After Sarajevo, Serbia Fears an Austrian Backlash: 1 July 1914

Nikola Pašić was both Serbia’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs during the July Crisis. On 1 July he wrote to all Serbian legations. He remarked on Austro-Hungarian hostility towards Serbia following the assassinations at Sarajevo.

Nikola Pašić to all the Royal Serbian legations abroad. Belgrade, 1 July 1914.

The Austrian and Hungarian press are blaming Serbia more and more for the Sarajevo outrage. Their aim is transparent, viz., to destroy that high moral reputation which Serbia now enjoys in Europe, and to take the fullest advantage politically against Serbia of the act of a young and ill-balanced fanatic. But, in Serbia itself, the Sarajevo outrage has been most severely condemned in all circles of society, inasmuch as all, official as well as unofficial, immediately recognised that this outrage would be most prejudicial not only to our good neighbourly relations with Austria-Hungary but also to our co-nationalists in that country, as recent occurrences have proved.

At a moment when Serbia is doing everything in her power to improve her relations with the neighbouring Monarchy, it is absurd to think that Serbia could have directly or indirectly inspired acts of this kind. On the contrary, it was of the greatest interest to Serbia to prevent the perpetration of this outrage. Unfortunately this did not lie within Serbia’s power, as both assassins are Austrian subjects.

Hitherto Serbia has been careful to suppress anarchic elements, and after recent events she will redouble her vigilance, and in the event of such elements existing within her borders will take the severest measures against them.

Moreover, Serbia will do everything in her power and use all the means at her disposal in order to restrain the feelings of ill-balanced people within her frontiers. But Serbia can on no account permit the Vienna and Hungarian press to mislead European public opinion, and lay the heavy responsibility for a crime committed by an Austrian subject at the door of the whole Serbian nation and on Serbia, who can only suffer harm from such acts and can derive no benefit whatever.

Please act in the sense of the above views, and use all available channels in order to put an end as soon as possible to the anti-Serbian campaign in the European press.

Source: Serbian Blue Book

Image: Nikola Pašić

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