Serbia, Thursday, 23rd July

Morning Although an Austro-Hungarian move of some kind is expected, Pašić leaves Belgrade by train for Nish, Serbia's second largest city, on an election campaign. When in Nish he decides to take a short break in Salonika.

4.30 P.M. Giesl telephones the Foreign Ministry to say he has an important note to deliver to Prime Minister Pašić at exactly 6.00 P.M. The senior minister available, Lazar Paču, phones Pašić on his journey.

Later While waiting at the station for the train to Salonika Pašić gets Paču's phone call. Paču warns him that the expected note is not going to be an ordinary note and begs him to return to Belgrade but he refuses.
Only at the next station when he gets a telegram from Crown Prince Alexander ordering him to return does he change his mind. Pašić may have been hoping his absence from Belgrade would give time for Serbia to prepare its response and allow friendly great powers to intervene.

6.00 P.M. Giesl hands the note to Paču who has taken on the task of receiving the Austro-Hungarian minister. The Serbs have forty-eight hours to reply. If it is unsatisfactory or there is no reply Giesl says he has orders to break off diplomatic relations and leave Belgrade immediately. [More - The Austro-Hungarian Note]

Terminology The Austro-Hungarians refer to their written demands on Serbia as a "note with a time limit". Giesl himself refers to the note as an ultimatum when he reports to Vienna that it has been delivered and is rebuked by the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry for using that term.

Evening The six available Serbian ministers meet. They are shocked by the severity of the note and study it in silence. The first to speak is Jovanović, the Minister of Education. He says "we have no other choice than to fight it out". He thinks that even if the demands were accepted complications over their implementation would lead to war.

Evening Paču dispatches a circular to the Serbia's foreign legations telling them of the Austrian note. He says he thinks the demands set out in the note are "such as no Serbian government could accept them in their entirety". The last two words indicate the likely approach of the Serbian government, accepting most of the demands but rejecting some.

Evening Paču goes to see Strandtmann to ask for Russian help. Strandtmann telegrams St Petersburg.

Evening Crown Prince Alexander also calls on Strandtmann to discuss the crisis and says acceptance of the note is "an absolute impossibility for a state which has the slightest regard for its, dignity" and adds that he places his trust in the magnanimity of the Tsar of Russia "whose powerful word alone could save Serbia".

Evening The Serbian leaders expect Austria-Hungary to attack as soon as the time limit on the note expires so the Minister of War and the Serbian military decide to initiate preliminary measures for mobilisation.
The Serbian military position is precarious because most of the army is in the south occupying territories taken in the recent Balkan wars which have also exhausted its supplies.