WWI: 1st August

Germany declares war on Russia.

No. 13.

Count de Lalaing, Belgian Minister at London, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, August 1, 1914.
(Telegram.) .

Great Britain has asked France and Germany separately if they intend to respect Belgian territory in the event of its not being violated by their adversary. Germany’s reply is awaited. France has replied in the affirmative.
No. 14.

Baron Beyerns, Belgian Minister at Berlin, to M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, August 1, 1914.

The British Ambassador has been instructed to inquire of the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether, in the event of war, Germany would respect Belgian neutrality, and I understand that the Minister replied that he was unable to answer the question.
No. 15.

M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, to the Belgian Ministers at Berlin, Paris, and London.
Brussels, August 1, 1914.

I have the honour to inform you that the French Minister has made the following verbal communication to me:-

“Je suis autorisé à déclarer qu’en cas de conflit international, le Gouvernement de la République, ainsi qu’il l’a toujours déclaré, respectera la neutralité de la Belgique. Dans l’hypothèse on celte neutralité ne serait pas respectée par une autre Puissance, le Gouvernement français, pour assurer sa propre défense, pourrait être amené à modifier son attitude.” (Translation.)

“I am authorised to declare that, in the event of an international war, the French Government, in accordance with the declarations they have always made will respect the neutrality of Belgium. In the event of this neutrality not being respected by another Power, the French Government, to secure their own defence, might find it necessary to modify their attitude.”

I thanked his Excellency and added that we on our side had taken without delay all the measures necessary, to ensure that our independence and our frontiers should be respected.
No. 16.

M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs to Belgian Ministers at Paris, Berlin, London, Vienna, and St. Petersburg. Brussels, August 1, 1914. (Telegram.)

Carry out instructions contained in my despatch of the 24th July.

(See No. 2.)
No. 17.

M. Davignon, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs to Belgian Ministers at Rome, The Hague, Luxemburg.
Brussels, August 1, 1914. (Telegram.)

Carry out instructions contained in my despatch of the 20th July.
(See No. 3.)

No. 70.
Secret Telegram to Russian Representatives abroad.
July 19 (August 1), 1914.

AT midnight the German Ambassador announced to me, on the instruction of his Government, that if within 12 hours, that is by midnight on Saturday, we had not begun to demobilise, not only against Germany, but also against Austria, the German Government would be compelled to give the order for mobilisation. To my enquiry whether this meant war, the Ambassador replied in the negative, but added that we were very near it.

No. 71.
Russian Ambassador at London Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London, July 19 (August 1), 1914.

GREY tells me that he has telegraphed to Berlin that in his opinion the last formula accepted by the Russian Government offers the best prospect as a basis of negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the dispute. At the same time he expressed the hope that no Great Power would open hostilities before this formula had been considered.

No. 72.
Russian Ambassador at London Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
London. July 19 (August 1), 1914.

THE British Government have enquired of the French and German Governments whether they will respect the neutrality of Belgium.

France answered in the affirmative, but the German Government stated that they could not give any definite answer to the question.

No. 73.
Russian Ambassador at Paris Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Paris, July 19 (August 1), 1914.

THE Austrian Ambassador yesterday visited Viviani and declared to him that Austria, far from harbouring any designs against the integrity of Servia, was in fact ready to discuss the grounds of her grievances against Servia with the other Powers. The French Government are much exercised at Germany’s extraordinary military activity on the French frontier, for they are convinced that, under the guise of Kreigszustand, mobilisation is in reality being carried out.

No. 74.
Russian Ambassador at Paris to Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Paris, July 19 (August 1), 1914.

ON the receipt in Paris of the telegram from the French Ambassador at St. Petersburg, reporting the communication made to you by the German Ambassador respecting Germany’s decision to order general mobilisation to-day, the President of the French Republic signed the order for mobilisation. Lists of the reservists recalled to the colours are being posted up in the streets. The German Ambassador has just visited Viviani, but told him nothing fresh, alleging the impossibility of decyphering the telegrams he has received. Viviani informed him of the signature of the order for mobilisation issued in reply to that of Germany, and expressed to him his amazement that Germany should have taken such a step at a moment when a friendly exchange of views was still in progress between Russia, Austria, and the Powers. He added that mobilisation did not necessarily entail war, and that the German Ambassador might stay in Paris as the Russian Ambassador had remained in Vienna and the Austrian Ambassador in St. Petersburg.

No. 75.
Russian Ambassador at Paris to Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Paris, July 19 (August 1), 1914.

I HEAR from the President that during the last few days the Austrian Ambassador emphatically assured both the President of the Council of Ministers and him that Austria had declared to Russia that she was ready to respect both the territorial integrity of Servia and also her sovereign rights, but that Russia had intentionally received this declaration in silence. I contradicted this flatly.

No. 76.
Note presented by the German Ambassador at St. Petersburg on July 19 (August 1), at 7.10 P.M.

LE Gouvernement Impérial s’est efforcé dès les débuts de la crise de la mener à une solution pacifique. Se rendant &agrave un désir qui lui en avait été exprimé par Sa Majesté l’Empereur de Russie, Sa Majest‚ I’Empereur d’Allemagne d’accord avec l’Angleterre s’etait appliqué à accomplir un rôle médiateur auprès des Cabinets de Vienne et de Saint-Pétersbourg, lorsque la Russie, sans en attendre le résultat, procéda &agrave la mobilisation de la totalité de ses forces de terre et de mer. A la suite de cette mesure menaçante ne motivée par aucun presage militaire de la part de l’Allemagne, l’Empire allemand s’est trouvé vis-à-vis d’un danger grave et imminent. Si le Gouvernement Impérial eût manquè de parer à ce péril, il aurait compromis la sécurit‚ et l’existence même de l’Allemagne. Par conséquent le Gouvernement allemand se vit forcé de s’adresser au Gouvernement de Sa Majesté l’Empereur de Toutes les Russies en insistant sur la cessation desdits actes militaires.

La Russie avant refusé de faire droit à (n’ayant pas cru devoir répondre à*) cette demande et ayant manifesté par ce refils (cette attitude*) que son action était dirigée contre l’AIlemagne, j’ai l’honneur, d’ordre de mon Gouvernement, de faire savoir à votre Excellence ce qui suit:

Sa Majesté l’Empereur, mon auguste Souverain. au nom de l’Empire, relevant le défié se considère en état de guerre avec la Russie.

* Les mots placés entre parenthèses se trouvent dans l’ original. Il faut supposer que deus variantes avaient été préparees d’avanee et que par erreur elles ont été insérées toutes les deux dans la note.

THE Imperial German Government have used every effort since the beginning of the crisis to bring about a peaceful settlement. In compliance with a wish expressed to him by His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, the German Emperor had undertaken, in concert with Great Britain, the part of mediator between the Cabinets of Vienna and St. Petersburg; but Russia, without waiting for any result, proceeded to a general mobilisation of her forces both on land and sea. Ill consequence of this threatening step, which was not justified by any military proceedings on the part of Germany, the German Empire was faced by a grave and imminent danger. If the German Government had failed to guard against this peril, they would have compromised the safety and the very existence of Germany. The German Government were, therefore, obliged to make representations to the Government of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias and to insist upon a cessation of the aforesaid military acts. Russia having refused to comply with (not having considered it necessary to answer*) this demand. and having shown by this refusal (this attitude*) that her action was directed against Germany, have the honour, on the instructions of my Government, to inform y our Excellency as follows:

His Majesty the Emperor, my august Sovereign, in the name of the German Empire, accepts the challenge, and considers himself at war with Russia.

* The words in brackets occur in the original. It must be supposed that two variations had been prepared in advance, and that, by mistake, they were both inserted in the note.

No. 56.
Count Szápáry to Count Berchtold.
(Telegraphic.) St. Petersburgh, August 1, 1914.

I visited M. Sazonof to-day, and told him that I had received instructions, but that I must premise that I was entirely ignorant of the present condition of affairs created in Vienna, by the general Russian mobilisation, and that in interpreting the instructions which I had received previously, I must leave this condition out of account. I said that the two instructions of Your Excellency dealt with the misunderstanding that we had declined further negotiations with Russia. This was a mistake, as I had already, without instructions, assured him. Your Excellency was not only quite prepared to deal with Russia on the broadest basis possible, but was also especially inclined to subject the text of our note to a discussion so far as its interpretation was concerned.

I emphasized how much the instructions of Your Excellency afforded me a further proof of goodwill, although I had to remind him that the situation created since then bv the general mobilisation was unknown to me; but I could only hope that the course of events had not already taken us too far; in any case, I regarded it as my duty in the present moment of extreme anxiety to prove once again the goodwill of the Imperial and Royal Government. M. Sazonof replied that he took note with satisfaction of this proof of goodwill but he desired to draw my attention to the fact that negotiations at St. Petersburgh for obvious reasons appeared to promise less prospect of success than negotiations on the neutral terratn of London. I replied that Your Excellency, as I had already observed, started from the point of view that direct contact should be maintained at St. Petersburgh, so that I was not in a position to commit myself with regard to his suggestion as to London, but I would communicate on the subject with your Excellency.

Leave a comment

Filed under World War I

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.