Document Numbers 501-521

2-3 August 1914
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(35440) No. 501.
Mr. Heathcote-Smith to Sir Edward Grey.
Smyrna, August 2, 1914.
D. 8:35 P.M.
Tel. (No. 6.)
R. 8 P.M.

General mobilisation of Turkish army just ordered here.

German colonel will apparently command fourth army corps.

(35450) No. 502.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, August 2, 1914.
Tel. (No. 152.) En clair.
D. 8:20 P.M.

German Ambassador announced at mid-day to-day to Minister for Foreign Affairs that Germany had declared war against Russia. Latter in reply announced neutrality of Italy conforming to spirit and letter of Triple Alliance. A Royal Decree has been issued forbidding exportation from Italy of cereals, coffee, sugar, horses, meat, clothing, vehicles, motors, coal, specified metals, medicines. Details follow.

(35484) No. 503.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, August 2, 1914.
Tel. (No. 261.)
D. 9:30 P.M.

Your telegram No 12. of August 2nd.(1)

Denaby and Cadeby, Main Collieries Ltd., owners of British steamship "Winterton" fear she is being detained at Hamburg. Please take such steps as may be possible to obtain her immediate release if detained.

Cf. No. 538.

(1) No. 456 (b).

(35457) No. 504.
Mr. Findlay to Sir Edward Grey.
Christiania, August 2, 1914.
D. 6:30 P.M.
Tel. (Unnumbered.)
R. 10 P.M.

My immediately preceding telegram.(1) Norwegian Government are preparing to issue similar declaration of neutrality in war between Russia and Germany.

They have issued orders for mobilisation of Norwegian fleet of two battalions to strengthen garrison of Bergen and of one battalion for Christiania in order to defend neutrality.

(1) No. 475.

(35454) No. 505.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, August 2, 1914.
Tel. (No. 264.) En clair.
D. 10:30 P.M.

Following communicated by German Ambassador to-night:

"This morning eighty French officers in Prussian uniforms attempted cross German frontier in twelve motor-cars at Walbeck, west of Geldern. This constitutes most serious violation neutrality on part of France."

Cf. Nos. 471, 541/2 and DD No. 677.

(35459) No. 506.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 2, 1914.
D. 6:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 119.) En clair.
R. 11:45 P.M.

State of siege declared in Paris and Algeria.

Parliament convoked for to-morrow.

(35460) No. 507.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 2, 1914.
D. 9:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 120.)
R. 11:50 P.M.

Military attaché reports following information from the French War Office:

"Position of French covering troops: Second corps, Montmédy to Verdun; Sixth, Verdun to Toul with advanced line Haudiomont Vigneulles Gironville; Twentieth in front of Nancy in a semi-circle from Liverdun to Saint-Nicolas du Port; Twenty-first between Nancy and Epinal, with advanced line Blainville Rambervillers, BruyŠres; fortified line between Epinal and Belfort; one division of seventh corps in the vicinity of Ferette (west of Basle). The 8 kilom. zone still maintained by the French.

"Position of German troops: general line all along the frontier from Treves to Switzerland; eleventh corps about 30 miles north-west of Treves, eighth Treves to the southern border of Luxemburg, sixteenth, seventh and second Bavarian from Thionville to south of Metz, twenty-first thence to Sarrebourg, fifteenth Donon to Colmar, fourteenth near Fribourg, thirteenth near Waldshut, twenty-eighth division of fourteen corps Maring (sic) north. Column from eighth corps advancing through Luxemburg on Arlon, another column from eighth corps arrived in front of Longwy and was fired on by the French at long range. In vicinity of Belfort German chasseurs penetrated the French frontier north of Delle and lost two patrols killed. Luxemburg Government protest against violation of territory."

(35579) No. 508.
Consul Philip C. Sarrell to Sir Edward Grey.
British Consulate, Dunkirk, France, August 2, 1914.
R. August 3.

I have the honour to report that the General Mobilisation Order for the French Naval and Military Forces was received at Dunkirk yesterday the 1st instant and was received by the entire population with a spirit of determination and devotion to duty which was most impressive. I had occasion to call upon the Governor of Dunkirk this afternoon and I there had some conversation with a Staff Officer who had just arrived from Paris and he stated that the same spirit of national devotion was universal in the Capital and that even those soldiers who were proceeding to places such as Lunéville, Nancy and the probable immediate theatre of war, were animated with the same spirit of self-sacrifice and determination. I venture to dwell upon this remarkable ebullition of national feeling in France, in view of the fear that had been widely entertained and expressed that anarchical and other subversive influences had undermined patriotism in France, and would be likely to prove fatal in the event of war. The prospect of war has, on the contrary, to all appearances drawn together all classes of society and the entire absence of excitement is no less remarkable than the spirit of determination which is being manifested.(1)

* * * * * * *

(1) The despatch then proceeds to give information about British merchant shipping.

(35495) No. 509.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey. (Received August 3.)
(No. 308.)
Berlin, August 1, 1914.

I have the honour to transmit herewith a report which I have received from Colonel the Hon. Alick Russell, Military Attaché to His Majesty's Embassy, on the Proclamation of a State of Imminent National Danger in Germany.

I have, &c.

Enclosure in No. 509
The Hon. Alick Russell to Sir W. E. Goschen (Berlin).
(M.A. Germany. No. XX.)
British Embassy, Berlin, July 31, 1914.

Proclamation of a state of imminent national danger.

As your Excellency reported in your telegram No. 111 of to-day's date, a state of imminent national danger ("drohende Kriegsgefahr") has been proclaimed by the Emperor this afternoon throughout the Empire except Bavaria, where, however, a similar ordinance has also been issued.

It appears from the official pronouncement in the "Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung," published to-night and dated 1st August, 1914, that the military measures to be taken consequent upon this proclamation are the following:

(1.) All the necessary steps on the frontier and for the protection of the railways.

(2.) Limitation of postal, telegraph and railway traffic to meet military requirements.

Further consequences of the proclamation of the state of imminent national danger are:

(3.) Proclamation of a state of war ("Kriegszustand") throughout the Empire.

(4.) Prohibition of publications regarding movements of troops and measures of defence. The state of war ("Kriegszustand") has the same significance as the state of siege ("Belagerungszustand") in Prussia. See article 68 of "Reichsverfassung."

The state of war having also been declared this afternoon, certain further ordinances have been issued regarding the prohibition of the export of foodstuffs and certain articles and materials, prohibition regarding publication of news of military interest, &c., &c.

I am forwarding direct to the War Office copies of two editions of the "Deutscher Reichsanzeiger" which contain the further ordinances referred to.

I have, &c.
ALICK RUSSELL, Lieut.- Colonel,
Military Attaché:.

No. 510.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Arthur Nicolson.
British Embassy, Berlin.
(Undated August 1, 1914.)

My dear Nicolson,
* * * * * * *

I have had great difficulty with my telegrams since the Kriegsgefahr has been proclaimed. They are continually sent back though the Impl. F.O. has given orders that they are to go through, on my complaint. But notwithstanding these orders ignorant employ‚s at the Telegraph Office continue to send them back saying that they must be stamped by the I.F.O. I don't anticipate that it will happen again as I have received so many excuses. But at any rate there is sure to be a delay. I don't think for a moment that they will answer about Belgium, but it is a rather significant fact that they are trying (vide my telegram on this subject)(1) to get up a case against Belgium. Both sides are continually at me to show what liars the other side are and how badly they are behaving. You will see the German case in the "Times." The correspondent of that paper was the only one to get it through and one cannot help thinking that facilities were given to him in order that British public opinion might be influenced by the very specious statement. Of course a good deal of it is true; namely, that (particularly at the end) Germany (incl. the Emperor) did try and persuade them at Vienna to continue discussions and accept Sir E. Grey's proposals. But there is even something louche in this as Sverberf assures me, and indeed Sazonow telegraphed to him to that effect that no telegram announcing that the Emperor had consented to mediate at Vienna has ever reached the Czar! That the Emperor and Co. have worked at Vienna is certainly true and the German case, to put it in a nutshell, is that while the Emperor at the Czar's request, was working at Vienna Russia mobilized or rather ordered - mobilisation. I did my very best and hardest last night to persuade Jagow,(2) notwithstanding all mobilisations and ultimatums, not to relax his efforts to prevent one of the biggest catastrophes in fact the biggest of modern times and to work in the direction indicated by H.M.G. He was sympathetic but apparently absolutely determined that nothing more could be done until Russia said she would demobilize. The last thing I hear is that Russia has informed the Imperial Government that the Czar has not been told that the Emperor was working at Vienna and they have demanded three hours more to consider the German demand. Certainly up to the time of my writing this, no mobilization order has been issued by the Emperor. Oh! how much easier things would be if the events of 1909 had not taken place. What I have written above about the three extra hours is only hearsay. A prominent German financier told a member of the French Embassy that if England was drawn in and the war lasted two months Germany would have to give in or starve. This was of course faithfully repeated to me. But I don t think here, in official circles, that they nourish much hope that we shall be able to keep out of it all. I see the Germans have given the French 18 hours to say whether they will remain neutral or not, and I see that the French Minister for Foreign Affairs intends to tell Sch”n when he calls for the answer that their intentions only concern their allies. There is intense enthusiasm in the streets and considerable depression at the Foreign Office; Zimmermann said to Cambon yesterday "This is the most tragic day for 40 years and it happens just as we were settling down to what we thought were improved relations all round." Jagow told me that the Emperor was fearfully depressed and said that his record as a "Peace Emperor " was finished with. Cambon told me an interesting thing to-day; in burning his papers he found a record of a conversation with Professor Schiemann in which the latter said: "We want peace but if we wish to go to war with you we could always produce one by egging on Austria to attack Servia: Russia would be bound to come to her assistance, and you, certainly and probably England would be drawn in." This conversation took place two years ago! I must stop now as I must go and see Jagow. There is still a little time so I will keep this letter open.

I have just been to the Foreign Office. Jagow was out but I saw Zimmermann. He also told me that it was impossible to give an answer about Sir E. Grey's very last proposal until Russia's answer had been received.(3) It had not come yet but he said nothing about Russia having demanded extra time. He only said that he had not expected an answer yet as the twelve hours would only count from the time the ultimatum was delivered. He was very angry and excited about the whole thing expressed regret that Germany, France "and perhaps England" had been drawn in none of whom wanted war in the least and said that it came from "this d d system of alliances, which were the curse of modern times." I talked to him about Belgium; and he also said that it was impossible to give a categorical answer. All he could say was that Germany would do her best to avoid infringing it. "But," he added, "it is not clear that Belgium has not already committed a breach of neutrality by stopping grain consigned to Germany." He then dwelt upon Russia's iniquity in mobilising during the Emperor's efforts to mediate at Vienna. I asked him whether 1) it was quite certain that Russia was mobilizing her entire land and sea forces, 2) whether it was certain that the Czar had been informed of the Emperor's efforts as I had heard it denied.

To 1) he said we have heard it from Pourtales from our Military Plenipotentiary, from Stockholm and lastly, from Sazenow himself. To 2) he said there is no possible doubt that the Czar was informed, both by the Emperor himself and by Pourtales. "In fact," he said, "the Czar has telegraphed to the Emperor in reply to the latter's message that he was working at Vienna!" Whom are we to believe?

I have just been to see Count Szögyeni too while I was there one of his secretaries came in to announce that orders had been given for general mobilisation and that it would begin to-night: but I found it was only hearsay so I must await confirmation before telegraphing. But I expect to see an extra Blatt appear every moment. It's all very terrible! All my servants will have to go I suppose and l shall remain with my English valet and Swiss aide-cuisinier.

I hope you're not as tired as I am.

Yours ever,

(1) No. 383
(2) No. 385
(3) Probably No. 411.

(35461) No. 511.
Mr. Howard to Sir Edward Grey.
Stockholm, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 7:25 P.M.
Tel. (No. 17.) Very Confidential
R. August 3, 12:15 A.M.

l asked Minister for Foreign Affairs to-day whether he could now give me categorical assurances regarding neutrality. His Excellency replied that Sweden was determined to maintain neutrality as long as possible. I asked if there were conditions in which Sweden might abandon neutrality. He replied that he greatly feared that if Great Britain joined Russia Sweden would be forced to take other side. If Sweden were placed in such a position as to be obliged to choose sides their Government would be forced by public opinion to go against Russia. I assured his Excellency that in any case Great Britain would not violate Swedish neutrality, and asked whether, if Germany did so, Sweden would resist. He merely repeated that if England took part in war Sweden would have to do so, he feared. There has been rumour here that Germany has been putting pressure on Sweden to join her. If Sweden believes she must choose between English or occupation of a port she will choose latter. I think if I could have message giving Sweden categorical assurances that we have no such intention it would be useful.

(Repeated to St. Petersburg.)

See No. 570.

(35465) No. 512.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 7:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 148.)
R. August 3, 1:45 A.M.

The War. Russian Ambassador having received no information that Austria is in a state of war with Russia, His Excellency is still here at 7:30 P.M.

(35475) No. 513.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 5:28 P.M.
Tel. (No. 467.)
R. August 3, 5:45 A.M.

Following from Consul at Dardanelles received to-day:

"I am informed that mine-laying vessel with 50 mines in readiness and mine-depot ship may leave to-night for the Bosphorus.

"I am awaiting confirmation before I inform Naval Intelligence Officers."

(35476) No. 514.
Germany's Ultimatum to Belgium (Exchange Company's special Telegram).
Brussels, August 3, 1914.

The Belgian Government has received an ultimatum from Germany offering an entente if Belgium is willing to facilitate the movements of German troops.

The Cabinet is now sitting to discuss the answer which had to be given at 7 o'clock this morning.

The German troops are in operation to the north of Liége in Belgium.

(35796) No. 515.
Communi cated by Belgian Minister (August 3.)
Bruxelles, le 8 août 1914.

Allemagne a remis hier soir, 7 heures, note proposant neutralité amicale comportant passage libre par notre territoire, promettant maintien indépendance royaume et possession à la conclusion de la paix, menaçanté en cas de refus, traitement comme ennemi. Délai réponse fixée douze heures. Nous avons répondu atteinte à neutralité serait violation flagrante droit des gens; acceptation proposition sacrifierait honneur nation, consciente de son devoir. Belgique fermement décidée repousser agression par tous les moyens possibles.


Cf. B No. 23 for translation.

(35482) No. 516.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 9:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 469.)
R. August 3, 8:50 A.M.

My immediately preceding telegram.(1)

Grand Vizier told French Ambassador this morning that Turkey intended to proclaim her neutrality. If this be so the retention of the German Mission and the mobilisation would seem to be both unwise and unnecessary. Russian Ambassador states that his Government have every reason to remain on friendly terms with Turkey, and have no intention of raising the question of the Straits. It would be useless to move the fleet from the Black Sea, even if Turkey were willing to allow the passage.

(1) No. 522.

(35483) No. 517.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 11:50 P.M.
Tel. (No. 470.)
R. August 3, 8:50 A.M.

Parliament was this afternoon prorogued indefinitely, and moratorium proclaimed by provisional law. General mobilisation has been ordered.

There is a report that additional 4 per cent. customs duty and temettu tax on foreigners will be imposed from to-morrow.

(35479) No. 518.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 7:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 183.)
R. August 3, 9 40 A.M.

Vice-Consul at Bremerhaven reports that German coast is mined at following places, namely, Borkum, mouths of Weser, Jahde, and Elbe, Cuxhaven, and round Heligoland. Lightships on German North Sea coast have been brought in. Considerable number of torpedo craft at Geestemunde. Thirty steam trawlers from Geestemunde acquired for mining purposes equipped with two searchlights each.

Liner "Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse" painted black left Bremerhaven this morning for Wilhelmshafen with troops and naval reserves.

Naval attaché learns that German Admiralty are enrolling volunteers, aviators and volunteer medical officers and personnel. Gifts in money or kind for treatment of wounded are also publicly asked for.

(35519) No. 519.
German Secretary of State to German Embassy (London).
August 3, 1914, 9:22 A.M.
Received in London 8:40.
Received in Foreign Office 9:51 A.M.

All French news respecting German troops crossing French frontier are complete fabrications.

For German text see DD No. 713. This telegram sent "en clair" was communicated to the Foreign Office by the Post Office.

Cf. No. 529.

(35512) No. 520.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 3, 1914.
D. 10:6 A.M.
Tel. (No. 12.)
R. 10:50 A.M.

Colonel Fairholme, who with difficulty got here from Marienbad yesterday, observed no troop and little military activity on railway between Cologne and Herbesthal. Tunnels and bridges guarded by parties of men in civilian clothes with arm-bands and rifles.

Railway communication interrupted between Herbesthal and Welkenrädt, whence Belgian rolling-stock has been withdrawn.

(35497) No. 521.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 3, 1914.
D. 9:31 A.M.
Tel. (No. 11.)
R. 10:55 A.M.

French Minister reports that German massed force at Sittard and Trois Ponts and along the frontier prepared to invade Belgium.

Last night at 7:30 German Minister presented ultimatum to Belgium asking whether she is prepared to assume attitude of benevolent neutrality towards German military operations in Belgium. Belgium has refused categorically. German Minister will probably leave Belgium at once. French military attach‚ states that France has five army corps ready to enter Belgium to oppose German advance, but will not do so until Belgium gives permission.

Lights of three airships, probably dirigibles, were observed over Brussels between 2 and 4 this morning.