Document Numbers 522-550

3 August 1914
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(35517) No. 522.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 3, 1914.
D. 9:30 A.M..
Tel. (No. 468.)
R. 12:15 P.M.

Following from military attaché for Director of Military Operations:

"Within the last forty-eight hours certain classes of recruits have been called to the colours. Classes vary according to district, but general effect is to raise battalions in first ten army corps to strength of 600 men.

"To-day it is reported on good authority that orders will be given for immediate general mobilisation. A meeting of German mission took place last night, and it has been decided that members of mission shall remain in this country, and that those officers employed in the instructional establishment shall take up forthwith active posts in the field army. I believe that efforts are being made to bring Turkey to the side of the Triple Alliance, and Minister of War and majority of officers incline to this view."

Cf. No. 589.

(35522) No. 523.
Consul-General Sir C. Hertslet to Sir Edward Grey.
Antwerp, August 3, 1914.
D. 11:25 A.M.
R. 12:30 P.M.

Received reliable information that advanced guard of German troops crossed Belgian frontier and occupied Tongres without opposition. Dutch territory also violated.

(35529) No. 524.
Consul-General Sir C. Herslet to Sir Edward Grey.
Antwerp, August 3, 1914.
D. 11:31 A.M.
Tel. (No. 19.)
R. 12:30 P.M.

Mayor informed me that state of siege proclaimed at Antwerp.

Cf. No. 602.

(35497) No. 525.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Villiers.
Foreign Office, .August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 10.)
D. 12:45 P.M.

Your telegram No. 11 of 3rd August.(1)

You should ascertain directly from Belgian Government what has passed, and let me know full facts of what has passed between them and Germany as soon as possible.

Cf. No. 561.
(1) No. 521.

No. 526.
Sir Edward Grey to Mr. des Graz (Nish).
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 38.)
D. 1 P.M.

(Repeat Sir M. de Bunsen's telegram 149 (1) and add): Mr. Crackanthorpe's telegram No. 79 of 1st August.(2)

Train for British Colony at Belgrade.

You should arrange immediately with Servian authorities and report.

(1) No. 528.
(2) No. 435.

(35544) No. 527.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey.
The Hague, August 3, 1914.
D. 10:4 A.M.
Tel. (No. 27.)
R. 1:10 P.M.

Queen's Aide-de-Camp told me last night what information had been received that Germans are marching south from Wesel. Report current here that one hundred thousand men are in the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg on French frontier, that they have also crossed French frontier near Longwy and been repulsed by French, and that they have also crossed the frontier to Cirey about 40 miles west of Strasbourg. As telegraphic communication with Germany and Luxembourg is cut off it is difficult to obtain confirmation.

Strong censorship here respecting movements of troops and press have agreed not to publish anything on this subject but I learn on good authority that all available troops are being moved to province of Limburg.

(35466) No. 528.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 8: 5 P.M.
Tel. (No. 149.)
R. August 3, 1:40 P.M. (sic) (1).

Your telegram No. 202 of August 2nd.(2)

Minister for Foreign Affairs informs me that Austrian Military authorities are ready to give the necessary instructions to Commander-in-Chief as soon as I can inform them of the day and hour at which a train under the white flag will leave Belgrade to convey members of the British colony to Nish.

(1) 1:40 P.M. in original. This should probably be 1:40 A.M. see No. 526.
(2) No. 463.

(35619) No. 529.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 309.)
D. 1:45 P.M.

German Minister for Foreign Affairs telegraphs to-day to German Ambassador here that all French news respecting German troops crossing French frontier are complete fabrications.

Cf. Nos. 519 and 613.

(35674) No. 530.
The Danish Minister to Sir Edward Grey.
Danish Legation, London, August 8, 1914.

By order of my Government I have the honour to inform you that in view of the troubled international situation the King's Government have considered it right to call out 18,000 men to the various garrisons as a precautionary measure to fill up the peace establishment of the army.

I beg to add that it was erroneously stated in my note of the 1st instant(1) that 27,000 men had been called out to the navy and the naval fortifications: it is up til now only 2,700 men who have been called out for these last-named purposes.

I have the honour, &c.

(1) No. 376.

(35672) No. 531.
Communication from German Embassy.
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.

Herr von Wesendonk of the German Embassy called to confirm on behalf of the German Government the undertaking given by Prince Lichnowsky this morning that Germany would in no way menace the North Coast of France as long as England remains neutral.

He further said that they had received a despatch from Berlin confirming the statements made this morning in regard to the violation of the German frontier by France.

The French reports as to German troops having passed the French frontier are pure inventions.

French detachments yesterday passed the German frontier to the West of Colmar. The French troops were the first to open fire. Bombs have been dropped by French airships on the Kaiserbrücke at Mainz, and French airships have been sighted in other parts of Germany.


(35741) No. 532.
Communicated by Russian Embassy (August 3).
Télégramme de M. Sazonoff aux Ambassadeurs de Russie à Londres et à Paris du 20 juillet/2 août 1914.

L'Allemagne s'efforce de rejeter au yeux du monde sur la Russie la responsabilité pour la rupture. La mobilisation générale en Russie a été provoquée uniquement en vue de la responsabilité formidable qu'aurait assumée le Gouvernement russe, s'il n'avait pas pris toutes les mesures de précaution devenues absolument nécessaires pour sa sécurité au moment oû le bombardement de Belgrade affectait le valeur des négociations avec l'Autriche. C'est alors seulement que la mobilisation générale a été décidée.

Pourtant l'Empereur de Russie avait engagé sa parole envers l'Empereur d'Allemagne que la Russie n'entreprendrait aucune mesure de provocation tant que dureraient les négociations avec l'Autriche. Après une pareille garantieé ajoutée à toutes les preuves que la Russie avait déjà données de ses intentions pacifiques, l'Allemagne n'avait plus le droit et ne pouvait plus douter de la sincérit‚ de notre assurance que nous accepterions avec empressement toute solution pacifique compatible avec l'indépendance du Royaume de Serbie.

Toute autre solution était inacceptable pour la Russie et portait atteinte à sa dignité. La mobilisation générale était une mesure suprême, mais une mesure de précaution. L'Allemagne y a répondu par un ultimatum imposant sa volonté L'Allemagne dictait sa loi, ce qui affectait l'équilibre européen. Dès lors le conflit prenait caractère de conflit européen dont l'importance dépassait incommensurablement celle du motif spécial qui l'avait fait surgir.

[NOTE. This has been published in R No. 7 and also in R II. There are several variations in the three versions, no two of which are completely identical. The text as here printed is a precise copy of the type-written copy left by M. de Etter.]

(35794) No. 533.
Communication by the American Ambassador (August 8, 1914).

Mr. Page called to ask a question to which he said he really could give a reply himself but he would like my opinion. The question was whether it would be of any use for the United States Government to offer their good offices in any quarter.

I told him that I feared that an offer would not be entertained at this moment, when armies were marching all over Europe to meet each other in open hostilities. Mr. Page said he quite agreed, and he feared that his question might be considered a foolish one. I said that it might possibly be made at a later stage with some chance of success.

He told me a curious incident. He had heard that his Government had been approached by Austria to look after Austrian interests when diplomatic relations were broken off: and incidentally he had understood that London had been mentioned as a possible place where this step might be required. He thought he could have 18, Belgrave Square sounded discreetly, and sent one of his secretaries to interview an Austrian Secretary casually. Ct. Mensdorff heard of the visit and came in and said that possibly he would have to apply to the good offices of the United States Embassy and discussed details. They evidently anticipate a rupture.

A. N.

(35865) No. 534.
Note by Sir Wm. Tyrrell.

Sir E. Grey has inquired whether the present situation in any way affects the Japanese under the 1911 Agreement and whether we have anything to ask them.

The only ways in which the Japanese could be brought in would be if hostilities spread to the Far East, e.g., an attack on Hong Kong by the Germans, or if a rising in India were to take place.

There seems no reason to say anything about India, but it might be as well to warn the Japanese Government that in the event of a war with Germany there might be a possibility of an attack upon Hong Kong or Wei-hai Wei when we should look to them for support.

The Japanese are no doubt quite alive to this possibility, but perhaps under Article 1 of the agreement we should communicate with them.

3.8.14. W.T.

Do so by telegraph without further reference to me.(1) E. G.

(1) See Nos. 549, 637.

(35582) No. 535.
Communicated by War Office (August 3, 1914).
Viâ Germany.
Etienne Vienna.

German High Sea Fleet is said to have passed through the Kiel Canal steaming westwards. A French fleet passed Gibraltar yesterday steaming eastwards. According to French semi-official sources German troops crossed the French frontier at four points; first, in the neighbourhood of the French fort Manonoillez. (sic ? Manonviller) near Lun‚ville whence they reached Cirey-les-forges; second, near Longwy on the Belgium frontier; third, German troops crossed frontier in direction from Muelhausen reached Delle, Petit Croix and fired on French Custom guards; fourth, two German Cavalry officers sent out on reconnaissance were killed 10 kilometres within French territory by the French troops.

(35557) No. 536.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.
D. 1:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 124.)
R. 1:55 P.M.

Your telegram No. 306 of yesterday.(1)

French Ministry for Foreign Affairs fully recognise confidential character of assurance given to M. Cambon. Cabinet met last night and was not even informed of it, President of the Republic considering it advisable to observe absolute secrecy. Political Director states that the Chambers will meet to-morrow instead of to-day, in order to allow Mr. Asquith "priorité de parole."

M. de Fleuriau came to say to-day that Herr von K&ühlmann has published in the "Westminster Gazette" to-day a statement from the text of which it seems quite clear that when writing it he had before him the substance if not the words of this secret communication from Sir E. Grey to M. Cambon.(2)

M. de Fleuriau said he was not making a complaint, but he thought that if his Government could have used the information yesterday, they would have been able to make a most desirable impression on the French public; they scrupulously refrained from any such indiscretion; but this made the present revelation in the "Westminster Gazette" rather unfortunate.t I told him that I knew nothing whatever about the matter. Unfortunately I was not able to get a copy of the paper at the time. E. A. C. August 3.

I have not seen the "Westminster Gazette" but whence did Herr v. K. derive his information? A. N.

It arose out of something the Prime Minister said to Prince Lichnowsky. E.G.

(1) No. 495.
(2) No. 487.

(35621) No. 537.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 125.) En clair.
R. August 3.

Viviani has handed over Ministry Foreign Affairs to Doumergue, he remains Prime Minister without portfolio. Minister of Marine has resigned for reasons of health. Augagneur takes his place and is succeeded at Ministry Public Instruction by Sarraut.

(35585) No. 538.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, August 3, 1914.
D. 1:55 P.M.
Tel. (No. 263.) En clair.
R. 2:51 P.M.

Your telegram of August 2nd :(1) Detention of British ships at Hamburg. No information available.

Published in BB No. 150.

(1) No. 503.

(35520) No. 539.
German Embassy to Sir Wm. Tyrrell (Foreign Office). (Received August 3, 1914.)
London, August 3, 1914.

Dear Sir William,
I herewith beg to hand to you the translation of the two telegrams which I had the pleasure of reading to you this morning.

Believe me,
Yours faithfully,

Enclosures in No. 539.

German Embassy, London, .August 2nd (sic) . (1)

According to absolutely certain news, France has committed the following acts against Germany:

1. A patrol of French cavalry has passed this morning the frontier near Alt-Muensterol, in Alsatia.

2. A French aviator has been shot whilst flying over German territory.

3. Two Frenchmen have been shot whilst attempting to blow up the tunnel near Cochem on the Moselle railway.

4. French infantry have passed the Alsatian frontier and have opened fire.

These incidents have occurred although the French Prime Minister has officially assured the Imperial Ambassador in Paris, that the mobilisation of the French army had no aggressive character against Germany and the French troops had been instructed to respect a 10-kilom zone on the German boundary.

Please notify these facts to the British Government, who will surely understand, into what a perilous position Germany has been brought through such disloyal provocations and what serious decisions have been forced upon her.

Great Britain will no doubt recognise that Germany has done her utmost to preserve peace and the provocation of her enemies have forced her to take up the arms in order to maintain her existence.

(1) The telegram was however despatched from Berlin at 12 25 A.M. on August 3. (See DD No. 693.)


German Embassy (undated).(1)

During the negotiations for mediation Russia has mobilised her entire forces without notifying Germany officially of this step and without adding, that this measure was not directed against us, though Germany had previously declared in a friendly but utterly serious manner, that a mobilisation would force Germany to take grave counter steps and though Russia had repeatedly and most formally assured us that she had no intention against Germany.

It was only in the afternoon of the first day of the Russian mobilisation, that His Majesty the Tsar telegraphed to His Majesty the German Emperor, that he personally guaranteed, that Russia would commit no hostile act against Germany. During the whole crisis the contrast between the undoubtedly sincere assurances of His Majesty the Tsar and the acts of the Government has been so clear, and the attitude taken by the Russian Government has been so openly unfriendly that notwithstanding the assurances of His Majesty the Tsar the mobilisation of the total Russian forces was bound to be a severe provocation to Germany. This appears to have been fully recognised by the germanophile surroundings of His Majesty the Tsar.

The news of the Russian mobilisation has called forth such an indignation in our public opinion, that the Russian refusal of our demand, to stop the mobilisation, had to be regarded as a hostile act involving the beginning of the state of war, if Germany did not want to abandon her national honour.

Moreover the fact that Russian troops have opened fire on German soldiers on the frontier. before Germany had made her last declarations, proves, that the so-called peaceful mobilisation is a state of affairs, which cannot be kept up.

(1) Despatched from Berlin August 3, 12:55 A.M. (see DD No. 696).

These telegrams were communicated in English.

(35520) No. 540.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 810.) En clair.
D. 3 P.M.

German Government informed His Majesty's Government on 2nd August that, firstly, a patrol of French cavalry passed the frontier that morning near Alt Munsterol in Alsatia; secondly, a French aviator had been shot whilst flying over German territory; thirdly, two Frenchmen have been shot whilst attempting to blow up the tunnel near Cochem on the Moselle Railway; fourthly, French infantry have passed the Alsatian frontier and have opened fire.

See Nos. 539 and 609.

(35587) No. 541.
Sir E. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.

D. 11:40 A.M. Tel. (No. 122.)
R. 3 P.M.

Your telegram of yesterday(1) respecting alleged breach of neutrality by French officers.

French Government categorically deny statement made by German Ambassador. Political Director went on to say that until yesterday afternoon, no French soldier was within 8 kilom. of the whole length of their frontier. In the face of German incursions it has now become impossible to keep this distance from the frontier.

Political Director stated that this report was a deliberate fabrication of the German Government with a view to influencing British public opinion on the eve of declaration to be made in Parliament. Political Director stated that German Government had addressed a diplomatic note to the Government of Luxemburg stating that German army would invade Luxemburg territory, as they had certain knowledge that a large French army was about to deliver an attack through Luxemburg. This statement was quite untrue, and was another instance of prearranged misstatements having been prepared in Berlin.


M. Thierry telephoned on behalf of the French Ambassador to say that His Excellency had received a telegram from Paris instructing him to say that the story of the 80 French officers crossing the frontier in German uniform is absolutely untrue. H. M. August 3, 1914.

(1) No. 505.

(35587) No. 542.
Sir Edward Grey to Prince Lichnowsky.

Sir Edward Grey presents his compliments to the German Ambassador and has the honour to state that he has received an official communication from the French Ambassador, based on telegraphic instructions addressed to his Excellency by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the effect that there is no truth whatever in the report that eighty French officers disguised in German uniforms attempted to cross the Netherlands-German frontier, near Geldern, in motor cars.

Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.

Cf. Nos. 505 and 541.

(35580) No. 543.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, August 3, 1914.
D. 2:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 156.) En clair.
R. 3 P.M.

Text of Italian declaration of neutrality issued to-day. It states that, certain European Powers being at war and Italy being at peace with all the belligerent parties, the Italian Government and citizens and subjects of Italy are bound to observe the duties of neutrality according to existing laws and to principles of international law.

(35481) No. 544.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir R. Rodd.
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 249.) Immediate.
D. 3:30 P.M.

Admiralty wish to know where "Goeben" is coaling.

(35559) No. 545.
Admiralty to Foreign Office.
Admiralty, August 3, 1914.

The Secretary of the Admiralty presents his compliments to the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and in reply to his letter No. 35498 of to-day's date, begs to inform him that the Lords Commissioners would be glad to have the names of vessels of British and German nationality now detained in Baltic and Finnish ports reported to them.

(35600) No. 546.
Mr. des Graz to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, August 2, 1914.
D. August 2, 10:53 A.M.
Tel. (No. 83.)
R. August 3, 4:10 P.M.

Vice-Consul at Belgrade telephones that bombardment continued intermittently during the night. Several houses destroyed in vicinity of German Legation.

Shall instruct vice-consul to come here if in imminent danger after warning the few British subjects there.

Information has been given to me at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that Germany has declared war against Russia.

(35592) No. 547.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey.
The Hague, August 3, 1914.
D. 12:23 P.M.
Tel. (No. 28.)
R. 4:25 P.M.

German Minister has informed Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs that his Government have sent an ultimatum to Belgium stating that they wish to occupy Liège, and asking whether Belgian Government will allow them to do so peaceably or not. Answer to be returned in twelve hours.

Belgian Minister has just come from Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and tells me that there is no question that Belgians will fire on Germans immediately. He also says that he believes that German troops have already crossed Meuse.

(35607) No. 548.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 3, 1914.
D. 9:50 A.M.
Tel. (No. 472.)
R. 4:50 P.M.

Following from Consul at Alexandretta, No. 9, of August 3:

"The reserves born between 1297 and 1800 have been called out.

"300 ammunition carts and six steel ferry troop boats from Germany for Euphrates have been landed at Alexandretta."

(35865) No. 549.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir C. Greene (Tokyo).
Foreign Office, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 36.)
D. 4 52 P.M.

At present moment, when war with Germany is a possibility, it might be well for you to warn Japanese Government that, if hostilities spread to Far East, and an attack on Hong Kong or Wei-hai Wei were to take place, we should rely on their support.

Cf. Nos. 534 and 637.

(35610) No. 550.
Mr. Beaumont to Sir Edward Grey.
Constantinople, August 3, 1914.
D. 9:50.
Tel. (No. 471.)
R. 5.

Consular Officer at Smyrna telegraphs that German Colonel would apparently command fourth Army Corps.