Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold, 26 July 1914

On 26 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 French attitudes towards the Serbian response to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum.

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

Nikolaus Count Szecsen with his family

 

Count Szecsen to Count Berchtold. Paris, 26 July 1914.

Cyphered.

Serbia.

In the Foreign Office, I was shown, in strictest confidence, a telegram from the French representative in Belgrade, with the condensed Serbian answer to our Note [i.e. the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia], which had been shown to him before it was sent.

According to this extract, Servia accepts all our points unconditionally, declares that it will modify the Press laws and merely begs detailed information on the participation of our agents in the judicial inquiry, in Serbia, to which it does not object in principle.

Monsieur [Philippe] Berthelot expressed much surprise that this answer, which is equal to a capitulation, was not accepted. I answered that I did not know the text of the Serbian answer and must suppose that it contains reservations, which modify the apparent conciliatory character of the answer and make it unacceptable.

If Servia has in truth unconditionally accepted our demands, I am afraid that our intransient attitude will make a very bad impression here.

Monsieur Berthelot’s speech was in all other things very conciliatory; he expressed the hope that Servia’s submissive yielding would form a basis for further negotiations.

The above-mentioned telegram appears to have been 20 hours on the road; a fact Berthelot mentioned without however commenting on it.

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

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