Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Berchtold to All Austro-Hungarian Missions, 28 July 1914 – Part I

On 28 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold (pictured), sent a private telegram to all the Austro-Hungarian Missions. His telegram details the Serbian response to Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum, as well as the Austro-Hungarian cabinet’s reaction to it. The following is part I of that telegram.

Leopold Count Berchtold

Leopold Count Berchtold

Count Berchtold to all the Austro-Hungarian Missions. Vienna, 28 July 1914.

Circular Decree to all the Austro-Hungarian Missions.

(Translation of the Serbian Note along with the critical remarks of the Vienna cabinet.)

  1. Athens. 2. Bangkok. 3. Berlin. 4. Berne. 5. Brussels. 6. Buenos Aires 7. Bucharest. 8. Cetinje. 9. Dresden. 10. The Hague. 11. Constantinople. 12. Copenhagen. 13. Lisbon. 14. London. 15. Madrid. 16. Mexico. 17. Munich. 18. Paris. 19. Peking. 20. Rio de Janeiro. 21. Rome, Italy. 22. Rome Vatican. 23. Petersburg. 24. Santiago. 25. Sofia. 26. Stockholm. 27. Stuttgart. 28. Teheran. 29. Tokyo. 30. Washington. 31. Durazzo. 32. Cairo.

I am enclosing the exact text translation of the Serbian answer of 25 July to our Note of 23 July along with our critical remarks to the same. From the latter, which we ask that you will use in your discourse, you will find the reasons which make us consider the Serbian Note as unsatisfactory.


The Royal Serbian government has received the communication of the Imperial and Royal government of 10 July and is convinced that its answer will clear up every misunderstanding which might threaten to disturb the friendly and neighbourly relations between the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and the Kingdom of Serbia.

The Royal government is conscious that in no single instance were the protests against the great neighbouring monarchy renewed, which in former times were pronounced in the Skuptschina, and in declarations and deeds of the responsible representatives of the State, and which the declaration of the Serbian government put an end to, on 18 March 1909. Since that time neither the governments succeeding each other nor their dependencies have made the slightest attempt to bring about any changes in the political and legal conditions of Bosnia and the Herzegovina.

The Royal government hereby affirms that the Imperial and Royal government has never raised any objections in this direction, except once in the case of a schoolbook, when the Imperial and Royal government was perfectly satisfied with the explanation given. During the course of the Balkan Crisis, Serbia has in numerous cases given proof of its pacific and moderated policy, and it is to Serbia and the sacrifices it has made in the interest of European peace, that the preservation of the peace must be credited.


The Royal Serbian government limits its justification to the fact that since the declaration of 18 March 1909 no attempt to change the situation of Bosnia and the Herzegovina has been made on the part of the Serbian government or its affiliates.

This is taking away the very ground under our feet in the undertakings we are making, since we never contended that the Serbian government or its affiliates had undertaken anything officially in this direction.

Our grievance is that notwithstanding the quoted declaration and the obligations it imposed, the Royal government had not stopped the movement directed against the territorial integrity of the Monarchy. The government had taken the obligation to change the tenets of its policy and to cultivate friendly and neighbourly relations with the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, not merely to respect the position of Bosnia in the Monarchy.

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


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