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

On 28 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador to Russia, Frigyes Count Szapary (pictured), sent a coded and strictly confidential telegram to the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold. In his telegram, Szapary recounts the meeting of the German Ambassador to Russia, Count Pourtalès, with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Sazonov.

Frigyes Count Szapary

Frigyes Count Szapary

Count Szapary to Count Berchtold. Saint Petersburg, 28 July 1914.

Cypher.—Strictly confidential.

My German colleague [the German Ambassador to Russia Count Pourtalès], who again visited [the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei] Sazonov, in the most energetic way called his attention to the danger of Russian armaments, which might at any time call forth German countermeasures. Sazonov tried to deny the facts mentioned by Count Pourtalès, whereupon the Ambassador urgently recommended a better supervision of the military factors, so that they should not be able to act behind his back.

Pourtalès spoke with the same energy of the attempts made by the Russian press to sow distrust between Austria-Hungary and Germany. Not that the press had any chance of success. This kind of work needed more delicate hands than those employed in these clumsy manoeuvres. The minister declared that he was not responsible for what was going on in this line, but Pourtalès asked him why, if he disapproved of such doings, did he not stop them.

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

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