Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Mensdorff to Count Berchtold, 27 July 1914

On 27 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Albert Count Mensdorff (pictured), sent a coded telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, Mensdorff describes British fears of the escalation of the Austro-Serbian conflict into a World War, and the desire for mediation by Sir Edward Grey.

Albert Count Mensdorff

Albert Count Mensdorff

Count Mensdorff to Count Berchtold. London, 27 July 1914.


[The German Ambassador to the United Kingdom] Prince Lichnowsky spoke with Sir Edward Grey this morning, and found him much depressed and convinced that the Serbian answer accepted everything, except one point on which an understanding might be arrived at. If Austria-Hungary is not satisfied with this unexampled humiliation on Serbia’s part, it proves beyond a doubt, that it was seeking a pretext, and that its one aim is to do away with Serbia and with Russian influence. If Austria takes the rash step and occupies Belgrade, it will cause a great European conflagration.

Sir Edward Grey is about to make a declaration in the House of Commons, and will propose mediation and a conference between England, Germany, France and Italy to be held in London.

Sir Edward Grey was very much determined and declared that he was always being asked to pacify Petersburg; now was the moment when Germany should set about calming Vienna.

The German Ambassador, in grave apprehension, is convinced that if we march into Serbia, England will completely change to the other side.

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


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