Document Numbers 361-380

31 July 1914
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(35110) No. 361. Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 31, 1914.
D. 4:16 P.M.
Telegram (No. 180.) R. 10:45 P.M.

Following for Director of Military Operations from military attaché:

"Order for general mobilisation has not been given yet, but is hourly expected. Although 1st, 10th and 11th corps have not actually mobilised, they have been strengthened by junior reservists of corps. Order has been given to mobilise all fortresses in Galicia, and reservists of engineers and fortress artillery are already being called up.

"This year's recruits have been called this month in advance of usual date. Archduke Frederick, General Conrad, General Auffenberg are all in Vienna. It appears total forces concentrated against Servia are termed 'army of Balkans,' and are placed under Potiorek, with von Frank, Shammarodbohm Ermoli (sic ? General Bohm-Ermolli) under him, but this is not confirmed.

"Two cavalry divisions accompany main army in Hungary, and are now credibly reported near Arad.

"Force opposite Belgrade includes 44th and 46th regiments of 4th corps.

"Some of troops from Vienna have proceeded viâ Trieste to Ragusa."

(35105) No. 362.
Mr. Max Müller to Sir Edward Grey.
Budapest, July 31, 1914.
D. 5:30 P.M.
Telegram (No. 8.)
R. 10:45 P.M.

Official press agency has been informed that general mobilisation has been ordered (?but no) announcement is to be made in the newspapers until to-morrow.

Preparations for further mobilisation are very evident here.

(Sent to Vienna.)

(35091) No. 363.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 31, 1914.
D. 9:20 P.M.
Telegram (No. 101.)
R. 11 P . M .

Following from military attaché for War Office:

"Position of French troops as follows:

"Those absolutely on frontier took up their covering positions on the 30th July with orders not to approach within 8 kilom. of frontier. Remainder in garrison quarters at Rheims, Dijon, Bourges. War Office just received news that railways in Alsace-Lorraine reserved for military purposes. German troop trains moving towards frontier; some railway and telegraph lines cut. War Office think Germany mobilises this afternoon."

(35884) No. 364.
French Ambassador to Sir A. Nicolson.
Le 31 Juillet 1914.
11:30 soir.

Cher Sir Arthur,
Je vous envoie ci-joint un télégramme que je viens de recevoir et qui montre que l'Allemagne se livre déjà sur notre territoire à de véritables actes de guerre.

Sir Edward Grey a bien voulu me prévenir que le cabinet se réunirait demain matin et me donné rendez-vous à 3.

Vous jugerez peut-être opportun de lui remettre le télégramme que je vous envoie, avant le conseil de cabinet.

Votre sinc&etrave;rement dévoué,

Mr. William Martin vient de remettre à Lord Stamfordham la lettre de M. le Président de la République.(1)

Enclosure in No. 364.
Télégramme du Ministre des Affaires Etrangères à l'Ambassadeur de France à Londres, le 31 Juillet 1914.
Dès mercredi dernier, l'Ambassadeur d'Allemagne à Paris avait annoncé au Ministre des Affaires étrangères que l'Allemagne se mettrait en état "de menace de guerre." C'est cet état de menace de guerre que l'Allemagne vient d'adopter et qu'elle s'efforce de représenter comme une conséquence des mesures prises par la Russie qui sont volontairement exagérées.

Une série de faits viennent de se produire sur la frontière française:

Le Commissaire de Police allemand d'Amanvillers a confisqu‚ la locomotive française No. 6113 de l'Est. La voie est coupée à Amanvillers et à Novéant, les fils télégraphiques à Novéant.

A la station frontière de Montreux, les Allemands ont coup‚ la voie et empêché‚ quatre locomotives françaises de passer en Allemagne.

A Pagny, ils ont install‚ des mitrailleuses et coup‚ la voie.

A Montreux-Vieux, les nouvelles machines françaises ont été confisqu‚es par les Allemands.

L'Allemagne a rompu toutes les relations télégraphiques et téléphoniques internationales .

(1) See No. 366.

(35112) No. 365.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 31, 1914.
D. 11 P.M.
Telegram (No. 139.)
R. 1:-50 P.M.

My telegram No. 137.(1)

In view of German demand to Russia for demobilisation in twelve hours, and of her demand for French declaration of intentions, Minister for Foreign Affairs anticipates state of war will exist between these Powers to-morrow. He is now with President of the Council considering question of declaration of Italian neutrality. He would be grateful for your advice on point. He presumes, as Italy is taking no part in hostilities, while reserving her future liberty of action, she should issue such declaration of neutrality at once to make her position clear. Would England do so in similar situation?

This seems to depend on the terms of the alliance. G. R. C. August 1, 1914.

The question which the Italian govt. ask is one which can only be answered by the Cabinet.(2) E.A.C. August 1.

(1) There is no record of a telegram bearing this No.
(2) See No. 433.

No. 366.
Communicated by the French Embassy.
S. Ex. M. Viviani, Ministre des Affaires Étrangères, Paris, à S. E. M. Paul Cambon, Ambasadeur de France à Londres.
Paris, le 81 Juillet 1914.
Départ: 8h. 20 soir.
Tél. (No. 402.)
Arrivée: 4h. 15.

Mr. William Martin arrivera ce soir à 10 heures 45; il sera porteur d'une lettre(1) de M. le Président de la République pour le Roi d'Angleterre. Veuillez faire en sorte qu cette lettre puisse être remise ce soir même à son destinataire.

(1) A copy of this letter will be found in CDD, p. 542.

(35146) No. 367.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
(No. 513.) Foreign Office, July 31, 1914.

M. Cambon referred to-day to a telegram that had been shown to Sir Arthur Nicolson this morning from the French Ambassador in Berlin saying that it was the uncertainty with regard to whether we would intervene which was the encouraging element in Berlin, and that, if we would only declare definitely on the side of Russia and France, it would decide the German attitude in favour of peace.

I said that it was quite wrong to suppose that we had left Germany under the impression that we would not intervene. I had refused overtures to promise that we should remain neutral. I had not only definitely declined to say that we would remain neutral; I had even gone so far this morning as to say to the German Ambassador that, if France and Germany became involved in war, we should be drawn into it. That, of course, was not the same thing as taking an engagement to France, and I told M. Cambon of it only to show that we had not left Germany under the impression that we would stand aside.

M. Cambon then asked me for my reply to what he had said yesterday.(1)

I said that we had come to the conclusion, in the Cabinet to-day, that we could not give any pledge at the present time. The commercial and financial situation was exceedingly serious; there was danger of a complete collapse that would involve us and everyone else in ruin; and it was possible that our standing aside might be the only means of preventing a complete collapse of European credit, in which we should be involved. This might be a paramount consideration in deciding our attitude.

I went on to say to M. Cambon that though we should have to put our policy before Parliament, we could not pledge Parliament in advance. Up to the present moment, we did not feel, and public opinion did not feel, that any treaties or obligations of this country were involved. Further developments might alter this situation and cause the Government and Parliament to take the view that intervention was justified. The preservation of the neutrality of Belgium might be, I would not say a decisive, but an important factor, in determining our attitude. Whether we proposed to Parliament to intervene or not to intervene in a war, Parliament would wish to know how we stood with regard to the neutrality of Belgium, and it might be that I should ask both France and Germany whether each was prepared to undertake an engagement that she would not be the first to violate the neutrality of Belgium.

M. Cambon expressed great disappointment at my reply. He repeated his question of whether we would help France if Germany made an attack on her.

I said that I could only adhere to the answer that, as far as things had gone at present, we could not take any engagement. The latest news was that Russia had ordered a complete mobilisation of her fleet and army. This, it seemed to me, would precipitate a crisis, and would make it appear that German mobilisation was being forced by Russia.

M. Cambon urged that Germany had from the beginning rejected proposals that might have made for peace. It could not be to England's interest that France should be crushed by Germany. We should then be in a very diminished position with regard to Germany. In 1870, we had made a great mistake in allowing an enormous increase of German strength; and we should now be repeating the mistake. He asked me whether I could not submit his question to the Cabinet again.

I said that the Cabinet would certainly be summoned as soon as there was some new development, but at the present moment the only answer I could give was that we could not undertake any definite engagement.

I am, &c.

Published in BB No. 119 (parts omitted).
Cf. F No. 110.

No. 368.
Sir A. Nicolson to Sir Edward Grey.
July 31, 1914.
Sir Edward Grey,

It seems to me most essential, whatever our future course may be in regard to intervention, that we should at once give orders for mobilisation of the army. It is useless to shut our eyes to the fact that possibly within the next 24 hours Germany will be moving across the French frontier and if public opinion, at present so bewildered and partially informed, is ready in event of German invasion of France to stand by the latter, if we are not mobilised our aid would be too late. Mobilisation is a precautionary and not a provocative measure and to my mind is essential.

A. N.

There is much force in this. We ought to prepare and I think it should be considered early to- morrow. E.G. July 31, 1914.

No. 369.
Sir E. Crowe to Sir Edward Grey.
July 31, 1914.

Dear Sir Edward.
Will you pardon me if I venture to put before you in perhaps rather crude words they have of necessity been written rather rapidly some simple thoughts which the grave situation has suggested to my mind.

If you think them worthless please put them aside. Nothing is further from my mind than to trouble you needlessly or add to your grave perplexities at this moment.

Yours sincerely,

Enclosure in No. 369.
Memorandum by Sir E. Crowe, July 31st, 1914.

The theory that England cannot engage in a big war means her abdication as an independent State. She can be brought to her knees and made to obey the behests of any Power or group of Powers who can go to war, of whom there are several.

The theory further involves not only that there is no need for any British army or navy but also that there has been no such need for many years. It cannot have been right to impose on the country the upkeep at an enormous annual cost of an unnecessary because useless force.

If the theory were true, the general principle on which our whole foreign policy has hitherto been declared to rest would stand proclaimed as an empty futility. A balance of power cannot be maintained by a State that is incapable of fighting and consequently carries no weight.

The fact that British influences has on several momentous occasions turned the scale, is evidence that foreign States do not share the belief that England cannot go to war.

At the opening of any war in all countries there is a commercial panic.

The systematic disturbance of an enemy's financial organisation and the creation of panic is part of a well-laid preparation for war.

Commercial opinion is generally timid, and apt to follow pusillanimous counsels. The panic in the city has been largely influenced by the deliberate acts of German financial houses, who are in at least as close touch with the German as with the British Government, and who are notoriously in daily communication with the German Embassy.

It has been the unremitting effort of Germany to induce England to declare herself neutral in case Germany were at war with France and Russia. The object has been so transparent that His Majesty's Government have persistently declined to follow this policy, as incompatible with their duty to France and Russia and also to England herself. The proposal was again pressed upon us in a concrete form yesterday. It was rejected in words which gave the impression that in the eye of His Majesty's Government the German proposal amounted to asking England to do a dishonourable act.

If it be now held that we are entirely justified in remaining neutral and standing aside whilst Germany falls upon France, it was wrong yesterday to think that we were asked to enter into a dishonourable bargain, and it is a pity that we did not close with it. For at least terms were offered which were of some value for France and Belgium. We are apparently now willing to do what we scornfully declined to do yesterday, with the consequence that we lose the compensating advantages accompany in yesterday's offer.

The argument that there is no written bond binding us to France is strictly correct. There is no contractual obligation. But the Entente has been made, strengthened, put to the test and celebrated in a manner justifying the belief that a moral bond was being forged. The whole policy of the Entente can have no meaning if it does not signify that in a just quarrel England would stand by her friends. This honourable expectation has been raised. We cannot repudiate it without exposing our good name to grave criticism.

I venture to think that the contention that England cannot in any circumstances go to war, is not true, and that any endorsement of it would be an act of political suicide.

The question at issue is not whether we are capable of taking part in a war, but whether we should go into the present war. That is a question firstly of right or wrong, and secondly of political expediency.

If the question were argued on this basis, I feel confident that our duty and our interest will be seen to lie in standing by France in her hour of need. France has not sought the quarrel. It has been forced upon her. E. A. C.

(35567) No. 370.
Sir Edward Grey to Mr. Barclay (Washington).
(No. 431.)
Foreign Office, July 31, 1914.

The American Ambassador having written to me to say that his Government were willing to offer their services for mediation in the present European difficulties.(l) I saw him this afternoon and informed him how hitherto all suggestions of mediation in the dispute between Austria and Servia, which was at the root of the European difficulties, had been refused. I should be only too delighted if any opportunity arose in which the good offices of the United States could be used. I had asked the German Government to suggest any means by which mediation could be applied, but had not vet received an answer. I asked Mr. Page whether the offer of the United States to mediate had been made in other capitals besides London. Of this he was not sure.

I am, &c.

(1) See No. 259.

(34848) No. 371.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir H. Bax-Ironside.
(No. 54.) Confidential.
Foreign Office. July 31, 1914

The Greek Minister called on the 28th instant and informed Sir E Crowe in strict confidence that communications were passing between the Greek and Roumanian Governments with a view of a joint warning being addressed to Sophia that if Bulgaria were to attack Servia, Greece and Roumania would move on Bulgaria.

I am, &c.

(36002) No. 372.
Communicated by German Embassy, midnight, July 31, 1914.

On the 29th July the Tsar asked His Majesty the Emperor by telegraph to mediate between Austria-Hungary and Russia. The Emperor at once declared his readiness to do so; he so informed the Tsar by telegram, and immediately took the necessary steps at Vienna. Without waiting for the result Russia then mobilised against Austria-Hungary, whereupon the Emperor at once informed the Tsar that such action rendered his mediation illusory; the Emperor further requested the Tsar to stop the military preparations against Austria. This was, however, not done. The German Government nevertheless persevered with their mediation at Vienna. In putting forward the urgent proposals that she did, the German Government went to the utmost limit possible with a sovereign State which is her ally. The suggestions made by the German Government at Vienna were entirely on the lines of those put forward by Great Britain, and the German Government recommended them for serious consideration at Vienna. They were considered this morning at Vienna. While the deliberations were taking place, and before they were even terminated, Count Pourtalès announced from St. Petersburg the mobilisation of the whole Russian army and fleet. This action on the part of Russia rendered any answer by Austria to the German proposal for mediation impossible. It also affected Germany, whose mediation had been solicited by the Tsar personally. We were compelled, unless we wished to abandon the safety of the Fatherland, to answer this action, which could only be regarded as hostile, with serious counter-measures. We could not idly watch Russia mobilising on our frontier. We therefore told Russia that if she did not stop her warlike measures against Germany and Austria-Hungary within twelve hours we should mobilise, and that would mean war. We asked France whether in a Russo-German war she would remain neutral.

Communicated in German. For German text see DD No. 513; See also No. 384.

(35149) No. 373
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey. (Received August 1.)
(No. 380.) Confidential.
Paris, July 30, 1914.

I had an audience of the President of the Republic this evening in order to congratulate him, on your part, on the success of his visit to Petersburg. I deemed it well when conveying to him your congratulations not to make any special reference to the complete accord which he had established with Russia.

M. Poincaré desired me to thank you for your message. His visit had he said been in every way satisfactory and altogether a great success.

I told the President that when I was in London in the middle of July you had directed me to explain to him on my return to Paris the views of His Majesty's Government in regard to Albania; I had not been able to do so for he had left for Petersburg when I got back to Paris; and now the question of Albania had, in view of the very grave state of affairs arising out of the Austro-Servian differences, become a matter of very secondary importance. You had been willing to sanction the recruiting and drilling at Scutari by Colonel Phillips and the other officers of the international contingents of an Albanian force for the service of the Prince of Albania provided that those officers were not to take part in any military operations undertaken by such force. In no circumstances would His Majesty's Government consent to a British military force taking part in an international occupation of Albania. As therefore they would not send a British force to assist in repelling the insurgents in their advances on territory allotted to Albania, they could not object to other Powers undertaking the task if they wished to do so. Austria and Italy might propose to occupy Albania for the purpose of restoring order. You would prefer that they should do so with the consent of the other Powers rather than as their mandatories, which would involve responsibilities which His Majesty's Government might be unwilling to accept.

M. Poincaré said that the question of Albania had been superseded by the present very grave situation. arising out of the Austro-Servian difference. In the middle of the night (3 A.M. 30th July), the French Government had received intelligence from Petersburg that the German Ambassador had informed M. Sazonow that unless Russia stopped her mobilisation of troops Germany would mobilise hers.(1) M. Poincaré had had at once consultations with the Ministers for War and of Marine as to what preparations should be made by the French Government to meet such an eventuality. At 1 P.M. to-day a further report from the French Ambassador at St. Petersburg stated that the German Ambassador had made a second communication to M. Sazonow which reduced the previous one to a request on the part of the German Government to be made acquainted with the conditions subject to which Russia would demobilise. M. Sazonow's reply was that Russia would consent to do so provided that Austria would give an assurance that she will respect the Sovereignty of Servia and will submit certain of the demands in the Austrian note not accepted by Servia to an international discussion.(2)

The President of the Republic thinks that the Austrian Government will not accept these Russian conditions. He is convinced that the preservation of peace between the Great Powers of the continent depends upon the attitude of England, for if His Majesty's Government would announce that in the event of a conflict between Germany and France resulting from the present differences between Austria and Servia England would come to the aid of France, there would not be war, for Germany would at once modify her attitude.

I told M. Poincaré that it would be very difficult for His Majesty's Government to make such an announcement, for the majority of the House of Commons would probably not appreciate the necessity for making it. It might be regarded at the present moment as an intervention in the Austro-Servian question, a matter in which England is not directly interested. M. Poincaré maintained that it would be in the interest of peace, which is a great English as well as French interest. France, he said, does not desire war. She wishes to remain at peace. The French Government have not gone further at present than preparations for mobilisation so as not to be taken unawares and they will keep His Majesty's Government informed of everything that may be done in that way. If war broke out between Russia and Austria, and Germany came to the assistance of Austria, France would be bound by her treaty engagements to aid Russia. There would be general war on the continent in which England would inevitably be involved in the course of it for the protection of interests vital to her position. By a declaration now of her intention to support France, whose great desire is peace, a war would almost certainly be prevented, for Germany, though she might be ready to fight France as well as Russia, would not run the risk of having her sea-borne trade destroyed and of being starved by the British fleet.

I said that the orders to the British fleet not to disperse must be a pretty clear indication to Germany, without any formal announcement, of what might happen if there were war between Germany and France. M. Poincaré replied that such an announcement would prevent such a war, and even if it did not prevent it, British aid to France at the outbreak of hostilities would assist in the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe. Aid given later might be too late, and if England remained neutral and Germany became omnipotent on the continent, the position of England would be entirely altered to her detriment as a Great Power.

M. Poincaré wished me to report to you for your earnest consideration the reasons which he had given to me in support of a declaration by His Majesty's Government such as he suggested.

I have transmitted to you by telegraph(3) the substance of my present despatch in regard to the situation arising out of the Austro-Servian differences.

I have, &c.

(1) R No. 58 and R II.
(2) See No. 302 and R No. 60.
(3) No. 318.

No. 374.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
British Embassy, Paris, July 31, 1914.

My dear Grey,
When the Minister for Foreign Affairs sent for me this evening I imagined that it was for the purpose of giving me the answer of the French Government to your proposal which I communicated to him this morning in regard to a formula of arrangement between Austria and Russia.(1)

When I arrived at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs the German Ambassador was with M. Viviani and I went in just after the departure of the Ambassador.

Naturally from the character of the communication which M. Viviani had just received he was in a highly nervous state and forgot all about the object for which he had sent for me.

M. de Schoen could not say when the ultimatum to Russia expires.

Evidently the Germans want to hurry matters on before the Russians can be ready.

M. de Schoen sent a message of good-bye to the President of the Republic.(2)

Yours sincerely,

Cf. telegram No. 357.

(1) No 342.
(2) F No. 120.

(35305) No. 375.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey. (Received August 1.)
(No. 119.)
The Hague, July 31, 1914.

The "chef de cabinet" at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs told me to-day that all the Dutch regiments were now at full strength and that the next step, which he hoped would not have to be taken, was concentration.

M. Doude said the vulnerable point was the Province of Limburg and that up to the present there were no more regiments there now than there were in normal times, though the regiments stationed there were, like all other regiments in this country, at war strength. M. Doude added that troops could be sent to Limburg from other parts of Holland in a few hours if necessary.

I have, &c.

(35148) No. 376.
The Danish Minister to Sir Edward Grey.
Danish Legation, London, August 1, 1914.

By order of my Government I have the honour to inform you that in view of the more and more serious aspect of the international situation the King's Government have considered it right to call out for precautionary purposes about 14,000 men to the navy and about 18,000 men to the naval fortifications.

I have, &c.

Cf. No. 530.

(35101) No. 377.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, July 31, 1914.
D. July 31, 11:4 P.M.
Telegram (No. 6.) En clair.
R. August 1, 12:35 A.M.

Orders issued this evening for general mobilisation of the Belgian army.

Cf. No. 415.

(35106) No. 378.
Consul-General Sir C. Hertslet to Sir Edward Grey.
Antwerp, July 31, 1914.
D. July 31, 8:41 P.M.
R. August 1, 12:50 A.M.

Public notice just posted in Antwerp station stating that all railway communication with Germany has ceased.

(35099) No. 379.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 31, 1914.
D. July 31, 8:37 P.M.
Telegram (No. 192.)
R. August 1, 1:25 A.M.

No vessels allowed to leave St. Petersburg till further notice.

(35093) No. 380.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 31, 1914.
D. August 1, 1:10 A.M.
Telegram (No. 103.)
R. August 1, 2:5 P.M.

On the receipt at 8 80 to-night of your telegram No. 287 of this afternoon,(1) 1 sent a message to Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting to see him. He received me at 10:30 to-night at the Elysée, where a Cabinet Council was being held. He took a note of the enquiry as to the respecting by France of the neutrality of Belgium which you instructed me to make [group undecypherable].

He told me that a communication had been made to you by the German Ambassador in London of the intention of Germany to order a general mobilisation of her army if Russia does not demobilise at once.(2) He is urgently anxious as to what the attitude of England will be in the circumstances, and begs an answer may be made by His Majesty's Government at the earliest moment possible.

Minister for Foreign Affairs also told me that the German Embassy is packing up.

M. Jaurès has been killed in a restaurant by a young man on the ground that he was a pacificist and a traitor.

Published in BB No. 124 (last sentence omitted).
Cf. No. 382.

(1) No. 348.
(2) No. 344.