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ingness to support Russia in preventing Austria-Hungary from intervening in the internal affairs of Serbia. The French ambassador declared France's willingness to fulfill her obligations to her ally and urged the English ambassador to promise that his Government would join in a declaration of solidarity. Sir George Buchanan, the English ambassador, declared (and his position was later approved by Sir Edward Grey) that his country could not take a stand that would involve her in war over Serbia, as her interests there were nil, and public sentiment would not sanction a war over Serbia. He received the impression that Russia and France were “determined to make a strong stand even if Britain should refuse to join them.” 20
M. Sazonof next day renewed the request that England declare her intention to support Russia. Such a declaration, he thought, would prevent war, as Germany, in his opinion, did not want to fight; but unfortunately she was counting on Britain's neutrality, and if the latter did not now take a firm stand beside France and Russia "rivers of blood would flow." M. Sazonof was of the opinion that Austria's action was directed against Russia, and her real aim was to “overthrow the present status quo in the Balkans” and establish “her own hege
20 B. W. P., 6, 24.
mony there.” “Russia could not,” he said, "allow Austria to crush Serbia and become the predominant power in the Balkans, and if she feels [felt] secure of the support of France she will [would] face all the risks of war.” Despite all this, however, Sir George Buchanan declined to promise for his country a declaration of “solidarity” with France and Russia, but, on the contrary, urged prudence upon the Russian foreign minister. He expressed to him “the earnest hope that Russia would not precipitate war by mobilizing” until Sir Edward Grey had had time to use his "influence in favor of peace,” for he thought that if “Russia mobilized, Germany .. would probably declare war at once. M. Sazonof assured him “that Russia had no aggressive intentions, and she would take no action until it was forced
upon her.” 21
This statement regarding her peaceful intentions was a true expression of Russia's attitude, according to the opinion of the French ambassador at St. Petersburg. The Russian Government, he said on July 24, was anxious to preserve peace but would be forced by public sentiment to intervene if Austria should offer violence to Serbia.22
Germany, as has been seen, supported Austria-Hungary in the position that she had taken. 21 B. W. P., 17.
22 F. Y. B., 31, 38.
Besides, Germany contended that the quarrel between Serbia and Austria-Hungary concerned these two countries alone and that the other nations should not take a hand in it. She was anxious that the dispute be localized, fearing grave consequences in case another power should intervene.23 England was willing to regard the Austro-Serbian quarrel as of no concern of hers if “it did not lead to trouble between Austria and Russia.”:24 France, too, according to Austrian sources, was willing that the dispute be localized.25 M. Sazonof, on the other hand, declared that the trouble was not solely a question between Austria and Serbia, but was a matter of concern for all Europe, “inasmuch as the compromise arrived at in consequence of the Serbian declaration in 1909 had been brought about under the auspices of the whole of Europe.” As early as July 24 he made it perfectly clear to both the British and Teutonic ambassadors that his Government could not remain indifferent to "any action taken by Austria to humiliate Serbia." 26
The shortness of the time limit mentioned in the ultimatum, in the opinion of the Entente powers, made it more difficult to adjust the differences between Austria and Serbia. Such
23 F. Y. B., 28.
an opinion was expressed by the French ambassador at St. Petersburg on July 24,27 and the time limit was opposed by Sir Edward Grey from the beginning. He thought it a “matter for great regret that a time limit, and such a short one, had been insisted upon” and that “a time limit was generally a thing to be used only in the last resort, after other means had been tried and failed." 28
M. Sazonof, acting on the suggestion of the British ambassador at St. Petersburg,29 took the initiative in asking that the time limit be prolonged. On July 24 he telegraphed a request to the Austro-Hungarian Government for an extension of the time limit, giving as a reason the opportunity which would thus be afforded for the powers to examine the data on which Austria-Hungary had based her demands on Serbia. If the powers “found that some of the Austrian requests were wellfounded, they would be in a position to advise the Serbian Government accordingly.” The Russian Government also asked the courts of
27 F. Y. B., 31.
29 As soon as the Austrian ultimatum reached him, M. Sazonof asked for a conference with the French and British ambassadors. At this meeting (held July 24), the British ambassador declared that the "important point was to induce Austria to extend the time limit.” The “French ambassador, however, thought that either Austria had made up her mind to act at once or that she was bluffing,” and, therefore, the time was too short to carry out the Britsh ambassador's suggestion. B. W. P., 6.
London, Rome, Berlin, Paris, and Bukarest to support its request. England, France, and Italy instructed their ambassadors at Vienna to join in the effort to secure an extension of the time limit.30
Germany was also invited by Great Britain to coöperate with the other powers in the attempt to secure a prolongation of the time limit. Von Jagow, German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, at once telegraphed to the German ambassador at Vienna instructing him, according to the report of the British ambassador, to “pass on” to the Austro-Hungarian foreign office the request of London.31 The French ambassador, however, received the impression that the telegram was “to the effect that he [the German ambassador at Vienna] should ask Count Berchtold [Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs] for this extension.32 It is evident, however, that Von Jagow did not enthusiastically support the effort in favor of an extension of the time limit. He expressed (July 25) to the Russian chargé d'affaires at Berlin the opinion that all such “démarches were too late," and doubted the wisdom of Austria's “yielding at the last momènt,” being
30 B. W. P., 13, 40; R. O. B., 4; F. Y. B., 39.
The instructions to the Italian ambassador, however, came too late to be of any practical value.
31 B. W. P., 18. 32 F. Y. B., 41.