Russia, Friday, 17th July

18 July In light of the alarming information Schilling himself goes to meet Sazonov at the train station on his return to St Petersburg and updates him. They agree a way has to be found to make it clear to the Austro-Hungarian leaders that Russia will oppose any move against Serbia’s independence.

18 July Sazonov sees Pourtalès. He counters Pourtalès' claim the assassination originated in Serbia and Austria-Hungary cannot tolerate the agitation coming out of Belgrade
He says the problems with the Serb subjects of the Empire are mainly the result of Austro-Hungarian misgovernment. And, if the Austro-Hungarian government intended to break the peace it would have to reckon with Europe.

18 July Sazonov shortly after tells Buchanan that anything in the shape of an ultimatum at Belgrade cannot leave Russia indifferent and she might be forced to take some precautionary military measures. Buchanan wires this information to London.

18 July Szápáry calls on Sazonov. Following Berchtold's instructions not to say anything that might reveal what was being planned in Vienna Szápáry says his government is interested only in putting an end to terrorism and is convinced the Serbian government will prove itself to be accommodating with respect to demands from Vienna.
In light of Szápáry's peaceful assurances and reasonable attitude Sazonov gives him no warnings about how Russia might react.

19 July Sazonov shows Shebeko's report of the 16 July to the Tsar. The Tsar comments that a State should not present any sort of demands to another unless it is bent on war.

20 July, 2.00 P.M. The French Presidential party arrives at Kronstadt harbour. Poincaré has a one-to-one conversation with the Tsar on his yacht as they go ashore.
They discuss matters concerning the alliance between the two countries including the French efforts to maintain a large army. Both men are keen to reaffirm the diplomatic and military solidarity of the alliance.

21 July, morning The Tsar and Poincaré meet again. They talk about the tension between Britain and Russia in Persia. They believe local interests are the cause and neither Britain nor Russia can be blamed.
The Tsar says he will not allow Persia to cause a division between Britain and Russia.
According to Poincaré, the Tsar is preoccupied by what Austria-Hungary might do regarding Serbia and says ".... that under the present circumstances, the complete alliance between our two governments appears to him more necessary than ever".

21 July, afternoon During a diplomatic reception Buchanan tells Poincaré he fears Austria-Hungary is looking for a pretext to attack Serbia and suggests direct talks between Russia and Austria-Hungary in Vienna.
Poincaré rejects this as "very dangerous at the present" and suggests instead a joint Anglo-French demand for moderation in Vienna.

21 July, afternoon Poincaré also speaks to Szápáry at the reception and expresses his sympathy concerning the assassinations in Sarajevo.
While talking about the Austro-Hungarian judicial inquiry he implies the results will be suspect by mentioning two earlier Austro-Hungarian inquiries that produced false evidence.
He points out to Szápáry that if demands are made on Serbia that Serbia has a friend in the Russian people, and Russia has an ally, France.
Szápáry is deeply offended by these remarks made in public and in his report to Vienna refers to the "tactless, almost threatening demeanour" of the French president. [More]

21 July Poincaré talks to Sazonov during an embassy dinner and finds him reluctant to take a firm line. Saznov thinks the timing is bad for Russia. The harvest is in progress.

21-22 July Poincaré gets worrying reports from Paris. Jules Cambon has reported from Berlin that Germany will not act as a mediator and will give its full support to Austria-Hungary's demarche at Belgrade.
A report from Italy says Germany will make no effort to restrain Austria, and Vienna believes Russia will let Serbia be violated.
A further report from Jules Cambon says Jagow claims Germany has no idea what the Austro-Hungarian note to Belgrade will contain.

22 July, Krasnoe Selo During a dinner held by Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, the commander of the Imperial Guard and a cousin of the Tsar, for the French visitors, his wife and sister-in-law talk openly and enthusiastically about war with Germany and Austria and the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine by France.
In his diary Poincaré contrasts their enthusiasm with Sazonov's caution.