Document Numbers 321 - 345

29-31 July 1914
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(34906) No. 321.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)
(No. 376.)
Paris, July 29, 1914.

I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a despatch which I have received from Colonel Yarde-Buller, Military Attaché to this Embassy, relating to the present military situation in France with reference to the crisis and the preparations which have been made in event of war.

I have, &c.

Enclosure in No. 321.
Paris, July 29, 1914.
Having spent the last few days in looking round both in and outside Paris, I have the honour to lay before your Excellency the following notes:

1. All precautions prior to a mobilisation have been carried out and it now only remains for the button to be pressed for the necessary reservists to be called up; in connection with this I would mention that the report in some papers to the effect that "reservists are joining their units" is not correct; what has taken place is as follows: certain men who have to undergo their reserve (répétition) training have asked to be allowed to do so at the present time instead of later on and I believe some have been permitted to do so.

2. All officers and men on leave have or are rejoining their units as quickly as possible.

3. Troops undergoing exercises at camps have been ordered to rejoin their garrisons.

4. General Officers are hard at work and cannot get away; I was asked to meet two at lunch yesterday outside Paris, but both of them wired to say it was impossible to leave their posts which, as a matter of fact, were only a few miles away.

5. All railway stations and lines are strongly guarded, the stations in Paris being occupied by troops, the lines and the bridges between towns and villages patrolled by gendarmerie and Forest Rangers, and in special cases (such as where there are socialist colonies, e.g., St. Denys) these guards are exceptionally strong. This guarding of the railway lines commenced last Sunday and judging from what I have personally seen on the lines over which I have made short trips during the last few days, I should say that every precaution has been taken thoroughly to safeguard them from any attempts on the part of spies, socialists or other desperadoes.

6. The Eiffel Tower, containing the great wireless central receiving station, is also guarded both by police and soldiers and a wooden structure, similarly guarded, has been erected round the pond where the wires go to earth. Visitors are, however, permitted to ascend the tower as usual, though I presume they are watched should they carry any parcels!

7. I have had a great many conversations with both officers and social people during the last few days and am much impressed with the quiet way in which affairs are viewed; a very serious tone is prevalent everywhere as must be the case, in addition to which it must be remembered that should mobilisation take place most of the men in every household whether they be the sons of the householder or whether they be his butler, footman, chauffeur, labourer and so forth will have to go off on service; similarly all banks and trading houses, mercantile concerns and so forth will be depleted of their clerks and employés; numerous private automobiles and horses will also be commandeered.

8. The following point may be of interest which I heard last night from one of the big French bankers here; he has had communications by letter and telephone with a corresponding firm in Berlin and whilst at dinner he was called to the telephone; on his coming back to his place at the dinner table he said that his German friend had telephoned from Berlin to say that the Emperor's best endeavours were being directed to keeping the peace and that the Emperor had said that he did not consider the situation justified the alarm that was at present being shown.

9. I have this day elicited the information that some of the German Reserve Officers have been called up to join their units and that though it is believed these are principally for the units on the Russian frontier, some have also been called up for the French frontier.

10. The parliamentary enquiry into the question of the deficiency in war material, initiated by the recent declarations of Monsieur Humbert in the Senate, has been adjourned which is a wise and probably necessary move under the present circumstances.

I have, &c.
Military Attaché

(34993) No. 322.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)
(No. 109. Commercial.)
Berlin, July 30, 1914.

I have the honour to transmit herewith a report which I have received from Sir F. Oppenheimer, commercial attaché to His Majesty's Embassy, on Germany's financial position in connection with the present crisis.

I have, &c.

Enclosure in No. 322.
Sir F. Oppenheimer to Sir E. Goschen.
(No. 29.)
Frankfort-on-Main, July 29, 1914.

There is a certain danger that the reports of the events which have, during the last few days, taken place upon the leading German Stock Exchanges may lead to an erroneous opinion abroad concerning the present financial strength of Germany. I am therefore anxious to summarise Germany's present financial position, as far as it is of importance in connection with the grave international situation.

Since the Morocco crisis (the middle of 1911) the whole financial policy of this country has been guided by only one consideration, viz., Germany's financial preparedness in case of war. The full task which the responsible officials have set themselves has not yet been entirely completed, but a part, large beyond expectation, has been accomplished during the short period of three years which has elapsed since the Agadir incident. Germany stands to-day in a position of exceptional financial strength.

The Reichsbank. The gold at the disposal of the Reichsbank amounted on the 15th July, 1914, to the grand total of 1,344,000,000 M. (15th July, 1911, only 884,000,000 M.). This gold reserve represents a record for Germany. The supply of silver is likewise exceptionally high and amounts to over 300,000,000 M. At the same time the war chest at Spandau, which contains 120,000,000 M. in gold coins out of the French war indemnity, has recently been augmented by 85,000,000 M. in gold as part of the 120,000,000 M. by which it is to be increased under the latest Army Reform Acts. A large portion of a similar silver reserve of 120,000,000 M. voted by the same law has likewise been stored. In further opposition to the financial situation at the time of the Morocco crisis, there is to-day practically no foreign money on loan in Germany; certain limited amounts of French money are supposed to be on loan in Alsace-Lorraine. On the other hand, the Reichsbank holds very considerable amounts of foreign bills (gold bills). An ample supply thereof in the porte-feuille of the Reichsbank has been one of the chief items in the financial programme of the president of the Reichsbank, because in times of an international crisis the sale of these bills prevents, not only the withdrawals of gold from Germany, but the bills could even be used to embarrass certain foreign money markets. In the Imperial Bank return these foreign bills, the amount of which is not separately stated, figure under "bills of exchange generally." In the balance sheet of the 31st December, 1913, the total of these foreign bills amounted to over 140,000,000 M. and among these British bills figured with 59,000,000 M. The Reichsbank also keeps cash deposits abroad resulting from the maturity of bills cashed by its agents and the value of which has not been utilised. On the 31st December, 1913, these cash deposits abroad amounted to 68,000,000 M.

The leading Banks. Among the leading banks there is not one which has not, since the Morocco crisis, greatly improved its financial status under pressure from the Reichsbank. Assets have been rendered more liquid, and cash reserves have been increased. Though this general improvement in the liquidity of the status of the leading banks cannot be denied, this part of the official financial programme is probably less advanced than the others. Yet my informants are confident that these banks could to-day survive a prolonged period of political uncertainty (by which is meant the period between an international scare and the moment at which the prearranged plans for Germany's financial mobilisation are put into operation), which was not the case in 1911 (see my Consular despatch No. 10 to Foreign Office of the 21st October, 1911).

General Public. As far as the general public is concerned, the financial situation has greatly improved because the dangerous wave of speculation has been checked. Speculation by the masses no longer constitutes a disquieting factor as it did at the time of the Morocco crisis. The exceptional levy on capital for military purposes, the first instalment of which is due in 1914, has had a sobering and economising effect. Owing, moreover, to the fact that the last twelve months have been months of a very quiet home trade, the credit of the mass of smaller manufacturers and traders is not strained as it would otherwise have been. It is also a fact worth recording that during the first quarter of 1914, the increase in the deposits of the German savings banks publishing their returns amounted to over 200,000,000 M. as against an increase of barely 100,000,000 M. for the first quarter, 1913.

As far as the German financial aspect during the present international crisis is concerned, it is indeed a fortunate circumstance that the industrial boom should have come to an end in 1912, for which a scarcity of available capital was greatly responsible. If the last industrial boom has substantially increased the wealth of the country, if the record export trade and the now ubiquitous German carrying trade have helped the unprecedented influx of gold in 1918, the slump of the last twelve months has enabled debtors steadily to reduce their credits and to put their houses in order. There are to-day none of the dangerous difficulties of overstrained trading credits which complicated the financial situation at the time of the Agadir incident. For Germany it is a fact of immeasurable importance that the present political crisis should have supervened during a slump.

The ease of the German money market of to-day as compared with that of the middle of 1911 can be gathered from the borrowing rates. In Germany the discount rate amounted --

In 1911 (average) to 4.40 per cent.
" 1912 " 4.95 "
" 1913 " 5.88
" 1914 (January) to 4.5 per cent.; since 5th February, to 4 per cent.

The private discount rate amounted --

In 1911 (average) to 3 55 per cent.
" 1912 " 4.22 "
" 1918 " 4.98 "
" 1914 (first quarter) to 2.86 per cent.
" 1914 (second quarter) to 2.57 per cent.
The issue of the Prussian loan early in 1914, with its seventy-fold over subscription, proved the extraordinary abundance of money in Germany. The stringent terms of the recent Bulgarian loan also proved the relative ease of the German money market. Had other money markets been able to compete with Germany to take over the loan, it is certain that the final usurious terms could not have been exacted.

It is clear that on a financial basis, as sketched above, it would be comparatively easy for Germany to put into operation her "financial mobilisation." The German public has so far shown greater confidence in the financial situation of Germany than it did at the time of the Morocco crisis. There have been, it is true, withdrawals of capital from banks and minor runs on savings banks, and those chiefly in Alsace Lorraine, but the amounts have not equalled those withdrawn and hoarded during the Morocco crisis. To some extent this greater confidence may be due also to the persistent financial instruction to which the German public has been submitted since hat incident. An endless number of articles have been published to reveal the folly of the domestic hoarding of cash, to prove the security of private property in time of war, to demonstrate the extent of Germany's pecuniary resources. Outside the Bourses there have been so far no signs of a panic.

It is true, events upon the German exchanges have been much less satisfactory; all over Europe the leading exchanges seemed to have failed more or less to accomplish their mission. In Germany there have been great drops in Government stock and industrial shares among the latter some could secure no quotations at all. The drop in the industrial stocks and shares is perhaps not so very surprising. The home trade has seldom been worse than during the last few months: manufacture has been kept alive chiefly by foreign orders. If these orders were none too remunerative at least they kept the factories going, but by the present war the foreign trade will be the first to suffer even if Germany does not become entangled in the political crisis. The most serious drops in the German Government stock were due to the fact that the international complications arose so near the German settling day (industrial shares are dealt in by way of modified cash transactions; while Government stock is paid for on settling days); to the fact that the diplomatic intercourse between Austria and Servia would be broken off, if at all, late on a Saturday and that no one could foretell how far the international crisis might have spread by Monday. The imminent danger of greater financial disasters was fully realised by the leading banks, which agreed upon concerted action to prop the market. Their intervention has undoubtedly had a beneficial effect as did also the large purchases of Government stock by the Prussian State Bank ("Seehandlung"). These measures have for the time being rendered unnecessary any further discussion of the suggestion that the German Stock changes should be closed for a few days a measure resorted to in Austria; they also prevented the German Government stock from meeting with the fate of the French rente on the Paris Exchange, where it had to be struck out of the quotations altogether.

The panic-like events on the Stock Exchange cast no aspersion upon the strength of the German money market, for the exchanges in times like the present are greatly at the mercy of nervous and weak holders. In exceptional times, a crowd labours under special tendencies of contagion which blur the picture of the true state of affairs. The financial situation of the German money market has never been stronger than to-day; it is eminently ready, should the occasion arise, to assist the smooth working of the measures which are known as Germany's financial mobilisation. Germany's financial strength is the result of the lesson taught by the Morocco incident. Germany has ever since been determined to show the world that on that occasion she had decided to "reculer pour pouvoir mieux sauter." As far as her financial position is concerned, she has attained her object.

I have, &c.


A great contrast to the panic here. Germany is organised and the Government gives guidance and help. I am convinced everything here would similarly fall into its right place if the same guidance were given. E. A. C. July 31.
(34912) No. 323.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)
(No. 115.)
The Hague, July 29, 1914.

As I have already had the honour to report,(1) preparations are proceeding in the Netherlands for an eventual mobilisation of the Army and Navy should it be found necessary.

The "Official Gazette" of this morning publishes two Royal Decrees dated the 27th instant, which read as follows:

(1.) "The Transfer to the Landweer and discharge from the service of men incorporated in the Militia who, according to Article 99 of the Militia Law, should be so transferred or discharged, is hereby suspended."

(2.) "The discharge from the service of conscripts who are in the Landweer and who, according to the 1st, 2nd or 3rd paragraph of Article 37 of the Landweer Law, would have to be so discharged, is hereby suspended."

I hear that troops are stationed at all the principal bridges on the railway lines to the German frontier and that the bridge at Deventer crossing the river Yssel and on the main line to Berlin is in the hands of engineers provided with explosives. The forts at the Helder, the Hook of Holland and Ymuiden are being fully manned and there are even 50 soldiers day and night in the small fishing harbour of Scheveningen, the seaside resort of The Hague and several armed men on the pier there and at other places along the coast.

I hear also that the Admiralty have recalled the war vessels "Noord Brabant" and "Kortenaer," the latter of which was in Mexican waters, though I can get no official confirmation of this news. The "Zeeland" returned yesterday from its cruise in the Baltic with Prince Henry of the Netherlands on board.

The press here is divided on the subject of these military precautions, some of the newspapers ridiculing them as alarmist and unnecessary and others praising the caution and foresight of the Government. It looks, however, as if the Government were determined to do all in their power to preserve the neutrality of the Netherlands should it be threatened.

I have, &c.

(1) No. 213.

(35056) No. 324.
Mr. Grant Duff to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)
(No. 66.)
Berne, July 29, 1914

I have the honour to enclose an article from the "Journal de Genève" of to-day's date regarding the political situation in Europe. It takes the point of view that the German Emperor alone can put an end to the present threatening position of affairs.

The Swiss Press has on the whole discussed the merits of the Austro-Servian dispute with good sense and moderation. It is generally considered here that the Servian reply to the Austrian Ultimatum was sufficiently conciliatory to have opened the door to further negotiations. At the same time Swiss journalists imperfectly understood the questions at issue between the two countries and have always been too ready to assume that small nations in their quarrels with Great Powers are invariably in the right. The attitude of the Swiss Press during the Boer War will be fresh in your memory.

It is needless to say that the prospect of a general conflagration, with Switzerland standing out as a rock surrounded by rough seas, is causing great uneasiness here. There is I think no question that this country will strictly maintain her neutrality but any infringement of her frontier will be met with armed force.

The Federal Government have long been considering the question of food supply in time of war as Switzerland depends to a great extent on foreign countries for corn and many of the necessaries of life. Coal also comes exclusively from abroad. Large numbers of people here and in the other large towns are already laying in stores with a view to possible emergencies.

I am informed that the National Bank holds about £8,000,000 in metal currency of which nearly five million sterling in gold. One of the principal Bankers here told me that gold was not to be had and that he had been obliged to send both to Paris and London for it.

Except for some excitement at the newspaper offices all is calm here and it is generally hoped that the hostilities will be localised.

I have, &c.

(35008) No. 325.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)

(No. 116.) The Hague, July 30, 1914.

With reference to my despatch No. 115 of yesterday(1) I have the honour to report that His Majesty's Vice-Consul at Rotterdam has forwarded me a letter which he received yesterday from the British Vice-Consul at Flushing stating that he had been told by the Inspector of Pilotage there that he had received detailed instructions to remove all buoys and beacons the moment he received the order to do so from the Minister of Marine.

I have, &c.

(1) No. 323.

(35009) No . 326.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 31.)
(No. 117.)
The Hague, July 30, 1914.

I have the honour to report that the "Handelsblad" of Amsterdam states that the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was closed yesterday until further notice. This decision has been taken at a meeting of the Board of the Association of stock Dealers owning that Exchange and is intended to prevent a panic. As the principal European Stock Exchanges are closed there is a danger of large amounts of foreign securities being thrown on the Amsterdam market, and of the great drop in the quotations of foreign Government securities causing a similar fall in Netherland securities.

I have, &c.

(34888) No. 327.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey
Vienna, July 30, 1914.
D. July 31, 12:25 A.M.
Tel. (No. 128.)
R. July 31, 8 A.M.

Following for Director of Military Operations from military attaché:

"All cavalry are now mobilised, but not all yet concentrated. General mobilisation is impending. Please inform me where to go in the event of withdraw al of this Embassy. It occurs to me that, knowing Galicia and Bukovina and Austrian army ( ? I might be) of service if attached as attaché‚ to the Russian Kieff army, if not, propose, failing instructions, to proceed to Paris and report to military attaché for general service."

Tel. Urgent. Private.
Vienna, July 31, 1914

My telegram No. 128.

Message from the Military Attaché‚ was sent without my knowledge, and I think that the enquiry it contains is premature.

(34945) No. 328.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 30, 1914.
D. July 30, 11:25 P.M.
Tel. (No. 188.)
R. July 31, 9 A.M.

Italian Ambassador called to-day and said that as our two Governments were both working together to avert war, he wished to keep in close contact with me. He spoke of the suggestion reported in Sir R. Rodd's telegram No. 125 of 27th July(1) that the four Powers should induce Servia to accept Austrian ultimatum in its integrity, and asked me if I thought that such a solution would be acceptable to Russia. I told him what Minister for Foreign Affairs had said on the subject (see my telegram No. 182 of 29th July(2), adding that his Excellency had not indicated how ultimatum could be toned down so as to render it acceptable both to Servia and Austria.

On his asking if I had any suggestion to make, I said I thought point 6 might be made more palatable to Servia if Austria were to state that she would be satisfied if Austrian consul in Servia were admitted to take part in enquiry, while Austria might be reassured were Powers engaged to instruct their representatives at Belgrade to see that engagements taken by Servia were duly carried out. Ambassador told me he had seen German Ambassador this morning, but said nothing about formula given to latter by Minister for Foreign Affairs, so that I gathered he does not think it would be accepted by Austria.

I communicated to Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day substance of your telegram No. 226 of 29th July to Berlin.(3)

(Repeated to Embassies.)

(1) No. 202.
(2) No. 276.
(3) No. 263.

(34939) No. 329.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 30, 1914.
D. July 31, 12:42 A.M.
Tel. (No. 106.)
R. July 31, 10 A.M.

Your telegram No. 226 of 29th July.(1)

I am unaware whether the Imperial Government has answered communication made to them by you through German Ambassador asking what method they would suggest by which the four Powers could use their mediating influence between Austria and Russia. Last night I was told that they had not had time to answer yet. To-day French Ambassador asked Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Imperial Government had proposed any course of action. Secretary of State answered they had considered it would save time if they dealt with Vienna direct and that they had asked Austro-Hungarian Government what would satisfy them. They had, however, as yet received no answer.(2)

Chancellor told me last night that he was "pressing the button" as hard as he could, and that he was not sure whether length to which he had gone in giving moderating advice at Vienna had not precipitated matters rather than otherwise.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 107 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 263.
(2) See F No. 107.

(34985) No. 330.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey.
The Hague, July 30, 1914.
D. July 30, 11:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 16.)
R. July 31, 10 A.M.

My telegram No. 15.(1)

Burgomaster of Hague has by order of Minister of War posted notices all over town calling upon members of coastguard "Landweer" to assemble fully armed at 10 o'clock to-night at various places on the coast known to them.

Town is full of armed men hurrying to their posts.

Similar instructions issued to men of other towns near coast while Landweer of inland towns ordered to patrol all frontiers.

(1) No. 257.

(34933) No. 331.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 30, 1914.
D. July 30, 8:25 P.M.
Tel. (No. 133.)
R. July 31, 10 A.M.

Minister for Foreign Affairs sent for me this evening to say he had heard Austrian Government had declined further direct discussions at St. Petersburg. On the other hand, he had reason to think that Germans, who were most anxious to avoid issue with us but seemed convinced that we should act with France and Russia, were now disposed to give more conciliatory counsels at Vienna.

He was instructing Italian Ambassador at Berlin to ask German Government to suggest resumption of idea of exchange of views between the four Powers in any form which would not be unacceptable to Austria. He thought that Germany might invite Austria to formulate precisely what terms she would demand from Servia, with a guarantee that she would not annex territory nor deprive her of independence. Anything less than Austrian note would be useless to ask for. Germany would advocate nothing implying non-success for Austria. We might, on the other hand, ascertain what Russia would accept, and with knowledge of these two standpoints discussions should be initiated at once. As long as Austria had received no check there was still time. He was in any case disposed to continue exchange of views with us if four Powers' discussion was impossible.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 106 (paraphrased).

(34879) No. 332.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 30, 1914.
D. July 30, 5:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 73.) Urgent.
R. July 31, 10 A.M.

Prime Minister informs me that Austrians are now deliberately bombarding Belgrade by sections, no serious attempt being made to occupy town.(1)

This bombardment of Belgrade does seem an unnecessary piece of vandalism, and gives the impression that the object is the destruction of the Servian capital as a form of punishment. This is unfortunately quite in accordance with Austrian methods. It will, however, be better that we should not be the first to raise protests. E. A. C. July 31.

(1) Cf. No. 485.

(34972) No. 333.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 31, 1914.
D. 9:23 A.M.
Tel. (No. 189.)
R. 10:15 A.M.

German vessels have been warned to be ready to leave Russian waters at 24 hours' notice. Similar notification reported to be issued at Archangel.

His Majesty's Consul at Riga reports entrance to Libau probably mined.

(35026) No. 334.
Mr. Roberts to Sir Edward Grey.
Odessa, July 30, 1914.
D. July 30, 5:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 14.)
R. July 31, 10:30 A.M.

Seven companies of infantry from Nicolaieff and five from Odessa left for frontier, also two batteries of artillery from Odessa. 60th Regiment leaves here to-morrow.

(35023) No. 335.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir G. Buchanan.
Foreign Office, July 31, 1914.
Tel. (No. 413.)
D. 11:40 A.M.

German Ambassador informs me that in consequence of German suggestions (conversation has taken place between Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Russian Ambassador at Vienna, and that Austrian Ambassador at St. Petersburg can converse with Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, with instructions to give explanations about the Austrian note to Servia, to discuss suggestions and any questions that affect directly Austro-Russian relations. He added that if Russian Government object to eight army corps being mobilised in Austria it might be pointed out that this is not too much against 400,000 Servians.

I was asked to urge St. Petersburg to show goodwill in discussions and to suspend military preparations.

I feel great satisfaction that discussions are resumed between Russia and Austria, and you should express this to Minister for Foreign Affairs and say I earnestly hope he will encourage them.

As to military preparations, I said to German Ambassador I did not see how Russia could be urged to suspend them unless Austria would put some limit to her advance into Servia.

(Repeated to Paris No. 278: "You should inform Minister for Foreign Affairs.")

Published in BB No. 110 (paraphrased).
Cf. DD Nos. 444 and 489.

(35052) No. 336.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 31, 1914.
D. 11:35 A.M.
Tel. (No. 108.)
R. 1:40 P.M.

Austria and Servia. Your telegram No. 231 of July 30th.(1)

I read Chancellor this morning a paraphrase containing exact words of your answer to his appeal for British neutrality in the event of war. H.E. was so taken up with the news reported in my immediately preceding telegram(2) that he made no remark whatever upon your communication. He asked me whether I would let him have paraphrase I had just read to him as an aide-mémoire as his mind was so full of grave matters that he could not be certain of remembering all I had said, and he would like to reflect upon it before giving an answer. I therefore handed to him my paraphrase on condition that it should not be regarded as an official document but merely as a record of conversation.(3) (?To this) H.E. agreed.

Published in BB No. 109 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 303.
(2) No. 337.
(3) Cf. DD No. 497.

(35051) No. 337 .
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 31, 1914.
D. 11:55 A.M.
Tel. (No. 107.)
R. 1:45 P.M.

Austria and Servia. Chancellor informs me that he has just received news to the effect that Russia has burnt her cordon of houses along German frontier, sealed her public offices in neighbourhood of frontier and carried off her money chests into the interior. He has been unable to get absolute confirmation of this intelligence, as Russo-German frontier was now entirely closed, but if, as he thinks, it is true, it can only mean that Russia looks upon war as certain, and that she is now taking military measures on the German frontier. This news reaches him, he said, just as the Tsar has appealed to the Emperor in the name of their old friendship to mediate at Vienna, and when the Emperor is doing so. Chancellor added that he himself had done everything possible and even more perhaps than Austro-Hungarian Government liked at Vienna to preach moderation and peace, but his efforts had been seriously handicapped by the mobilisation of Russia against Austria. If now the news he had received proved true and military measures were also being taken against Germany, he could not remain quiet, as he could not leave his country defenceless while other Powers were gaining time. He was now going to see the Emperor and he wished me to tell you that it was quite possible that in a very short time, perhaps even to-day, they would have to take some very serious step.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 108 (paraphrased and parts omitted).
Cf. No. 677.

This is an endeavour to throw the blame for military preparations on Russia. All our information shows that short of the issue of actual "mobilisation orders" in set terms, German mobilisation has for some time been actively proceeding on all three German frontiers. E. A. C. July 31.

Russia is taking very reasonable and sensible precautions, which should in no wise be interpreted as provocative. Germany, of course, who has been steadily preparing now wishes to throw the blame on Russia a very thin pretext. However comments are superfluous. A. N.

(35082) No. 338.
Communicated by French Ambassador, July 31.
Le Ministre des Affaires Étrangères à M. Paul Cambon.
Le 31 Juillet 1914.

L'Armée allemande a ses avant-postes sur nos bornes frontières. Hier, vendredi,(1) par deux fois des patrouilles allemandes ont pénétré sur notre territoire. Nos avant-postes sont en retrait à 10 kilom. en arrière de la frontière. Les populations ainsi abandonnées à l'attaque de l'armée adverse protestent, mais le Gouvernement tient à montrer à l'opinion publique et au Gouvernement britannique que l'agresseur ne sera en aucun cas la France.

Tout le 16e corps de Metz, renforcé par une partie du 8e venu de Trèves et de Cologne, occupe la frontière de Metz au Luxembourg. Le 15e corps d'armée de Strasbourg a serré sur la frontière. Sous menace d'être fusillés, les Alsaciens-Lorrains des pays annexés ne peuvent pas passer la frontière; des réservistes par dizaines de milliers sont rappelé en Allemagne: c'est le dernier stade avant la mobilisation. Or, nous n'avons rappel‚ aucun réserviste. Comme vous le voyez, l'Allemagne l'a fait.

J'ajoute que toutes nos informations concordent pour montrer que les préparatifs allemands ont commencé samedi, le jour même de la remise de la note autrichienne.(2)

Ces éléments, ajoutés à ceux contenus dans mon télégramme d'hier, vous permettent de faire la preuve au Gouvernement britannique de la volont‚ pacifique de l'un et des intentions agressives de l'autre.

Printed with translation in BB No. 105 (3), but under the wrong date (see Nos. 319 note, 358, also F No. 106).
(The words in italics are underlined in the original.)

(1) [This is a mistake; July 31 was a Friday.]
(2) [This is also incorrect; the Austrian note was delivered on a Thursday (23 July), the reference should probably be to the Serbian answer, which was delivered on Saturday (25 July).]

(35077) No. 339.
Sir A. Nicolson to Sir Edward Grey.

Secret. Foreign Office, July 31, 1914.

Sir E. Grey,
One of our Agents arrived from Cologne this morning and reports that troop trains are pouring through there on their way to the western frontier. This confirms what M. Cambon told me this morning that though Germany has not issued decree of mobilisation she is really mobilising. French Government think that Germany wishes to incite the Paris Cabinet to issue mobilisation decree first and thus give France the appearance of being the aggressor.

A. N.

(35078) No. 340.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 31, 1914.
Tel. (No. 241.)
D. 2:45 P.M.

European crisis. My telegram No. 413 of 31st July to St. Petersburg,(1) which has been repeated to you to-day.

I hope that the conversations which are now proceeding between Austria and Russia may lead to a satisfactory result. The stumbling-block hitherto has been Austrian mistrust of Servian assurances, and Russian mistrust of Austrian intentions with regard to the independence and integrity of Servia. It has occurred to me that in the event of this mistrust preventing a solution being found by Vienna and St. Petersburg, Germany might sound Vienna, and I would undertake to sound St. Petersburg, whether it would be possible for the four disinterested Powers to offer to Austria that they would undertake to see that she obtained full satisfaction of her demands on Servia, provided that they did not impair Servian sovereignty and the integrity of Servian territory. As your Excellency is aware, Austria has already declared her willingness to respect them. Russia might be informed by the four Powers that they would undertake to prevent Austrian demands going the length of impairing Servian sovereignty and integrity. All Powers would of course suspend further military operations or preparations.

You may sound the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs about this proposal.

I said to German Ambassador this morning that if Germany could get any reasonable proposal put forward which made it clear that Germany and Austria were striving to preserve European peace, and that Russia and France would be unreasonable if they rejected it, I would support it at St. Petersburg and Paris and go the length of saying that if Russia and France would not accept it His Majesty's Government would have nothing more to do with the consequences; but, otherwise, I told German Ambassador that if France became involved we should be drawn in.(2)

You can add this when sounding Chancellor or Minister for Foreign Affairs as to proposal above. If you think it desirable, you can also give Chancellor a memorandum of my telegram No. 231 of yesterday;(3) I presume you have told him of it verbally.

Published in BB No. 111(last sentence omitted).
Cf. Nos. 336 and 385 and DD No. 497.

Sir W. Tyrrell told me to-day he is quite certain that a paraphrase of the first part of this telegram was sent to the German Ambassador on the evening of July 31 in a private note by the S. of S. He says that Prince Lichnowsky referred to the offer in a conversation which he had with him early on Saturday morning. E. D. August 25, 1915.

(1) No. 335.
(2) DD No. 489.
(3) No. 303.

(35064) No. 341.
Consul Bernal to Sir Edward Grey.
Stettin, July 31, 1914.
D. 12:35 P.M.
Tel. (No. 2.)
R. 2:50 P.M.

Government to-day prohibited export of all food by sea.

If this is not a warlike preparation of equal importance as the Russian removal of treasure to the interior, words have no meaning, E. A. C. July 31.

(35063) No. 342.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 31, 1914.
D. 12:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 96.)
R. 3:10 P.M.

I have seen President of the Council this morning after Cabinet Council. He has no recent information except that there are conversations in a friendly tone at Vienna between the Russian Ambassador and the Austrian Government.

I carried out the instructions contained in your telegram No. 275 of 30th July(1) in regard to your latest suggestion to the Russian Government (your telegram No. 412 of 30th July to St. Petersburg).(2)

Minister for Foreign Affairs will give me this afternoon reply of the French Government as to whether they can support your proposal at St. Petersburg.

(1) No. 310.

(2) No. 309.

(35071) No. 343.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 31, 1914.
D. 2:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 109.)
R. 3:35 P.

Semi-official News Agency stated that Federal Council will to-day issue order prohibiting export from Germany of grain, flour and fodder and animals and animal products.

(35266) No. 344.

Communication by the German Embassy.

Baron Schubert, Secretary of the German Embassy, called to-day and read out a telegram from the German Chancellor, stating that Russia had proclaimed a general mobilisation of her army and her fleet; that, in consequence of this, martial law would be proclaimed for Germany; and that, if within the next twelve hour Russia did not withdraw her general mobilisation proclamation, Germany would be obliged to mobilise in her own defence.

Foreign Office, July 31, 1914. W.T.

See DD No. 488. The telegram was despatched from Berlin at 3:10 P.M.
Cf. No. 847.

(35075) No. 345.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, July 31, 1914.
D. 3:00 P.M.
Tel. (No. 4.)
R. 4:40 P.M..

My despatch 114 of July 28th.(1)

The six army divisions have all been brought up to full peace strength. Military preparations are being actively pursued. It is now officially estimated that a complete mobilisation would give 250,000 men. I believe, however, that available strength would not be more than about 100,000 men in the field and 80,000 men in garrison and that even with this force there would be a deficiency of artillery and other equipment.

(1) No. 243.