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

On 25 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Russia, Frigyes Count Szapary (pictured), sent a coded telegram to the Austro-Hunarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, Szapary informs Berchtold of attitudes in St-Petersburg concerning Austria-Hungary’s policy towards Serbia.

Frigyes Count Szapary

Frigyes Count Szapary

Count Szapary to Count Berchtold. St-Petersburg, 25 July 1914.


My Italian colleague [i.e. the Italian Ambassador to Russia, the Marquis Carlotti di Riparbella] still pretends that he is without instructions as to the attitude towards the [Austro-Hungarian] ultimatum [to Serbia]. I hear that he has been to see the [Russian] Minister of Foreign Affairs [Sergei Sazonov] today, and from this I suppose that he has received instructions, but must not let the Powers of the Triple Alliance know what they are.

[The] Marquis Carlotti tells his German colleague [i.e. the German Ambassador to Russia], that Sazonov no longer insists upon making a European affair out of our conflict with Servia. The Italian Ambassador is anxious to produce the impression that both England and France did not like the idea of a European action and were insisting upon getting the affair localised.

The Roumanian Ambassador [to Russia, Constantine Count Diamandi], who has just been to see me, showed himself very anxious, and informed me that Sazonov says that he had the most peaceful intentions, but feared that in this affair he would be “carried away”. I answered that if the Russian government wished for peace, it would certainly know how to maintain it. Monsieur Diamandi seemed most anxious to learn whether I thought a compromise possible.

Both in diplomatic and in Russian circles definite news is given on the military measures of Russia. The news on today’s Council of Ministers in Krasnoye-Selo [i.e. one of the Russian Tsar’s residences] are just as sensational. Even the press this evening looks to me as if it had been let loose for the first time. Up to the present, public opinion seemed perfectly indifferent. It is not possible to decide the question as to whether all this is intended to mask the Russian démarches [i.e. measures] that are to delay our decisions, or whether there is a serious background behind them. This much I can certainly say, the general feeling is not good, and the situation must be judged as having become more serious.

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



  1. I think this is fascinating for the light it sheds on the Russian position: opaque and difficult to analyse, as usual! I love the sentence ‘I answered that if the Russian government wanted peace, it would certainly know how to maintain it’. Would it? I wonder who Sazonov was afraid of being ‘carried away’ by? The blog’s story is absolutely absorbing.

    1. July 1914 · · Reply

      Thank you!

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