Document Numbers 88 - 101

23 July 1914 - 24 July 1914
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II.-- July 24-August 4.

(33509) No. 88.

Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey. -- (Received July 24.)
(No. 152.)
Vienna, July 21, 1914

I have the honour to report that this evening's "Neue Freie Presse," which has taken a very leading part in the Press campaign against Servia, announces from Ischl, where Count Berchtold has to-day had an audience of the Emperor, that it is there believed that the expected démarche at Belgrade will be made in the course of this week. The demands to be made of Servia would be couched in a polite form, but would be very definite in substance; and Servia would be probably given only 48 hours in which to reply. The chief demands according to this article would probably be the following: --

1. That a serious enquiry should be held as to the complicity of those Servians upon whom the proceedings at Sarajevo had cast suspicion.

2. That steps should be taken against those Servian nationalist societies whose activities on Austro-Hungarian soil caused constant unrest in the Dual Monarchy.

3. That steps should be taken in common by the frontier police of both countries for the better watching of the frontier.

Though the other organs of the Vienna press do not contain any such definite announcement of impending diplomatic action at Belgrade, reports from Budapest speak of Count Tisza communicating to the Council of Ministers the text of the note to be presented; and the Stock Exchange, which had for a moment recovered from the fall of last week, is once more suffering from falling markets.

The suggestion that Servia will be given only 48 hours in which to accept the Austro-Hungarian demands seems unlikely to be well-founded, for the Servian Prime Minister is reported to be absent from Belgrade on a ten days' electioneering tour, whilst the harvest in Austria and Hungary will not have been got in for another 8 weeks, before which time it cannot be desired to bring on a crisis.

A copy of this despatch has been sent to Belgrade.

I have, &c.
(For the Ambassador),

(33531) No. 89.

Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 23, 1914.
D. July 23, 10:30 P.M.
R. July 24, 8 A.M.
Tel. (No. 47.)

I am informed by my Italian colleague that a note was handed in by the Austrian Legation this evening giving the Servian Government forty-eight hours within which to comply with the demands contained therein. I have not yet details, but I am told that the conditions imposed are exceedingly harsh.

(Sent to Vienna.)

(33574) No. 90.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 23, 1914.
D. July 23, 8:25 P.M.
Tel. (No. 95.) R. July 24, 11:30 A.M.

Russian Charge d'Affaires is instructed to concert with French Ambassador and myself as to representation to be made by us in the same sense, but not collectively, to warn in friendly but firm language Austro-Hungarian Government against sending in a note to Servian Government drawn up in terms which latter could not accept without humiliation.

I informed Russian Charge d'Affaires that I was as yet without instructions, but that in conversation with Under-Secretary of State, Count Forgach, I had expressed to-day personal hope to above effect.

Under-Secretary of State told me that note was to be presented to-day at Belgrade and that its terms would be published in to-morrow's papers. He said that note was a stiff one, for nothing else would satisfy outburst of public indignation against Servia which had followed the assassinations. He hoped, but hardly seemed to expect, that Servian Government would yield to peremptory demands which it contained. He told me that complicity of Servian officials in crime was fully proved and that no Government could remain in power here for a week that failed to call Servia seriously to account.

French Ambassador spoke seriously yesterday to the other Under-Secretary of State, Baron Macchio, on danger of provoking an armed conflict with Servia. Baron Macchio took his warning in good part and led French Ambassador to think that moderate language would be used in the note. This impression in his Excellency's mind was confirmed by language of Hungarian Minister-President yesterday at Budapest, but I confess that declarations made to me this afternoon, in conversation, by Count Forgach as to state of feeling in this country and impossibility of Government resisting it were such as to make me fear that serious crisis may be at hand.

(Repeated to Belgrade.)

See Nos. 76 and 84.

(33652) No. 91.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir M. de Bunsen.
Foreign Office, July 24, 1914.
Tel. (No. 148.) D. 1:30 P.M.

Austro-Hungarian Ambassador has communicated to me the note addressed to Servia with the explanation of the Austro-Hungarian Government upon it.(1)

I said that the murder of the Archduke and some of the circumstances stated in the Austro-Hungarian note with regard to Servia naturally aroused sympathy with Austria, but I thought it a great pity that a time-limit, and such a short time-limit, had been introduced at this stage, and the note seemed to me the most formidable document I had ever seen addressed by one State to another that was independent. Demand No. 5 might mean that the Austro-Hungarian Government were to be entitled to appoint officials who should have authority in Servian territory and this would hardly be consistent with maintenance ofindependent sovereignty of Servia.

I was not, however, making these comments in order to discuss the merits of the dispute between Austria-Hungary and Servia; that was not our concern. It was solely from the point of view of the peace of Europe that I should concern myself with the matter, and I felt great apprehension.

I must wait to hear the views of other Powers and no doubt we should consult with them to see what could be done to mitigate difficulties.

The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador observed that there had been so much procrastination on the part of Servia that a time-limit was essential. Some weeks had passed since the murder of the Archduke and Servia had made no sign of sympathy or help; if she had held out a hand after the murder the present situation might have been prevented.

I observed that a time-limit could have been introduced at any later stage if Servia had procrastinated about a reply; as it was, the Austro-Hungarian Government not only demanded a reply within forty-eight hours, but dictated the terms of the reply.

(Repeated to Paris No. 206/7 J Berlin No. 198/4; Rome No. 186/7; and St. Petersburg No. 342/3: "For information only.")

Published in BB No. 5 (paraphrased).
For Count Mensdorff's account of this conversation see A II No. 14.
(1) Printed in Appendix A.

(33653) No. 92.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 24, 1914.
D. 1 P.M.
Tel. (No. 49.) Urgent. R. 2:50 P.

My immediately preceding telegram.(1)

Prime Minister, who returned to Belgrade early this morning is very anxious and dejected. He begged me earnestly to convey to you his hope that His Majesty's Government will use their good offices in moderating Austrian demands which he says are impossible of acceptance.(2)

Published in BB No. 8 (paraphrased).

(l) ? No. 94.
(2) See No. 102 and also S No. 35.

(33656) No. 93.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna, July 24, 1914.
D. 1:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 99.) R. 3:10 P.M.

My telegram No. 96 of 24th July (l): Austro-Hungarian note to Servia.

French Ambassador has just called to exchange impressions. We think that note, while containing many just demands, is drawn up in a peremptory manner, rendering immediate unconditional acceptance by Servian Government very difficult. French Ambassador has already seen Servian Minister, who states that active exchange of telegrams is taking place between Belgrade and St. Petersburg, and that in his opinion, reply of Servian Government will depend on result of this correspondence.

Personally, Servian Minister thinks if delay for reply could be extended an agreement would not be impossible. On two or three points, however, Austro-Hungarian demands would have to be modified. King of Servia could never humiliate himself by issuing a general order to army in prescribed terms. Demand No. 4, that certain officers are to be dismissed, whose names and offences are not yet made known, is quite unacceptable, as also demand No. 5, concerning participation of Austro Hungarian agents in suppressing a political movement in Servia.

French Ambassador thought attitude of Servian Minister very moderate and conciliatory.

(Repeated to Embassies and Belgrade.)

(1) NOTE. -- This telegram is not printed as it contains nothing but a precis of the Austro-Hungarian note.

(33659) No. 94.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 24, 1914.
D. 1:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 48.) Urgent. R. 3:12 P.M.

My immediate preceding telegram. (1)

I have seen text of Austrian note, which is curt and peremptory. Servian Prime Minister told me that, although no definite decision has as yet been reach ed as to the answer to be given, note contains certain demands which are quite unacceptable to Servian Government.

Amongst demands made are the following: --

1. To accept collaboration of the Austro-Hungarian Government with a view to suppression of nationalist movement against Austria-Hungary on Servian soil.

2. To undertake the dismissal from the public service of all officers and functionaries suspected of connivance in the assassination and of whom a list will be furnished by the Austro-Hungarian Government.

3. To eliminate from school and public instruction all teachers and text-books calculated to foment propaganda against Austria-Hungary.

4. To suppress and dissolve nationalist societies in Servia, such as the Narodna Obrana.

Note further demands that a formal declaration by the Servian Government be published in the "Official Gazette" of the 26th inst., condemning the Servian movement and the attempt to detach Serb population of Austria-Hungary from their allegiance to the Monarchy and expressing regret that Servian officials should have participated in propaganda and thus prejudiced the neighbourly relations which Servia promised to observe in the declaration made on the 31st March, 1909.

The time-limit of 48 hours, which expires on Saturday at 6 in the evening, was given verbally.

(Sent to Vienna.)

Cf. Oman, p. 27
(1) No. 89.

(33670) No. 95.
Sir H. Bax-Ironside to Sir Edward Grey.
Sophia, July 24, 1914.
D. 4:30 P.M.
Tel. (No. 34.) Confidential. P. 5:5 P.M.

There are good grounds for believing that arrangement has been concluded between Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria by which latter would endeavour to occupy portion of Macedonia now in possession of Servia in case of outbreak of hostilities.

Bulgaria is being secretly supplied with heavy ammunition and materiel of all kinds via Danube and Lom Palanca.

Bulgarian army is not yet on war footing, but could rapidly be prepared for a campaign.

(33672) No. 96.
Mr. Crackanthorpe to Sir Edward Grey.
Belgrade, July 24, 1914.
D. 4:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 50.) Very Confidential. R. 6:20 P.M.

Crown Prince has sent personal telegram to King of Italy appealing to His Majesty on ground of family ties uniting Italian and Servian Royal houses, and in his quality of ally of Austria, to use his good offices to obtain prolongation of time limit and moderation of Austrian demands.

(Sent to Vienna and Rome.)

(33671) No. 97.
Sir M. de Bunsen to Sir Edward Grey.
Vienna}, July 24, 1914.
D. 7 50 P.M.
Tel. (No. 100.) R. 10:15 P.M.

My immediately preceding telegram of 24th July: (1) Austria and Servia.

French Ambassador has now received an instruction similar to one communicated to me yesterday by Russian Charge d'Affaires, but adding that in view of fact that Austro-Hungarian note has already gone in, French Ambassador was to consider, in consultation with Russian Charge d'Affaires and myself, whether any communication could at this moment be usefully made. I agree with French Ambassador that observations intended to prevent presentation of note or to cause its terms to be modified would now be out of place.

Russian Charge d'Affaires took occasion to express to Minister for Foreign Affairs his personal views this morning concerning note, which he described as unusual and peremptory, and as being drawn up in a form rendering acceptance, as it stood, impossible. Minister for Foreign Affairs said it must be accepted integrally by 6 P.M. to-morrow, otherwise Austrian Minister was already instructed to leave Belgrade immediately. Step taken had given great satisfaction throughout Dual Monarchy, which felt its very existence was at stake, and his Excellency could not believe that any Power could think of raising objections.(2)


I have had conversation with Turkish Ambassador, who thinks note is justified by behaviour of Servia for some time past, but that Austro-Hungarian Government must be aware that it cannot be accepted and evidently contemplate an attack on Servia. His Excellency's impression is that Russia would not intervene in that case, but that Bulgarian and Albanian population of New Servia would certainly rise and that complications would ensue, giving Austro-Hungary opportunity to side with Bulgaria in demanding a revision of Peace of Bucharest. Turkish Ambassador believes that, though no troops have yet been moved, everything is in readiness for an immediate advance if necessary.

Russian Ambassador assured me before his departure on leave that Russia could not remain indifferent in face of Austrian action intended to humiliate Servia.

(Repeated to Belgrade.)

Part published in BB No. 7 (paraphrased).
(1) No. 93. Cf. No. 90.
(2) See A II No. 23.

(33782) No. 98.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
(No. 491.)
Foreign Office, July 24, 1914.

After telling M. Cambon to-day of the Austrian communication to Servia, which I had received this morning, and of the comment I had made to Count Mensdorff upon it yesterday,(1) I told M. Cambon that this afternoon I was to see the German Ambassador, who some days ago had asked me privately to exercise moderating influence in St. Petersburg. I would say to the Ambassador that, of course, if the presentation of this ultimatum to Servia did not lead to trouble between Austria and Russia, we need not concern ourselves about it; but, if Russia took the view of the Austrian ultimatum, which it seemed to me that any Power interested in Servia would take, I should be quite powerless, in face of the terms of the ultimatum, to exercise any moderating influence. I would say that I thought the only chance of any mediating or moderating influence being exercised was that Germany, France, Italy, and ourselves, who had not direct interests in Servia, should act together for the sake of peace, simultaneously in Vienna and St. Petersburg.(2)

M. Cambon said that, if there was a chance of mediation by the four Powers, he had no doubt that his Government would be glad to join in it; but he pointed out that we could not say anything in St. Petersburg till Russia had expressed some opinion or taken some action. But, when two days were over, Austria would march into Servia, for the Servians could not possibly accept the Austrian demand. Russia would be compelled by her public opinion to take action as soon as Austria attacked Servia, and therefore, once the Austrians had attacked Servia, it would be too late for any mediation.

I said that I had not contemplated anything being said in St. Petersburg until after it was clear that there must be trouble between Austria and Russia. I had thought that if Austria did move into Servia, and Russia then mobilised, it would be possible for the four Powers to urge Austria to stop her advance, and Russia also to stop hers, pending mediation. But it would be essential for any chance of success for such a step that Germany should participate in it.

M. Cambon said that it would be too late after Austria had once moved against Servia. The important thing was to gain time by mediation in Vienna. The best chance of this being accepted would be that Germany should propose it to the other Powers.

I said that by this he meant a mediation between Austria and Servia.

He replied that it was so.

I said that I would talk to the German Ambassador this afternoon on the subject. (2)

I am, &c.

Published in BB No. 10.
For M. Cambon's account of this conversation see F. No. 82.
(1) No. 86.
(2) No. 99.

(33736) No. 99.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir H. Rumbold.
Foreign Office, July 24, 1914.
Tel. (No. 196.) D. 7:45 P.M.

German Ambassador has communicated to me the view of the German Government about the Austrian demand in Servia;(1) I understand the German Government is making the same communication to the Powers.

I said that if the Austrian ultimatum to Servia did not lead to trouble between Austria and Russia I had no concern with it; I had heard nothing yet from St. Petersburg, but I was very apprehensive of the view Russia would take of the situation. I reminded the German Ambassador that some days ago he had expressed a personal hope that if need arose I would endeavour to exercise moderating influence at St. Petersburg, but now I said t hat, in view of the extraordinary stiff character of the Austrian note, the shortness of the time allowed, and the wide scope of the demands upon Servia, I felt quite helpless as far as Russia was concerned, and I did not believe any Power could exercise i nfluence alone.

The only chance I could see of mediating or moderating influence being effective, was that the four Powers, Germany, Italy, France and ourselves, should work together simultaneously at Vienna and St. Petersburg in favour of moderation in the extent of the relations between Austria and Russia becoming threatening.

The immediate danger was that in a few hours Austria might march into Servia and Russian Slav opinion demand that Russia should march to help Servia; it would be very desirable to get Austria not to precipitate military action and so to gain more time. But none of us could influence Austria in this direction unless Germany would propose and participate in such action at Vienna. You should inform Minister for Foreign Affairs.


The German Ambassador said that if Servia could not accept the whole of the Austrian demands unconditionally Austria might be expected to move at the expiration of the time limit. He made the personal suggestion that in any case Servia must not reply with a negative, but must send at once a reply that was favourable on some points, sufficient to give Austria an excuse for not taking action immediately.

(Repeated to Paris No. 210/11; Vienna No. 151/2; Rome No. 190/1; and St. Petersburg No. 345/6: "For your information only.")

Published in BB No. 11 (unparaphrased, except last paragraph.)
For Prince Lichnowsky's account of this conversation see DD No. 157, also A II No. 15.

Send copy of the first part of this telegram (not the confidential paragraph) to the Italian Ambassador who has asked for information as to my views. -- E. G.

(1) No. 100.

(33736) No. 100.

Communication by the German Ambassador, July 24, 1914.

The publications of the Austro-Hungarian Government concerning the circumstances under which the assassination of the Austrian heir presumptive and his consort has taken place disclose unmistakably the aims which the great Servian propaganda has set itself and the means it employs to realise them. The facts now made known must also do away with the last doubts that the centre of activity of all those tendencies which are directed towards the detachment of the southern Slav provinces from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and their incorporation into the Servian Kingdom is to be found in Belgrade, and is at work there with at least the connivance of members of Government and army.

The Servian intrigues have been going on for many years. In an especially marked form the great Servian chauvinism manifested itself during the Bosnian crisis. It was only owing to the far-reaching self-restraint and moderation of the Austro-Hungarian Government and to the energetic interference of the Great Powers that the Servian provocations to which Austria-Hungary was then exposed did not lead to a conflict. The assurance of good conduct in future which was given by the Servian Government at that time has not been kept. Under the eyes, at least with the tacit permission of official Servia, the great Servian propaganda has continuously increased in extension and intensity; to its account must be set the recent crime, the threads of which lead to Belgrade. It has become clearly evident that it would not be consistent either with the dignity or with the self-preservation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy still longer to remain inactive in face of this movement on the other side of the frontier, by which the security and the integrity of her territories are constantly menaced. Under these circumstances the course of procedure and demands of the Austro-Hungarian Government can only be regarded as equitable and moderate. In spite of that, the attitude which public opinion as well as the Government in Servia have recently adopted does not exclude the apprehension that the Servian Government might refuse to comply with those demands and might allow themselves to be carried away into a provocative attitude against Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Government, if it does not wish definitely to abandon Austria's position as a Great Power, would then have no choice but to obtain the fulfilment of their demands from the Servian Government by strong pressure and, if necessary, by using military measures, the choice of the means having to be left to them.

The Imperial Government want to emphasise their opinion that in the present case there is only question of a matter to be settled exclusively between Austria-Hungary and Servia, and that the Great Powers ought seriously to endeavour to reserve it to those two immediately concerned. The Imperial Government desire urgently the localisation of the conflict because every interference of another Power would, owing to the different treaty obligations, be followed by incalculable consequences.

German Embassy, London.

Published in BB No. 9.
For the German original see DD No. 100. The translation here printed is that of the type-written copy in English left by the German Ambassador.

Very strong support. -- G. R. C. July 25, 1914.

The answer is that owing to the extreme nature of the Austrian demands and the time limit imposed, the localisation of the conflict has been made exceedingly difficult. Because the Austrian terms bear on their face the character of a design to provoke a war. The statements made by Austria and now reasserted by Germany concerning Servia's misdeeds rest for the present on no evidence that is available for the Powers whom the Austrian Government has invited to accept those statements. Time ought to be given to allow the Powers to satisfy themselves as to the facts which they are asked to endorse. -- E. A. C. July 25.

Telegrams are posted at the Clubs that the Conservative Press at Berlin have veered round, and are protesting against Germany being implicated in conflict which Austria-Hungary has conjured, and because Germany was not consulted beforehand in regard to the ultimatum. I do not know if this change of front has any significance. -- A. N.

If true it a very surprising change of front. I have assumed in my conversations with Prince Lichnowsky that a war between Austria and Servia cannot be localised. -- E. G.

(33673) No. 101.
Sir G. Buchanan to Sir Edward Grey.
St. Petersburg, July 24, 1914.
D. 5:40 P.M.
Tel. (No. 166.) Urgent. R. 8 P.M.

My immediately preceding telegram.(1)

Minister for Foreign Affairs telephoned to me this morning saying that he had just received text of ultimatum presented by Austria at Belgrade yesterday that demands a reply in forty-eight hours. Step thus taken by Austria meant war, and he begged me to meet him at the French Embassy.

*Minister for Foreign Affairs and French Ambassador told me confidentially that result of the visit of the President of the French Republic had been to establish the following points: --

1. Perfect community of views on the various problems with which the Powers are confronted as regards the maintenance of general peace and balance of power in Europe, more especially in the East.

2. Decision to take action at Vienna with a view to the prevention of a demand for explanation or any summons equivalent to an intervention in the internal affairs of Servia which the latter would be justified in regarding as an attack on her so vereignty and independence.

3. Solemn affirmation of obligations imposed by the alliance of the two countries.*

Minister for Foreign Affairs expressed the hope that His Majesty's Government would proclaim their solidarity with France and Russia. He characterised Austria's conduct as immoral and provocative. Some of the demands which she had presented were absolutely inacceptable, and she would never have acted as she had done without having first consulted Germany. The French Ambassador gave me to understand that France would not only give Russia strong diplomatic support, but would, if necessary, fulfil all the obligations imposed on her by the alliance.

I said that I could not speak in the name of His Majesty's Government, but that I would telegraph all that they had said. I could personally hold out no hope that His Majesty's Government would make any declaration of solidarity that would entail engagement to support France and Russia by force of arms. We had no direct interests in Servia, and public opinion in England would never sanction a war on her behalf. Minister for Foreign Affairs replied that the Servian question was but part of general European question and that we could not efface ourselves.

I said that I gathered that His Excellency wished us to join in telling Austria that we could not tolerate her active intervention in Servian internal affairs. If she paid no attention to our representations and took military action against Servia, did Russia propose to declare war upon her? Minister for Foreign Affairs said that the whole question would be considered by a Council of Ministers to be held this afternoon, but that no decision would be taken till a further Council of Ministers had been held under the presidency of the Emperor, probably to-morrow. He personally thought that Russia would at any rate have to mobilise.

I suggested that the first thing to be done was to try to gain time by bringing our influence to bear to induce Austria to ex tend term of delay accorded to Servia. The French Ambassador replied that time did not permit of this; either Austria was bluffing or had made up her mind to act at once. In either case a firm and united attitude was our only chance of averting war. I then asked whether it would not be advisable to urge Servian Government to state precisely how far they were prepared to go to meet Austria's wishes. Minister for Foreign Affairs said that some of the demands contained in ultimatum might no doubt be accepted, but that he must first consult his colleagues.

As they both continued to press me to declare our complete solidarity with them, I said that I thought you might be prepared to represent strongly at Vienna and Berlin danger to European peace of an Austrian attack on Serbia. You might perhaps point out that it would in all probability force Russia to intervene, that this would bring Germany and (?France) into the field, and that if war became general, it would be difficult for England to remain neutral. Minister for Foreign Affairs said that he hoped that we would in any case express strong reprobation of Austria's action. If war did break out, we would sooner or later be dragged into it, but if we did not make common cause with France and Russia from the outset we should have rendered war more likely, and should not have played a "beau ro1e."

From French Ambassador's language it almost looked as if France and Russia were determined to make a strong stand even if we declined to join them. Language of Minister for Foreign Affairs, however, was not so (?decided) on this subject.

Austrian Government seemed purposely to have presented their ultimatum at moment when President of the French Republic and President of the Council were leaving Russia on their return to France, where they cannot arrive for four or five days.

Towards the close of our interview we were joined by Roumanian Minister, with whom Minister for Foreign Affairs had a private conversation in which is Excellency invited also Roumanian Government to make representations at Vienna.

(Repeated to Paris, 1:20 P.M., No. 217.)

(1) No. 84

Published in BB No. 6 (paraphrased and parts omitted).


The moment has passed when it might have been possible to enlist French support in an effort to hold back Russia.

It is clear that France and Russia are decided to accept the challenge thrown out to them. Whatever we may think of the merits of the Austrian charges against Servia, France and Russia consider that these are the pretexts, and that the bigger cause of Triple Alliance versus Triple Entente is definitely engaged.

I think it would be impolitic, not to say dangerous, for England to attempt to controvert this opinion, or to endeavour to obscure the plain issue, by any representation at St. Petersburg and Paris.

The point that matters is whether Germany is or is not absolutely determined to have this war now.

There is still the chance that she can be made to hesitate, if she can be induced to apprehend that the war will find England by the side of France and Russia.

I can suggest only one effective way of bringing this home to the German Government without absolutely committing us definitely at this stage. If, the moment either Austria or Russia begin to mobilise, His Majesty's Government give orders to put our whole fleet on an immediate war footing, this may conceivably make Germany realise the seriousness of the danger to which she would be exposed if England took part in the war.

It would be right, supposing this decision could be taken now, to inform the French and Russian Governments of it, and this again would be the best thing we could do to prevent a very grave situation arising as between England and Russia.

It is difficult not to agree with Sazonof that sooner or later England will be dragged into the war if it does come. We shall gain nothing by not making up our minds what we can do in circumstances that may arise to-morrow.

Should the war come, and England stand aside, one of two things must happen: --

(a.) Either Germany and Austria win, crush France, and humiliate Russia. With the French fleet gone, Germany in occupation of the Channel, with the willing or unwilling cooperation of Holland and Belgium, what will be the position of a friendless England?

(b.) Or France and Russia win. What would then be their attitude towards England? What about India and the Mediterranean?

Our interests are tied up with those of France and Russia in this struggle, which is not for the possession of Servia, but one between Germany aiming at a political dictatorship in Europe and the Powers who desire to retain individual free dom. If we can help to avoid the conflict by showing our naval strength, ready to be instantly used, it would be wrong not to make the effort.

Whatever therefore our ultimate decision, I consider we should decide now to mobilise the fleet as soon as any other Great Power mobilises, and that we should announce this decision without delay to the French and Russian Governments. -- E. A. C. July 25.

The points raised by Sir Eyre Crowe merit serious consideration, and doubtless the Cabinet will review the situation. Our attitude during the crisis will be regarded by Russia as a test and we must be most careful not to alienate her. -- A. N.

Mr. Churchill told me to-day that the fleet can be mobilised in twenty-four hours, but I think it is premature to make any statement to France and Russia yet. -- E. G.

* [NOTE. -- In the Blue Book this passage was omitted (see Introduction, p. vii. By an oversight, however, a reference to it was left in the table of contents. The attention of the Office having been drawn to this fact by a German scholar in the spring of 1924, the text of the missing passage was communicated to him with the permission of the Secretary of State. The passage has therefore since then been published in Germany.]

Created: 11 August 1996, 11:39 AM Last Updated: 11 August 1996, 11:39 AM