On 25 July 1914, Laszlo Count Szogyeny, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Germany (pictured), sent a coded strictly confidential telegram to Leopold Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs. In his telegram, Szogyeny informs Berchtold of the conversation of the German Ambassador to Russia with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Sazonov.
Count Szogyeny to Count Berchtold. Berlin, 25 July 1914.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs [Gottlieb von Jagow] read me the cyphered telegram from the German Ambassador in Petersburg [Count Pourtales] on his conversation with [the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei] Sazonov (after the presentation of our Note [i.e. the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia]).
Sazonowv expressed himself with outrageous language against Austria-Hungary.
The judicial question, he said, must be absolutely separated from the political; then Servia might eventually give way in the judicial questions, if they were fully proved.
Sazonow did not, however, think that the results of our judicial inquiry were quite satisfactory.
The whole question must be placed before the Great Powers to be inquired into over again. Servia did not take any engagements towards Austria-Hungary in 1909, but towards the Great Powers. The question is therefore an international one, and not one to be decided between Austria-Hungary and Servia alone. The monarchy is trying to be plaintiff and judge at the same time; this is altogether irregular, etc.
“If Austria-Hungary tries to devour Servia”, Herr Sazonov said, Russia must interfere. From these expressions — “devour” and the wish to bring the affair before a European Court, Count Pourtales is inclined to believe that Russia will not at present decide for warlike action.
According to the telegram read to me, the German Ambassador energetically refuted all Sazonov’s attacks upon our action, and reminded him of the necessity to uphold the monarchical principle, whereupon the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs answered: “this affair has nothing at all to do with the monarchical principle, it is a political question”.
Source: 1919 Austro-Hungarian Red Book, with minor edits.