On 20 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Leopold Count Berchtold sent telegrams to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassadors to the Balkan states. In his telegrams, Berchtold (pictured) informs his ambassadors about the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia.
Count Berchtold to the Imperial and Royal Ministers in Bucharest, Sofia, Athens, Cettinje and Durazzo. Vienna, 20 July 1914.
Your Excellency hereby receives enclosed the text of an official decree to the Imperial and Royal representatives to the Signatory Powers who are instructed to tender them to the respective cabinets on Friday, the 24th of July in the forenoon.
Your Excellency is authorised to communicate the contents of the decree strictly in private to His Majesty the King and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Friday the 24th.
As I have had the opportunity the verbally discuss the entire complex of questions connected with our démarche in Belgrade, your Excellency is in a position to give to His Majesty the King any elucidations he might demand on the results of our inquiry in Sarajevo, although the notes to the Great Powers are in themselves very explicit on the subject.
In your Excellency’s conversation with His Majesty it will be useful to touch the chord on the many years faithful friendship, which connects the King with our own gracious Majesty, and call attention to the fact that the anarchist movement originating in Servia aims directly at the dynasty and its individual members.
You will find enclosed the text of an official decree to the representatives to the Signatory Powers which they are instructed to deliver to the respective cabinets on Friday the 24th in the forenoon.
You are authorised to communicate the content of the decree to the government in Sofia on Friday, the 24th, and to take the necessary steps, so that His Majesty the King is also informed.
When you were last in Vienna, the Foreign Office fully informed you on our views with regard to the terrorist movement in Servia, so that I need not add anything to the explanations contained in the enclosed document.
But it will be useful if in your conversations with the Bulgarian statesmen you mention the fact that from Bulgaria we expect sympathetic understanding for the serious step we are compelled to take in Belgrade, and that it certainly lies in Bulgaria’s interest to wait in quiet and calmly for the events which may follow.
The Imperial and Royal Minister in Belgrade yesterday, Thursday the 23rd, presented a note to the Royal Servian government, in which the latter is called upon to comply with a number of demands within 48 hours, which we were compelled to put forth, when the results of the inquiry in Sarajevo came to our knowledge, and we could no longer shut our eyes to the fact that we must put an end to the agitation in our southern border provinces, which originates in Belgrade.
This for your information and direction.
You are authorised to communicate the contents of this telegram privately to the Greek Premier and Herr Streit.
The text of our note of information to the Signatory Powers was sent to you in the despatch-box on Monday.
There is no objection to your making use of this document in your information to the above-named Greek ministers.
You will find enclosed a copy of the decree addressed to the Signatory Powers which our representatives are instructed to deliver on Friday the 24th a. m. to the cabinets to which they are accredited.
You will find enclosed the text of a decree addressed to the Signatory Powers which our representatives will deliver to their respective cabinets on Friday the 24th.
You are authorised to communicate the content of the decree to His Majesty the King and the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Friday the 24th.
In your conversation with the King and the Minister you will call attention to the fact that in the matter of the plot of Sarajevo and the revolutionary agitation carried on in the monarchy, we know very well that there is a great difference between Servia and Montenegro, and that we are glad to testify to the fact that the inquiry on the crime of the 28th June has not revealed a single fact pointing to Montenegro.
We are convinced that Montenegro’s attitude in the face of the step we are compelled to undertake towards Servia, will be such as to decline all participation in the tendencies which have led to the crime of the 28th June.
The Imperial and Royal Minister in Belgrade yesterday, Thursday the 23rd, presented a note to the Royal Servian government in which the latter was called upon to accept a number of demands within 48 hours, which we have been compelled to ask on the basis of the results of the Sarajevo inquiry, and also because the agitation in our southern provinces bordering on Servia has for years originated in Belgrade and must at last be stopped.
This is for your information as to what can be said to the government in Durazzo. The degree with the text informing the Signatory Powers is going to reach you by Lloyd-steamer.
I am enclosing a copy of the decree sent to the representatives to the Signatory Powers, which they will present to the respective cabinets on Friday the 24th of July so that you should be informed and know what to say from the 24th onward.
Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits.