Britain, Friday, 24th July

Midday Mensdorff gives Grey the full text of the ultimatum. Grey comments point five compromises Serbian sovereignty. According to Mensdorff, he calls the note "the most formidable document that was ever addressed from one state to another" but admits what it says on the guilt of Serbia in the crime of Sarajevo and some of the demands are fully justified.
He tells Mensdorff he is worried by the situation the ultimatum has created and by the danger it could lead to a European war. Again he mentions only Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia and France in such a war.

Early afternoon Grey sees Paul Cambon and tells him when he sees Lichnowsky he is going to suggest mediation between Vienna and St Petersburg by the four major powers not directly involved - Germany, Italy, Britain and France – if the need arises.

3.15 P.M. Cabinet Meeting Grey attends a cabinet meeting. At the very end of the meeting he mentions the European situation and tells his colleagues it is "the gravest event for many years past in Europe". [More]

Afternoon Grey sees Lichnowsky. He says Britain does not want to intervene in a purely Austro-Serbian dispute.
He is only concerned if the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia leads to trouble between Austria and Russia.
He suggests if relations between Austria and Russia become threatening the four not directly involved powers - Germany, Italy, France and Britain – mediate between them. This is Britain's first mediation proposal.
Grey again comments on the dangers of a war between the four nations, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Germany and France. [More]

Evening Mensdorff gives message from Vienna to British Foreign Office. It says the note to Serbia is not an "ultimatum" but a demarche with a time limit. If it is rejected, Austria-Hungary will break off relations and begin military preparations, though not military operations. This seems to give time for diplomacy to work.

Evening Foreign Office asks Bunsen in Vienna to seek an extension of the time limit in the ultimatum.

Evening Grey wires Crackanthorpe with his response to an appeal from Pašić. Serbia should give Austria-Hungary the fullest satisfaction regarding any Serbian officials that might have been involved in the assassinations.
The only chance of avoiding a conflict is in giving "a favourable reply on as many points as possible within the limit of time, and not to meet Austrian demand(s) with a blank negative".

Evening Churchill meets Ballin at dinner. Ballin asks Churchill if Britain would stay out of a war if Germany promised it would not take any French territory except some colonies as indemnification.
Churchill says Britain would judge events as they arose. It would be a mistake to assume that Britain would stay out whatever happened.

8.00 P.M. Buchanan's report of the lunch with Sazonov and Paléologue arrives in London.
Crowe minutes the report. He believes France and Russia consider the Austrian charges against Serbia are pretexts and it is now a matter of the Triple Alliance versus the Triple Entente.
He thinks Britain should not obscure this issue by any representations at St. Petersburg and Paris. The question is whether Germany is or is not determined to have a war now. [More]