Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold, 25 July 1914

On 25 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to France, Nikolaus Count Szecsen (pictured with his family), sent a coded telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, the Ambassador informs Berchtold of debates in the French Press about Austria-Hungary’s policy towards Serbia.

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold. Paris, 25 July 1914



The Press here comments on our step in Belgrade with much excitement, but with caution. Up to the present, the attitude of the papers is not so hostile as might have been expected. Not one of the papers cares to engage itself completely, because as yet no instructions have been given out by either [French President Raymond] Poincaré or [French Prime Minister René] Viviani, who are no doubt consulting [Saint] Petersburg.

In a general way there is a certain understanding for our demands, as far as the inquiry against the murderers and their accomplices goes. But at the same time conclusions are drawn as to the practical impossibility of complying with some of our demands. This refers especially to points: 1, 3, 5 and 9 [of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia].

The Russian representative describes the situation in lurid colours, and is anxious to impress France that we want to conjure up a European war at any price. As a war would be most unwelcome, antipathy is roused against us and should complications arise, which can only be brought about by Russia, we would be made responsible. The British Ambassador [to France] told me yesterday that Russia would not fight.

The fact that our Note to Belgrade and the results of the inquiry in Sarajevo were made known at the same time, somewhat detracted attention from the latter. Perhaps it would be useful to send more information, if possible with details, in an official form.

The statement, that Servia had sent a warning to Vienna, before the murder of Sarajevo happened, which has already been denied, was again published in some papers, the Temps among them today.

Another denial might be useful.


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


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