Austro-Hungarian Red Book, Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold, 24 July 1914

On 24 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to France, Nikolaus Count Szecsen (pictured), sent a coded telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, Szecsen informs Berchtold that he delivered a copy of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia to a representative of the French government.

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold. Paris, 24 July 1914.

Cyphered.

Servia.

Referring to decree of 20 July (see post).

Have just read the decree to the Minister of Justice [Bienvenu Martin], representing the absent Minister of Foreign Affairs, and have left him a copy. Monsieur [Jean-Baptiste] Bienvenu Martin, who had learnt part of our démarche [i.e step] through the morning papers, seemed rather impressed by my communication. He would not discuss the text, but admitted freely that the events of recent times and the attitude of the Servian government had made energetic action on our part a matter that could be understood.

The minister seemed most surprised at Point 5 of the Note presented in Belgrade [i.e. the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia]; I had to read it to him twice.

The minister thanked me for my communication, which, he said, would be thoroughly considered. I seized this opportunity to say that this was a question which must find its direct solution between us and Servia, but that it is certainly in the interest of Europe, if the disquiet, which has for many years been kept up in our country by Servian intrigue, is replaced by a normal state of affairs.

All friends of peace and order, and among these I rank France in the first place, should seriously advise Servia to alter its attitude and to accede to our justified demands.

The minister admitted that it was Servia’s duty to take energetic steps against eventual accomplices of the murderer of Sarajevo, a duty from which it could not well shrink. Referring most impressively to the sympathies of France for Austria-Hungary, and to the good relations between the two countries, the minister expressed the hope that the present dispute would end peaceably, in a manner to satisfy our wishes.

The minister visibly avoided to defend or condone the attitude of Servia in any way whatever. Monsieur Bienvenu Martin has of course no influence whatever on the course of foreign politics in France.

 

Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits.

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