Telegrams Related to the Assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand
On June 28, 1914, M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, reported to M. René Viviani, President of the Council and Minister for Foreign Affairs at Paris, the assassination that day of the hereditary Archduke of Austria and his wife at Sarajevo, Bosnia.
On June 29, 1914, Yov. M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, telegraphed to M. N. Pashitch, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs at Belgrade, that the Vienna press asserted that magisterial inquiry had already shown that the Sarajevo outrage was prepared at Belgrade; that the whole conspiracy in its wider issues was organized there among youths inspired with the great Serbian idea; and that the Belgrade press was exciting public opinion by articles about the intolerable conditions in Bosnia, papers containing which were being smuggled in large quantities into Bosnia.
On the same day, June 29, 1914, Ritter von Storck, Secretary of the German Legation at Belgrade, the Austro-Hungarian Minister, Baron Giesl von Gieslingen being absent from his post on leave, reported to Count Berchtold, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in Vienna, the following facts:
"Yesterday the anniversary of the battle of the Amselfeld was celebrated with greater ceremony than usual, and there were celebrations in honor of the Serbian patriot, Milos Obilic, who in 1389 with two companions treacherously stabbed the victorious Murad.
"Among all Serbians, Obilic is regarded as the national hero. In place of the Turks, however, we are now looked on as the hereditary enemy, thanks to the propaganda which has been nourished under the aegis of the royal Government and the agitation which for many years has been carried on in the press.
"A repetition of the drama on the field of Kossovo seems, therefore, to have hovered before the minds of the three young criminals of Sarajevo, Princip, Cabrinovic, and the third person still unknown, who also threw a bomb. They also shot down an innocent woman and may, therefore, think that they have surpassed their model.
"For many years hatred against the [Dual] Monarchy has been sown in Serbia. The crop has sprung up and the harvest is murder.
"The news arrived at about five o'clock; the Serbian Government at about ten o'clock caused the Obilic festivities to be officially stopped. They continued, however, unofficially for a considerable time after it was dark. The accounts of eye-witnesses say that people fell into one another's arms in delight, and remarks were heard such as: 'It serves them right; we have been expecting this for a long time,' or 'This is revenge for the annexation [of Bosnia].'"
On the following day (June 30, 1914), M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, warned M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, by telegraph, that the tendency in Vienna was becoming more and more apparent to represent, in the eyes of Europe, the assassination as the act of a conspiracy engineered in Serbia.
The idea was to use this as a political weapon against Serbia. Great attention should therefore be paid to the tone of the Serbian press.
On the same day (June 30, 1914), Dr. M. Yovanovitch, Chargé d'Affaires in Berlin, in two telegrams informed M. Pashitch that the Berlin press was misleading German public opinion on the outrage; that German hostility toward Serbia was growing, being fostered by false reports from Vienna and Budapest, which were diligently spread in spite of contradictions by some newspapers and news agencies.
On the same day (June 30, 1914), M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, reported to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, a conversation he had held, in the absence of Count Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with Baron Macchia, Under-Secretary of the Foreign Department. In this the Serbian Minister adopted the following line of argument:
"The Royal Serbian Government condemn most energetically the Sarajevo outrage and on their part will certainly most loyally do everything to prove that they will not tolerate within their territory the fostering of any agitation or illegal proceedings calculated to disturb our already delicate relations with Austria-Hungary. I am of opinion that the Government are prepared also to submit to trial any persons implicated in the plot in the event of its being proved that there are any in Serbia. The Royal Serbian Government, notwithstanding all the obstacles hitherto placed in their way by Austro-Hungarian diplomacy (creation of an independent Albania, opposition to Serbian access to the Adriatic, demand for revision of the Treaty of Bucharest, the September ultimatum, etc.) remained loyal in their desire to establish a sound basis for our good neighborly relations. You know that in this direction something has been done and achieved. Serbia intends to continue to work for this object, convinced that it is practicable and ought to be continued. The Sarajevo outrage ought not to and cannot stultify this work."
M. Yovanovitch said that he had communicated the substance of this conversation to the French and Russian Ambassadors.
On the same day (June 30, 1914), the Serbian Prime Minister received from M. Georgevitch, Serbian Chargé d'Affaires at Constantinople, the information that the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador there had told him that, in recent conversations, Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Prime Minister and Secretary for Foreign Affairs, had expressed himself as satisfied with the attitude of the Serbian Government, and desired friendly relations with it.
On the same day (June 30, 1914), Herr von Storck, Secretary of the German Legation at Belgrade, telegraphed to Count Berchtold that he had asked Herr Gruic, General Secretary of the Serbian Foreign Office, what measures the Royal Serbian police had taken, or proposed to take, to follow up clues to the crime which notoriously were partly to be found in Serbia, and that the reply was that the matter had not yet engaged the attention of the police.
On July 1, 1914, M. Pashitch, Serbian Prime Minister was informed by telegraph from the Serbian Minister in London, M. S. Boschkovitch, that, basing their conclusion on Austrian reports, the English press attributed the Sarajevo outrages to Serbian revolutionaries. He was informed by telegraph on the same day, by M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, of popular hostile demonstrations in front of the Serbian Legation, which were quelled by the police. A Serbian flag was said to have been burned.
"Hatred against Serbians and Serbia is being spread among the people, especially by the lower Catholic circles, the Vienna press, and military circles. Please do what is possible to prevent demonstrations taking place in Serbia, and to induce the Belgrade press to be as moderate as possible in tone.... It is expected that decision as to the attitude to be adopted toward Serbia and the Serbians will be taken after the funeral [of the archduke]."
Thereupon, on the same day (July 1, 1914), M. Pashitch warned all the Serbian legations at foreign courts of the evident purpose of the Austrian and Hungarian press to take political advantage of the act of a "young and ill-balanced fanatic." All ranks of Serbian society, official and unofficial, he said, condemned the act, recognizing that it would be most prejudicial not only to good relations with Austria-Hungary, but to their coreligionists in that country.
"At a moment when Serbia is doing everything in her power to improve her relations with the neighboring monarchy it is absurd to think that Serbia could have directly or indirectly inspired acts of this kind. On the contrary, it was of the greatest interest to Serbia to prevent the perpetration of this outrage. Unfortunately this did not lie within Serbia's power, as both assassins are Austrian subjects. Hitherto Serbia has been careful to suppress anarchic elements, and after recent events she will redouble her vigilance, and in the event of such elements existing within her borders will take the severest measures against them. Moreover, Serbia will do everything in her power and use all the means at her disposal in order to restrain the feelings of ill-balanced people within her frontiers. But Serbia can on no account permit the Vienna and Hungarian press to mislead European public opinion and lay the heavy responsibility for a crime committed by an Austrian subject at the door of the whole Serbian nation and on Serbia, who can suffer only harm from such acts....
"Please ... use all available channels in order to put an end as soon as possible to the anti-Serbian campaign in the European press."
On the same day (July 1, 1914), Herr Jehlitschka, Austrian Consul General to Turkey, wrote from Uskub, in European Turkey, to Count Berchtold, Minister of Foreign Affairs at Vienna, of the actions at Prestina on the 525th anniversary of the battle of the Amselfeld (1389), for the first time officially celebrated as the "Festival of the Liberation" of the Serbian nation, and carefully prepared to make it an especially solemn and magnificent demonstration of Serbian nationality.
"The propaganda connected with this at the same time extended to Croatia, Dalmatia, and Bosnia, but especially to Hungary; those who took part in it received free passes on the Serbian state railways; food and lodging at low prices, maintenance by public bodies, etc., were promised....
"The various speeches ... dealt ... with the well-known theme of the union of all Serbia and the 'liberation of our brethren in bondage' beyond the Danube and the Save, even as far as Bosnia and Dalmatia.
"When, during the course of the evening, the news of the horrible crime of which Sarajevo had been the scene was circulated, the feeling which animated the fanatical crowd was, to judge by the numerous expressions of applause reported to me by authorities in whom I have absolute confidence, one that I can only characterize as inhuman.
"In view of this attitude of the population, which was also displayed at Uskub, all attempts of the Serbian press to divest Serbia of the moral responsibility for a deed which was received by a representative gathering with such unvarnished satisfaction collapse miserably."
On July 2, 1914, M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, reported to M. Viviani, Prime Minister in Paris, the resentment against Serbia in Austrian military circles and by those persons opposed to Serbia's maintenance of the position she had acquired in the Balkans. If the Serbian Government refused as intolerable to its dignity the demand of Austria-Hungary that the Serbian Government investigate into the origin of the archduke's assassination, he feared that this would furnish Austria-Hungary a ground for resort to military measures.
On the same day (July 2, 1914), Dr. M. R. Vesnitch, Serbian Minister at Paris, telegraphed to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that the French Government advised Serbia to remain calm, in official circles as well as in public opinion.
On July 3, 1914, M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, sent two reports to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, the first containing an account of a mob which gathered before the Serbian Legation on July 2, on account of his having hoisted the national flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning; the bodies of the victims of the Sarajevo tragedy having been brought that day to the Austrian capital. The police dispersed the mob. The papers of July 3, under the heading of "Provocation by the Serbian Minister," falsely described the incident. The minister mentioned by name leading instigators of attacks in the Austrian and German press on Serbia as haranguing the crowd. In the second letter he reported a conversation he had had with Baron Macchio, Austro-Hungarian Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in which the Baron severely censured the Belgrade press for its antimonarchical propaganda, and, implicitly, the Serbian Government for not controlling the press. The Serbian Minister had replied that the press was free, and that there was no means of curbing it except by going to law; and, in rejoinder, he censured the Austro-Hungarian Government, which could control the press of its empire, for permitting it shamefully to attack Serbia by accusing the whole nation of being an accomplice in the Sarajevo crime. Baron Macchio had replied: "We accuse only those who encourage the Great Serbian scheme, and work for the realization of its object." Yovanovitch had rejoined that, till the assassination, Bosnia Serbs had been uniformly called "Bosniaks," yet the assassin was now described as "a Serb," and no mention was made that he was a Bosnian and an Austrian subject. This was evidently to cast odium upon Serbia.
On July 4, 1914, Dr. M. R. Vesnitch, Serbian Minister at Paris, reported to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, a recent conversation with M. Viviani, the new French Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the Sarajevo incident.
"I described to him briefly the causes which had led to the outrage and which were to be found, in the first place, in the irksome system of Government in force in the annexed provinces, and especially in the attitude of the officials, as well as in the whole policy of the monarchy toward anything orthodox. He understood the situation, but at the same time expressed the hope that we should preserve an attitude of calm and dignity in order to avoid giving cause for fresh accusations in Vienna.
"After the first moment of excitement public opinion here has quieted down to such an extent that the minister-president himself considered it advisable in the Palais de Bourbon to soften the expressions used in the statement which he had made earlier on the subject in the Senate."
On the same day (July 4, 1914), Dr. M. Spalaikovitch, Serbian Minister at Petrograd, telegraphed to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Sazonof, had expressed his opinion that the outrages upon the Serbs in Bosnia would increase the sympathy of Europe for Serbia; that the accusations made in Vienna would not obtain credence and that therefore Serbia should remain calm.
On the same day (July 4, 1914), Count Szécsen, Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at Paris, telegraphed to Count Berchtold, Minister for Foreign Affairs at Vienna, that, in officially thanking M. Poincaré for his sympathy over the Sarajevo tragedy, the President had excused the hostile demonstrations against Serbia by citing those against all Italians in France after the assassination of President Carnot.
"I drew his attention to the fact that that crime had no connection with any anti-French agitation in Italy, while in the present case it must be admitted that for years past there has been an agitation in Serbia against the [Dual] Monarchy fomented by every means, legitimate and illegitimate.
"In conclusion, M. Poincaré expressed his conviction that the Serbian Government would meet us with the greatest willingness in the judicial investigation and the prosecution of the accomplices. No state could divest itself of this duty."
On the same day (July 4, 1914), M. de Manneville, French Chargé d'Affaires at Berlin, reported to M. Viviani, President of the Council in Paris, a conversation with Herr von Zimmermann, German Under-Secretary of State, in which von Zimmermann had expressed the hope that Serbia would satisfy Austria's demands with regard to the investigation and prosecution of the accomplices in the crime of Sarajevo. Otherwise she would be condemned by the whole civilized 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."
Two days later (July 6, 1914), M. Paléologue, French Ambassador at St. Petersburg, reported to M. Viviani, Prime Minister at Paris, a recent interview which M. Sazonof, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, had had with Count Czernin, the Austro-Hungarian Chargé d'Affaires at the request of the latter. The Count intimated that the Austro-Hungarian Government would perhaps be compelled to search for the instigators of the crime of Sarajevo on Serbian soil. M. Sazonof interjected:
"No country 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 Serbia? Do not embark on such a course."
On the same day (July 6, 1914), M. Yov. M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, telegraphed to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that the excitement in military and government circles against Serbia was growing, owing to the tone of the press, which was diligently exploited by the Austro-Hungarian Legation at Belgrade. On the same date he informed the Prime Minister in detail of the press agitation against Serbia. By headlines the people were led to infer, on the date of the crime of Sarajevo, that the two perpetrators were Serbs from Serbia proper. In later reports there was a marked tendency to connect the crime with Serbia. Belgrade was indicated as the place of its origin by the visit to that capital of the assassins, and by the bombs originating there, which facts had been elucidated at the trial of the assassins in Sarajevo. The Hungarian press claimed that there was evidence to show:
"1. That the perpetrators while in Belgrade associated with the comitadji [revolutionist] Mihaylo Ciganovitch; and (2) that the organizer and instigator of the outrage was Major Pribitchevitch....
"Further ... the latest announcement which the Hungarian Korrespondenzbureau made to the newspapers stated:
"'The inquiries made up to the present prove conclusively that this outrage is the work of a conspiracy. Besides the two perpetrators, a large number of persons have been arrested, mostly young men, who are also, like the perpetrators, proved to have been employed by the Belgrade Narodna Odbrana in order to commit the outrage, and who were supplied in Belgrade with bombs and revolvers.' [This item was later recalled.]
"At the same time the Vienna Korrespondenzbureau published the following official statement:
"'We learn from authoritative quarters that the inquiries relating to the outrage are being kept absolutely secret. All the details, therefore, which have appeared in the public press should be accepted with reserve.'
"Nevertheless the Budapest newspapers continued to publish alleged reports on the inquiry. In the last 'report' of the Budapest newspaper 'A Nap,' which was reprinted in yesterday's Vienna papers, the tendency to lay the responsibility for the outrage on the Narodna Odbrana is still further emphasized. According to this report the accused Gabrinovitch had stated that General Yankovitch is the chief instigator of the outrage."
On the same day Herr Hoflehner, Austro-Hungarian Consular Agent at Nish, Serbia, wrote to Count Berchtold, Minister of Foreign Affairs at Vienna, of the satisfaction and even joy expressed, especially in the leading circles, over the crime at Sarajevo.
On the next day (July 7, 1914), M. Yov. M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, wrote to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that, though Emperor Francis Joseph had appealed to the Prime Ministers of Austria (Count Berchtold) and of Hungary (Count Tisza), and to the Minister of Finance (Herr Bilinski) for calmness, it was impossible to tell what attitude toward Serbia the Government would take.
"For them one thing is obvious; whether it is proved or not that the outrage has been inspired and prepared at Belgrade, they must sooner or later solve the question of the so-called Great Serbian agitation within the Hapsburg Monarchy. In what manner they will do this and what means they will employ to that end has not as yet been decided; this is being discussed especially in high Catholic and military circles. The ultimate decision will be taken only after it has been definitely ascertained what the inquiry at Sarajevo has brought to light....
"Austria-Hungary has to choose one of the following courses: either to regard the Sarajevo outrage as a national misfortune and a crime which ought to be dealt with in accordance with the evidence obtained, in which case Serbia's cooperation ... will be requested in order to prevent the perpetrators escaping the extreme penalty; or, to treat the Sarajevo outrage as a Pan-Serbian, South-Slav, and Pan-Slav conspiracy with every manifestation of the hatred, hitherto repressed, against Slavdom. There are many indications that influential circles are being urged to adopt the latter course: it is, therefore, advisable to be ready for defense. Should the former and wiser course be adopted, we should do all we can to meet Austrian wishes in this respect."
On July 9, 1914, M. Pashitch telegraphed to all the foreign Serbian Legations that the Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Alexander was receiving daily threatening letters from Austro-Hungarians, and that they should make use of this information with other foreign ministers and journalists.
On July 10, 1914, M. Allizé, French Minister In Munich, wrote to M. Pichon, Minister for Foreign Affairs in Paris, that the Bavarians were asking the object of the new German armaments.
"Recognizing 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."
Nevertheless, public opinion will support the Imperial Government in any enterprise in which they might energetically embark, even at the risk of 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."
On July 11, 1914, M. d'Apchier-le-Maugin, French Consul General at Budapest, reported to M. Vivian, Prime Minister at Paris, that Count Tisza, Hungarian Prime Minister, had refused to make to the Hungarian Chamber any disclosures on the Sarajevo incident until the judicial inquiry was closed. The chamber approved.
"He did not give any indication whether the project of a démarche [proceeding] at Belgrade, with which all the papers of both hemispheres are full, would be followed up."
The virulence of the Hungarian press has diminished, and the papers are unanimous in advising against this step, which might be dangerous.
"The semiofficial press especially would desire that for the word 'démarche,' with its appearance of a threat, there should be substituted the expression 'pourparlers' [conversations], which appears to them more friendly.
"The general public, however, fears war. It is said that every day cannon and ammunition were being sent in large quantities toward the frontier.... 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.... 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."
On July 14, 1914, Dr. M. Yovanovitch, Serbian Chargé d'Affaires at Berlin, telegraphed to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that Herr von Jagow, German Secretary of State, had told him that Austria-Hungary, as a great power, could not tolerate the provocative attitude of the Serbian press.
On the same day M. Yov. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, wrote M. Pashitch that the Literary Bureau of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office, which supplied the press with material and set its tone, was exciting opinion against Serbia. Official German circles in Vienna were especially ill disposed toward Serbia. The "Neue Freie Presse," under instructions from the Vienna Press Bureau, summarized the feeling:
"We have to settle matters with Serbia by war; it is evident that peaceable means are of no avail. And if it must come to war sooner or later, then it is better to see the matter through now.
"The Bourse is very depressed. There has not been such a fall in prices In Vienna for a long time."
On the same day, July 14, 1914, M. Pashitch sent two letters to all the foreign Serbian Legations.
In the first letter he gave specific illustrations of misinformation by the Austro-Hungarian press such as that Austro-Hungarian subjects were maltreated in Belgrade, and were now panic-stricken, and that there had been a demonstration against the Austrian Minister at the funeral of Dr. Hartwig, the Russian Minister. There was no foundation whatever for these statements.
In the second letter he notified the Legations that the Austro-Hungarian news bureaus, the channel of Serbian news to the world, misrepresented, through garbling extracts, the tone of the Belgrade press, and that all Serbian papers were forbidden entry into Austria-Hungary.
"With us the press is absolutely free. Newspapers can be confiscated only for lèse-majesté or for revolutionary propaganda; in all other cases confiscation is illegal. There is no censorship of newspapers."
Accordingly the Serbian foreign ministers were instructed to give out information that the Serbian Government lacked the power to control the newspapers, and further to spread knowledge of the fact that it was Austro-Hungarian papers which originated all the controversies, while the Serbian ones only replied. There was no desire in Serbia to provoke Austria-Hungary.
On July 15, 1914, M. Yov. Yovanovitch, Serbian Minister at Vienna, reported to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that the Ministers of the Dual Monarchy had been consulting about the Sarajevo incident, and that it appeared nothing was decided. Count Berchtold, the Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, had gone to Ischl, where Emperor Francis Joseph was recovering from the shock of the assassination, to report to him. Count Tisza, the Hungarian Prime Minister, had replied evasively to interpellations made in the Hungarian Parliament by the Opposition. Owing to the absence on leave from his post of the War Minister and his chief of staff, the Bourse had recovered.
"One thing is certain: Austria-Hungary will take diplomatic steps at Belgrade as soon as the magisterial inquiry at Sarajevo is completed and the matter submitted to the court."
In a second letter of the same date M. Yovanovitch reported to M. Pashitch that it was thought that the inquiry had not produced sufficient evidence to justify officially accusing Serbia more than for tolerating in her borders certain revolutionary elements. Austro-Hungarian methods were criticized in diplomatic circles and the Serbian attitude was commended as in accord with the dignity of a nation.
"In spite of the fact that it appears that the German Foreign Office does not approve of the anti-Serbian policy of Vienna, the German Embassy here is at this very moment encouraging such a policy."
In a third letter of the same date M. Yovanovitch informed the Prime Minister that it appeared that Austria-Hungary would not invite the Serbian Government to assist her in discovering and punishing the culprits of the Sarajevo crime, but would make it a case against Serbia and the Serbians, or even against the Jugo-Slavs (on her own border), looking in this for the approval of Europe, which would prepare the way for the sharp reactionary measures she contemplated to take internally to suppress the great Serbian propaganda and the Jugo-Slav idea. The Government must take some action for the sake of its prestige at home as well as abroad....
The accusation against Serbia will extend from April, 1909, to the present. Austria-Hungary will claim to the powers that the facts developed therein give her the right to take diplomatic steps at Belgrade, and demand that Serbia in future act as a loyal neighbor. Austria-Hungary will ask Serbia to accept unconditionally her demands.
On the same day, July 15, 1914, M. Dumaine, French Ambassador at Vienna, reported to M. Viviani, Prime Minister at Paris, that certain press organs in Vienna, specifically the "Militärische Rundschau," represented France and Russia as incapable of holding their own in European affairs, and that Austria-Hungary, with the support of Germany, could therefore subject Serbia to any treatment she pleased. The "Rundschau" argued that now was the most propitious time for the war in which Austria-Hungary would have to engage in two or three years at the latest.
"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 honor, are in question; and yet more, for it would seem that our very existence is concerned....
"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 Serbia 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-Serbism, and it is in the name of humanity that it demands the extermination of the cursed Serbian race."
On July 16, 1914, Dr. Yovanovitch, Serbian Chargé d'Affaires at Berlin, telegraphed to M. Pashitch, Prime Minister at Belgrade, that Secretary of State Von Jagow had informed him that reports of the German Minister at Belgrade pointed to the existence of a great Serbian propaganda, which should be energetically suppressed by the Serbian Government in the interest of good relations with Austria-Hungary.
On July 17 M. Boschkovitch, Serbian Minister at London, telegraphed to M. Pashitch that the Austrian Embassy there was endeavoring to favor the idea that Austria must give a good lesson to Serbia. Despite peaceable official statements by Austria-Hungary the way was preparing for diplomatic pressure upon Serbia which might develop into an armed attack.
On the same day, July 17, M. Ljub Michailovitch, Serbian Minister at Rome, telegraphed to M. Pashitch that the Marquis di San Giuliano, Prime Minister of Italy, had stated to the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador:
"Any step undertaken by Austria against Serbia which failed to take into account international considerations would meet with the disapproval of public opinion in Italy, and that the Italian Government desire to see the complete independence of Serbia maintained."
On July 19, 1914, M. Pashitch telegraphed a long notice to the foreign Serbian legations, telling of the accusation of the Austrian press from the time of the Sarajevo outrage that the crime was the direct result of the great Serbian idea, propagated by various associations such as the Narodna Odbrana, which were tolerated by the Serbian Government. The notice detailed the attitude of the Serbian Government toward the Serbian press, presented in the preceding correspondence. In regard to its attitude toward Austria-Hungary it said:
"The Serbian Government at once expressed their readiness to hand over to justice any of their subjects who might be proved to have played a part in the Sarajevo outrage. The Serbian Government further stated that they had prepared a more drastic law against the misuse of explosives. The draft of a new law in that sense had already been laid before the State Council, but could not be submitted to the Skupshtina [Serbian Parliament], as the latter was not sitting at the time. Finally, the Serbian Government stated that they were ready, as heretofore, to observe all those good neighborly obligations to which Serbia was bound by her position as a European state.
"From the date of the perpetration of the outrage until to-day not once did the Austro-Hungarian Government apply to the Serbian Government for their assistance in the matter. They did not demand that any of the accomplices should be subjected to an inquiry, or that they should be handed over to trial. In one instance only did the Austrian Government ask for information; this was as to the whereabouts of certain students who had been expelled from the Pakratz Teachers' Seminary and had crossed over to Serbia to continue their studies. All available information on this point was supplied."
The notice related the anti-Serbian propaganda conducted by the Austro-Hungarian press, the interpellations in the Hungarian Parliament, etc., and the probable intention of the Austro-Hungarian Government to demand a categorical reply from Serbia, which, if not satisfactory, would be followed by war.
That Austria-Hungary was picking a quarrel had been evidenced by her use of an exploded rumor of a contemplated attack on the Austrian Legation in Belgrade to prove how excited public opinion was in Serbia, and to what lengths she was ready to go.
"There is reason for apprehension that some step is being prepared against us [in the evident intention] that the inquiry which is being made is not to be limited to the perpetrators and their possible accomplices in the crime, but is most probably to be extended to Serbia and the Great Serbian idea....
"On the other hand the Serbian Government have given their particular attention to the improvement and strengthening of their relations with the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which had lately become strained as a result of the Balkan wars and of the questions which arose therefrom. With that object in view the Serbian Government proceeded to settle the question of the Oriental Railway, the new railway connections, and the transit through Serbia of Austro-Hungarian goods for Constantinople, Sofia, Saloniki, and Athens.
"The Serbian Government consider that their vital interests require that peace and tranquillity in the Balkans should be firmly and lastingly established. And for this very reason they fear lest the excited state of public opinion in Austria-Hungary may induce the Austro-Hungarian Government to make a démarche which may humiliate the dignity of Serbia as a state, and to put forward demands which could not be accepted.
"I have the honor, therefore, to request you to impress upon the Government to which you are accredited our desire to maintain friendly relations with Austria-Hungary, and to suppress every attempt directed against the peace and public safety of the neighboring monarchy. We will likewise meet the wishes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the event of our being requested to subject to trial in our independent courts any accomplices in the outrage who are in Serbia—should such, of course, exist.
"But we can never comply with demands which may be directed against the dignity of Serbia, and which would be inacceptable to any country which respects and maintains its independence.
"Actuated by the desire that good neighborly relations may be firmly established and maintained, we beg the friendly Governments to take note of these declarations and to act in a conciliatory sense should occasion or necessity arise."