Слике страница
PDF
ePub

ered as being in the Austrian sphere of influence” prior to the Balkan War.10

Austria's promise to respect the integrity of Serbia did not satisfy Russia, even though it was afterwards ratified by Germany.11 Besides, this promise was later (July 27) conditioned on the localization of the war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. There was a danger, as England pointed out, that public sentiment in Austria might make it impossible for the Austro-Hungarian Government to redeem its pledge.12 Russia, however, insisted on the maintenance of the independence as well as the integrity of Serbia and she contended that the enforcement of Austria's demands would reduce the little state to a condition of vassalage under the Dual Monarchy. This would disturb the equilibrium in the Balkans and would thus touch Russia's interests. Therefore, the Russian Government could not, in the opinion of M. Sazonof, afford to allow Serbian independence to be jeopardized.13

Austria-Hungary declared (July 30) that she had repeatedly promised to respect the sovereignty of Serbia and accused the Russian Governmnet of having suppressed information regarding these assurances. This charge was

10 B. W. P., 91.
11 Ibid., 97.
12 A. R. B., 32; B. W. P., vi-vii.
18 A. R. B., 47; B. W. P., 55, 90, 97, 111.

emphatically denied by the Russian ambassador at Paris.14 In support of Austria's contention regarding her promises as to the independence of Serbia, we have the following evidence: Count Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs, instructed the Austro-Hungarian ambassador at St. Petersburg (July 25) to inform M. Sazonof, the Russian foreign minister, that clause 5 of the Austrian note was not intended as an infringement on Serbia's sovereignty.” 15 The Austro-Hungarian ambassador stated (July 29) to M. Sazonof that his Government had no intention to violate the sovereignty of Serbia. The British ambassador at Vienna stated (July 29) that Austria had declared in St. Petersburg that she had no desire to destroy the independence of Serbia.16

These promises, however, rested for their fulfillment only on the good faith of Austria-Hungary, as the guarantee of her ally, Germany, did not cover the independence of Serbia. Russia's fears were not allayed by these declarations; for her foreign minister considered that the Dual Monarchy was already trying to compromise the sovereignty of Serbia by insisting on the enforcement of its demands.17 On July 28 he told the English ambassador at St.

14 A. R. B., 50; R. O. B., 75.
15 A. R. B., 27.
16 A. R. B., 47; B. W. P., 79.
17 A. R. B., 47.

18

Petersburg that Russia would not be satisfied with any assurances that Austria-Hungary might give as to the integrity and independence of Serbia if Serbia should be invaded.1

The Italian ambassador at Vienna thought (July 29) that if Austria-Hungary would convert into a binding engagement the declaration that she had made, promising not to destroy the independence or integrity of Serbia, “Russia might be induced to remain quiet.” 19 Two days later, Sir Edward Grey suggested that, as Russian distrust of Austria's assurances as to the integrity and independence of Serbia and Austrian distrust of Serbian promises had been a bar to an agreement, the powers should offer to guarantee to Austria that she should receive full satisfaction from Serbia and to guarantee to Russia that Austria would not interfere with the integrity and independence of Serbia. Sir Edward Grey's proposal carried with it the provision that Germany would sound Austria-Hungary as to her agreement with such a plan and he would sound Russia. The plan was presented to the German secretary of state on July 31, after the German demand for demobilization had been sent to Russia. He expressed sympathy with the idea but declared that his Government could not

18 B. W. P., 72; A. R. B., 55. 19 B. W. P., 79.

consider any proposal until after it had heard from Russia.20

In the meantime other efforts at mediation had been made. On July 29 the French ambassador at Berlin suggested that after Austria had entered Serbia and chastised her and thus satisfied her own military prestige, the moment might then be favorable for mediation of the four powers. The German under-secretary of state seemed to think the idea worthy of consideration and thought it a very different proposition from the plan of a conference offered by Sir Edward Grey.21

M. Sazonof, the Russian foreign minister, on that same day asked Sir Edward Grey to renew his proposal of the conference and to endeavor to induce Germany's cooperation. This request came at a time when Russia was 'mobilizing partially in her southern provinces," 22 and Austro-Hungarian troops were bombarding Belgrade. As Germany had on July 28 (received July 29) given England assurances that she was trying to mediate at Vienna and St. Petersburg,23 Sir Edward Grey on the 29th took up with the German ambassador, in accordance with the wish of the Russian Government, the question of renewing the plan of joint media20 B. W. P., 111, 121. 21 B. W. P., 76. 22 B. W. P., 70, 78; also vi-vii. 28 B. W. P., 71.

tion. He asked the German Government to suggest a plan of mediation that would be acceptable to it, inasmuch as it had objected to the conference previously proposed by him on the ground that it was too formal. “Mediation was ready,” he said, “to come into operation by any method that Germany thought possible if only Germany would 'press the button' in the interests of peace.”

Sazonof's offer of mediation was conditioned on a suspension of hostilities against Serbia by Austria; otherwise, he said, “mediation would only allow matters to drag on and give Austria time to crush Serbia.” Sir Edward Grey thought that it was now “too late for all military operations against Serbia to be suspended”; but he wanted Austria to promise that after she had taken Belgrade her armies would not advance farther pending the mediation of the powers. It was understood, however, that Austria-Hungary was to hold the territory occupied until she “had complete satisfaction from Serbia,'' 24

The German Government promised (July 30) to endeavor to influence Austria-Hungary to accept mediation on the terms laid down by the British foreign office, and the chancellor said that on the evening of that day he begged Austria to reply to Sir Edward Grey's proposal. 24 B. W. P., 70, 78, 84, 88.

« ПретходнаНастави »