(30750) No. 35.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey. (Received July 8.)
Belgrade, July 4, 1914.
With reference to my despatch No.120 of the 2nd instant (1) I have the honour to report that in its number of the 2nd instant the Government Organ "Samouprava" published a leading article which is of interest as embodying the views held by the Servian Government with regard to the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand and the consequences of the crime. The following are the main points of the article:
1. That the Servian Government deeply regret and condemn the perpetration of the crime.
2. That they condemn and deplore the persecutions of the Serbs now daily taking place in Bosnia and the Herzegovina.
3. That the crime is all the more regrettable in that it was detrimental to the interests of Servia who is now convinced that it is to her interest to be on friendly terms with Austria-Hungary, and who sincerely desires the establishment of good relations with the Dual Monarchy.
4. That it is regrettable that the Austrian Press is, although in a veiled manner, inclined to implicate the Servian Government in the assassination of the Archduke.
The article concludes by emphasising the wish of the Servian Government that a normal state of affairs may be shortly resumed in Bosnia and that the real criminals may alone be made answerable for the crime. The conviction is expressed that the relations between Austria-Hungary and Servia, which have of late taken a healthy direction, will not and cannot ultimately suffer from the unjustifiable suspicions cast upon Servia by certain organs of the foreign Press.
I have, &c.
(1) No. 27.
It has been curious to study here the effect of that abominable assassination at Serajevo. While ostensibly the authorities and the press have been loud in their denunciations of the crime and full of sympathy with the Emperor, it is obvious that people generally have regarded the elimination of the late Archduke as almost providential. I heard from two bankers here that at Trieste when the news was received Hungarian stock rose from 72 to 80. He was almost as much disliked it seems in Hungary as in Italy.
The remainder of the letter deals with other matters, chiefly non-political.
With a touching letter of thanks to his subjects of all nationalities for their loyal expressions as called forth by the death of the heir to the throne, the Emperor Francis Joseph brings to a close the first week following upon the assassinations at Sarajevo. His Majesty says in this letter that, if any consolation is possible in the midst of his bitter sorrow, he derives it from the innumerable proofs of warm affection and sincere sympathy which have reached him from all classes of the population. A criminal hand has robbed him of his "dear relative and trusty fellow-worker," and reft from innocent children all that was dear to them on earth. But the madness of a small group of misguided persons cannot loosen the sacred ties attaching him to his people or impair the feelings of heartfelt love towards himself and his family to which such touching expression has been given. During six and a half decades His Majesty recalls that he has shared with his people their sorrows and their joys, mindful even in the darkest hours of his high duties and of his responsibilities to the Almighty for the fate of millions. This new trial, dispensed by the inscrutable will of God, will only strengthen his determination to persevere till his last breath on the path best designed to promote the welfareof his people. If he can pass on their love to his successor he will be richly rewarded. In conclusion the Emperor commands the Prime Ministers of Austria and Hungary, to whom his letter is addressed, to convey his deep-felt thanks to all those who through this sorrowful time have clustered faithfully and devotedly around his throne.
A letter in similar terms is addressed by His Majesty to Herr von Bilinski, joint Minister of Finance, and side by side with these letters is published a general order to the Army and Navy. In the latter His Majesty recalls the fact that the Archduke died in the performance of his duties, and that his last commands were addressed to the brave troops of Bosnia and Herzegovina. If his place in the Army was an exalted one, so was his sense of the duties attached to it. His loss to his Sovereign and to the armed forces of the Monarchy involves a heavy sacrifice. His Majesty however still holds firm to his hopes for the future in which the Archduke's activity would bear fruit, feeling well assured that, through all the storm and stress which may be in store for it, "the Monarchy will find its sure support in the fearless devotion of the faithful and indomitable Army (Wehrmacht) of Austria-Hungary."
The widespread complaints of the insufficiency of the funeral honours bestowed upon the remains of the Archduke and Duchess on their way throughVienna, to which I alluded in my despatch No. 1 of yesterday, (1) are met this morning by an official communication to the press, pointing out that in the case both of the late Empress Elizabeth and the late Archduke Rudolph, their remains were received in Vienna by special trains arriving at night time. The military display made when the Archduke Rudolph was conveyed from the Palace Chapel to the Capucin Church is said to have been not more considerable than in the present case. Moreover the entire arrangements were dominated by the fact that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had himself provided in his will that he should belaid to rest at Artstetten and not in the Capucin Church. The ancient ceremonial was of course maintained in general, but that it was not slavishly observed, in contempt of the ordinary feelings of humanity, was made clear by the participation throughout of the Duchess of Hohenberg in the honours given to her husband.
I am, &c.
MAURICE DE BUNSEN.
(1) No. 34
I spoke to M. Cambon to-day of my apprehension that Austria might be forced by her public opinion into some démarche against Servia owing to the feeling aroused by the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand; and I said that, in such an event, we must do all we could to encourage patience in St. Petersburg.
M. Cambon cordially concurred in this sentiment.
I am, &c.
Speaking to Count Benckendorff quite unofficially to-day, I expressed the apprehension that the Austrian Government might be forced by the strength of public opinion in Austria to make some démarche with regard to Servia, as Austrian public opinion had been very strongly roused against Servia by the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The circumstances were such that the position of Count Berchtold was weak, and the Austrian Government might be swept off their feet.
Count Benckendorff said that he was aware of the strong feeling in Austria, but he did not see on what a démarche against Servia could be founded.
I said that I did not know what was contemplated. I could only suppose that some discovery made during the trial of those implicated in the murder of the Archduke for instance, that the bombs had been obtained in Belgrade might, in the eyes of the Austrian Government, be foundation for a chargeof negligence against the Servian Government. But this was only imagination and guess on my part.
Count Benckendorff said that he hoped that Germany would restrain Austria. He could not think that Germany would wish a quarrel to be precipitated.
I said that my information was that the authorities in Berlin were very uncomfortable and apprehensive. They had got into their minds that Russian feeling was very adverse to Germany. They had obtained information somehow from Paris or St. Petersburg, founded upon the conversations between the Russian and British naval authorities, and they no doubt imagined that there was much more in these conversations than actually existed. All this might lead the German authorities to think that some coup was being prepared against Germany, to be executed at a favourable moment. Of course, there was no foundation for such a thought. I told Count Benckendorff what I had said to reassure Prince Lichnowsky.(1)
Count Benckendorff confirmed emphatically that, since the question of the German military command in Constantinople had been settled, he had had no indication whatever from St. Petersburg of ill-will towards Germany. But he added that the increase in the Russian army and the greater Russian preparedness for war were undoubted facts which might possibly make some spirits in Germany think that it would be better to have a conflict now, before the situation was more to the German disadvantage.He could not, however, believe that the German Emperor and the German Government would really take this line.
I said that it would be very desirable that, in whatever way the Russian Government could best do it, they should do all in their power to reassure Germany, and convince her that no coup was being prepared against her. I often thought, in these matters, that things would be better if the whole truth were known. The difficulty was to tell people the truth, and make them believe that they really knew the whole truth. They were apt to think that there was a great deal more than they had been told.
Count Benckendorff said that he would write to M. Sazonof. He expressed himself quite conscious of the apprehension felt in Berlin; of the danger that lay in it, especially at this moment, when Austria was excited against Servia, and of the desirability of preventing the horrible situation of having the Servian question forced open.
I am, &c.
(1) See No. 32.
I had some conversation to-day with M. Schebeko, Russian Ambassador, concerning the feeling of bitterness which exists here against Servia and its possible consequences. M. Schebeko doubts if the animosity penetrates deep down among theAustrian people though it certainly pervades upper society circles. Hecannot believe that the country will allow itself to be rushed into war, for an isolated combat with Servia would be impossible and Russia would be compelled to take up arms in defence of Servia. Of this there could be no question. A Servian war meant a general European war. Austria felt still, too painfully, the economic effects of her mobilisation in 1913 to embark lightly on the much greater efforts which would be necessary if she were to become involved in actual warfare. M. Schebeko said Austria could not expect to find a friendly Servian population across the frontier. At every stage of the Balkan conflict she had thwarted Servian hopes. By driving the Servians back from the Adriatic, by insisting on the exclusion of Scutari from Montenegro, taking up an anti-Servian attitude over every frontier question, she had assumed a position which compelled every Servian to regard her as an enemy. She was now quite unjustly accusing Servia of having indirectly favoured by her apathy, if she had not actually promoted, the plot to which the Archduke Franz Ferdinand fell a victim at Sarajevo. This was regarded in Russia as very unfair. No nation could abhor more than the Russian the hand of anassassin, for Russia had greatly suffered from political murders. But to make the country in which a plot was prepared responsible for its execution was a new doctrine, and he did not think the Austrian Government would be induced by a few violent articles in the press to act upon it. He told me, however, that M. Jovanovitch, Servian Minister, had spoken strongly to Baron Macchio, acting as Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, on the danger of arousing too far the national sentiment of Servia, by allowing it toappear that the Government shared the suspicions entertained in some popular quarters against the Servian Government.
M. Schebeko deplored the difficulty which he, in common with most of his colleagues, including myself, finds in extracting from Count Berchtold, for whom we all have a great personal regard, anything like an explicit statement of his views on international affairs. We are left to conjecture what is the attitude of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office from a few vague remarks made by Count Berchtold, from newspaper articles, and from conversations with other persons more or less intimately connected with public affairs.
Such indications as have reached me on this subject point certainly to the existence, even in the Ballplatz, of a very angry sentiment against Servia, and I cannot at present share M. Schebeko's inclination to believe that the commercial, and generally the middle classes of this country are indifferent to the question. I fear there is ground to regard almost all sections of the population as being just now blindly incensed against the Servians, and I have heard on good authority that many persons holding usually quite moderate and sensible views on foreign affairs are expressing themselves now in the sense that Austria will at last be compelled to give evidence of her strength by settling once and for all her long-standing accounts with Servia, and by striking such a blow as will reduce that country to impotence for the future. In military circles these views certainly prevail, and it would perhaps not be wise to exclude altogether the possibility that the popular indignation at the terrible crime of the 28th June may force the Government to take up an attitude from which it would not be easy to withdraw.
Meanwhile great police precautions are taken daily to protect the Servian Ministry and Servian churches and other buildings from assault. M. Jovanovitch was induced by the prayers of his landlord, who fears the destruction of his property, to take in his national flag while the other embassies and legations were still flying theirs at half-mast in sign of mourning.
M. Dumaine, my French colleague, is full of serious apprehension. His country is known to be in sympathy with Servian aspirations and he is in a position to know what is being said and done by Servians in Vienna. He has repeatedly spoken to me during the past week on the dangers of the situation, which he fears may develop rapidly into complications from which war might easily arise.
I expressed to my German colleague, on hearing of the assassinations, my fear that the relations between Austria and Servia would now become more difficult than ever. Herr von Tschirsky said emphatically that those relations must be bad, and that nothing could mend them. He added that he had tried in vain to convince Berlin of this fundamental truth. Some people in Germany still persisted in believing in the efficacy of a conciliatory policy on the part of Austria towards Servia. He himself knew better. I do not know if his Excellency alluded by these words to the opinions of his Sovereign, but I have heard it said by Austrians who have had opportunities of hearing the Emperor William speak on this subject that His Majesty has remained from the first unconvinced of the wisdom of the policy adopted by this country of excluding Servia from the Adriatic, and does not, conceal his belief that it would have done better to allow the normal expansion of Servia to the sea to accomplish itself as the result of the first Balkan war.
M. Schebeko said to me to-day that in his opinion the Dual Monarchy would show great political wisdom if it would make up its mind to act in a conciliatory way towards the southern Slavs within the limits of the Monarchy. Such a course would disarm the extremists in Russia and facilitate more than anything else the maintenance of friendly relations between Russia and Austria-Hungary.
The Duc d'Avarna, my Italian colleague, has also more than once expressed these views to me, but I must confess that I meet few Austrians who hold them, and it would no doubt be very difficult for Count Berchtold, who is so much identified with the policy of restricting Servia within the narrowest limits, to adopt now a different course.
I have, &c.
MAURICE DE BUNSEN.
Last Paragraph. The Italian Ambassador at Vienna seems to hold the same view as to the wisdom of recent anti-Servian policy, as we have reason to believe is held by Signor Martino and indeed by the Italian Ministry generally. E. P. July 9.
But the unwisdom of a blindly anti-Servian policy is not at all appreciated in Austria, and that is the real point in a rather threatening situation. M. Schebeko underestimates the extent of anti-Servian feeling in Austria: it is not confined to the people with sixteen quarterins, as he seems to infer optimistically. R. G. V. July 9.
I have my doubts as to whether Austria will take an action of a serious character and I expect the storm will blow over. M. Schebeko is a shrewd man and I attach weight to any opinion he expresses. A.N.
I had a further talk with the German Ambassador to-day on the subject of his conversation with me last Monday (6th instant).(1) I said that I was speaking quite privately, in the same way as he had spoken, for he himself had said that the matters of which he spoke were too delicate to be treated other than privately.
Prince Lichnowsky repeated what he had said about the apprehension in Germany of an Anglo-Russian Naval Convention directed against Germany; and said that he would not have referred to it, if it had not been for the statement that I had made in Parliament, as regards which he had been instructed by his Government to express satisfaction .
I said, with reference to what he had said to me the other day, that I must not be taken as meaning that no conversations had taken place between the Military and Naval authorities of France and Russia and ourselves.There had been some conversations from time to time: they began in 1906. But everything had been on the footing that the hands of the Governments were quite free. Indeed, if such conversations took place, it was not necessary for me to know what passed. The thing which concerned the Government and myself, and which it was necessary for me to keep in our hands, was whether we should or should not participate if a war arose. If we made any Agreement that entailed obligations upon us, it would not be a secret Agreement. I was pledged to Parliament not to make a secret Agreement of this kind and any such Agreement that was made would be laid before Parliament. It was also true to say that never had there been anything in the nature of preparing an attack upon Germany. During the Morocco crisis in 1906, for instance, and again at the Agadir time, there had been apprehension that Germany might send an ultimatum to France: but to contemplate that was a different thing from preparing an attack against Germany. I then gave the Ambassador to read the record that I had made of my conversation with him on the 24th June last.(2) I said that every word of that held good.
I told the Ambassador that, since I saw him last Monday, I had expressed to Count Benckendorff the apprehension that the Austrian Government might be forced by public opinion to make some déarche with regard to Servia. I had told Count Benckendorff what I had said to Prince Lichnowsky about Russian feeling with regard to Germany. Count Benckendorff had told me that, since the question of the German Military Command in Constantinople had been settled, he also had had no indication whatever from St. Petersburg of irritation or ill-will in Russia with regard to Germany.(3)
Prince Lichnowsky expressed himself as hopeful, though he had no information, that the German Government might have succeeded in smoothing the Austrian intentions with regard to Servia. He hoped that, under any circumstances, if England and Germany kept in touch, we might be able to keep things right.
I said that, if Austrian action with regard to Servia kept within certain bounds, it would of course be comparatively easy to encourage patience at St. Petersburg; but there were some things that Austria might do that would make the Russian Government say that the Slav feeling in Russia was so strong that they must send an ultimatum or something of that sort. I assured Prince Lichnowsky that I would continue the same policy as I had pursued through the Balkan crisis, and do my utmost to prevent the outbreak of war between the Great Powers. The greater the risk of war, the more closely would I adhere to that policy. He could assure his Government that I not only did not wish to disturb the peace, but would also do my utmost to preserve it. If there was war between the Great Powers it would mean the failure to secure the great object for which all of us, who had been in the London Conference during the Balkan crisis, had worked.
In the course of conversation, I happened to remark that I supposed that Germany had her own Naval and Military arrangements with the other members of the Triple Alliance.
Prince Lichnowsky assured me, on this, that the Alliance remained as it was in Prince Bismarck's time: it was purely defensive and it did not include any Naval Agreement with regard to the Mediterranean.
I am, &c.
For Prince Lichnowsky's account of this conversation see DD No. 30.
(1) No. 32.
(2) No. 4.
(3) No. 39.
The "Matin" of to-day's date informs its readers that a small volume is about to appear in Paris entitled "La Politique allemande" and written by Prince Bulow. This volume has, so the "Matin" states, been translated by M. Maurice Herbette (of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) and a preface to the translated edition has been written by M. de Selves, Ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs.
M. Herbette was Private Secretary to M. de Selves during the period when he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, namely, June 1911 to January 1912, a period which included the Agadir affair and the signature of the Franco-German Treaty respecting Morocco and French Equatorial Africa.....
The "Matin" follows up its announcement of the forthcoming publication of the volume above-mentioned by reproducing one of its chapters headed "LaFrance irreconciliable." The gist of this chapter is contained in the last sentence where Prince Bulow quotes some words used by a French Diplomatist to an English Minister to the effect that so long as Alsace-Lorraine was in the hands of Germany the French people would never cease to look upon the latter country as their "permanent adversary," and would only consider another nation as their "accidental enemy." The "Matin" publishes in a parallel column the preface written by M. de Selves. I have the honour to transmit to you herewith an extract from the "Matin" containing the chapter by Prince Bulow and M. de Selves' preface.(1)
The "Temps" of yesterday evening also had an article in which Franco-German affairs were mentioned. The article begins with a criticism of M. Jaurés who had spoken in the Chamber against M. Poincaré's forthcoming journey to Russia (a platonic manifestation which the Socialist party are in the habit of making when occasion offers, against the autocratic regime of France's ally) and goes on to suggest that the Socialists had a threefold campaign in view against the Three Years' Service,against the Russian Alliance and in favour of a rapprochement with Germany.
The article in the "Temps" lays great stress on the fact that France, not having made war on Germany to recover her lost provinces, was bound to endeavour to regain her diplomatic position in Europe. She did so by creating a group of Powers who were independent of German influence. If M. Jaurés' suggestion for an énlargissement of the French system of alliances and entente were listened to, it would, so the "Temps" declares, amount to the destruction of the system built up by France. "Une entente politique avec l'Allemagne," it continues, "annulant l'effort de quaranteans et d'asertant les voies a notre diplomatie a retrouvé lasecurité et la liberté aucun Français conscient ne saurait y souscrire."
The article concludes by an emphatic assertion that France has no alliances nor friendships upon which to fall back ("alliances et amitié rechange") should she abandon her present ones.
I am, &c.
(1) Not printed.
My dear Nicolson,
The late Archduke and King Ferdinand were, as you probably know, at daggers drawn. They had known each other from their youth up, and, it appears, they were always mutually antipathetic.
On the whole the outlook is not bright. I have refrained entirely from being alarmist, both in my despatches and letters. If the ball is started, it will be by Turkey, about October or so, after she has received her new super-Dreadnought. Bulgaria will not join in until she has made some definite arrangement with Turkey as to dividing the spoils.
As I wrote to you in a previous letter, I do not believe that Servia will pass the Albanian frontier unless she has previously arranged for Russian support, " le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle," as she will put Europe against her by any such action.
I am inclined to believe that Austria will also keep quiet as long as the Emperor lives, although the feeling against the Servians will be at fever heat for some time. If, however, Turkey and Greece go to war, and the troops of the former cross the Bulgarian frontier, Servia will most certainly go to the assistance of Greece, and Roumania will again end by getting a portion of the spoils. This time she will take Shumla and Varna if she gets the chance.
It looks as if the first loan would go to Germany, but it will be inadequate, and goodness knows where they will turn for the next one.
E. O. BAX-lRONSIDE.
The remarks made by Prince Lichnowsky on this head are, as far as I can judge, fully borne out by the reserved attitude of the German Press in the first instance, and by what I have been able to gather at the Imperial Foreign Office.
When the news of the murders at Serajevo became known there was evidently anxiety in official quarters lest the Austro-Hungarian Government might take some precipitate action against Servia which would have far-reaching consequences. Some such idea must have been at the back of Herr Zimmermann's mind when he spoke to the Russian Ambassador in the sense which 1 had the honour to report to you in my Despatch No. 265 of the 30th ultimo. (2) His observations were evidently intended to be passed on and used as a hint to the Servian Government to forestall any possible action by the Austro-HungarianGovernment.
The practical absence at first of detailed speculation in the German Press as to what might happen between Austria-Hungary and Servia was an indication that the situation was difficult for Germany. The papers merely printed telegrams from Vienna, reporting that some immediate steps were in contemplation at Belgrade. When, however, it was announced that theAustro-Hungarian Government were going to await the results of the investigations at Serajevo before taking action, a feeling of relief was noticeable. Then came the statement made by Count Tisza in the Chamber of Deputies at Budapest.(3) This statement is referred to as follows in a semi-official communiqué to the "Kalnische Zeitung" of the 9th instant: "The declarations made by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Count Tisza, in reply to Count Andrassy's interpellation regarding the murder at Serajevo are welcomed with assent in political circles here. Count Tisza laid stress on the great desirability of the maintenance of peace, but also referred in earnest terms to the necessity of safeguarding the vital interests and the prestige of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The calm and determination of this statement are fully understood here."
The Press have discussed the situation much more freely within the last day or two. The general upshot of their remarks is that Austria-Hungary cannot indefinitely tolerate the state of things prevailing on her Servian frontier. Hard things are said about Servia and the Servians, and it is freely assumed by some papers that the latter will shelter themselves behind the big Slav brother. There is a consensus of opinion that Germany will and must stand by her ally in this matter.
I asked Herr von Jagow at his weekly reception what news he had from Servia. He replied that he had none, but added that if the Servian press continued to use the language it did, matters would become serious.
I have, &c.
(1) No. 32.
(2) No. 22.
(3) Cf. Nos. 55, 65, 70.
The severe reprisals taken against the Serb population in Bosnia in consequence of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand have, as was to be expected, unchained the passions of the Servian Yellow Press. I will not trouble you with any of these acrimonious articles which are both irresponsible and unofficial. They have recently been condemned by theGovernment organ, the "Samouprava" in a leading article in which stress is laid on the correctattitude taken by the Servian Press immediately after the assassination, and on the general reprobation of the crime in Servia. It is therefore, states the "Samouprava," all the more regrettable that certain organs should have been induced by subsequent events in Bosnia to attempt a justification of the murder. The only result of this can be to justify the consequences which the murder has entailed on the Serb population of Austria-Hungary. The hope is expressed that these press polemics will now cease. Servia is now strong enough to discard the employment of threats and insults. The article concludes by emphasising the fact that the Austro-Hungarian Press has seized the opportunity to open a campaign of slander and menace against this country, and to incite the populace to outrages on innocent and peaceful citizens, thereby incurring the blame of every civilised State.
I have, &c.
In view of the bitter feeling against the entire Serb race which has been aroused in the Dual Monarchy by the assassination of the Heir to the Throne, the result of a meeting of common Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Finance and War and of the Prime Ministers of Austria and Hungary, which was held on the 7th instant in Vienna,(1) in order to deliberate on the situation created by the murders, was awaited with keen expectation, and the more ardent spirits received no doubt with some disappointment the announcement made on the following day in the official "Fremdenblatt" that merely the internal situation in Bosnia and the Herzegovina asaffected by the outrage had been under consideration. Less responsible papers however professed to be in a position to state that in reality the proceedings at the Council had covered agreat deal more ground. Not only had it been decided to institute the severest kind of police control over Serb associations, schools and churches within the annexed provinces, and to exclude with the utmost rigour all suspicious arrivals from across the Servian frontier, but a peremptory diplomatic representation to the Servian Government had been drawn up, for presentation at an early date, in order to compel the latter to put a stop once for all to the noxious propaganda of the Pan-Servian League.
The public mind was considerably agitated by these announcements, which appeared in newspapers known to be occasionally used by the Press Bureau for semi official communications, and the effect was soon visible in the general fall of securities in the Vienna money market. After Count Berchtold's audience of the Emperor at Ischl on the 9th instant, at which it was understood that His Excellency was to receive His Majesty's final directions regarding the transmission of a menacing Note to Servia, the alarmist portion of the Press declared that the step inquestion would be taken within the net few days, inasmuch as the proceedings in the Sarajevo Court had already clearly demonstrated the complicity of Servia in the murders. Yesterday, however, it was thought fit to announce officially in the Press that all statements professing to divulge the results of the Ministerial Council and of the audience of the Emperor were entirely unfounded. Nothing therefore is really known at the present moment regarding the intentions of the Government, and it may well be that they will hesitate to take a step which might lead to a position of great international tension. It seems to be decided to await, at all events, the result of the proceeding at Sarajevo before adopting a final resolution. The Servian Minister at Vienna states that he has no reason to expect that any threatening communication will be addressed to his Government.
I am, &c.
(For the Ambassador),
(1) An official account of this meeting will be found in A
I No. 8.
It appears from documents preserved in Sir A. Nicolson's private correspondence that on some date not specified, the Serbian Minister had privately asked for advice with reference to an article which had appeared in a newspaper called "John Bull" on the 11th July, 1914. This article purported to produce evidence thatthe Secret Service Bureau attached to the Servian Legation in London had been privy to the plans for the murder of the Archduke. M. Boschkovitch wished to have advice as to prosecution for libel. On the 15th July he was informed verbally by Sir Arthur Nicolson that legal opinion was to the effect that such proceedings might fail; the writer of the article had been very careful to write with such vagueness as to prevent the possibility of any particular person complaining that he was libelled.It was pointed out also that there was no means in this country by which the executive could suppress a newspaper.
Tel. (No. 42.) En clair. Belgrade, July 11, 1914.
M. de Hartwig, Russian Minister here, died suddenly last night of heart failure.
In the political and diplomatic world, M. de Hartwig's death will not cause much grief. E. A. C. July 11.
He was a faithful and active supporter of Russian policy, although his methods were peculiar. His Servian policy was, so far as Russian interests were concerned, distinctly a success. A. N.
I can only say "de mortuis nil." E. G.
Belgrade, July 12, 1914.
R. 11:50 A.M.,
Tel. (No. 43.)
My immediately preceding telegram.
By a strange fatality Russian Minister's death took place during visit he was paying to the Austrian Minister on the latter's return from Vienna. Russian Minister was desirous of offering certain personal explanations in regard to various reports concerning his behaviour and attitude after the Archduke's assassination, asto which I am reporting by bag.(1)
I am assured that interview was quite friendly, and doctor's evidence is that death would in any case have taken place within a few days.
(l) No. 62.
The French Government appear to be much preoccupied by the question of Anglo-Russian relations in Persia and Palelogue tells me that Poincare who is expected here on July 20 will make it one of the chief subjects of conversation with Sazonow. If, therefore, you would let me know if there are any special points which Sir Edward would like to have pressed on Sazonow, I will mention them to Poincare when I see him at his reception of the Diplomatic Body.
Now that the first feeling of horror evoked by the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and His Consort has passed away, the general impression would seem to be one of relief that so dangerous a personality should have been removed from the succession to the Throne.
[NOTE. The greater part of this letter deals with the relations between Great Britain and Russia in Asia. See Introduction, p. xi.]
From language held by Minister for Foreign Affairs to a friend of mine, who has repeated it to me, I gather that situation is regarded at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a serious light and that a kind of indictment is being prepared against the Servian Government for alleged complicity in the conspiracy which led to assassination of the Archduke. Accusation will be founded on the proceedings in the Serajevo Court. My informant states that the Servian Government will be required to adopt certain definite measures in restraint of nationalist and anarchist propaganda, and that Austro-Hungarian Government are in no mood to parley with Servia, but will insist on immediate unconditional compliance, failing which force will be used.Germany is said to be in complete agreement with this procedure, and it is thought that the rest of Europe will sympathise with Austria-Hungary in demanding that Servia shall adopt in future more submissive attitude.
My informant states that Count Forgach entirely shares these views with his chief and that they are very generally held by all classes in this country.
I asked if Russia would be expected to stand by quietly in the event of force being used against Servia.
My informant said that he presumed that Russia would not wish to protect racial assassins, but in any case Austria-Hungary would go ahead regardless of results. She would lose her position as a Great Power if she stood any further nonsense from Servia.
This language is also held by a portion of the press, including the"Neue Freie Presse," which is now in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The official "Fremdenblatt" is more moderate.
I hope to see Minister for Foreign Affairs Friday.
(Repeated to Belgrade.)
Cf. Despatch No. 56.
Count Trauttmansdorf spoke to me (quite informally) at great length to-day, giving expression to very much the same views. R. A. C. July 16.