On 12 July 1914, Count Leopold Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs (pictured), sent a strictly private coded telegram to Kajetan von Merey, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Italy. In his telegram, Berchtold describes Austro-Hungarian policy towards Italy.
Count Berchtold to Herr von Merey. Vienna, 12 July 1914.
Telegram in cypher.—Strictly private.
The action, on which your Excellency has been informed by Count Forgach will probably be taken in hand at the end of this month; the details will be settled this week. The German government, with whom we are acting in perfect harmony, is of opinion, shared by me, that the Italian government should not be informed, but placed in a situation that cannot be averted, by our grave attitude in Belgrade. Still I must ask your Excellency’s opinion, whether it would not be advisable to inform Marquis di San Giuliano [the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs] a day or at least some hours previously, to avoid giving offence, and also that he may be in a position to impress the public and the press in a sense favourable towards the Triple Alliance.
With regard to the accession of Bulgaria to the Triple Alliance. Count Tarnowsky will in the course of this week commence cautious negotiations with the Bulgarian cabinet. As soon as we have attained the certainty that a treaty can at present be concluded, we will inform the Italian government and ask it to cooperate.
Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits