Difference between revisions of "The French Yellow Book"
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M. Étienne, Minister of War, to M. Jonnart, Minister for Foreign Affairs.<br>
M. Étienne, Minister of War, to M. Jonnart, Minister for Foreign Affairs.<br>
Paris, April 2, 1913.</b><br><br>
Paris, April 2, 1913.</b><br><br>
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M. Allizé, French Minister in Bavaria, to M. Stéphen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.<br>
M. Allizé, French Minister in Bavaria, to M. Stéphen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.<br>
Munich, July 10, 1913.</b> <br><br>
Munich, July 10, 1913.</b> <br><br>
Revision as of 00:45, 9 September 2007
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M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Jonnart, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, March 17, 1913.
Our naval and military attachés are sending to their respective Ministers reports on the new German military-law. I take this opportunity of drawing the attention of your Excellency to these important documents.
The consideration of the financial expedients by which Germany intends to provide for these
military measures is the sole cause of the delay in the publication of the definite proposals of the
Govermnent. In spite of the patriotism with which the rich classes affect to accept the sacrifices
asked of them, they are none the less, particularly the business circles, dissatisfied with the
financial measures which have been announced, and they feel that a compulsory levy imposed in
times of peace creates a formidable precedent for the future. On the other hand, the Federal
Governments have strongly opposed an innovation which grants to the Empire resources derived
from direct taxation. Hitherto, taxation of this kind has been reserved to the Federal States, and
the latter see in the surrender of this principle a new declaration of the corporate unity
(personalité) of the Empire, constituting a distinct diminution of their own sovereign power.
However this may be, in increasing the strength of the German army the Empire desires to leave nothing to chance in the event of a possible crisis. The German changes have produced a result unexpected by that country, viz., the proposal of the Government of the Republic to re-establish the three years' service, and the manly determination with which this proposal has been welcomed in France. The surprise occasioned by these proposals has been utilised by the Imperial Government for the purpose of insisting on the absolute necessity of an increase of German military strength; the German proposals are represented as a reply to our own. The reverse is the case, since the immense military effort which France is undertaking is but the consequence of German initiative.
The Imperial Government is constantly rousing patriotic sentiment. Every day
the Emperor delights to revive memories of 1813. Yesterday evening a military tattoo went
through the streets of Berlin, and speeches were delivered in which the present situation was
compared to that of a hundred years ago. The trend of public opinion will find an echo in the
speeches which will be delivered next month in the Reichstag, and I have reason to fear that the
Chancellor himself will be forced to allude in his statements to the relations of France and
Germany. It was of course to be expected that national patriotism would be worked up just when
fresh sacrifices are toeing required, but to compare the present time to 1813 is to misuse an
historical analogy. If, to-day, there is anything corresponding to the movement which a hundred
years ago roused Germans to fight the man of genius who aspired to universal dominion, it is in
France that such a counterpart would have to be sought, since the French nation seeks but to
protect itself against the domination of force. Nevertheless, it is true that the state of public
opinion in both countries makes tile situation grave.
Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Serret, Military Attaché
to the French Embassy at Berlin, to M. Étienne,
Minister of War.
Berlin, March 15, 1913.
The patriotic movement which has manifested itself in France has caused real anger in certain circles.
I do not, indeed, mean to say that the virulent article in the Kölnische Zeitung is the expression
of prevalent opinion. It as rather the angry outburst of an impulsive journalist, which has been
immediately disavowed by the Government
However, in spite of its want of good manners the article in the Kölnische Zeitung cannot be disregarded; several important newspapers have approved of its substance, if not of its form, and it appears to express a real feeling, a latent anger. It is interesting to note this fact, because it throws very vivid light on the meaning of the present armaments.
For some time now it has been quite a common thing to meet people who declare that the military
plans of France are extraordinary and unjustified. In a drawing room a member of the Reichstag
who is not a fanatic, speaking of the three years' service in France, went so far as to say, "It is a
provocation; we will not allow it." More moderate persons, military and civil, glibly voice the
opinion that France with her forty million inhabitants has no right to compete in this way with
To sum up, people are angry, and this anger is not eased by the shrieking of certain French
papers, to which soberminded people pay little attention. It is a case of vexation. People are angry
at reprising that in spite of the enormous effort made last year, continued and even increased this
year, it will probably not be possible this time to outrun France completely. To outdistance us,
since we neither will nor can be allied with her, is Germany's real aim. I cannot insist too much on
the fact that the impending legislation, which French public opinion is too apt to consider as a
spontaneous outburst, is but the inevitable and expected consequence of the law of June, 1912.
This law, while creating two new army corps, had deliberately, according to German fashion, left regiments and other large units incomplete. It was evident that there would be no long delay in filling in the gaps.* The Balkan crisis, coming just at the right moment, furnished a wonderful opportunity for exploiting the centenary of the War of Liberation, and obtaining with greater ease sacrifices through the memory of those made in days gone by, and that too at a time when Germany was opposed to France.
In order to show clearly the genesis of this military programme, I beg to recall what was written
by my predecessor Colonel Pell‚ a year ago, when the law of 1912 was published: "We are
discovering every day how deep and lasting are the feelings of injured pride and revenge provoked
against us by the events of last year.
" The Treaty of the 4th November 1911 has proved a complete disillusion. The feeling is the same
in all parties. Alll Germans, even the Socialists, bear us a grudge for having taken away their share
" It seemed, a year or so ago, as if the Germans had set out to conquer the world. They
considered themselves so strong that no one would dare to oppose them. Limitless possibilities
were opening out for German manufactures, German trade, German expansion.
"Needless to say, these ideas and ambitions have not disappeared to-day. Germany still requires outlets for commercial and colonial expansion. They consider that they are entitled to them, because their population is increasing every day, because the future belongs to them. They consider us, with our forty million inhabitants, as a second rate power.
"In the crisis of 1911, however, this second rate power successfully withstood them, and the Emperor and the Government gave way. Public opinion has forgiven neither them nor us. People are determined that such a thing shall never happen again." And at the moment when the second and formidable part of the programme is about to he realised, when German military strength is on the point of acquiring that final superiority which, should the occasion arise, would force us to submit to humiliation or destruction, France suddenly refuses to abdicate, and shows, as Renan said, "her eternal power of renaissance and resurrection." The disgust of Germany can well be understood.
Of course the Government points to the general situation in Europe and speaks of the "Slav Peril." As far as I can see however, public opinion really seems indifferent to this "Peril," and yet it has accepted with a good grace, if not with welcome, the enormous burdens of these two successive laws.
On the 10th March last, being the centenary of the levée en masse of Germany against France, in spite of a downpour of rain, a huge crowd surged to the military parade in front of the Schloss, in the middle of the Tiergarten, in front of the statues of Queen Louise and Frederick William III., which were surrounded by heaps of flowers. These anniversaries, recalling as they do the fight with France, will be repeated the whole vear through. In 1914 there will be a centenary of the first campaign in France, the first entry of the Prussians into Paris.
To sum up, if public opinion does not actually point at France, as does the Kölnische Zeitung, we are in fact, and shall long remain the nation aimed at. Germany considers that for our forty
millions of inhabitants our place in the sun is really too large. Germans wish for peace so they
keep on proclaiming, and the Emperor more than anyone but they do not understand peace as
involving either mutual concessions or a balance of armaments. They want to be feared and they
are at present engaged in making the necessary sacrifices. If on some occasion their national
vanity is wounded, the confidence which the country will feel in the enormous superiority of its
army will be favourable to an explosion of national anger, in the face of which the moderation of
the Imperial Government will perhaps be powerless.
It must be emphasized again that the Government is doing everything to increase patriotic
sentiment by celebrating with élat all the various anniversaries of 1813. The trend of public
opinion would result in giving a war a more or less national character. By whatever pretext
Germany should justify the European conflagration, nothing can prevent the first decisive blows
being struck at France.
* The problem which is set us to-day would, therefore, only be set again a few years later, and in a much more acute fashion, since the decrease of our contingents is continually lowering the number of our effectives on a peace footing.
M. de Faramond, Naval Attaché‚ to the French Embassy at Berlin, to M. Baudin, Minister of Marine.
Berlin, March 10, 15313.
In reporting on the examination of the Naval budget by the Financial Committee of the Reiehstag, I said that no Naval law would be introduced this year having as its object an increase of the fleet, and that the whole of the military effort would be directed against us. Although the new Bill, having for its object the increase of the German effectives, has not yet been presented to the Reichstag, we know that it deals with "an increase of military strength of immense scope" to use the expression of the Norddeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
The official newspapers have also referred to the military proposal in terms which enable us to
consider the communique of the Lokal Anzeiger as accurate. The German effectives reach at the
present moment 720,000 men. We are, therefore, entitled to conclude that on the 1st October
1914, the Imperial army will be raised to a figure not far removed from 860,000.
The importance of this figure would not be so great if the provisions of the proposed legislation
(as far as one can gather from the official newspapers) did not tend, as, in fact, those of the law of
1912 tend, to place the army corps nearest to our frontier; in a state which most nearly
approaches a war footing, in order to be able on the very day of the outbreak of hostilities to
attack us suddenly with forces very much stronger than our own. It is absolutely imperative for
the Imperial Government to obtain success at the very outset of the operations.
The conditions under which the German Emperor would nowadays commence a campaign against France are not those of forty years ago. At the commencement of the war of 1870 the Prussian General Staff had considered the possibility of a victorious French offensive, and Moltke, seeing that we might conceivably get as far as Mayence, remarked to his sovereign, " There they will come to a stop." William II. cannot allow a retreat to enter into his calculations, although the German soldier is no longer to-day what he was forty years ago, a plain religious man, ready to die at the order of his king. When it is remembered that at the last elections 4,000,000 votes were cast by the Socialists and that the franchise is only obtained in Germany at the age of 25, it may be presumed that the active army, composed of young men from 20 to 25 must contain in its ranks a considerable proportion of Socialists. It would indeed be foolish to think that the German Socialists will throw down their rifles on the day when France and Germany come to blows; but it will be very important that the Imperial Government should persuade them that on the one hand we are the aggressors, and on the other that they can have entire confidence in the direction of the campaign and its final result.
On the last occasion when the recruits for the Guard took the oath at Potsdam I was struck to
hear the Emperor take as a theme for his address to the young soldiers "the duty of being braver
and more disciplined in adversity than in success." And it is because a German defeat at the outset
would have such an incalculable effect on the Empire, that we find in all the plans worked out by
the General Staff proposals for a crushing offensive movement against France.
In reality the Imperial Government wishes to be in a position to meet all possible eventualities. It
is from the direction of France that the danger seems to them greatest. The Kölnische Zeitung has said as much in an article both spiteful and violent, the form rather than the substance of whieh
has been disavowed by the Wilhelmstrasse.
But we must be willing to realise that the opinion expressed by the Kölnische Zeitung is at the present moment that of the immense majority of the German people.
In this connection I think it is interesting to quote a conversation which a member of our Embassy; had the other evening with the old Prince Henckel von Donnersmarck, as it may serve to reflect the opinions which dominate Court circles.
Referring to the new German military proposals Prince Donnersmarck spoke as follows:
"French people are quite wrong in thinking that we harbour evil designs and want war. But we
cannot forget that in 1870 popular opinion forced the Frenchf Government to make a foolish
attack on us before they were ready. Who can assure us that public opinion, which in France is so
easily inflamed, will not force the Government to declare war? It is against this danger that we
wish to protect ourselves."
And the Prince added: "I have even been considered in France as one of those responsible for the war of 1870. That is quite false. Even if I took part in the war after it had begun, I did my utmost to prevent its outbreak. A short time before the war, happening to be at a dinner where there were some of the most important personages of the Imperial Government, I expressed my regret at the hostile sentiments which were already becoming manifest between France and Prussia. The answer was that, if I spoke like that, it was because I was afraid of a struggle in which the issue would certainly be unfavourable to Prussia. I replied, 'No, it is not because I am afraid, that I repudiate the idea of war between France and Russia, but rather because I think that it is in the interest of both countries to avoid war. And since you have referred to the possible result of such a struggle I will give you m opinion. I am convinced that you will be beaten and for this reason. In spite of the brilliant qualities which I recognize are possessed by the French and which I admire, you are not sufficiently accurate; by accuracy I do not mean arriving in time at a meeting, bolt I mean punctuality in the whole sense of the word. Frenchmen, who have a great facility for work, are not as punctual as Germans in the fulfilment of their duty. In the coming war that nation will be victorious whose servants from the top of the ladder to the bottom will do their duty with absolute exactitude, however important or small it may be.' " And Prince Donnersmarck added: " An exactitude which played so great a role forty years ago in moving an army of 500,000 men will have a far greater importance in the next war, when it will be a question of moving masses far more numerous."
In this way the old Prince gave expression to the confidence shared by all Germans in the superiority of their military organization.
When I spoke above of the new German proposal I only alluded to increased effectives. But the
proposal will include also an increase of material and of defense works, the details of which are
not known, but some idea of which may be gained by the figure estimated to be necessary to meet
the expenses, viz., 1,250,000,000 francs.
The carrying into effect of the law of the quinquennium of 1911 did not necessitate any special financial measures.
The military and naval law of 1912 had been provisionally covered by the Budget surplus of the
years 1910 and 1911, by the reform of the law with regard to alcohol and by delaying the
reduction of the tax on sugar. (These last two resources only represent together the sum of
It must also be remembered that large loans have recently been raised by the Empire and Prussia:
500,000,000 marks on the 29th January 1912, and 350,000,000 marks on the 7th March 1913.
Quite an important part of these loans must have been applied to military expenses.
The military law of 1913 will require quite exceptional financial measures. According to the
indications given by the semi-official press, the " non-recurring " expenditure will amount to a
milliard marks, while the " permanent " annual expenditure resulting from the increase of effectives
will exceed 200,000,000 marks.
It seems certain that the " non-recurring " expenditure will lie covered by a war contribution levied on capital. Small fortunes would be exempted and those above 20,000 marks would be subjeet to a progressive tax. Presented in this guise the war tax would not be objected to by the Socialists, who will be able, in accordance with their usual tactics, to reject the principle of the military law and at the same time to pass the votes which assure its being carried into effect.
The Government are afraid that among the rich and bourgeois classes this extraordinary tax of a
milliard levied exclusively on acquired capital will cause permanent discontent. Accordingly they
are doing everything in their power to persuade those on whom so heavy an exaction is to he
levied that the security of the Empire is threatened, establishing for the purpose an analogy
between the warlike times of 1813 and the present day. By noisy celebrations of the centenary of
the War of Independence it is desired to convince people of the necessity of sacrifice, and to
remind them that France is to-day, as 100 years ago, their hereditary enemy.
If it is established that the German Government are doing their utmost to secure that the payment of this enormous tax should be made in full, and not by way of instalment, and if, as some of the newspapers say, the whole payment is to be complete before 1st July 1914, these facts have a formidable significance for us, for nothing can explain such haste on the part of the military authorities to obtain war treasure in cash to the amount of a milliard. With regard to the manner in which the permanent expenditure resulting from the application of the laws of 1912 to 1913 is to be met, nothing has yet been said. Further legislation will certainly be necessary in order that the required annual amounts may be forthcoming.
To sum up: In Germany the execution of military reforms always follows very closely the decision to carry them out. All the provisions made by the law of the quinquennium of 1911 and by the law of l9l2 have alreadv been put into operation. It is quite possible that part of the material, the purchase of which will be authorized by the new law, is already in course of manufacture. Military secrets are so well kept here that it is extremely difficult to follow the changes in personnel and matériel
With 700,000 men under arms (without counting the very large number of reservists who are at the present time in training), a perfect military organization and a public opinion which can be swayed by the warlike appeals of the Military and Naval Leagues, the German people is at the present moment a very dangerous neighbour.
If the three years' service is adopted and immediately applied in France, the conditions will be less unequal next year. The German effectives will still be considerably more numerous than ours, but the call to the Colours of all available contingents will no longer allow any selection, and will bring into the ranks of the German army elements of inferior quality and even some undesirable individuals. The morale of the active army will deteriorate.
Germany has wished to upset the equilibrium of the two camps which divide Europe by a supreme effort beyond which they can do little more.
They did not think that France was capable of a great sacrifice. Our adoption of the three years'
service will upset their calelllations.
M. Étienne, Minister of War, to M. Jonnart, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Paris, April 2, 1913.
I have just received from a reliable source an official secret report concerning the strengthening
of the German army. The report is divided into two parts; the first consisting of general
statements, the second dealing with technicalities and describing in the greatest detail, for each
branch of the service, the measures to be adopted. Especially striking are the instructions with
regard to the employment of motor-traction and the utilisation of aircraft. I have the honour to
enclose a copy of the first part of this document, which seems to merit your attention.
Memorandum on the strengthening of the German Army,
Berlin, March 19, 1913.
I. GENERAL MEMORANDUM ON THE NEW MILITARY LAWS.
The increase has taken place in three stages:
(1) The Conference of Algeciras has removed the last doubt with regard to the existence of an
Entente between France, Great Britain, and Russia. Moreover we have seen that Austria-Hungary
was obliged to keep some of her forces mobilised against Servia and Italy; finally our fleet was not
at that time sufficiently strong. At the end of the dispute the first matter taken in hand was the
strengthening of our coast defences and the increase of our naval forces. To meet the British plan
of sending an Expeditionary Force of 100,000 men to the Continent, it would be necessary to
make a better formation of reserves to be used according to circumstances in the protection of the
Coast, in fortresses and in siege operations. It was already clear at that time that it would be
absolutely necessary to make a great effort.
(2) The French having violated the Morocco Conventions brought on the incident of Agadir. At that time the progress made by the French army, the moral recovery of the nation, the technical advance in the realm of aviation and of machine guns rendered an attack on France less easy than in the previous period. Further, an attack by the British fleet had to be considered. This difficult situation opened our eyes to the necessity for an increase in the army. This increase was from this moment considered as a minimum.
(3) The war in the Balkans might have involved us in a war in support of our ally. The new situation in the south of Austria-Hungary lessened the value of the help which this ally could give us. On the other hand, France was strengthened by a new loi des cadres; it was accordingly necessary to anticipate the date of execution contemplated by the new military law.
Public opinion is being prepared for a new increase in the active army, which would ensure Germany an honourable peace and the possibility of properly ensuring her influence in the affairs of the world. The new army law and the supplementary law which should follow will enable her almost completely to attain this end.
Neither ridiculous shriekings for revenge by French chauvinists, nor the Englishmen's gnashing of
teeth, nor the wild gestures of the Slavs will turn us from our aim of protecting and extending
Deutschtum (German influence) all the world over. The French may arm as much as they wish, they cannot in one day increase their population. The employment of an army of black men in the theatre of European operations will remain for a long time a dream, and in any case be devoid of
II. AIM AND OBLIGATIONS OF OUR NATIONAL POLICY, OF OUR ARMY, AND OF THE SPECIAL ORGANISATIONS FOR ARMY PURPOSES.
Our new army law is only an extension of the military education of the German nation. Our ancestors of 1813 made greater sacrifices. It is our sacred duty to sharpen the sword that has been put into our hands and to hold it ready for defence as well as for offense. We must allow the idea to sink into the minds of our people that our armaments are an answer to the armaments and policy of the French. We must accustom them to think that an offensive war on our part is a necessity, in order to combat the provocations of our adversaries. We must act with prudence so as not to arouse suspicion, and to avoid the crises which might injure our economic existences. We must so manage matters that under the heavy weight of powerful armaments, considerable sacrifices, and strained political relations, an outbreak (Losschlagen) should be considered as a relief, because after it would come decades of peace and prosperity, as after 1870. We must prepare for war from the financial point of view; there is much to be done in this direction. We must not arouse the distrust of our financiers, but there are many things which cannot be concealed.
We must not be anxious about the fate of our colonies. The final result in Europe will settle their position. On the other hand we must stir up trouble in the north of Africa and in Russia. It is a means of keeping the forces of the enemy engaged. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that we should open up relations, by means of well-chosen agents, with influential people in Egypt, Tunis, Algeria, and Morocco, in order to prepare the measures which would be necessary in the case of a European war. Of course in case of war we should openly recognise these secret allies; and on the conclusion of peace we should secure to them the advantages which they had gained. These aims are capable of realization. The first attempt which was made some years ago opened up for us the desired relations. Unfortunately these relations were not sufficiently consolidated. Whether we like it or not it will be necessary to resort to preparations of this kind, in order to bring a campaign rapidly to a conclusion.
Risings provoked in time of war by political agents need to be carefully prepared and by material means. They must break out simultaneously with the destruction of the means of communication; they must have a controlling head to be found among the influential leaders, religious or political. The Egyptian School is particularly suited to this purpose; more and more it serves as a bond between the intellectuals of the Mohammedan World.
However this may be, we must be strong in order to annihilate at one powerful swoop our
enemies in the east and west. But in the next European war it will also be necessary that the small
states should be forced to follow us or be subdued. In certain conditions their armies and their
fortified places can be rapidly conquered or neutralized; this would probablv be the case with
Belgium and Holland, so as to prevent our enemy in the west from gaining territory which they
could use as a base of operations against our flank. In the north we have nothing to fear from
Denmark or Scandinavia especially as in any event we shall provide for the concentration of a
strong northern army, capable of replying to any menace frown this direction. In the most
unfavourable case, Denmark might be forced by Great Britain to abandon her neutrality; but by
this time the decision would already have been reached both on land and on sea. Our northern
army, the strength of which could be largely increased by Dutch formations, would oppose a very
active defence to any offensive measures from this quarter.
In the south, Switzerland forms an extremely solid bulwark, and we can rely on her energetically defending her neutrality against France, and thus protecting our flank.
As was stated above, the situation with regard to the small states on our north-western, frontier cannot be viewed in quite the same light. This will be a vital question for us, and our aim must be to take the offensive with a large superiority from the first days. For this purpose it will be necessary to concentrate a large army, followed np by strong Landwehr formations, which will induce the small states to follow us or at least to remain inactive in the theatre of operations, and which would crush them in the event of armed resistance. If we could induce these states to organise their system of fortification in such a manner as to constitute an effective protection for our flank we could abandon the proposed invasion. But for this, army reorganization, particularly in Belgium, would be necessary in order that it might really guarantee an effective resistance. If, on the contrary, their defensive organisation was established against us, thus giving definite advantages to our adversary in the west, we could in no circumstances offer Belgium a guarantee for the security of her neutrality. Accordingly, a vast field is open to our diplomacy to work in this country on the lines of our interests.
The arrangements made with this end in view allow us to hope that it will be possible to take the offensive immediately after the complete concentration of the army of the Lower Rhine. An ultimatum with a short time-limit, to be followed immediately by invasion, would allow a sufficient justification for our action in international law.
Such are the duties which devolve on our army and which demand a strikingforce of considerable numbers. If the enemy attacks us, or if we wish to overcome him, we will act as our brothers did a hundred years ago; the eagle thus provoked will soar in his flight, will seize the enemy in his steel claws and render him harmless. We will then remember that the provinces of the ancient German Empire, the County of Burgundy and a large part of Lorraine, are still in the hands of the French; that thousands of brother Glermans in the Baltic provinces are groaning under the Slav yoke. It is a national question that Gerrnany's former possessions should be restored to her.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Stephen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, May 6, 1913.
I was talking this evening to the Secretary of State about the conference of Ambassadors and
the results obtained at the meeting in London yesterday. The crisis with which Europe was
threatened is in his opinion over, but only temporarily. " It seems to me," said Herr von Jagow, "that we are traveliing in a mountainous district. We have just reached a difficult pass and we see
other heights rising in front of us." "The height which we have just surmounted," I replied, " was
perhaps, the most difficult to cross."
The crisis which we have just gone through has been very serious. Here the danger of war has been considered imminent. I have proof of the anxiety of the German Government by a number of facts which it is important that your Excellency should know.
I received yesterday a visit from one of my colleagues with whom I maintain special and cordial relations. On the occasion of the visit he paid to Herr von Jagow, the latter asked my colleague confidentially what was exactly the situation of Russia in the Far East, and whether this Power had at the present time any cause for fear which might necessitate the retention of its troops in that quarter. The Ambassador answered him that he knew of nothing, absolutely nothing, which could be a cause of preoccupation for the Russian Government, and that the latter have their hands free in Europe.
I said above that the danger of war had been regarded here as extremely near. The Government have not been satisfied with investigating the position in the Far East; preparations have even been made here.
The mobilisation of the German army is not restricted to the recall of reservists to their barracks. There is in Germany a preliminary measure which have have not got, and which consists in warning officers and men of the reserve to hold themselves ready for the call, in order that they may make the necessary arrangements. It is a general call to "attention," and it requires an incredible spirit of submission, discipline, and secrecy such as exists in this country, to make a step of this kind possible. If such a warning were given in France, a thrill would run through the whole country, and it would be in the papers the nest day. This warning was given in 1911 during the negotiations which I was carrying on with regard to Morocco.
Now it has been given again about ten days ago -- that is to say, at the moment of the Austro-Albanian tension. I know that this. is so, and I have it from several different sources, notably from officers of the reserve who have told it to their friends in the strictest confidence. These gentlemen have taken the necessary measures to put aside in a safe the means of existence for their families for a year. It has even been said that it was for this reason that the Crown Prince, who was to make the trial trip on the " Imperator," did not embark.
The decision which occasioned this preliminary mobilisation order is quite in keeping with the ideas of the General Staff. On this point I have been informed of some remarks made in a German milieu by General von Moltke, who is considered here as the most distinguished officer of the German army.
The intention of the General Staff is to act by surprise. " We must put on one side," said General
von Moltke,"all commonplaces as to the responsibility of the aggressor. When war has become
necessary it is essential to carry it on in such a way as to place all the chances in one's own favour.
Success alone justifies war. Germany cannot and ought not to leave Russia time to mobilise, for
she would then be obliged to maintain on her Eastern frontier so large an army that she would be
placed in a position of equality, if not of inferiority, to that of France. Accordingly," added the
General, " we must anticipate our principal adversary as soon as there are nine chances to one of
going to war, and begin it without delay in order ruthlessly to crush all resistance."
This represents exactly the attitude of military circles and it corresponds to that of political circles; the latter, however, do not consider Russia, in contradistinction to us, as a necessary enemy.
This is what was being thought and said privately a fortnight ago. From these events the following conclusions may be drawn which comprise the facts stated above; these people are not afraid of war, they fully accept its possibility and they have consequently taken the necessary steps. They wish to be always ready. As I said, this demands qualities of secrecy, discipline and of persistence; enthusiasm alone is not sufficient. This lesson may form a useful subject of meditation when the Government of the Republic ask Parliament for the means of strengthening the defenses of the country.
M. Allizé, French Minister in Bavaria, to M. Stéphen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Munich, July 10, 1913.
From a political point of view people are asking what is the object of the new armaments.
Recognising that no one threatens Germany, they consider that German diplomacy had already at
its disposal forces sufficiently large and alliances sufficiently powerful to protect German interests
with success. As I pointed out the day after the Morocco agreement of 1911, it is thought that
the Imperial Chancery will be as incapable in the future as in the past, of adopting an active
foreign policy and of achieving, at least in this sphere, successes which would justify the burdens
which the nation has assumed.
This frame of mind is all the more a cause of anxiety as the Imperial Government would find themselves supported by public opinion in any enterprise on which they might energetically embark, even at the risk of a conflict. The state of war to which all the events in the East have accustomed people's minds for the last two years appears no longer like some distant catastrophe, but as a solution of the political and economic difficulties which will continue to increase. May the example of Bulgaria exercise a salutary influence on Germany. As the Prince Regent recently said to me, "The fortune of war is allways uncertain: every war is an adventure, and the man is a fool who risks it believing himself sure of victory."
Report to M. Stéphen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs (on Publtc Opinion in Germany according to the Reports of the Diplomatic and Consular Agents).
Paris, July 30, 1913.
From observations which our agents in Germany have been able to collect from persons having access to the most diverse circles, it is possible to draw the conclusion that two feelings sway and irritate men's minds: -- (1) The Treaty of the 4th November 1912 is considered a disappointment for Germany;
(2) France a new France undreamed of prior to the summer of 1911 is considered to be a warlike country, and to want war.
Members of all the parties in the Reichstag, from tne Conservatives to the Socialists, representing the most different districts of Germany, university people from Berlin, Halle, Jena and Marburg, students, elementary school teachers, commercial clerks, bank clerks, bankers, artisans, merchants, manufacturers, doctors, lawyers, editors of Democratic and Socialistic newspapers, Jewish publicists, members of trade unions, clergymen and shopkeepers from the Mark of Brandenburg, country squires from Pomerania and shoemakers from Stettin celebrating the 505th anniversary of their association, country gentlemen, officials, priests, and large farmers from Westphalia, are unanimous on these two points, with very slight differences corresponding to their position in society or their political party. Here is a synthesis of all these opinions:
The Treaty of the 4th November is a diplomatic defeat, a proof of the incapacity of German diplomacy and the carelessness of the Government (so often denounced), a proof that the future of the Empire is not safe without a new Bismarck; it is a national humiliation, a lowering in the eyes of Europe, a blow to German prestige, all the more serious because up to 1911 the military supremacy of Germany was unchallenged, and French anarchy and the powerlessness of the Republic were a sort of German dogma.
In July 1911, the "Coup of Agadir" made the Morocco question for the first time a national question affecting the life and expansion of the Empire. The revelations and the press campaign which followed, have sufficiently proved how the campaign has been organised, what Pan-German greed it had awakened, and what hatred it had left behind . If the Emperor was discussed, the Chancellor unpopular, Herr von Kiderlen was the best-hated man in Germanv last winter. However, he begins to be merely thought little of, for he allows it to be known that he will have his revenge.
Thus, during the summer of 1911, German public opinion became restive when confronted with French opinion with regard to Morocco. And the attitude of France, her calmness, her re-born spiritual unity, her resolution to make good her rights right up to the end, the fact that she has the audacity not to be afraid of war, these things are the most persistent and the gravest cause of anxiety and bad temper OzI the part of German public opinion.
Why then did not Germany go to war during the summer of 1911, since public opinion although not so unanimous and determined as French public opinion, was certainly favourable? Apart from the pacific disposition of the Emperor and the Chancellor, military and financial reasons made themselves felt.
But these events of 1911 have caused a profound disillusionment in Germany. A new France united, determined, resolved not to be intimidated any longer, has emerged from the shroud in which she had been seen burying herself for the last ten years. Public opinion in Germany, from December to May, from the columns of the press of all parties, which reproached the Imperial Government for their incapacity and cowardice has discovered with surprise mingled with irritation that the country conquered in 1870 had never ceased since then to carry on war, to float her flag and maintain the prestige of her arms in Asia and Africa, and to conquer vast territories; that Germany on the other hand had lived on her reputation, that Turkey is the only countlr in which during the reign of William II. she had made moral conquests, and these were now compromised by the disgrace of the Morocco solution. Each time that France made a colonial conquest this consolation was offered: " Yes, but that does not prevent the decadence, anarchy, and dismemberment of France at home."
The public were mistaken and public opinion was misled.
Given this German public opinion that considers France as longing for war, what can be augured for the future as regards the possibility and proximity of war?
German public opinion is divided into two currents on the question of the possibility and proximity of war.
There are in the country forces making for peace, but they are unorganised and have no popular leaders. They consider that war would be a social misfortune for Germany, and that caste pride, Prussian domination, and the manufacturers of guns and armour plate would get the greatest benefit, but above all that war would profit Great Britain.
The forces consist of the following elements:--
The bulk of the workmen, artisans and peasants, who are peace-loving by instinct.
Those members of the nobility detached from military interests and engaged in business, such as the grands seigneurs of Silesia and a few other personages very influential at court, who are sufficiently enlightened to realize the disastrous political and social consequences of war, even if successful.
Numerous manufacturers, merchants and financiers in a moderate way of business, to whom war, even if successful, would mean bankruptcy, because their enterprises depend on credit, and are chiefly supported by foreign capital.
Poles, inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine, and Schleswig-Holstein conquered, but not assimilated and sullenly hostile to Prussian policy. There are about 7,000,000 of these annexed Germans.
Finally, the Governments and the governing classes in the large southern states -- Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and the Grand Duchy of Baden are divided by these two opinions:-- an unsuccessful war would compromise the Federation from which they have derived great economic advantages; a successful war would only profit Prussia and Prussianisation, against which they have difficulty in defending their political independence and administrative autonomy.
These classes of people either consciously or instinctively prefer peace to war; but they are only a
sort of makeweight in political matters, with limited influence on public opinion, or they are silent
social forces, passive and defenseless against the infection of a wave of warlike feeling.
An example will make this idea clear: -- The 110 Socialist members of the Reichstag are in favour of peace. They would be unable to prevent war, for war does not depend upon a vote of the Reichstag, and in the presence of such an eventuality the greater part of their number would join the rest of the country in a chorus of angry excitement and enthusiasm.
Finally it must be observed that these supporters of peace believe in war in the mass because they do not see any other solution for the present situation. In certain contracts, especially in publishers' contracts, a clause has been introduced cancelling the contract in the case of war. They hope, however, that the will of the Emperor on the one side, France's difficulties in Morocco on the other, will be for some time a guarantee of peace. Be that as it may, their pessimism gives free play to those who favour war.
People sometimes speak of a military party in Germany. The expression is inaccurate, even if it is intended to convey the idea that Germany is the country where military power is supreme, as it is said of France that it is the country where the civil power is supreme. There exists a state of mind which is more worthy of attention than this historical fact, because it constitutes a danger more evident and more recent. There is a war party, with leaders, and followers, a press either convinced or subsidized for the purpose of creating public opinion; it has means both varied and formidable for the intimidation of the Government. It goes to work in the country with clear ideas, burning aspirations, and a determination that is at once thrilling and fixed.
Those in favour of war are divided into several categories; each of these derives from its social caste, its class, its intellectual and moral education, its interests, its hates, special arguments which create a general attitude of mind and increase the strength and rapidity of the stream of warlike desire.
Some want war because in the present circumstances they think it is inevitable. And, as far as Germany is concerned, the sooner the better.
Others regard war as necessary for economic reasons based on over-population, over-production, the need for markets and outlets; or for social reasons, i.e., to provide the outside interests that alone can prevent or retard the rise to power of the democratic and socialist masses.
Others, uneasy for the safety of the Empire, and believing that time is on the side of France, think that events should be brought to an immediate head. It is not unusual to meet, in the course of conversation or in the pages of patriotic pamphlets, the vague but deeply rooted conviction that a free Germany and a regenerated France are two historical facts mutually incompatible.
Others are bellicose from "Bismarckism" as it may be termed. They feel themselves humiliated at
having to enter into discussions with France, at being obliged to talk in terms of law and right in
negotiations and conferences where they have not always found it easy to get right on their side,
even when they have a preponderating force. From their still recent past they derive a sense of
pride ever fed by personal memories of former exploits, by oral traditions, and by books, and
irritated by the events of recent years. Angry disappointment is the unifying force of the
Wehrvereine, and other associations of Young Germany.
Others again want war from a mystic hatred of revolutionary France; others finally from a feeling of rancour. These last are the people who heap up pretexts for war.
Coming to actual facts, these feelings take concrete form as follows: The country squires represented in the Reichstag by the Conservative party want at all costs to escape the death duties, which are bound to come if peace continues. In the last sitting of the session which has just closed, the Reichstag agreed to these duties in principle. It is a serious attack on the interests and privileges of the landed gentry. On the other hand this aristocracy is military in character, and it is instructive to compare the Army List with the year book of the nobility. War alone can prolong its prestige and support its family interest. During the discussions on the Army Bill, a Conservative speaker put forward the need for promotion among officers as an argument in its favour. Finally, this social class which forms a hierarchy with the King of Prussia as its supreme head, realises with dread the democratization of Germany and the increasing power of the Socialist party, and considers its own days numbered. Not only does a formidable movement hostile to agrarian protection threaten its material interests, but in addition, the number of its political representatives decreases with each legislative period. In the Reichstag of 1878, out of 397 members, 162 belonged to the aristocracy; in 1898, 83; in 1912, 57. Out of this number 27 alone belong to the Right, 14 to the Centre, 7 to the Left, and one sits among the Socialists.
The higher bourgeoisie, represented by the National Liberal Party, the party of the contented spirits, have not the same reasons as the squires for wanting war. With a few exceptions, however, they are bellicose. They have their reasons, social in character.
The higher bourgeoisie is no less troubled than the aristocracy at the democratization of Germany. In 1871 they had 125 members in the Reichstag; in 1874, 155; in 1887, 99; in 1912, 45. They do not forget that in the years succeeding the war they played the leading role in parliament, helping Bismarck in his schemes against the country squires. Uneasily balanced to-day between Conservative instincts and Liberal ideas, they look to war to settle problems which their parliamentary representatives are painfully incapable of solving. In addition, doctrinaire manufacturers declare that the difficulties between themselves and their workmen originate in France, the home of revolutionary ideas of freedom without France industrial unrest would be unknown.
Lastly, there are the manufacturers of guns and armour plate, big merchants who demand bigger markets, bankers who are speculating on the coming of the golden age and the next war indemnity all these regard war as good business.
Amongst the "Bismarckians" must be reckoned officials of all kinds, represented fairly closely in the Reichstag by the Free Conservatives or Imperial Party. This is the party of the " pensioned," whose impetuous sentiments are poured out in the Post. They find disciples and political sympathisers in the various groups of young men whose minds have been trained and formed in the public schools and universities.
The universities, if we except a few distinguished spirits, develop a warlike philosophy. Economists demonstrate by statistics Germany's need for a colonial and commercial empire commensurate with the industrial output of the Empire. There are sociological fanatics who go even further. The armed peace, so they say, is a crushing burden on the nations, it checks improvement in the lot of the masses, and assists the growth of socialism. France by clinging obstinately to her desire for revenge opposes disarmament. Once for all she must be reduced, for a century, to a state of impotence; that is the best and speediest way of solving the social problem.
Historians, philosophers, political pamphleteers and other apologists of German Kultur wish to impose upon the world a way of thinking and feeling specifically German. They wish to wrest from France that intellectual supremacy which according to the clearest thinkers is still her possession. From this source is derived the phraseology of the Pan-Germans and the ideas and adherents of the Kriegsvereine, Wehrvereine and other similar associations too well known to need particular description. It is enough to note that the dissatisfaction caused by the treaty of November 4th has considerably swelled the membership of colonial societies.
We come finally to those whose support of the war policy is inspired by rancour and resentment. These are the most dangerous. They are recruited chiefly among diplomatists. German diplomatists are now in very bad odour in public opinion. The most bitter are those who since 1905 have been engaged in the negotiations between France and Germany; they are heaping together and reckoning up their grievances against us, and one day they will present their accounts in the war press. It seems as if they were looking for grievances chiefly in Morocco, though an incident is always possible in any part of the globe where France and Germany are in contact.
They must have their revenge, for they complain that they have been duped. During the discussion on the Army Bill one of these warlike diplomatists exclaimed, " Germany will not be able to have any serious conversation with France until she has every sound man under arms."
In what terms will this conversation be couched? The opinion is fairly widely spread, even in Pan-German circles, that Germany will not declare war in view of the system of defensive alliances and the tendencies of the Emperor. But when the moment comes, she will have to try in every possible way to force France to attack her. Offense will be given if necessary. That is the Prussian tradition.
Must war then be considered as inevitable?
It is hardly likely that Germany will take the risk, if France can make it clear to the world that the Entente Cordiale and the Russian alliance are not mere diplomatic fictions but realities which exist and will make themselves felt. The British fleet inspires a wholesome terror. It is well known, however, that victory on sea will leave everything in suspense. On land alone can a decisive issue be obtained.
As for Russia, even though she carries greater weight in political and military circles than was the case three or four years ago, it is not believed that her co-operation will be sufficiently rapid and energetic to be effective.
People's minds are thus getting used to consider the next war as a duel between France and Germany.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Stéphen Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, November 22, 1913.
I have received from an absolutely reliable source an account of a conversation which took
place a fortnight ago between the Emperor and the King of the Belgians, in the presence of the
Chief of the General Staff General von Moltke. This conversation, it appears, has made a
profound impression on King Albert. I am in no way surprised at the impression he gathered,
which corresponds with what 1 have myself felt for some time. Enmity against us is increasing,
and the Emperor has ceased to be the friend of peace.
The person addressed by the Emperor had thought up till then, as did all the world, that William II., whose personal infiuence had been exerted on many critical occasions in support of peace, was still in the same state of mind. He found him this time completely changed. The German Emperor is no longer in his eyes the champion of peace against the warlike tendencies of certain parties in Germany. William II. has come to think that war with France is inevitable, and that it must come sooner or later. Naturally he believes in the crushing superiority of the German army and in its certain success.
General von Moltke spoke exactly in the same strain as his sovereign He, too, declared war to be necessary and inevitable, but he showed himself still more assured of success "for," he said, to the King, "this time the matter must be settled, and your Majesty can have no conception of the irresistible enthusiasm with which the whole German people will be carried away when that day comes."
The King of the Belgians protested that it was a travesty of the intentions of the French Government to interpret them in that sense; and to let oneself be misled as to the sentiments of the French nation by the ebullitions of a few irresponsible spirits or the intrigues of unscrupulous agitators.
The Emperor and his Chief of the General Staff nevertheless persisted in their point of view.
During the course of this conversation the Emperor moreover seemed overstrained and irritable. As William II. advances in years, family traditions, the reactionary tendencies of the court, and especially the impatience of the soldiers, obtain a greater empire over his mind. Perhaps he feels some slight jealousy of the popularity acquired by his son, who flatters the passions of the Pan-Germans, and who does not regard the position occupied by the Empire in the world as commensurate with its power. Perhaps the reply of France to the last increase of the German army, the object of which was to establish the incontestable supremacy of Germany is, to a certain extent, responsible for his bitterness, for, whatever may be said, it is realised that Germany cannot go much further.
One may well ponder over the significance of this conversation. The Emperor and his Chief of the General Staff may have wished to impress the King of the Belgians and induce him not to make any opposition in the event of a conflict between us. Perhaps Germany would be glad to see Belgium less hostile to certain aspirations lately manifested here with regard to the Belgian Congo, but this last hypothesis does not seem to me to fit in with the interposition of General von Moltke.
For the rest, the Emperor William is less master of his impatience than is usually supposed. I have known him more than once to allow his real thoughts escape him. Whatever may have been the object of the conversation related to me, the revelation is none the less of extreme gravity. It tallies with the precariousness of the general situation and with the state of a certain shade of public opinion in France and Germany.
If I may be allowed to draw a conclusion, I would submit that it would be well to take account of this new factor, namely, that the Emperor is becoming used to an order of ideas which were formerly repugnant to him, and that, to borrow from him a phrase which he likes to use, " we must keep our powder dry."
From the death of the Hereditary Archduke (June 28,1914) to the Presentation of the Austrian Note to Servia (July 23, 1914).
M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Vienna, June 28, 1914.
News has just arrived at Vienna that the Hereditary Archduke of Austria and his wife have been
to-day assassinated at Serajevo by a student belonging to Grahovo. Some moments before the
attack to which they fell a victim, they had escaped the explosion of a bomb which
wounded several officers of their suite.
The Emperor, who is now at Ischl, was immediately informed by telegraph.
M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, to M. René Viviani, President of the Couneil, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Vienna, July 2, 1914.
The crime of Serajevo arouses the most acute resentment in Austrian military circles, and among
all those who are not content to allow Servia to maintain in the Balkans the position which she
The investigation into the origin of the crime which it is desired to exact from the Government at
Belgrade under conditions intolerable to their dignity would, in case of a refusal, furnish grounds
of complaint which would admit of resort to military measures.
M. de Manneville, French Chargé d'Affaires at Berlin, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 4, 1914.
The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs told me yesterday, and has to-day repeated to the Russian Ambassador, that he hoped Servia would satisfy the demands which
Austrian might have to make to her with regard to the investigation and the prosecution of the
accomplices in the crime of Serajevo. He added that he was confident that this would be the case
because Servia, if she acted in any other way, would have the opinion of the whole civilised world
The German Government do not then appear to share the anxiety which is shown by a part of the German press as to possible tension in the relations between the Governments of Vienna and Belgrade, or at least they do not wish to seem to do so.
M. Paléologue, French Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
St. Petersburgh, July 6, 1914.
In the course of an interview which he had asked for with the Austro-Hungarian Chargé
d'Affaires, M. Sazonof pointed out in a friendly way the disquieting irritation which the attacks of
the Austrian press against Servia are in danger of producing in his country.
Count Czernin having given him to understand that the Austro-Hungarian Government would perhaps be compelled to search for the instigators of the crime of Serajevo on Servian territory M. Sazonof interrupted him: " No country," he said, " has had to suffer more than Russia from crimes prepared on foreign territory. Have we ever claimed to employ in any country whatsoever the procedure with which your papers threaten Servia? Do not embark on such a course."
May this warning not be in vain.
M. d'Apchier le Maugin, French Consul-General at Budapest, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Budapest, July 11, 1914.
Questioned in the Chamber on the state of the Austro-Servian question M. Tisza explained
that before everything else it was necessary to wait for the result of the judicial inquiry, as to
which he refused at the moment to make any disclosure whatsoever. And the Chamber has given
its full approval to this. He also showed himself equally discreet as to the decisions taken at the
meeting of Ministers at Vienna, and did not give any indication whether the project of a démarche at Belgrade, with which all the papers of both hemispheres are full,
would be followed up. The Chamber assented without hesitation.
With regard to this démarche it seems that the word has been given to minimise its significance; the anger of the Hungarians has, as it were, evaporated through the virulent articles of the press, which is now unanimous in advising against this step, which might be dangerous. The semi-official press especially would desire that for the word "démarche," with its appearance of a threat, there should be substituted the expression "pourparlers," which appears to them more friendly and more courteous. Thus, officially, for the moment all is for peace.
All is for peace. in the press. But the general public here believe in war and fears it. Moreover, persons in whom I have every reason to have confidence have assured me that they knew that every day cannon and ammunition were being sent in large quantities towards the frontier. Whether true or not this rumour has been brought to me from various quarters with details which agree with one another; at least it indicates what are the thoughts with which people are generally occupied. The Government, whether it is sincerely desirous of peace, or whether it is preparing a coup, is now doing all that it can to allay these anxieties. This is why the tone of the Government newspapers has been lowered, first by one note, then by two, so that it is at the present moment almost optimistic. But they had themselves spread the alarm as it suited them (à plaisir). Their optimism to order is in fact without an echo; the nervousness of the Bourse, a barometer which cannot be neglected, is a sure proof of this; without exception stocks have fallen to an unaccountably low level; the Hungarian 4 per cents. were quoted yesterday at 79.95, a rate which has never been quoted since they were first issued.
D'APCHIER LE MAUGIN.
M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Vienna, July 15, 1914.
Certain organs of the Vienna Press, discussing they military organization of France and of
Russia, represent these it two countries as incapable of holding their own in European affairs; this
would ensure to the Dual monarchy supported by Germany appreciable facilities for subjecting
Servia to any treatment wich it might be pleased to impose. The Militärische Rundschau frankly admits it. " The moment is still favourable to us. If we do not decide for war, that war in which we shall have to engage at the latest in two or three years will be begun
in far less propitious circumstances. At this moment the initiative rests with us: Russia is not
ready, moral factors and right are on our side, as well as might. Since we shall have to accept the
contest some day, let us provoke it at once. Our prestige, our position as a Great Power, our
honour, are in question; and yet more, for it would seem that our very existence is concerned -- to
be or not to be -- which is in truth the great matter to-day."
Surpassing itself, the Neue Freie Presse of to-day reproaches Count Tisza for the moderation of his second speech, in which he said, ' Our relations with Servia require, however, to be made clear." These words rouse its indignation. For it, tranquillity and security can result only from a war to the knife against Pan-Servism, and it is in the name of humanity that it demands the extermination of the cursed Servian race.
M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Vienna, July 19, 1914.
The Chancellor of the Consulate, who has sent me his half-yearly report, in which he sums up the
various economic facts which have been the subject of his study since the beginning of the year,
has added a section containing political information emanating from a trustworthy source.
I asked him briefly to sum up the information which he has obtained regarding the impending presentation of the Austrian note to Servia, which the papers have for some days been persistently announcing.
You will find the text of this memorandum interesting on account of the accurate information which it contains.
(Extract from a Consular Report on the Economic and Political Situation in Austria )
Vienna, July 20,1914.
From information furnished by a person specially well informed as to official news, it
appears that the French Government would be wrong to leave confidence in disseminators of
optimism; much will be demanded of Servia; she will be required to dissolve several propagandist societies, she will be summoned to repress nationalism, to guard the frontier in co-operation with Austrian officials, to keep strict control over anti-Austrian tendencies in the schools; and it is a very difficult matter for a Government to consent to become in this way a policeman for a foreign Government. They foresee the subterfuges by which Servia will doubtless wish to avoid
giving a clear and direct reply; that is why a short interval will perhaps be fixed for her to
declare whether she accepts or not. the tenour of the note and its imperious tone almost
certainly ensure that Belgrade will refuse. Then military operations will begin.
There is here, and equally at Berlin, a party which accepts the idea of a conflict of widespread dimensions, in other words a conflagration. The leading idea is probably that it would be necessary to start before Russia has completed the great improvements of her army and railways, and before France has brought her military organisation to perfection. But on this point there is no unanimity in high circles; Count Berchtold and the diplomatists desire at the most localised operations against Servia. But everything must be regarded as possible. A singular fact is pointed out: generally the official telegraph agency, in its summaries and reviews of the foreign press, pays attention only to semi-official newspapers and to the most important organs; it omits all quotation from and all mention of the others. This is a rule and a tradition. Now, for the last ten days, the official agency has furnished daily to the Austro-Hungarian press a complete review of the whole Servian press, giving a prominent place to the least known, the smallest and most insignificant papers, which, just on account of their obscurity, employ language freer, bolder, more aggressive, and often insulting. This work of the official agency has obviously for its aim the excitement of public feeling and the creation of opinion favourable to war. The fact is significant.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 21, 1914.
It has come to my knowledge that the Servian representative at Berlin declared, at the
Wilhelmstrasse, yesterday, that his Government was ready to entertain Austria's requirements
arising out of the outrage at Serajevo, provided that she asked only for judicial co-operation in the
punishment and prevention of political crimes but that he was charged to warn the German
Government that it would be dangerous to attempt. through that investigation, to lower the
prestige of Servia.
In confidence I may also inform your Excellency that the Russian Chargé d'Affaires at the diplomatic audience to-day mentioned this subject to Herr von Jagow. He said that he supposed the German Government now had full knowledge of the note prepared by Austria, and were therefore willing to give the assurance that the Austro-Servian difficulties would be localised. The Secretary of State protested that he was in complete ignorance of the contents of that note, and expressed himself in the same way to me. I could not help showing my astonishment at a statement which agreed so little with what circumstances lead one to expect.
I have also been assured that, from now on, the preliminary notices for mobilisation, the object of which is to place Germany in a kind of "attention" attitude in times of tension, have been sent out here to those classes which would receive them in similar circumstances. That is a measure to which the Germans, constituted as they are, can have recourse without indiscretion and without exciting the people. It is not a sensational measure, and is not necessarily followed by full mobilisation, as we have already seen, but it is none the less significant.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to London, St. Petersburgh, Vienna, Rome.
Paris, July 21, 1914.
I specially draw your attention to information of which I am in receipt from Berlin; the French
Ambassador notifies the extreme weakness of the Berlin Bourse yesterday, and attributes it to
the anxiety which has begm to be aroused by the Servian question. M. Jules Cambon has very
grave reason for believing that when Austria makes the démarche at Belgrade which she judges necessary in consequence of the crime of Serajevo, Germany will support her with her authority without seeking to play the part of mediator.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the French Ambassadors at London, St. Petersburgh, Vienna, Rome.
Paris, July 22, 1914. M.
M. Jules Cambon having questioned Herr von Jagow on the tenour of the Austrian note at Belgrade, the latter replied that be knew nothing of the text; our Ambassador expressed his great astonishment at this. He emphasizes that the weakness of the Berlin Bourse continues, and that pessimistic rumours are current.
M. Barrère also discussed the same question with the Marquis di San Giuliano, who appears disturbed by it, and gives the assurance that he is working at Vienna in order that Servia may not be asked for anything beyond what is practicable, for instance, the dissolution of the Bosnian Club, and not a judicial inquiry into the causes of the crime of Serajevo.
In present circumstances, the most favourable presumption one can make is that the Cabinet at Vienna, finding itself carried away by the press and the military party, is trying to obtain the maximum from Servia by starting to intimidate her, directly and indirectly, and looks to Germany for support in this.
I have asked the French Ambassador at Vienna to use all his influence with Count Berchtold and to represent to him, in a friendly conversation, how much Europe would appreciate moderation on the part of the Austrian Government, and what consequences would be likely to be entailed by violent pressure on Servia.
M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Vienna, July 22, 1914.
Nothing is known as to the decision which Count Berchtold, who is prolonging his stay at
Ischl, is trying to obtain from the Emperor. The intention of proceeding against Servia with the
greatest severity, of having done with her, of " treating her like another Poland," is attributed to
the Government. Eight army corps are said to be ready to start on the campaign, but M. Tisza,
who is very disturbed about the excitement in Croatia, is said to have intervened actively in order
to exercise a moderating influence.
In any case it is believed that the démarche will be made at Belgrade this week. The requirements of the Austro-Hungarian Government with regard to the punishment of the outrage, and to guarantees of control and police supervisions seem to be acceptable to the dignity of the Servians; M. Yovanovich believes they will be accepted. M. Pashitch wishes for a peaceful solution, but says that he is ready for a full resistance. He has confidence in the strength of the Servian army; besides, he counts on the union of all the Slavs in the Monarchy to paralyze the effort directed against his country.
Unless people are absolutely blinded, it must be recognised here that a violent blow has every
chance of being fatal both to the Austro-Hungarian army and to the cohesion of the nationalities
governed by the Emperor, which has already been so much compromised.
Herr von Tschirscky, the German Ambassador, is showing himself a supporter of violent measures, while at the same tome he is willing to let it be understood that the Imperial chancery would not be in entire agreement with him on this point. The Russian Ambassador, who left yesterday for the country in consequence ot reassurmg explanations made to him at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, has confided to me that his Government will not raise any objection to steps directed towards the punishment of the guilty and the dissolutlon of the societies which are notorlously revolutionary, but could not accept requirements which would humiliate Servian national feeling.
M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador at London, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 22,1914.
Your Excellency has been good enough to communicate to me the impressions which have been
collected by our Ambassador at Berlin with regard to the démarche which the Austro-Hungarian Minister is proposing to make at Belgrade.
These impressions have been confirmed by a conversation which I had yesterday with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Sir Edward Grey told me that he had seen the German Ambassador, who stated to him that at Berlin a démarche of the Austro-Hungarian Government to the Servian Government was expected. Prince Lichnowsky assured him that the German Government were endeavouring to hold back and moderate the Cabinet of Vienna, but that up to the present time they had not been successful in this, and that he was not without anxiety as to the results of a démarche of this kind. Sir Edward Grey answered Prince Lichnowsky that he would like to believe that, before intervening at Belgrade, the Austro-Hungarian Government had fully informed themselves as to the circumstances of the conspiracy to which the Hereditary Archduke and the Duchess of Hohenburg had fallen victims, and had assured themselves that the Servian Government had been cognisant of it and had not done all that lay in their power to prevent the consequences. For if it could not be proved that the Servian Government were responsible and implicated to a certain degree, the intervention of Austria-Hungary would not be justified and would arouse against them the opinion of Europe.
The communication of Prince Lichnowsky had left Sir Edward Grey with an impression of anxiety which he did not conceal from me. The same impression was given me by the Italian Ambassador, who also fears the possibility of fresh tension in Austro-Servian relations.
This morning the Servian Minister came to see me, and he shares the apprehensions of Sir Edward Grey. He fears that Austria may make of the Servian Government demands which their dignity, and above all the susceptibility of public opinion, will not allow them to accept without a protest. When I pointed out to him the quiet which appears to reign at Vienna, and to which all the Ambassadors accredited to that Court bear testimony, he answered that this official quiet was only apparent and concealed feelings which were most fundamentally hostile to Servia. But, he added, if these feelings take a public form (démarche) which lacks the moderation that is desirable, it will be necessary to take account of Servian public opinion, which has been inflamed by the harsh treatment to which the Austrian Covermnent have constantly subjected that country, and which has been made less patient by the memory of two victorious wars which is still quite fresh. Notwithstanding the sacrifices which Servia has made for her recent victories she can still put 400,000 men in the field, and public opinion, which knows this, is not inclined to put up with any humiliation.
Sir Edward Grey, in an interview with the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador, asked him to recommend his Government not to depart from the prudence and moderation necessary for avoiding new complications, not to demand from Servia any measures to which she could not reasonably submit, and not to allow themselves to be carried away too far.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to London, Berlin, St. Petersburgh, and Rome.
Paris, July 23, 1914.
According to information collected by the French Ambassador at Vienna, the first intention
of the Austro-Hungarian Government been to proceed with the greatest severity against Servia
while keeping eight army corps ready to start operations.
The disposition at this moment was more conciliatory; in answer to a question put to him by M. Dumaine, whom I instructed to call the attention of the Austro-Hungarian Government to the anxiety aroused in Europe, Baron Macchio stated to our Ambassador that the tone of the Austrian note, and the demands which would be formulated in it, allow us to count on a peaceful result. In view of the customary procedure of the Imperial Chancery I do not know what confidence ought to be placed in these assurances.
In any case the Austrian note will be presented in a very short space of time. The Servian Minister holds that as M. Pashitch wishes to come to an understanding, he will accept those demands which relate to the punishment of the outrage and to the guarantees for control and police supervision, but that he will resist everything which might affect the sovereignty and sovreighnty and dignity of his country.
In diplomatic circles at Vienna the German Ambassador is in favour of violent measures, while at the same time confesses that the Imperial Chancery is perhaps not entirely in agreement with him on this point; the Russian Ambassador, trusting to assurances which have been given him, has left Vienna, and before his departure confided to M. Dumaine that his Government will not raise any objection to the punishment of the guilty and the dissolution of the revolutionary associations, but that they could not accept requirements which were humiliating to the national sentiment of Servia.
M. Allizé, French Minister at Munich, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Paris.
Munich, July 23,1914.
The Bavarian press seems to believe that a peaceful solution of the Austro-Servian incident is
not only possible but even probable; on the other hand official circles have for some time been
assuming with more or less sincerity an air of real pessimism.
In particular the President of the Council said to me to-day that the Austrian note the contents of which were known to him (dont il avait connaissance) was in his opinion drawn up in terms which could he accepted by Servia, but that none the less the existing situation appeared to him to be very serious.
THE AUSTRIAN NOTE AND THE SERV1AN REPLY.
(From Friday, July 24, to Saturday, July 26.)
M. René Viviani, President of the Council, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
I should be obliged if you would urgently send on to M. Dumaine the following information and instructions.
Reval, July 24, 1914, 1 a.m.
In the course of my conversation with the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs we had to take
into consideration the dangers which might result from any step taken by Austria-Hungary in
relation to Servia in connection with the crime of which the Hereditary Archduke has been a
victim. We found ourselves in agreement in thinking that we should not leave anything undone to
prevent a request for an explanation or some mise en demeure which would be equivalent to
intervention in the internal affairs of Servia, of such a kind that Servia might consider it as an
attack on her sovereignty and independence.
We have in consequence come to the opinion that we might, by means of a friendly conversation with Count Berchtold, give him counsels of moderation, of such a kind as to make him understand how undesirable would be any intervention at Belgrade which would appear to be a threat on the part of the Cabinet at Vienna.
The British Ambassador, who was kept informed by M Sazonof, expressed the idea that his Government would doubtless associate itself with a démarche for removing any danger which might threaten general peace, and he has telegraphed to his Government to this effect.
M. Sazonof has addressed instructions to this effect to M. Schebeko. While there is no question in this of collective or concerted action at Vienna on the part of the representatives of the Triple Entente, I ask you to discuss the matter with the Russian and British Ambassadors, and to come to an agreement with them as to the best means by which each of you can make Count Berchtold understand without delay the moderation that the present situation appears to us to require.
Further, it would be desirable to ask M. Paul Cambon to bring the advantages of this procedure to the notice of Sir Edward Grey, and to support the suggestion that the British Ambassador in Russia will have made to this effect to the Foreign Office. Count Benckendorif is instructed to make a similar recommendation
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, on board the "France."
Paris, July 94, 1914.
I have sent on your instructions to Vienna as urgent, but from information contained in this
morning's papers it appears that the Austrian note was presented at Belgrade at 6 o'clock
This note, the official text of which has not yet been handed to us by the Austro-Hungarian
Ambassador, appears to be very sharp; it appears to aim not only at obtaining the prosecution of
the Serbs who were directly implicated in the outrage of Serajevo but to require the immediate
suppression of the whole of the anti-Austrian propaganda in the Servian press and army It ls said
to give Servia till 6 o'clock on Saturday evening to make her submission. In sending your
instructions to M. Dumaine I requested hitn to come to an agreement with his British and Russian
colleagues as to his action.
Text of the Austrian Note.
See No. 4 of British Correspondence, p. 3.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. René Viviani, President of the Council, on board the " France," and to London, Berlin, Vienna, St. Petersburgh, Rome, Belgrade.
Paris, July 24, 1914.
I have the honour to inform you that the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador this morning left me a copy of the Austrian note which was handed in at Belgrade on Tllursday evening. Count Scézsen informs me that the Austro-Hungarian Governlnent gives the Servian Government up to 5 o'clock on the evening of Saturday the 26th for their answer.* The note is based on the undertaking made by Servia on the 31st March 1909, to recognise the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and reproaches the Servian Government with having tolerated an anti-Austrian propaganda in which officials, the army, and the press have taken part, a propaganda which threatens the security and integrity of Austria, and the danger of which has been shown by the crime of the 28th June which, according to the facts established during the investigation, was planned at Belgrade.
The Austrian Government explain that they are compelled to put an end to a propaganda which forms a permanent danger to their tranquillity, and to require from the Servian Government an official pronouncement of their determination to condemn and suppress it, by publishing in the Official Gazette of the 26th a declaration, the terms of which are given, condemning it, stating their regret, and threatening to crush it. A general order of the King to the Servian army is at the same time to make these declarations known to the army. In addition to this, the Servian Government are to undertake to suppress publications, to dissolve the societies, to dismiss those officers and civil servants whose names would be communicated to them by the Austrian Government, to accept the co-operation of Austrian officials in suppressing the subversive acts to which their attention has been directed, as well as for the investigation into the crime of Serajevo, and finally to proceed to the immediate arrest of a Servian officer and an official who were concerned in it.
Annexed to the Austrian memorandum is a note vhich sums up the facts established by the investigation into the crime of Serajevo, and declares that it was planned at Belgrade; that the bombs were provided for the murderers, and came from a depot of the Servian army; finally that the murderers were drilled and helped by Servian officers and officials. On visiting the Acting Political Director immediately after making this communication, Count Scézsen without any observa tions informed him that the note had been presented. M. Berthelot, on my instructions, confined himself to pointing out to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador the feeling of anxiety which had been aroused by the information available this morning as to the contents of the Austrian note, and the painful feeling which could not fail to be aroused in French public opinion by the time chosen for so categorical a démarche with so short a time limit; that is to say, a time when the President of the Republic and the President of the Council and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic had left St. Petersburgh and.were at sea, and consequently were not able to exert, in agreement with those Powers which were not directly interested, that soothing influence on Servia and Austria which was so desirable in the interest of general peace.
The Servian Minister has not yet received any information as to the intentions of his Government. The German Ambassador has asked me to receive him at 5 o'clock this afternoon.
* The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador in a private letter on tbe 24th July sent to the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following correction:
" In the copy of the dispatch which I had the honour to send to your Excellency this morning, it
was said that my Government expected an answer from the Cabinet at Belgrade at latest by 5
o'clock on the evening of Saturday the 25th of this month. As our Minister at Belgrade did not
deliver his note yesterday until 6 o'clock in the evening, the time allowed for the answer has in
consequence been prolonged to 6 o'clock to-morrow, Saturday evening.
"I consider it my duty to inform your Excellency of this slight alteration in the termination of the period fixed for the answer to the Servian Government."
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs to M. Thiébaut, French Minister at Stockholm (for the President of the Council), and to Belgrade, Vienna, London, Berlin, Rome, St. Petersburgh.
Paris, July 24, 1914.
M. Vesnitch was this morning still without any telegram from his Government informing him
as to their intentions, and did not know the contents of the Austrian note.
To a request for advice which he made to the Political Director, M. Berthelot said to him, speaking personally and for himself alone, that Servia must try to gain time, as the limit of forty-eight hours perhaps formed rather a "mise en demeure " than an ultimatum in the proper sense of the term; that there might, for instance, be an opportunity of offering satisfaction on all those points which were not inconsistent with the dignity and sovereignty of Servia; he was advised to draw attention to the fact that statements based on the Austrian investigations at Serajevo were one sided, and that Servia, while she was quite ready to take measures against all the accomplices of a crime which she most strongly condemned, required full information as to the evidence in order to be able to verify it with all speed; above all to attempt to escape from the direct grip of Austria by declaring herself ready to submit to the arbitration of Europe.
I have asked at London and St. Petersburgh for the views and intentions of the British and Russian Governments. It appears on the other hand from our information that the Austrian note was not communicated to Italy until to-day, and that Italy had neither been consulted nor even informed of it.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs to Stockholm (for the President of the Council), and to Belgrade, London, St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Rome.
Paris, July 24,1914.
The French Ambassador at Vienna informs me that opinion has been startled by the sudden and
exaggerated nature of the Austrian demands, but that the chief fear of the military party appears
to be that Servia may give way.
The Servian Minister in Austria thinks that his Government will show themselves very conciliatory
in all that concerns the punishment of the accomplices of the crime, and the guarantees to be given
as to the suppression of the anti-Austrian propaganda, but that they could not accept a general
order to the army dictated to the King, nor the dismissal of officers who were suspected by
Austria, nor the interference of foreign officials in Servia. M. Yovanovitch considers that, if it were possible to start a discussion, a settlement of the dispute might still be arranged, with the assistance of the Powers.
Our Ambassador at Berlin gives an account of the excitement aroused by the Austrian note, and of the state of feeling of the Russian Chargé d'Affaires, who thinks that a large part of opinion in Germany would desire war. The tone of the press is threatening and appears to have as its object the intimidation of Russia. Our Ambassador is to see Herr von Jagow this evemng,
M. Barrìre informs us that Italy is exercising moderating influence at Vienna and is trying to
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Stockholm (for the President of the Council), and to Belgrade, London, St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Vienna, Rome.
Paris, July 24, 1914.
Herr von Schoen came to inform me of a note from his Government, of which he would
not leave me a copy, but at my request he read it twice over to me. The Note was almost word for
word as follows:
" The statements of the Austro-Hungarian newspapers concerning the circumstances under which the assassination of the Austrian heir presumptive and his consort has taken place disclose unmistakably the aims which the Pan-Servian propaganda has set itself, and the means it employs to realise them. The facts made known must also do away with all doubt that the centre of activity of all those tendencies which are directed towards the detachment of the Southern Slav provinces from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and their incorporation into the Servian Kingdom is to be found in Belgrade, and is, at any rate, at work there, with the connivance of members of the Government and the army.
" The Servian intrigues have been going on for many years. In an especially marked form the Pan-Servian chauvinism manifested itself during the Bosnian crisis. It was only owing to the moderation and far-reaching self-restraint of the Austro-Hungarian Government and to the energetic intervention of the Great Powers that the Servian provocations to which Austria-Hungary was then exposed did not lead to a conflict. The assurance of good conduct in future which was given by the Servian Government at that time has not been kept. Under the eyes, at least with the tacit permission, of official Servia, the PanServian propaganda has, since that time, continuously increased in extension and intensity. To its account must be set the recent crime, the threads of which lead to Belgrade. It has become clearly evident that it would not be consistent either with the dignity or with the self-preservation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to remain longer inactive in face of this movement on the other side of the frontier, by which the security and the integrity of her territories are constantly menaced. Under these circumstances the course of procedure and demands of the Austro-Hungarian Government can only be regarded as justified. In spite of that, the attitude which public opinion as well as the Government in Servia have recently adopted does not exclude the apprehension that the Servian Government might refuse to comply with those demands, and might even allow themselves to be carried away into a provocative attitude towards Austria-Hungary. The Austro-Hungarian Government, if they do not wish definitely to abandon Austria's position as a Great Power, would then have no cue but to obtain the fulfilment of their demands from the Servian Government by strong pressure and, if necessary, by using military measures, the choice of the means having to be left to them."
The German Ambassador particularly called my attention to the last two paragraphs of his note before reading it, pressing the point that this was the important matter. I noted down the text literally; it is as follows: "The German Government consider that in the present case there is only question of a matter to be settled exclusively between Austria-Hungary and Servia, and that the Great Powers ought seriously to endeavour to restrict it to those two immediately concerned.
"The German Govermnent desire urgently the localisation of the dispute, because every interference of another Power would, owing to the natural play of alliances be followed by incalculable consequences."
I called the German Ambassador's attention to the fact that while it might appear legitimate to
demand the punishment of all those who were implicated in the crime of Serajevo, on the other
hand it seemed difficult to require measures which could not be accepted, having regard to the
dignity and sovereignty of Servia; the Servian Government, even if it was willing to submit to
them, would risk being carried away by a revolution.
I also pointed out to Herr von Schoen that his note only took into account two hypotheses: that of a pure and simple refusal or that of a provocative attitude on the part of Servia. The third hypothesis (which would leave the door open for an arrangement) should also be taken into consideration; that of Servia's acceptance and of her agreeing at once to give full satisfaction for the punishment of the accomplices and full guarantees for the suppression of the anti-Austrian propaganda so far as they were compatible with her sovereignty and dignity.
I added that if within these limits the satisfaction desired by Austria could be admitted, the means
of obtaining it could be examined; if Servia gave obvious proof of goodwill it could not be
thought that Austria would refuse to take part in the conversation. Perhaps they should not make
it too difficult for third Powers, who could not either morally or sentimentally cease to take
interest in Servia, to take an attitude which was in accord with the wishes of Germans to localise
Herr von Schoen recognised the justice of these considerations and vaguely stated that hope was always possible. When I asked him if we should give to the Austrian note the character of a simple mise en demeure, which permitted a discussion, or an ultimatum, he answered that personally he had no views.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 24, 1914.
The delivery of the Austrian note to Sersia has made a deep impression.
The Austrian Ambassador declares that his Government could not abate any of their demands. At the Wilhelmstrasse, as well as in the press, the same view is expressed.
Most of the Chargés d'Affaires present in Berlin came to see me this morning. They show little hope of a peaceful issue. The Russian Chargé d'Affaires bitterly remarked that Austria has presented her note at the very moment that the President of the Republic and the President of the Council had left St. Petersburgh. He is inclined to think that a considerable section of opinion in Germany desires war and would like to seize this opportunity, in which Austria will no doubt be found more united than in the past, and in which the German Emperor, influenced by a desire to give support to the monarchic principle (par un sentiment de solidarité monarchique) and by horror at the crime, is less inclined to show a conciliatory attitude.
Herr von Jagow is going to receive me late in the afternoon.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassadorat Berlin, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 24, 1914.
I asked the Secretary of State to-day, in the interview which I had with him, if it was correct, as
announced in the newspapers, that Austria had presented a note to the Powers on her dispute with
Servia; if he had received it; and what view he took of it. Herr von Jagow answered me in the
affirmative, adding that the note was forcible, and that he approved it, the Servian Government
having for a long time past wearied the patience of Austria. Moreover, he considers this question
to be a domestic one for Austria, and he hopes that it will be localised.
I then said to him that not having as yet received any instructions, the views which I wished to exchange with him were strictly personal. Thereupon I asked him if the Berlin Cabinet had really been entirely ignorant of Austria's requirements before they were communicated to Belgrade, and as he told me that that was so, I showed him my surprise at seeing him thus undertake to support claims, of whose limit and scope he was ignorant.
Herr von Jagow interrupted me, and said, " It is only " because we are having a personal conversation that I allow you to say that to me."
" Certainly," I replied, " but if Peter I. humiliates himself, domestic trouble will probably break
out in Servia; that will open the door to fresh possibilities, and do you know where you will be led
by Vienna?" I added that the language of the German newspapers was not the language of
persons who were indifferent to, and unacquainted with, the question, but betokened an active
support. Finally, I remarked that the shortness of the time limit given to Servia for submission
should make an unpleasant impression in Europe.
Herr von Jagow answered that he quite expected a little excitement (un peu d'émotion) on the part of Servia's friends, but that he was counting on their giving her wise advice.
" I have no doubt," I then said to him, " that Russia would endeavour to persuade the Cabinet of Belgrade to make acceptable concessions; but why not ask from one what is being asked from the other, and if reliance is being placed on advice being given at Belgrade, is it not also legitimate to rely on advice being given at Vienna from another quarter?"
The Secretary of State went so far as to say that that depended on circumstances; but immediately checked himself; he repeated that the difficulty must be localised. He asked me if I really thought the situation serious. " Certainly," I answered, "because if what is happening is the result of due reflection, I do not understand why all means of retreat have been cut off."
All the evidence shows that Germany is ready to support Austria's attitude witl unusual energy. The weakness which her Austro-Hungarian ally has shown for some years past, has weakened the confidence that was placed in her here. She was found heavy to drag along. Mischievous legal proceedings, such as the Agram and the Friedjung affairs, brought odium on her police and covered them with ridicule. All that was asked of the police was that they should be strong; the conviction is that they were violent.
An article which appeared in the Lokal Anzeiger this evening shows also that at the German Chancery there exists a state of mind to which we in Paris are naturally not inclined to pay sufficient attention, I mean the feeling that Monarchies must stand together (sentiment de la solidarité monarchique) I am convinced that great weight must be attached to this point of view in order to appreciate the attitude of the Emperor William, whose impressionable nature must have been affected by the assassination of a prince whose guest he had been a few days previously.
It is not less striking to notice the pains with which Herr von Jagow, and all the officials placed under his orders, pretend to every one that they were ignorant of the scope of the note sent by Austria to Servia.
M.. Paléologue, French Ambassador at St. Petersburgh, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
St. Petersburgh, July 24, 1914.
THE Austro-Hungarian Ambassador has communicated to M. Sazonof a threatening note to
The intentions of the Emperor of Russia and his Ministers could not be more pacific, a fact of which the President of the Republic and the Pressident of the Council have been able to satisfy themselves directly; but the ultimatum which the Austro-Hungarian Government has just delivered to the Cabinet at Belgrade introduces a new and disquieting element into the situation.
Public opinion in Russia would not allow Austria to offer violence to Servla. The shortness of the
time limit fixed by the ultimatum renders still more difficult the moderating influence that the
Powers of the Triple Entente might exercise at Vienna.
On the other hand, M. Sazonof assumes that Germany will desire to support her ally and I am afraid that this impression is correct. Nothing but the assurance of the solidarity of the Triple Entente can prevent the German Powers from emphasizing their provocative attitude.
M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador at London, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 24, 1914.
Sir Edward Grey having discussed with me his desire to leave no stone unturned to avert
the crisis, we agreed in thinking that the British Cabinet might ask the German Government to
take the initiative in approaching Vienna vnth the object of offering the mediation, between
Austria and Servia, of the four Powers which are not directly interested. If Germany agrees, tome
will be gained, and this is the essential point.
Sir Edward Grey told me that he would discuss with Prince Lichnowsky the proposal I have just explained. I mentioned the matter to my Russian colleague, who is afraid of a surprise from Germany, and who imagines that Austria would not have despatched her ultimatum without previous agreement with Berlin.
Count Benckendorff told me that Prince Lichnowsky, when he returned from leave about a month ago, had intimated that he held pessimistic views regarding the relations between St. Petersburgh and Berlin. He had observed the uneasiness caused in this latter capital by the rumours of a naval entente between Russia and Great Britain, by the Tsar's visit to Bucharest, and by the strengthening of the Russian army. Count Benckendorff had concluded from this that a war with Russia would be looked upon without disfavour in Germany.
The Under-Secretary ot State has been struck, as all of us have been, by the anxious looks of Prince Lichnowsky since his return from Berlin, and he considers that if Germany had wished to do so she could have stopped the despatch of the ultimatum.
The situation, therefore, is as grave as it can be, and we see no way of arresting the course of events.
However, Count Benckendorff thinks it right to attempt the démarche upon which I have agreed with Sir Edward Grey.
M. Paul Cambon, French Ambassador at London, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 24,1914.
The Servian Minister received to-night from M. Pashitch a telegram saying that the
Austro-Hungarian Government had sent him their ultimatum, the time limit of which expires at 6
o'clock to-morrow, Saturday evening. M. Pashitch does not give the terms of the Austrian
communication, but if it is of the nature reported in to-day's "Times," it seems impossible for the
Servian Government to accept it.
In consultation with my Russian colleague, who thinks it extremely difficult for his Government
not to support Servia, we have been asking ourselves what intervention could avert the conflict.
Sir Edward Grey having summoned me for this afternoon, I propose to suggest that he should ask for the semi-official intervention of the German Government at Vienna to prevent a sudden attack.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Stockholm (for the President of the Council), Belgrade, St. Petersburgh, Berlin, Vienna, Rome.
Paris, July 24, 1914.
THE Austrian Ambassador having communicated his Government's note to Sir Edward Grey, the
latter observed that no such formidable declaration had ever been addressed by one Government
to another; he drew Count Mensdorff's attention to the responsibility assumed by Austria.
With the possibility of a conflict between Austria and Russia before him, Sir Edward Grey proposes to ask for the co-operation of the German Government with a view to the mediation of the four powers who are not directly interested in the Servian question, namely, England, France, Italy and Germany; this mediation to be exercised simultaneously at Vienna and at St. Petersburgh.
I advised the Servian Minister to act cautiously, and I am willing to co-operate in any conciliatory action at Vienna, in the hope that Austria will not insist on the acceptance of all her demands as against a small State, if the latter shows herself ready to give every satisfaction which is considered compatible with her independence and her sovereignty.
M. Jules Cambon, French Minister at Berlin, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for F'oreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 25, 1914.
The Belgian Minister appears very anxious about the course of events. He is of opinion that
Austria and Germany have desired to take advantage of the fact that, owing to a combination of
circumstances at the present moment, Russia and England appear to them to be threatened by
domestic troubles, while in France the state of the army is under discussion. Moreover, he does not
believe in the pretended ignorance of the Government of Berlin on the subject of Austria's
He thinks that if the form of it has not been submitted to the cabinet at Berlin, the moment of its despatch has been cleverly chosen in consultation with that Cabinet in order to surprise the Triple Entente at a moment of disorganisation.
He has seen the Italian Ambassador, who has just interrupted his holiday in order to return. It looks as if Italy would be surprised, to put it no higher, at having been kept out of the whole affair by her two allies.
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to Stockholm (for the President of the Council), and to London, Berlin, St. Petersburgh, Vienna.
Paris, July 25, 1914.
The German Ambassador came at 12 o'clock to protest against an article in the Echo de Paris
which applied the term "German threat" (menace allemande) to his i>démarche</i> of yesterday. Herr von Schoen told a certain number of journalists, and came to state at the Direction Politique, that there has been no " concert " between Austria and Germany in connection with the Austrian note, and that the German Government had no knowledge of this note when it was communicated to them at the same time as to the other Powers, though they had approved it subsequently.
Baron von Schoen added, moreover, that there was no " threat "; the German Government had
merely indicated that they thought it desirable to localise the dispute, and that the intervention of
other Powers ran the risk of aggravating it. The Acting Political Director took note of Baron von
Schoen's démarche. Having asked him to repeat the actual terms of the last two paragraphs of his note, he remarked to him that the terms showed the willingness of Germany to act as intermediary between the Powers and Austria. M. Berthelot added that, as no prlvate information had been given to any journalist, the information in the Echo de Paris involved this newspaper alone, and merely showed that the German démarche appeared to have been known elsewhere than at the Quai d'Orsay, and apart from any action on his part. The German Ambassador did not take up the allusion.
On the other hand, the Austrian Ambassador at London also came to reassure Sir Edward Grey, telling him that the Austrian note did not constitute an "ultimatum" but "a demand for a reply with a time limit"; which meant that if the Austrlan demands are not accepted by 6 o'clock this evening, the Austrian Minister will leave Belgrade and the Austro-Hungarian Government will begin military "preparations" but not military "operations."
The Cabinet of London, like those of Paris and St. Petersburgh, has advised Belgrade to express regret for any complicity which might be established in the crime of Serajevo, and to promise the most complete satisfaction in this respect. The Cabinet added that in any case it was Servia's business to reply in terms which the interests of the country appeared to call for. The British Minister at Belgrade is to consult his French and Russian colleagues, and, if these have had corresponding instructions in the matter, advise the Servian Government to give satisfaction on all the points on which they shall decide that they are able to do so.
Sir Edward Grey told Prince Lichnowsky (who, up to the present, has made no communication to him similar to that of Herr von Schoen at Paris) that if the Austrian note caused no difficulty between Austria and Russia, the British Government would not have to concern themselves with it, but that it was to be feared that the stiffness of the note and the shortness of the time limit would bring about a state of tension. Under these conditions the only chance that could be seen of avoiding a conflict would consist in the mediation of France, Germany, Italy and England, Germany alone being able to influence the Government at Vienna in this direction.
The German Ambassador replied that he would transmit this suggestion to Berlin, but he gave the Russian Anabassador, who is a relative of his, to understand that Germany would not lend herself to any démarche at Vienna.
M. de Fleuriau, French Chargé d'Aftaires at London, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 25, 1914.
The German Ambassador came to the Foreign Office to state that his Government would refuse
to interfere in the dispute between Austria and Servia. Sir Edward Grey replied that without
co-operation of Germany at Vienna, England would not be able to take action at St.Petersburgh. If, however, both Austria and Russia mobilized, that would certainly be the occasion for the four other Powers to intervene. Would the German Government then maintain its passive attitude, and would it
refuse to join with England, France and Italy ?
Prince Lichnowsky does not think so, since the question would no longer be one of difficulties between Vienna and Belgrade, but of a conflict between Vienna and St. Petersburgh.
Sir Edward Grey added this observation, that if war eventually broke out, no Power in Europe would be able to take up a detached attitude (pourrait s'en désintéresser).
M. Paléologue, French Ambassador at St, Petersburgh, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
St. Petersburgh, July 25,1914.
THE Russian Government is about to endeavour to obtain from the Austro-Hungarian
Government an extension of the time limit fixed by the ultimatum, in order that the Powers may be
able to form an opinion on the judicial ,i>dossier,</i> the communication of which is offered to them.
M. Sazonof has asked the German Ambassador to point out to his Government the danger of the situation, but he refrained from making any allusion to the measures which Russia would no doubt be led to take, if either the national independence or the territorial integrity of Servia were thteatened. The evasive replies and the recriminations of Count de Pourtalès left an unfavourable impression on M. Sazonof.
The Ministers will hold a Council to-morrow with the Emperor presiding. M. Sazonof preserves complete moderation. "We must avoid," he said to me, "everything which might precipitate the crisis. I am of opinion that even if the Austro-Hungarian Government come to blows with Servia, we ought not to break off negotiations."
M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, to M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna.
Paris, July 25, 1914.
The Russian Government has instructed its representative at Vienna to ask the Austrian Government for an extension of the time limit fixed for Servia, so as to enable the Powers to form an opinion on the dossier which Austria has offered to communicate to them, and with a view to avoiding regrettable consequences for everyone. A refusal of this demand by Austria-Hungary would deprive of all meaning the démarche which she made to the Powers by communicating
her note to them, and would place her in a position of conflict with international ethics. The Russian Government has asked that you should make a corresponding and urgent démarche to Count Berchtold. I beg you to support the request of your colleague. Tlle Russian Government have sent the same request to London, Rome, Berlin and Bucharest.
M. de Fleuriau, French Chargé d'Affaires at London, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 25, 1914.
Sir Edward Grey has had communicated to him this morning the instructions which require the
Russian Arnbassador at Vienna to ask for an extension of the time limit given to Servia by
Austria's note of the day before yesterday. M. Sazonof asked that the Russian démarche should be supported by the British Embassy.
Sir Edward Grey telegraphed to Sir M. de Bunsen to take the same action as his Russian
colleague, and to refer to Austria's communication which was made to him late last night by
Count Mensdorff, according to the terms of which the failure of Servia to comply with the
conditions of the ultimatum would only result, as from to-day, in a diplomatic rupture and not in
immediate military operations.
Sir Edward Grey inferred from this action that time would be left for the Powers to intervene and
find means for averting the crisis.
M. Jules Cambon, French Ambassador at Berlin, to M. Bienvenu-Martin, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, July 25, 1914.
This morning the British Chargé d'Affaires, acting under instructions from his Government,
asked Herr von Jagow if Germany were willing to join with Great Britain, France and, Italy with
the object of intervening between Austria and Russia, to prevent a conflict and, in the first
instance, to ask Vienna to grant an extension of the time limit imposed on Servia by the
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs replied that directly after the receipt of Prince Lichnowsky's despatch informing him of the intentions of Sir Edward Grey, he had already telegraphed this very morning to the German* Ambassador at Vienna to the effect that he should ask Count Berchtold for this extension. Unfortunately Count Berchtold is at Ischl. In any case Herr von Jagow does not think that this request would be granted.
The British Chargé d'Affaires also enquired of Herr von Jagow, as I had done yesterday, if Germany had had no knowledge of the Austrian note before it was despatched, and he received so clear a reply in the negative that he was not able to carry the matter further; but he could not refrain from expressing his surprise at the blank cheque given by Germany to Austria.
Herr von Jagow having replied to him that the matter was a domestic one for Austria, he remarked that it had become essentially an international one.
* In French text by an obvious error "de la Grande-Bretagne" is printed.
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