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

On 26 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold (pictured), sent a coded telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to London, Albert von Mensdorff. In the following telegram, Berchtold instructs Mensdorff on how to present Austria-Hungary’s Serbian policy to the British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. Berchtold seeks to justify Austria-Hungary’s refusal of the Serbian answer to its ultimatum.

Leopold Count Berchtold

Leopold Count Berchtold

 

Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff. Vienna, 26 July 1914.

Cyphered.

[The German Ambassador to Austria-Hungary,] Herr von Tschirschky, as instructed, informed me today that a telegram from [the German Ambassador to the United Kingdom] Prince Lichnowsky sent from London on 25 July at 15:00 contains a draft of Serbia’s answer, communicated by [the British Foreign Secretary] Sir E. Grey. The accompanying letter remarks that he (Sir E. Grey) hopes the cabinet of Berlin will advise the acceptance of the answer, seeing as it is truly conciliatory.

I think it advisable that your Excellency should speak of the subject with the Foreign Secretary, and call his attention to the fact, that at the same time, when he addressed his letter to Prince Lichnowsky, that is at 15:00 yesterday, Serbia had already given orders for a general mobilisation of the army. This proves that in Belgrade there appears to have been no disposition for a conciliatory ending to our conflict. The answer, which was by no means satisfactory and which appears to have been previously telegraphed to London, was not presented to our Ambassador in Belgrade until 18:00, after the orders for the mobilisation had been given.

 

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

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