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On 23 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Italy Kajetan von Merey (pictured) wrote a strictly private telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, Merey, who’s health is failing him, complains to Berchtold about conflicting instructions.
Herr von Merey to Count Berchtold. Rome, 23 July 1914.
Received your Excellency’s telegram of 22 July this morning.
I must state first of all:
- That I did not receive notice in time, for which I begged in my telegram of 14 July and which your Excellency promised in your telegram of 15 July, so as to enable me to arrange my visit to the [Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Marquis di San Giuliano at Fuggi by telegram. The instructions did not reach me until today, when the démarche [i.e. the delivery of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia] is being made.
- That an act of courtesy towards Italy is out of question, since contrary to previous arrangement and contrary to the communication made to the German Ambassador, the information of our démarche in Belgrade cannot be given here a day sooner, but on the same day in the afternoon, as I was instructed.
Another unlucky circumstance is, that my health, which has been bad for some time, has given way altogether and I must keep to my bed today.
I must therefore leave the presentation of the decree to Count Ambrosy, who after having telephoned to Marquis di San Giuliano will go to Fuggi by motorcar this afternoon and make the necessary communications to the minister.
Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits.