Sazonov Tries to Mediate: 26 July 1914

The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Sazonov, attempted to mediate between Austria-Hungary and Serbia through his ambassador in Vienna. Austria-Hungary had broken off diplomatic relations with Serbia the previous day.

Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs to Russian Ambassador to Austria-Hungary. St. Petersburg, 26 July 1914.

I had a long and friendly conversation to-day with the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador. After discussing the ten demands addressed to Servia, I drew his attention to the fact that, quite apart from the clumsy form in which they were presented some of them were quite impracticable, even if the Servian Government agreed to accept them.

Thus, for example, points 1 and 2 could not be carried out without recasting the Servian press law and associations law, and to that it might be difficult to obtain the consent of the Skupchtina. As for enforcing points 4 and 5, this might lead to most dangerous consequences, and even to the risk of acts of terrorism directed against the Royal Family and against Pashitch, which clearly could not be the intention of Austria. With regard to the other points it seemed to me that, with certain changes of detail, it would not be difficult to find a basis of mutual agreement, if the accusations contained in them were confirmed by sufficient proof.

Sergey Sazonov

Sergey Sazonov

In the interest of the maintenance of peace, which, according to the statements of Szapary, is as much desired by Austria as by all the Powers, it was necessary to end the tension of the present moment as soon as possible. With this object in view it seemed to me most desirable that the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador should be authorised to enter into a private exchange of views in order to redraft certain articles of the Austrian note of the 23rd July in consultation with me.

This method of procedure would perhaps enable us to find a formula which would prove acceptable to Servia, while giving satisfaction to Austria in respect of the chief of her demands. Please convey the substance of this telegram to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in a judicious and friendly manner.

Communicated to Russian Ambassadors in Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy.

 

Source: Russian Orange Book

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