Having sent the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, Baron von Giesl, the text of the ultimatum to Serbia on 20 July, Count Berchtold instructed the minister on its delivery should Nikola Pašić, the Serbian Prime Minister, not be present to receive it.
Count Berchtold to Baron von Giesl in Belgrade. Vienna, 21 July 1914.
According to the newspapers, Premier Pašić has gone to East-Servia on election business and will not return to Belgrade before the end of the week.
If these news are confirmed it will be necessary that your Excellency on Thursday morning, sends to the first official of the Servian Foreign Office a letter by someone from the Chancellor’s office, stating that you are instructed to communicate important news to the Servian government on Thursday afternoon and would call at the Foreign Office between 4 and 5 o’clock. You will write that your communication will probably make a speedy return of Herr Pašić necessary; the temporary Chief of the Foreign Office had better, if he
thought it necessary, communicate immediately with the Premier.
To avoid mistakes I should like it to be understood that this letter must be regarded in the light of an act of courtesy on your part, to facilitate the early return and the information of the Premier. But the presentation of the note must under all circumstances take place on Thursday afternoon between 4 and 5 o’clock, and should Herr Pašić be absent, the document must , be given either to his representative or to the official next in rank in the Servian Foreign Office.
When the note has been delivered, your Excellency will inform me in the most urgent manner, by previously prepared cyphered telegrams in duplo [e.i. two copies] from Belgrade and from Semlin by a member of the legation, whom you will send there on receipt of this telegram. I am anxious to have the news here on Thursday before 7 or 8 o’clock, for publication and other measures to be taken.
Source: edited from Austro-Hungarian Red Book