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“inclined to think that such a step on her part might increase the assurance of Serbia." 33
Count Berchtold was away from Vienna and SO Russia's request did not reach him promptly. On the 25th he replied and declined the request.
SERBIA'S REPLY TO AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
THERE was a danger that Austria, not receiving a satisfactory reply from Serbia, might attack the latter, and Europe would thus be confronted with a war before diplomacy had had time to arrange the terms of a settlement. Sir Edward Grey's fears on this score were allayed when the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister explained to him, through the Austro-Hungarian ambassador at London, that the note to Serbia "was not an ultimatum but a démarche with a time limit, and that if the Austrian demands were not complied with within the time limit the Austro-Hungarian Government would break off diplomatic relations and begin military preparations, not operations.” 1
The German ambassador at London thought that a negative reply from Serbia might mean immediate action by Austria. In order to give the latter power an excuse for postponing action he suggested (July 24) that “a reply favorable on some points” be sent at once by Ser
1 A. R. B., 17; B. W. P., 14. 2 B. W. P., 11.
This policy was acceptable to the Entente powers, for they were willing to advise Serbia to send a conciliatory reply to Austria. Before the Serbian note was sent, the French foreign minister had expressed the hope that Serbia's answer would be favorable enough to prevent a break with Austria, and, according to the Austrian ambassador at Paris, had advised Serbia to go as far towards meeting Austria-Hungary's demands as she could without compromising her sovereignty. The British White Paper says that the Entente powers advised “Serbia to go as far as possible to meet Austria”; and we know that Sir A. Nicholson, British Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on July 23 expressed to the Serbian minister at London the hope that “the Serbian Government would endeavor to meet the Austrian demands in a conciliatory and moderate spirit.” 4 Sir Edward Grey thought (July 24) that Serbia should give satisfaction to Austria if any of her officials had been implicated in the plot. As “for the rest,” he said, “[the] Serbian Government must reply to Austrian demands as they consider best in Serbian interests."5
The French foreign minister said on 3 B. W. P., 16; A. R. B., 13. 4 B. W. P., VI, and No. 30.
5 Apparently, this statement was in substance made to the Serbian minister at London July 24. The British minister at Belgrade was instructed on this same day to express this opinion of the British foreign minister to the Serbian Govern
July 27 that “the powers, particularly Russia, France and England, have by their urgent advice induced Belgrade to yield.” 6
Serbia made her reply to the Austrian note, on July 25, just before the forty-eight hour time limit expired. It was as follows:
The Royal Serbian Government has received the communication of the Imperial and Royal Government of the 10th [23rd] of this month, and it is persuaded that its reply will remove any misunderstanding that threatens to spoil the good relations between the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the Kingdom of Serbia.
The Royal Government is conscious that the protests which have been made both in the tribune of the national Skupshtina and in the declarations and acts of the responsible representatives of the State, protests which were cut short by the declaration of the Serbian Government under date of 18–31 March, 1909, have not been renewed in regard to the great neighboring Monarchy on any occasion, and that since this time both on the part of the Royal Governments ment, but only after he had advised with his Russian and French colleagues. It was too late, now, the Russian foreign minister thought, to make such a representation to the Serbian Government. Besides, he said, Serbia was ready to punish any of her subjects that should be proved guilty of a share in the crime. The British minister at Belgrade consulted his colleagues, but found that they had not received instructions to act with him. Consequently, he had not, up to July 25 (the very day of the Serbian reply), given any advice to the Serbian Government. He thought, however, that the Russian Government had “already urged the utmost noderation on the Serbian Government.” It seems, therefore, that Sir Edward Grey's suggestion of July 24 was conveyed from the British, French, and Russian cabinets to the Serbian Government by some channel other than that of the British minister at Belgrade. F. Y. B., 56; B. W, P., 12, 17, 22, 46,
6 F, Y. B., 61.
which have succeeded one another and on the part of their agents no attempt has been made with the object of changing the state of affairs, either political or judicial, created in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Royal Government note that in this respect the Imperial and Royal Government has made no representation except as regards a schoolbook, on the subject of which the Imperial and Royal Government received an entirely satisfactory explanation.
Serbia has numerous times given proofs of her pacific and moderate policy during the Balkanic crisis, and it is thanks to Serbia and to the sacrifice she made in the exclusive interest of European peace that this peace was preserved.
The Royal Government cannot be held responsible for manifestations of a private character such as the articles in newspapers and the peaceful work of societies, manifestations which take place in almost all countries as an ordinary thing, and which as a general rule escape official control, all the less that the Royal Government at the time of the solution of the whole series of questions which arose between Serbia and Austria-Hungary has shown a great care and has succeeded in this fashion in settling the greatest number of them to the profit of the progress of the two neighboring countries.
It is for this the Royal Government has been painfully surprised by the affirmations according to which persons in the Kingdom of Serbia had taken part in the preparation of the attentat committed at Sarajevo. It expected to be invited to collaborate in the investigation of everything bearing upon this crime, and it was ready in order to prove by acts its entire correctness, to act against all persons in regard to whom communications should be made to it.
Bowing, then, to the desire of the Imperial and Royal Government, the Royal Government is disposed to hand over to the courts any Serbian subject without regard to his situation or his rank of whose com.