Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff, 28 July 1914

On 28 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 his telegram, Berchtold gives instructions on how Mensdorff should present the Austro-Hungrian reaction to Serbia’s answer to the ultimatum.

Leopold Count Berchtold

Leopold Count Berchtold

Count Berchtold to Count Mensdorff. Vienna, 28 July 1914.

Cyphered telegram.

Received Your Excellency’s telegram of 27 July.

As we place the greatest weight upon [British Foreign Secretary] Sir Edward Grey’s impartial view of our démarche against Serbia in general, and particularly of our non-acceptance of the Serbian answer, I request your Excellency to seek an opportunity for communicating to the Foreign Secretary the details of the dossier, which reaches you by post, and to call his attention to the most important parts.

The text of the Serbian answer, with our critical remarks, has left by post yesterday. This we ask your Excellency to discuss with Sir Edward Grey, and to explain to him that the Serbian advances are but apparent, made to captivate Europe, and that the note contains no guarantees whatever with regard to the future.

As the Serbian government knew very well that we could only be satisfied by an unconditional acceptance of our demands, it adopted the transparent plan of accepting our conditions to make a good impression upon Europe, adding so many reservations that it did not run the danger of having to act up to its words. In your conversation with Sir Edward Grey, please lay the greatest stress upon the fact that the general mobilisation of the Serbian army was ordered on 25 July at 15:00, whereas the answer to our note was presented at the very last moment before the term expired, that is, a few minutes before 18:00. We had not made any military preparations up to that time, but in consequence of the Serbian mobilisation, we have been obliged to provide in a very large measure since.

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


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: