In this correspondence are the official demands of Austria-Hungary towards Serbia, Serbia’s official response, and the reasons why the Serbian government couldn’t accept some of those terms. This correspondence represents the beginning of a state of war between the two nations.
Baron Giesl von Gieslingen, Austro-Hungarian Representative in Belgrade, to Laza Pacu, The representative of President of the Ministry and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In Belgrade 10/23 of july, 1914.
It is my honour to give your excellency the enclosed note which I have received from my government, and it is adressed to the Government of the Kingdom of Serbia.
Handed over in person at 6pm.
Le Gouvernement Impérial et Royal s’est vu oblige d’adresser jeudi le 23 de ce mois, par
The Austro-Hungarian Government felt compelled to address the following note to the Servian Government on the 23rd July, through the medium of the Austro-Hungarian Minister at Belgrade:
“On the 31st March, 1909, the Servian Minister in Vienna, on the instructions of the Servian Government, made the following declaration to the Imperial and Royal Government:
" 'Servia recognises that the fait accompli regarding Bosnia has not affected her rights, and consequently she will conform to the decisions that the Powers may take in conformity with Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin. In deference to the advice of the Great Powers, Servia undertakes to renounce from now onwards the attitude of protest and opposition which she has adopted with regard to the annexation since last autumn. She undertakes, moreover, to modify the direction of her policy with regard to Austria-Hungary and to live in future on good neighbourly terms with the latter.'
“The history of recent years, and in particular the painful events of the 28th June last, have shown the existence of a subversive movement with the object of detaching a part of the territories of Austria-Hungary from the Monarchy. The movement, which had its birth under the eye of the Servian Government has gone so far as to make itself manifest on both sides of the Servian frontier in the shape of acts of terrorism and a series of outrages and murders.
“Far from carrying out the formal undertakings contained in the declaration of the 31st March, 1909, the Royal Servian Government has done nothing to repress these movements. It has permitted the criminal machinations of various societies and associations directed against the Monarchy, and has tolerated unrestrained language on the part of the press, the glorification of the perpetrators of outrages, and the participation of officers and functionaries in subversive agitation. It has permitted an unwholesome propaganda in public instruction, in short, it has permitted all manifestations of a nature to incite the Servian population to hatred of the Monarchy and contempt of its institutions.
“This culpable tolerance of the Royal Servian Government had not ceased at the moment when the events of the 28th June last proved its fatal consequences to the whole world.
“It results from the depositions and confessions of the criminal perpetrators of the outrage of the 28th June that the Serajevo assassinations were planned in Belgrade; that the arms andexplosives with which the murderers were provided had been given to them by Servian officers and functionaries belonging to the Narodna Odbrana; and finally, that the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was organised and effected by the chiefs of the Servian frontier service.
“The above-mentioned results of the magisterial investigation do not permit the Austro-Hungarian Government to pursue any longer the attitude of expectant forbearance which they have maintained for years in face of the machinations hatched in Belgrade, and thence propagated in the territories of the Monarchy. The results, on the contrary, impose on them the duty of putting an end to the intrigues which form a perpetual menace to the tranquillity of the Monarchy.
“To achieve this end the Imperial and Royal Government see themselves compelled to demand from the Royal Servian Government a formal assurance that they condemn this dangerous propaganda against the Monarchy; in other words, the whole series of tendencies, the ultimate aim of which is to detach from the Monarchy territories belonging to it, and that they undertake to suppress by every means this criminal and terrorist propaganda.
“In order to give a formal character to this undertaking the Royal Servian Government shall publish on the front page of their 'Ofaeial Journal' of the 13/26 July the following declaration :
" 'The Royal Government of Servia condemn the propaganda directed against Austria-Hungary i.e., the general tendency of which the final aim is to detach from the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy territories belonging to it, and they sincerely deplore the fatal consequences of these criminal proceedings.
" 'The Royal Government regret that Servian officers and functionaries participated in the above-mentioned propaganda and thus compromised the good neighbourly relations to which the Royal Government were solemnly pledged by their declaration of the 31st March, 1909.