Document Numbers 251 - 270

28-29 July 1914
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(34520) No. 251.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 28, 1914.
D. July 28, 10 P.M.
Tel. (No. 118.)
R. July 29, 10:45 A.M.

Following for D.M.O. from Military Attaché:

"Complete mobilisation of 99th corps now practically certain. 1st, 10th, 11th Galician corps not yet mobilised. Trains with cavalry left Budapest for Galicia yesterday. Constant reports of General Bohm Ermolli that he will command one of the armies entering Servia instead of von Frank or von Auffenberg. Mountain troops, including mountain artillery, are being transferred from 14th and 3rd corps districts to Bosnia. Concentration of units has begun and is proceeding simultaneously with calling ( ? omitted: in) of reservists. On enquiry at War Office here whether more than one attach‚ would be allowed, I was told that instructions would be issued next week and that in the meantime it was impossible to answer question. Please send series of Servian maps. "To list of units confirmed as mobilised, add 40th and 41st Honved divisions. Summary according to information so far actually verified is: completely mobilised, 8th, 9th, 4th, 7th, 18th, 15th and 16th corps and 40th and 41st divisions. Partially: 2nd, 3rd, 12th, 14th corps. Possibly partially: 6th corps and 20th division. No positive information concerning other Landwehr or Honved troops."

(34545) No. 252.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 29, 1914.
D. 12:5 A.M.
Tel. (No. 128.)
R. 11:40 A.M.

Berlin telegram No. 96 of 27th July( 1) is in contradiction with your telegram No. 208 of 27th July to Berlin, (2) in which German Ambassador was reported to have accepted idea of conference in principle.

Italian Government have information from Berlin showing that No. 96 of 27th July correctly represents German view, but Minister for Foreign Affairs understands that it is rather the "conference" than the principle which creates difficulty. He is telegraphing to Berlin to-night urging that idea of an exchange of views in London should be adhered to, and suggests that German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs might propose formula which he could accept. Minister for Foreign Affairs thinks that this exchange of views might be concomitant with direct communication between St. Petersburg and Vienna and would keep door open if latter fail to have any result.

He is also informing Berlin that public opinion here will not pardon the Government if every possible step has not been taken to avoid war and urging that in this Germany must co- operate.

Even if it proved impossible to induce Germany to take part, he would still advocate that Italy and England should still continue to exchange views, each as representing one group.

He added that there seemed to be a difficulty in making Germany believe that Russia was in earnest and thought it would have a great effect if she believed that Great Britain would act with Russia and France, as Germany was really desirous of good relations with ourselves.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published BB No. 80 (paraphrased).


The last paragraph is significant, coming from Italy. E. A. C. July 29.

I ask myself what is the use of exchanging views at this juncture. To my mind the only possible way of avoiding a conflict is to ask Austria to take no military action pending conversations and it is quite clear that such a request would be peremptorily rejected and would not be supported by Germany. I am of opinion that the resources of diplomacy are, for the present, exhausted.

We have two undoubted facts before us

1. Austria will invade and endeavour to crush Servia.

2. If Austria invades Servia, Russia will act in support of Servia. Appeals either to Austria or Russia to alter their course would be futile and would lead to misunderstandings. A. N.

The German Ambassador told me to-day that what I had said in the House of Commons in reply to a question from Mr. Lawson (3) on Monday about Germany having accepted in principle the idea of mediation between Austria and Russia correctly represented the German statement made by him to me.(4) E. G.

(1) No. 185.
(2) No. 176.
(3) No. 190.
(4) See DD No. 357.

(34556) No. 253.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 28. 1914.
D. July 28, 11:20 P.M.
Tel. (No. 119.)
R. July 29, 12 noon.

Following from the Naval Attaché‚ for the Admiralty:

"Danube monitors completed to full crews at Budapest 24th and proceeded same night probably to Semlin and Pancsova. Rumour here that the fleet is to be mobilised."

(34567) No. 254.
Mr. Findlay to Sir Edward Grey.
Christiania, July 29, 1914.
D. 10 A.M.
Tel. (No. 20.)
R. 12:15 P.M.

All German warships reported on good authority to have left Norwegian waters and to have passed Skaw yesterday.

(34598) No. 255.
Count de Salis to Sir Edward Grey.
Cettinjé, July 27, 1914.
D. July 28, 8 P.M.
Tel. (No. 24.)
R. July 29, 12:20 P.M

From Cettinjé, sent via Scutari.

Semi-official paper to-night publishes the text of a telegram from Prince Regent of Servia to King, thanking him for assurances that Montenegro is united with Servia for defence of Serb race. Telegram from the King in reply concludes: "My Montenegrins are on frontier prepared to fall in defence of our independence."

Decree of mobilisation has not yet been issued, but troops are being collected from this neighbourhood and sent to frontier posts. Peasants report Austrians evacuated Budua yesterday, burning their superfluous stores.

Telegraphic communications via Cattaro suspended since Sunday.

Cf. despatch No. 651.T


The certainty of war between Austria and Montenegro reinforces the argument in favour of the withdrawal of our detachment from Scutari. E. A. C. July 29.

(34574) No. 256.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 29, 1914.
D. 7:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 60.)
R. 12:20 P.M.

Vice-consul at Belgrade telephones that shots are being fired over Belgrade, and that Austrians are making pontoon bridge over Save, railway bridge having, according to information received here, been blown up.

I have instructed vice-consul to hoist flag over legation, and in event of Austrians entering Belgrade to make immediate notification to military authorities with a view to ensuring safety of legation.

(34584) No. 257.
Mr. Chilton to Sir Edward Grey.
The Hague, July 29, 1914.
D. 10:56 A.M.
Tel. (No. 15.)
R. 12:30 P.M.

My telegram No. 14. (1)

Although mobilisation not yet actually ordered all main railway bridges on line of German frontier are guarded by troops also all harbours and even piers at seaside resorts.

(1) No. 213.

(34607) No. 258.
Russian Ambassador to Sir A. Nicolson.
Wednesday, July 29.
Chesham House, Chesham Place. S.W.

My dear Nicolson,
I am sending you

(1.) The corrected translation of the telegram, you know.(1)

(2.) A telegram concerning our mobilisation, it is addressed to Sverbief, but I have to communicate it to you.

(3.) A telegram concerning the pourparlers between M. Sazonoff and Count Szapary.

I will send you whatever I receive in order not to lose time.

Yours v. sincerely,

(1) See Nos. 207, 208.

Enclosure (2).

Sazonoff télégraphie à l'Ambassadeur de Russie à Berlin le 15/28 Juillet 1914.

Chesham House, Chesham Place, S.W.

En conséquence de la déclaration de guerre adressée par l'Autriche-Hongrie à la Serbie, le Gouvernement Impérial déclarera demain la mobilisation dans les circonscriptions militaires d'Odessa, Kieff, Moscow, et Kazan. Veuillez en informer le Gouvernement Allemand en confirmant à cette occasion l'absence en Russie de toute intention agressive contre l'Allemagne. L'Ambassadeur de Russie à Vienne n'est pourtant pas rappel‚ de son poste.

Translation published in F No. 70.

Enclosure (3).

M. Sazonoff télégraphie à l'Ambassadeur de Russie à Londres le 15/28 Juillet 1914.


Chesham House, Chesham Place, S.W.

D'urgence. La déclaration de guerre de l'Autriche rend manifestement vains mes pourparlers directs avec l'Ambassadeur d'Autriche-Hongrie à St. Pétersbourg.

L'action du Cabinet de Londres en faveur d'une médiation et aussi pour arrêter les opérations militaires de l'Autriche contre la Serbie me paraît de toute urgence. Sans l'arrêt des opérations militaires, une médiation ne servirait qu'à traêner les choses en longueur et permettrait à l'Autriche d'écraser entretemps la Serbie.

Translation published in BB No. 70.

Cf. No. 48.

No. 259.
American Ambassador to Sir Edward Grey.
American Embassy, London, July 29, 1914.

Dear Sir Edward, I send you informally a paraphrase of a telegram that I have just received from my Government, which it is a pleasure to transmit to you. My recollection is that in our conversation yesterday I suggested this subject; and I need not say that I hold myself at your service.
Yours sincerely,
Enclosure in No. 259.
Embassy of the United State of America.

Paraphrase of Telegram received at the American Embassy, July 29, 1914.

The Secretary of State asks the Ambassador whether he thinks the good offices of the United States would be acceptable or serve any high purpose in the present crisis if offered under Article 3 of the Hague Convention.

Cf. No. 370.

(34637) No. 260.
Consul-General Roberts to Sir Edward Grey.
Odessa, July 29, 1914.
D. 1:5 P.M.
Tel. (No. 11.)
R. 2:35 P.M.

My telegram No. 9 of 27th July.(1)

All the troops of this district have returned to winter quarters and two divisions ordered to be ready to move to the Austrian frontier.

Informed that Kieff district is mobilising.

South-western railway ceased to receive private goods.

(1) No. 167.

No. 261.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 29, 1914.
D. 2:45 P.M.
R. 3:15 P.M

Following from Consulate, Danzig, 29th July:

"German cruiser 'Magdeburg' left for Kiel yesterday at 8 in the morning."

(34660) No. 262.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 29, 1914.
D. 1 50 P.M.
Tel. (No. 121.)
R. 4 30 P.M.

Following from naval attaché for Admiralty:

"Austrian fleet reported to be assembled at Cattaro."

(34699) No. 263.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 29, 1914.
Tel. (No. 226.)
D. 4:45 P.M

The German Ambassador has been instructed by the German Chancellor to inform me that he is endeavouring to mediate between Vienna and St. Petersburg, and he hopes with good success. Austria and Russia seem to be in constant touch and he is endeavouring to make Vienna explain in a satisfactory form at St. Petersburg the scope and extension of Austrian proceedings in Servia. I told the German Ambassador that an agreement arrived at direct between Austria and Russia would be the best possible solution. I would press no proposal as long as there was a prospect of that, but my information this morning was that the Austrian Government have declined the suggestion of the Russian Government that the Austrian Ambassador at St. Petersburg should be authorised to discuss directly with the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs the means of settling the Austro-Servian conflict. The press correspondent at St. Petersburg had been told that Russian Government would mobilise. The German Government had said that they were favourable in principle to mediation between Russia and Austria if necessary. They seemed to think the particular method of conference, consultation or discussion, or even conversations à quatre in London too formal a method. I urged that the German Government should suggest any method by which the influence of the four Powers could be used together to prevent war between Austria and Russia. France agreed, Italy agreed. The whole idea of mediation or mediating influence was ready to be put into operation by any method that Germany could suggest if mine was not acceptable. In fact, mediation was ready to come into operation by any method that Germany thought possible if only Germany would "press the button" in the interests of peace.

(Repeated to Paris No. 263/4, St. Petersburg No. 402/3: "You should inform M.F.A"; also to Vienna No. 183/4, Rome No. 222/3: "For information only.")

Published in BB No. 84.
For Prince Lichnowsky's account of this conversation see DD No. 357.
See also No. 284.

(34664) No. 264.
Sir E. Goschen to Sir Edward Grey.
Berlin, July 29, 1914.
D. 4:27 P.M.
Tel. (No. 100.) Urgent. Secret and Confidential.
R. 5:45 P.M.

Austria and Servia. Imperial Chancellor sent for me again to-day. He informed me that he had at once communicated to Vienna your opinion that Servian reply might form basis of discussion.(1) He regretted to state that Austro-Hungarian Government had answered that it was too late to act upon your suggestion as events had marched too rapidly.(2) Upon receiving their answer his Excellency had sent a message to Vienna stating that while he was of opinion that Servian reply had shown a certain desire to meet Austrian demands he quite understood that in view of past experiences Austro-Hungarian Government could not rest satisfied without some sure guarantees that demands they had made upon Servia would be scrupulously carried out in their entirety. He had added that he presumed that hostilities about to be undertaken against Servia had exclusive object of securing such guarantees particularly as Austro- Hungarian Government had already given assurances at St. Petersburg that she had no territorial designs. If this view was correct he advised Austro-Hungarian Government to speak openly in that sense, for he hoped that by holding such language all possible misunderstanding might be set aside.(3) He had, he told me, as yet received no reply from Vienna.

His Excellency hoped that you would realise from fact that he had gone so far in giving advice at Vienna that he was sincerely doing all in his power to prevent danger of European complications.

His Excellency begged me most urgently to request you to regard this communication of language he had held in Vienna as most secret and confidential and not to mention it to representatives of any other Power. He had not even mentioned it to Prince Lichnowsky. That he now communicated it to me was a proof of confidence he felt in you and of his desire that you should know how sincerely he appreciated your efforts in the cause of general peace and that he was doing his best to support them.

Finally his Excellency informed me that an exchange of telegrams was taking place between German Emperor and the Czar.

Published in BB No. 75 (paraphrased and parts omitted).

The full unparaphrased text has been published in Oman, p. 54/5, with Sir Arthur Nicolson's minute.


The one important point is the concluding sentence. It is difficult to attach much importance to the rest. E. A. C. July 29.

M. Sazonof told Sir G. Buchanan most positively that no assurances which Austria gave as to respecting integrity and independence of Servia would satisfy Russia. I do not think that Berlin quite understands that Russia cannot and will not stand quietly by while Austria administers a severe chastisement to Servia. She doe not consider that Servia deserves it, and she could not, in view of that feeling and of her position in the Slav world, consent to it. A. N.

I have written separately a telegram in reply.(4) E. G.

(1) No. 176, see also DD No. 27l.
(2) See DD No. 313.
(3) For text of this message see DD No. 323.
(4) No. 266.

(34666) No. 265.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 29, 1914.
D. 4:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 122.)
R. 7:27 P.M.

French and Italian Ambassadors agree with me that at present there is no step which we could usefully take to stop war with Servia, to which Austro-Hungarian Government are now fully committed by declaration of war and Emperor's appeal to his people published this morning. Italian Ambassador thinks that Russia might be induced to remain quiet if Austro- Hungarian Government would convert into a binding engagement to Europe declaration made at St. Petersburg to the effect that she desires neither to acquire Servian territory nor to destroy independence of Servia. But Italian Ambassador feels sure that Austro-Hungarian Government would refuse to do this.


French Ambassador is reporting to French Government that he is convinced by admissions of Servian Minister, with whom he was in close contact till Minister departed 26th July, that growing condition of unrest in Southern Slav provinces of Dual Monarchy was such that Austro-Hungarian Government were compelled either to acquiesce in separation of those provinces or make a desperate effort to retain them by reducing Servia to impotency. Servian Minister always said that time was working for Servia, and he told French Ambassador that within three years Southern Slav provinces would be ready to rise against Austria-Hungary without Servia having to raise her little finger. Austria-Hungary realises she could wait no longer, and determined on war, from which it looks as if nothing would now deter her. French Ambassador thinks this shows that conflict is not due to German instigation and that it does not necessarily show that Germany desires European war, as is thought by many in France.

(Repeated to Embassies.)

Published in BB No. 79 (paraphrased last paragraph omitted).
Cf. F No. 93.

(34664) No. 266.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir E. Goschen.
Foreign Office, July 29, 1914.
Tel. (No. 227.)
D. 7:30 P.M

Your telegram No. 100 of July 29th.(1)

You should thank German Chancellor for his confidence which I much appreciate and will respect as he desires. If he can succeed in getting Austria to give assurances that will satisfy Russia and to abstain from going so far as to come into collision with Russia we shall all join in gratitude for the preservation of the peace of Europe. He may rely upon His Majesty's Government continuing to take every opportunity of working for peace.

Published in BB No. 77 (paraphrased and parts omitted).

(1) No. 264

(34679) No. 267.
Sir H. Bax-Ironside to Sir Edward Grey.
Sophia (via Pola), July 29, 1914.
D. 3:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 35.)
R. 9:30 P.M.

Athens telegram No. 129 of July 28th.(1)

Greek and Roumanian Ministers have jointly warned Bulgarian Government that their Governments will use their utmost endeavours to maintain the terms of the Treaty of Bucharest, and they have demonstrated their solidarity in this matter.

Bulgarian Government have instructed their representatives to inform the Governments to which they are accredited that Bulgaria will observe strict neutrality. The policy of Bulgaria will be, however, one of opportunism.

(Repeated to Athens, Belgrade and Bucharest.)

(1) No. 224.

(34677) No. 268.
Sir R. Rodd to Sir Edward Grey.
Rome, July 29, 1914.
D. 7:20 P.M.
Tel. (No. 130.)
R. 9:30 P.M.

Your telegram No. 217 of July 29th.(1)

In view of communication made to-day by Russia at Berlin regarding partial mobilisation, Minister for Foreign Affairs now thinks moment is past for any further discussions on basis of Servian note. Utmost he now hopes is that Germany may be induced to use her influence at Vienna to prevent or moderate any further Austrian demands on Servia.

Published in BB No. 86 (paraphrased).

(1) No. 246.

(34668) No. 269.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Nish, July 29, 1914.
D. 3:5 P.M.
Tel. (No. 68.)
R. 9:45 P.M.

My immediately preceding telegram.(1)

General bombardment of Belgrade expected to-night. In view of exposed position of British Legation, vice-consul has removed all cyphers and secret archives to German Legation, and has ordered all refugees to leave. Prime Minister tells me that he has now left it entirely to military authorities whether Belgrade shall be defended or not. Vice- consul telephones that shell fell in legation garden and that so far damage is inconsiderable.

(1) Probably No. 291 (a).

(34665) No. 270.
Sir F. Bertie to Sir Edward Grey.
Paris, July 29, 1914.
D. 7:45 P.M.
Tel. (No. 94.)
R. 9:50 P.M.

President of the Republic's arrival this afternoon was the occasion of a large patriotic manifestation. There were a few cries of "À Berlin! "

Many newspapers are writing about Germany in a way calculated to excite public opinion. The "Temps" declares, as Germany has made no attempt to restrain Austrian action and must know what may result therefrom, it is evident that she desires war.

French public up to the present is disinclined to allow itself to be worked up to warlike excitement. State of Bourse creates anxiety.

Cf. Private Letter No. 320.