultaneously with mobilisation, and at least 100,000 men are now in Neusatz-Werschetz zone.

"War is undoubtedly very popular everywhere.

"Bridge at Semlin was not seriously damaged and can be easily repaired."

(34884) No. 313.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 30, 1914.
D. 7:55 P.M.
Tel. (No. 105.)
R. 9:30 P.M.

Austria and Servia. Military attaché has heard report that bodies of troops are being conveyed by rail to both eastern and western frontiers of Germany. Military attach‚ further informs me that unusual military activity is observable, and that, in his opinion, order for mobilisation is imminent.


No doubt a good deal of mobilisation work is steadily going on in all countries. E.A. C. July 31.

(34891) No. 314.
Consul-General Hearn to Sir Edward Grey.
Hamburg, July 30, 1914.
D. 7:6 P.M.
Tel. (No. 13.) Secret.
R. 9:45 P.M.

Vice-Consul at Emden reports mining Ems probable and Emden reservists have joined troops proceeding Borkum. He understands that mobilisation notices were posted this morning.

(Embassy informed.)

(34885) No. 315.
Mr. Grant Duff to Sir Edward Grey.
Dresden, July 30, 1914.
D. 7:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 1.)
R. 9:45 P.M.

I have just heard that (?100th and) 1st Grenadier regiment of the Saxon army has been ordered to the Silesian frontier and is leaving Dresden to-day.

This is decidedly ominous. Clearly, although Germany avoids the use of the word "mobilisation," she is doing the thing. E. A. C. July 31.

(34883) No. 316.
Sir G. Barclay to Sir Edward Grey.
Bucharest, July 27, 1914.
D. July 27, 12:40 P.M.
R. July 30, 9:45 P.M.

Servian Chargéd'Affaires enquired of Minister for Foreign Affairs on 17th July [sic] as to Roumania's attitude in Austro-Servian conflict, but received only vague replies. Since then Minister for Foreign Affairs, in answer to enquiries from my French colleague, has defined Roumania's attitude as follows:

Roumania regards herself as solid with Greece for maintenance of Treaty of Bucharest, so that if Bulgaria were to take advantage of present situation to attempt to upset treaty, Greece and Roumania would oppose her.

As regards Austro-Servian conflict, so long as it is restricted to obtaining satisfaction of Austria's claims for assassination and guarantees for future of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Roumanian Government regarded these questions as unconnected with execution of treaty and will not intervene. But if Austria were to try to modify status quo established by treaty, solidarity of Roumania and Greece would be at once demonstrated.

(Repeated to Athens, Belgrade and Sophia.)

(34865) No. 317.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.
Tel. (No. 237.)
D. 10:30 P.M.

Your telegram No. 103 of 30th July.(1)

Telegram from German Ambassador referred to by German Chancellor in last paragraph but one of your despatch evidently refers to a warning given by me that Germany must not count upon our standing aside in all circumstances.(2)

Published in BB No. 102 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 305.
(2) No. 286.

(34878) No. 318.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 30, 1914.
D. 8 15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 95.)
R. 10:30 P.M.

I had audience of President of the Republic this evening in order to give him your message of congratulation on success of his visit to St. Petersburg, for which he wishes me to thank you.

He told me that in middle of last night French Government received information that German Government had informed Russian Government that unless Russia stopped her mobilisation Germany would mobilise. (1) In middle of day a further report from St. Petersburg stated that German communication had been modified and had become a request to be informed on what conditions Russia would consent to demobilisation, answer to which is that she will do so provided that Austria will give assurance that she will respect sovereignty of Servia, and will submit certain of the demands of Austrian note not accepted by Servia to an international discussion.

President of Republic thinks that Austro-Hungarian Government will not accept these Russian conditions. He is convinced that preservation of peace between Powers is in hands of England, for if His Majesty's Government announce that, in the event of conflict between Germany and France, resulting from present differences between Austria and Servia, England would come to aid of France, there would be no war, for Germany would at once modify her attitude.

I explained to him how difficult it would be for His Majesty's Government to make such an announcement. He, however, said that he must maintain that it would be in the interests of peace. France is pacific, she does not desire war, and she has not gone farther at present than to make preparations for mobilisation so as not to be taken unawares, and French Government will keep His Majesty's Government informed of everything that may be done in that way. French Government have reliable information that round Thionville and Metz German troops are concentrated ready for war.

President of Republic said that if there were a general war on the continent England would inevitably be involved in course of it, for protection of her vital interests, and a declaration by her now of her intention to support France, who desires to remain at peace, would almost certainly prevent Germany from embarking on a war.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 99 (paraphrased parts omitted).
See also despatch No. 373.

Sir E. Grey will no doubt approve Sir F. Bertie's language.

What must weigh with His Majesty' Government is the consideration that they should not by a declaration of unconditional solidarity with France and Russia induce and determine these two Powers to choose the path of war.

If and when, however, it is certain that France and Russia cannot avoid the war, and are going into it, my opinion, for what it is worth, is that British interests require us to take our place beside them as Allies, and in that case our intervention should be immediate and decided. E. A. C. July 31.

I have answered this separately.(2)

(1) See R. II.
(2) No. 352.

(35145) No. 319.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
(No. 512.)
Foreign Office, July 30, 1914.

M. Cambon reminded me to-day of the letter I had written to him two years ago, in which we agreed that, if the peace of Europe was seriously threatened, we would discuss what we were prepared to do.(1) He said that the peace of Europe was never more seriously threatened than it was now. He did not wish to ask me to say directly that we would intervene, but he would like me to say what we would do for certain hypotheses, i.e., if certain circumstances arose. The particular hypothesis he had in mind was an aggression by Germany on France. He gave me a paper, of which a copy is enclosed herein, showing that the German military preparations were more advanced and more on the offensive upon the frontier than anything France had yet done. He anticipated that the aggression would take the form of either a demand that France should cease her preparations or a demand that she should engage to remain neutral if there was war between Germany and Russia. Neither of these things could France admit.

I said that the Cabinet was to meet to-morrow morning, and I would see him again to-morrow afternoon.(2)

I am, &c.


Published in BB No. 10 (slight alterations and omission).

Enclosure in No. 819.

Le Ministre des Affaires Étrangères à M. Paul Cambon.

Le 30 juillet 1914.

Je vous prie de porter à la connaissance de Sir E. Grey les renseignements suivants touchant les préparatifs militaires français et allemands. L'Angleterre y verra que si la France est résolue, ce n'est pas elle qui prend des mesures d'agression. Vous attirerez l'attention de Sir E. Grey sur la décision prise par le Conseil des Ministres de ce matin; bien que l'Allemagne ait pris ses dispositifs de couverture à quelques centaines de mètres ou à quelques kilomètres de la frontière, sur toute la frontière, du Luxembourg aux Vosges, et port‚ ses troupes de couverture sur ses positions de combat, nous ne l'avons pas fait; bien que notre plan, conçu dans un esprit d'offensive, prévoit que les positions de combat de nos troupes de couverture seront aussi rapprochées de la frontière que le sont les troupes allemandes. Nous livrons ainsi une bande du territoire national sans défense à l'agression soudaine.

Nous n'avons pas pour le faire d'autre raison que de montrer à l'opinion et au Gouvernement britanniques que la France comme la Russie ne tireront pas les premières. Ci-joint le tableau des mesures prises à leurs dates des deux côtés de la frontière:

En France, comme en Allemagne, les permissionnaires ont été rappelés, les troupes sont dans leur garnison, les ouvrages d'art gardés.

En Allemagne, non seulement les troupes en garnison à Metz ont été poussées jusqu'à la frontiŠre, mais encore, elles ont été renforcées par des éléments transportés en chemin de fer de garnisons d'intérieur, telles que Trèves ou Cologne.

Rien d'analogue n'a été fait en France.

L'armement des places de la frontière (déboisement, mise en place de l'armement, constructions de batteries, renforcement de réseau de fil de fer), a été commencé en Allemagne samedi 25. Il le sera en France jeudi 30.

Les gares ont été occupées militairement en Allemagne samedi, en France, dimanche.

Enfin, voici d'autres mesures qui ont déjà ,‚t‚ prises en Allemagne et pas encore en France:

Rappel de réservistes par convocations individuelles.

Rappel de réservistes résidant à l'étranger (classes de 1903 à 1911).

Convocation d'officiers de réserve.

Sur la frontière côté allemand, routes barrées; automobiles ne circulant qu'avec un permis.

(1) For copy of this letter see BB No. 105 (Enclosure 1).
(2) Cf. No. 367.

[NOTE. The copies of the letter from Sir Edward Grey to M. Cambon of November 22, 1912, and of M. Cambon to Sir Edward Grey of November 23, 1912, printed as enclosures in BB No. 105 are not enclosed in the original despatch to Sir F. Bertie.

The third enclosure published in BB No. 105 was inserted in error; it belongs to a later date and will be found printed in No. 338. The cause of the mistake was as follows: When the record of Sir Edward Grey's conversation with M. Cambon was sent down to the Department, the paper referred to in the record given to Sir Edward Grey by M. Cambon was not attached. Instructions were therefore given to the printers that it should be added as soon as it came down. M. Cambon, however, had personally given to Sir Edward Grey two telegrams dealing with the subject of French and German military preparations, one on the 30th July, the other on the 31st July. The latter was sent down first; it was therefore included by the printers under the impression that this was the document referred to and the mistake was not noticed during the revision of the proof, which was being conducted under circumstances of the highest urgency.

The obvious blunder, by which a document dated the 31st July was included in a despatch dated the 30th July, was pointed out to the Foreign Office by numerous correspondents. At this stage a serious error of judgment was made. Instead of rectifying and explaining the mistake, which would then have been inconvenient, as the Blue Book had by this time been translated into other languages and published broadcast, in later editions of the Blue Book the date of the enclosure was cancelled. At the request of the British Government a similar modification was made in the French Yellow Book, with the result that a document was there also printed under a wrong date. It should be added that the papers dealing with this matter do not appear to have been referred to Sir Edward Grey.]

No. 320.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey
Paris, July 30, 1914.

My dear Grey,
The feeling here is that peace between the Powers depends on England; that if she declare herself solidaire with France and Russia there will not be war for Germany will not face the danger to her of her supplies by sea being cut off by the British Fleet at a time when she could not get them from Russia and France and little from Austria who would require all that is available from elsewhere for her own needs.

People do not realise or do not take into account the difficulty for the British Government to declare England solidaire with Russia and France in a question such as the Austro-Servian quarrel. The French instead of putting pressure on the Russian Government to moderate their zeal expect us to give the Germans to understand that we mean fighting if war break out. If we gave an assurance of armed assistance to France and Russia now, Russia would become more exacting and France would follow in her wake.

Travelling to and from "les Eaux" in the East of France is becoming difficult owing to the moving of troops from the centre of France towards the Eastern frontier and "les Eaux" generally are being deserted even those in the West of France.

The newspapers but not yet the people are becoming bellicose. The Bourse is practically closed and the Bank of France is preparing to issue notes for 20 francs 10 francs and 5 francs, meanwhile strings of people are asking for change for notes of 50 francs and 100 francs, &c., and the Bank employés make as much delay possible in fulfilling the Banks' obligation to give coin whether gold or silver in exchange for its notes.

Yours sincerely,

Private and Confidential.
Paris, July 30, 1914.

My dear Grey,
The Spanish Ambassador (Urrutia) has been here just as the messenger is about to leave for London. He says that the President of the Republic told a friend this morning that he considers war inevitable. Urrutia says that the couverture of the troops on the Eastern frontier of France is completed.(1)
Yours sincerely,

(1) See Introduction, p. xii.