Document Numbers 551-575

3-4 August 1914
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(35613) No. 551.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 3, 1914.
D. 4:34 P.M.
Tel. (No. 14.)
R. 5:20 P.M.

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

Offer of support by five French army corps was made to Belgian Government through military attaché. Following reply was given to-day by Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs to French Minister:—

"We thank the French Government sincerely for their offer of eventual support, but in actual circumstances we are not appealing to guarantee of the Powers. Belgian Government will determine later on action which it may, be necessary to take."

Published in BB No. 151 (paraphrased).
Cf. No 562.

(1) No 521.

(35615) No. 552.
Mr. Howard to Sir Edward Grey.
Stockholm, August 3, 1914.
D. 12:50.
Tel. (No. 18.)
R. 6:30.

Partial mobilisation of Landsturm in coast districts took place yesterday. Rumour of general mobilisation shortly. Moratorium will be declared to-morrow.

(35618) No. 553.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, August 3, 1914.
D. 4:10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 131.)
R. 6:30 P.M.

Chancellor has made the following communication to me in writing, which he begs me to bring to your immediate notice:—

"The German troops have as yet received orders scrupulously to respect French frontier, and these orders have been everywhere strictly carried out. French news to the contrary is absolutely false. Up to this morning at 10 o'clock no German soldier has been on French territory. On the other hand, in spite of French agreement to 10 kilom. zone, already yesterday French troops crossed German frontier at Altmunsterol, in Alsace, and by way of Schlucht Pass in Vosges, and are still at this moment on German territory. French aviator who must also have flown over Belgian territory was shot down yesterday during attempt to destroy railway at Wesel. It was established without doubt that several other French aviators flew over the Eifel yesterday; these aircraft also have flown over Belgian territory. French aviators yesterday threw bombs on railways in neighbourhood of Carlsruhe and Nuremberg. We must accordingly state it as an undeniable fact that yesterday there have been breaches of peace on the part of French. Latter has likewise violated Belgian neutrality."

The official who brought me this communication informed me verbally at the request of the Chancellor that in some cases as necessary measures of precaution German patrols had crossed German frontier. He added that news of French aviators having been shot down had not been confirmed.

(35447) No. 554.
Sir E. Grey to Minister of State, Luxemburg.
Tel. D. August 3, 6:45 P.M.

Violation of Luxembourg by Germans.

I am obliged to Your Excellency for the two telegrams which you were good enough to send to me.(1) The serious matters to which they allude will engage the earnest attention of His Majesty's Government.

(1) Nos. 466/7.

(35759) No. 555.
Colonial Office to the Governors, &c., of all British Dominions, Colonies, &c.
Tel. (Paraphrase.) D. August 3, 7-7:10 P.M.

In view of the strained relations with Germany you should be on your guard against the possibility of attack in advance of any formal declaration of war. This is not the war telegram please clearly understand.

(35629) No. 556.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.
D. 4:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 126.)
R. 7:30 P.M.

Military attaché reports at 5:30 P.M. that the Belgian military attaché informs him that he has just had an interview with General Joffre relative to Belgian situation. Belgian military attaché stated that in the event of German troops crossing Belgian territory Belgian troops actually on the frontier would protest and retire on Meuse defences, from whence, he was convinced, Belgians would oppose German flank march.

Cf. No. 588.

(35619) (b.)
Paris, August 3, 1914.
D. 11:20 A.M.
Tel. (No. 121.)
R. 7:40 P.M.

French Government have learnt from French Minister at Brussels that German Government have presented ultimatum to Belgian Government to the effect that latter should permit passage of German troops through Belgian territory.

Belgian Government have replied that any incursion of German troops will be resisted by force of arms, since the Kingdom of Prussia was one of the guarantors of Belgian neutrality.

(35625) No. 557.
Consul-General Sir C. Hertslet to Sir Edward Grey.
Antwerp, August 3, 1914.
D. 6:6 P.M.
Tel. (No. 22.)
R. 7:45 P.M.

Saw general officer commanding at Antwerp 4:30 this afternoon, who stated that he has no information of German invasion of Belgium territory yet.

(35624) No. 558.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.
D. noon.
Tel. (No. 128.)
R. 7:50 P.M.

Military attaché reports French War Office state that situation remains unchanged. Violation of frontier near Delle confirmed.(1) Crossing of French frontier by German opposite Longwy contradicted.

(1) Cf. No. 507

(35683) No. 559.

Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.

Paris, August 3, 1914.

D. 6:50 P.M.

Tel. (No. 127.)

R. 8:18 P.M.

Naval attaché reports following information from the Ministry of Marine:—

"French Fleet sailed from Toulon at 5 A.M. this morning to watch German cruiser 'Goeben' and protect transport of French African troops which will commence to- morrow."

(35628) No. 560.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg (via Aden), August 3, 1914.
D. ? ?
Tel. (No. 206.)
R. 8:26 P.M.

A special service was held in the Winter Palace yesterday to pray for success of Russian army, at which my French colleague was present. I was invited to attend, but having no information as to attitude of His Majesty's Government in war I thought it prudent not to accept. On conclusion of the service the Emperor addressed those present and declared that "I will not conclude peace until the last man of the enemy has left our land."

(35631) No. 561.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 3, 1914.
D. 5:46 P.M.
Tel. (No. 15.)
R. 9 P.M.

Your telegram No. 10 of to-day (1) Belgian neutrality.

German ultimatum states that German Government have received definite information that France intends to invade Germany through Belgium. Germany fears that Belgium will be unable to repel French attack without assistance, and she therefore is obliged to declare as follows:—

1. If Belgium will adopt attitude of benevolent neutrality towards Germany in coming war, Germany will on conclusion of peace guarantee Belgium and Belgian possessions.

2. Subject to above condition, Germany engages to evacuate Belgian territory on conclusion of peace.

3. If Belgium adopts friendly attitude, Germany will pay ready money for all necessaries of war and indemnify all losses caused in Belgium.

4. If Belgium adopts hostile attitude, and especially if Belgium opposes German advance by means of the Meuse fortifications or by destruction of roads, railways, &c., Germany will be compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy country, will take no engagements towards her, and will leave relations between the two States to be settled by arms. If Belgian Government comply, relations of friendship between the two nations will become more close and durable.

Belgian Government, after expressing profound and pained surprise, have replied that intentions attributed to France in German ultimatum are in contradiction to formal declarations made to Belgium by France on 1st August. Moreover, if France were to violate Belgian neutrality, Belgium would fulfil international duty and offer most vigorous resistance.

Treaties of 1839 and 1870 ensure independence and neutrality of Belgium under guarantee of the Powers, including Prussia. Belgium has always been faithful to international obligations, and has spared no effort to maintain her neutrality. Attack on independence now threatened by Germany would be flagrant violation of international law, which could not be justified by any strategical considerations.

If German proposals were accepted, attack(2) would both sacrifice national honour and betray duty towards Europe. She refuses to believe her independence can only be preserved by violation of neutrality, and she is firmly resolved to repel by every means in her power all attacks on her rights.

Copies of the two documents, which I have just been able to obtain, will be sent by messenger to-night.(3)

(1) No. 525.
(2) "Attack" is clearly an error—it should be "Belgium." See DD No. 779.
(3) No. 658.

(35633) No. 562.
Sir F. Villiers to Sir Edward Grey.
Brussels, August 3, 1914.
D. 7:2 P.M.
Tel. (No. 16.)
R. 9:40 P.M.

My telegram No. 14 of 3rd August :(1) Belgian neutrality.

Although the Belgian Government have so far declined offer of military support made by French Minister here, and although their reply contains only vague and unsatisfactory allusion to measures which might ultimately be adopted, French military attaché has been assured on authority which he considers reliable that if Germany actually invades Belgium in force Belgian Government will appeal at once not only to France but also to England for military aid. They will not do this so long as Belgian soil is not violated by formidable bodies of German troops. At present it appears that there are only German patrols on Belgian soil.

Military attaché also says that France is avoiding a premature advance in case Germans should be luring them into putting themselves in the wrong by being the first seriously to violate Belgian neutrality.

(1) No 551.

(35637) No. 563.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, August 3, 1914.
D. 8:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 128.)
R. 10:27 P.M.

German Ambassador leaves Paris to-night. He has protested against the sacking of German shops by Paris mobs.(1)

(1) There is no record of any such protest in the French Foreign Office, and nothing is said on the point by Herr von Schoen in his Memoirs.

(35641) No. 564.
Sir H. Bax-Ironside to Sir Edward Grey.
Sophia, August 3, 1914.
D. 1 P.M.
Tel. (No. 38.)
R. 10:45 P.M.

A colleague informs me that he has heard from sure source that German Government are using all their influence to persuade Ottoman Government to join forces with Triple Alliance and attack Russia on Asiatic frontier.

German Ambassador at Constantinople informed Grand Vizier that Sweden would also be found on their side.

(Sent to Constantinople.)

(35645) No. 565.
Mr. Carnegie to Sir Edward Grey.
Lisbon, August 3, 1914.
Tel. (No. 27.)
R. 11 P.M.

Minister for Foreign Affairs told me to-day that, on Austrian Minister enquiring unofficially what attitude Portugal would adopt in the event of general war, he had replied that she hoped to remain neutral, but that she had an alliance with Great Britain which she would not ignore.

Minister for Foreign Affairs also told me that if Great Britain was at war and did not wish Portugal to remain neutral, the former would have to supply her with seven or eight big guns, gunners, and ammunition for the defence of Lisbon. There were plenty of forts, but few guns and an inadequate supply of ammunition for them. The Portuguese could put a well-armed force of 80,000 men in the field.

Cf. Nos. 510 and 610; also DD No. 617.

No. 566.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Private and Confidential.
Paris, August 3, 1914.

My dear Grey,
M. Tardieu of "Le Temps" and now a Deputy told the "Times" correspondent to-day at 11 A.M. the assurances which you gave to Cambon concerning the possible action of the British Fleet, and the reasons for which our military forces must remain at our disposal. He mentioned India and Egypt.

I am not surprised at H.M. Government declining to send a military force to France. I think that it would be of advantage to us to give naval aid in the war, for it would bring it to an end sooner by starving Germany and it would give us a locus standi to determine the conditions of peace.

Yours sincerely,

(35651) No. 567.
Mr. Howard to Sir Edward Grey.
Stockholm, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 7 P.M.
Tel. (No. 20.)
R. August 4, 1 A.M.

Norwegian Minister has just told me no German ultimatum has been presented here yet respecting Swedish neutrality. I understand, however, that both Swedish and Norwegian Governments have discussed possibility, and that Swedish Government is very doubtful whether it can oppose Germany successfully. He said that he was of opinion that whatever line Sweden took Norway must take also. I said that even if Sweden and Norway could not oppose a violation of territory by Germany they might continue neutral and protest against violation; that would be better for both than taking active part in war. He agreed and said he hoped that two countries would take this line.

(Repeated to Christiania.)

[NOTE.—This appears to have been a statement of the personal views held by the Norwegian Minister and not the official determination of his Government, see DD No. 692: "Herr Wallenberg (Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs) explained that his Norwegian colleague had expressed his agreement that Norway would go with Sweden as far as was possible and that if it was necessary that they should take different roads, the two countries would under no circumstances turn their arms against one another."]

(35650) No. 568.
Mr. Erskine to Sir Edward Grey.
Athens, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 10:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 134.)
R. August 4 1:30 A.M.

Constantinople telegram No. 464 of 31st July.(1)

Turkish Minister having assured Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs that Turkish mobilisation was merely precautionary measure and not aimed at Greece, M. Venizelos has proposed to the Grand Vizier a meeting at any Egean island he may prefer, and that he is prepared to start on 5th August. (Repeated to Constantinople.)

(1) No. 391.

(35659) No. 569.
Mr. des Graz to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 5:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 84.)
R. August 4, 2:30 A.M.

I hear confidentially of a further effort being made at Bucharest by the Servian Government to win over Roumanian (? authorities) by the promise of some territorial cession.

(Sent to Bucharest.)

(35656) No. 570.
Mr. Howard to Sir Edward Grey.
Stockholm, August 8, 1914.
D. August B, 7:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 21.)
R. August 4, 2:30 A.M.

My telegram No. 17 of 2nd August :(1) Swedish neutrality.

Fearing some misapprehension as to Minister for Foreign Affairs' communication of yesterday, I submitted in writing substance of it as reported in my telegram, and asked if it was correct. He has requested me to transmit it in following rather milder form:—

1. If England did not go to war, he was positive that Sweden's neutrality could be maintained.

2. If England did go to war, he feared that extreme circumstances might arise which would force Sweden to choose one side or the other, and it was his private opinion, considering public opinion here, that it was impossible for Sweden to fight on same side as Russia.

(1) No. 511.

(35666) No. 571.
Sir C. Greene to Sir Edward Grey.
Tokyo, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 6 P.M.
Tel. (No. 58.)
R. August 4, 8:45 A.M.

Your telegram No. 35 of 1st August. (1)

Minister for Foreign Affairs desires me to thank you and to say that the Imperial Government will await an intimation from His Majesty's Government as to what action they have decided to take before defining their own attitude, which will be based thereon.

Japan has no interest in a European conflict, and his Excellency notes what you say as to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, but, if British interests in Eastern Asia should be placed in jeopardy—say, for instance, by a German attack on Hong Kong or by any other aggressive act—His Majesty's Government may count upon Japan at once coming to assistance of her ally with all her strength, if called on to do so, leaving it entirely to His Majesty's Government to formulate the reason for, and nature of, the assistance required.

Minister for Foreign Affairs tells me that he has spoken in above sense to the German Ambassador, who called upon him to-day, but who repudiated any idea of aggressive action of the nature suggested.(2) His Excellency is to see the French and Russian Ambassadors to-morrow, and will hold similar language to them.

Cf. No. 637.

(1) No. 436.
(2) See DD No. 785.

(35669) No. 572.
Sir G. Barclay to Sir Edward Grey.
Bucharest, August 4, 1914.
D. 10 A .M.
Tel. (No. 29.)
R. 7:30 A.M.

St. Petersburg telegram No. 195 of 1st August.(1)

Probable prospect of attack on Servia by Turkey and Bulgaria seems to me the one development which would be the most likely to bring King Charles to consent to war with Austria. Presumably Austria will make every effort to keep Turkey and Bulgaria quiet.

(Repeated to Sophia, Nish, Athens and Constantinople.)

(1) No. 459.

(35675) No. 573.
Sir Edw ard Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No. 266.)
D. 9 30 A.M.

The King of the Belgians has made an appeal to His Majesty the King for diplomatic intervention on behalf of Belgium.

His Majesty's Government are also informed that the German Government has delivered to the Belgium Government a note proposing friendly neutrality entailing free passage through Belgian territory and promising to maintain the independence and integrity of the kingdom and its possessions at the conclusion of peace, threatening in case of refusal to treat Belgium a an enemy. An answer was requested within twelve hours.

We also understand that Belgium has categorically refused this as a flagrant violation of the law of nations.

His Majesty's Government are bound to protest against this violation of a treaty to which Germany is a party in common with themselves, and must request an assurance that the demand made upon Belgium will not be proceeded with, and that her neutrality will be respected by Germany. You should ask for an immediate reply.

Published in BB No. 153 (Text of Appeal is added; cf. also B No. 25).

Foreign Office, August 4, 1914.
Tel. (No 267 )
D. 9:30 A.M.

You need make no paraphrase of my immediately preceding telegram.

This was communicated by Sir E. Goschen to Herr von Jagow as an Aide-mémoire (DD No. 823).

Cf. Nos. 594 and 615.

(35735) No. 574.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 9:15 P.M.
Tel. (No. 159.)
R. August 4, 9:35 A.M.

Albania. Government earnestly hope that you will not withdraw Mr. Lamb from Durazzo. Whether Austrian ship be removed or not, Italian ship will stay there and they trust this will suffice for you to sanction his remaining, as his removal would they are convinced, lead to the dissolution of the whole International Commission which would be regarded by the Albanians as a desertion of the Prince by the Powers, with the result of fresh difficulties for the Powers who have guaranteed Albania.

(Repeated to Durazzo.)

Cf. No. 591.

(35701) No. 575.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, August 3, 1914.
D. August 3, 11:42 P.M.
Tel. (No. 132.)
R. August 4, 10:30 A.M.

Military intelligence for to-day: In eastern theatre German cruiser "Augsburg" bombarded Libau, and German troops have occupied Kalish, Czentochen and Bendzin. In western theatre, according to German reports, French troops have crossed Vosges, occupying Gottestal, Metzeral, Markirch and Schlucht Pass. This is considered in Germany as a breach of international law, war not having been declared yet. It is officially stated here that German troops occupied Luxemburg this morning.