Слике страница

ment, in spite of much notorious circumstantial evidence pointing to Belgrade, not only has failed to do anything of that sort, but even has endeavored to efface the existing traces.” 18

In answer to this charge, the Serbian Government says that “Serbia, in the very first days that followed the horrible crime, declared that it condemned the crime and that it was ready to open an inquiry on its territory if the complicity of certain of its subjects was proved during the trial opened by the Austro-Hungarian authorities.” 19 The prime minister also said that the Government had promptly expressed its readiness to hand over to justice any of its subjects "who might be proved to have played a part in the Sarajevo outrage.

Serbia excuses her failure to take any steps against the accomplices of the murderers on the ground that the Austro-Hungarian Government had “never asked any help whatever of the Serbian Government concerning the matter. It has [had] not asked either an investigation or a trial in the case of any of the accomplices. Once only has [had] it asked for information concerning the present residence of some students expelled from the primary normal school of Pakrac, who had passed over to Serbia to go on with their studies. All the information

18 A. R. B., 2, 9; B. W. P., 3. 19 Russian Orange Book, 6; S. B. B., 5; B. W. P., 30.

which could be collected concerning this has been transmitted to the Austro-Hungarian Government.” 20

The trial of the assassins brought out evidence which, Austria asserts, proved that the plot to murder the Archduke had been formed in Belgrade; that the “arms and explosives with which the murderers were provided has [had] been given them by Serbian officers”; and that “the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was organized and carried out by the chiefs of the Serbian frontier service." 21 In support of these charges Austria gives extracts from the records of the trial of the assassins. These documents report the confessions of the murderers and these confessions as thus reported confirm the Austrian allegation.22

20 S. B. B., 5, 30. 21 A. R. B., 7.

22 A. R. B., 19, enclosure 8.



On July 23, 1914, Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to the Serbian minister for foreign affairs, demanding an answer in forty-eight hours. The Austrian minister was to add verbally that he was instructed to leave Belgrade at the expiration of the “time-limit ... in the event that within that period” he had not received an “unconditional and favorable response from the Royal Serbian Government." 1

The Entente powers were taken by surprise when they learned the contents of the note. According to the English ambassador at Vienna, the Austro-Hungarian Government had maintained the strictest silence during the time just preceding the delivery of the note at Belgrade, and the representatives of Italy, Russia, and France, as well as himself, were kept in ignorance by the Austro-Hungarian Government as to what demands would be made on Serbia. The Russian ambassador was so completely in the dark as to Austria's plans 1 A. R. B., 7; R. O. B., 1.

that he had left Vienna about the 20th of July for a two weeks' vacation. The French ambassador on July 22 received from the Austro-Hungarian foreign office the impression that “the note which was being drawn up would be found to contain nothing with which a selfrespecting state need hesitate to comply." 2

The note addressed to Serbia starts out by reminding Serbia of her promise of March 31, 1909, henceforth to regard the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a fait accompli and to renounce her attitude of protest and opposition and “to live in [the] future on good neighborly terms" with Austria-Hungary. This pledge, it is charged, has not been kept; on the contrary, “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 Serbian Government, has gone so far as to make itself manifest on both sides of the Serbian frontier in the shape of acts of terrorism and a series of outrages and murders. ...

“The Royal Serbian Government has done nothing to repress these movements. It has permitted the criminal machinations of various 2 B. W. P., 161.

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 Serbian population to hatred of the Monarchy and contempt of its institutions.” It is also contended that the confessions of the assassins on trial for the murder of the Archduke prove the complicity of Serbian officials in the crime of Sarajevo.3

The note continues as follows:

This culpable tolerance of the Royal Serbian 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 Sarajevo assassinations were planned in Belgrade, that the arms and explosives with which the murderers were provided had been given to them by Serbian officers and functionaries belonging to the Narodna Odbrana, and finally that the passage into Bosnia of the criminals and their arms was organized and carried out by the Chiefs of the Serbian frontier service.

The above mentioned results of the preliminary in. vestigation do not permit the Austro-Hungarian Government to pursue any longer the attitude of ex

3 See p. 51.

« ПретходнаНастави »