Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Herr Otto to Count Berchtold, 24 July 1914

On 24 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold (pictured), received a coded telegram from the Austro-Hungarian Embassy in Montenegro concerning Austro-Hungarian policy towards Serbia.

Leopold Count Berchtold

Leopold Count Berchtold

Herr Otto to Count Berchtold. Cetinje, 24 July 1914.

Cyphered.

Démarche in Belgrade.

Decree of 20 July 1914 (see post).

 My conversation of today referring to the above decree and telegram, deeply impressed both the King [of Macedonia] and the [Montenegrin] Minister [of Foreign Affairs], and was received with mixed feelings.

In the first place, they were greatly satisfied with the praise bestowed upon Montenegro on this occasion, but at the same time it could be seen, that though not expressed in words, anxiety was felt, lest in a warlike conflict happening between Servia and the Monarchy, Montenegro might be forced, by public opinion, altogether against the King’s will, to take part in such a war, or at least come to harm through it.

His Majesty said he hoped the Servian government would have sense enough to give way entirely [on the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum].

The King said, he thought Servia would have much difficulty in dissolving the “Narodna odbrana”[i.e. the “Black Hand”, the organisation deemed responsible for the assassinations at Sarajevo], whilst the Minister of Foreign Affairs doubted if the Servian government would consent to Points 5 and 6 of the conditions, which meant Austrian collaboration on Servian territory.

As was to be foreseen, the King asked me for a copy of what I had read to him, that is the circular note to the Powers, corrected as desired in your telegram. I handed it to him, begging him to keep it strictly private, as I was instructed to do.

 

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

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