France, Friday, 24th July
Baltic Sea Poincaré, Viviani and Margerie are at sea on the battleship France bound for Stockholm. Communications are difficult.
As agreed with Sazonov, Viviani sends instructions to the French ambassador in Vienna to urge Berchtold in a friendly way to act with moderation and restraint in making any demands upon the Serbian government.
Through fragmentary messages they later learn of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum and its contents.
Paris In the absence of Viviani the French Foreign Ministry is in the hands of Bienvenu-Martin, the Minister of Justice. He has no diplomatic experience.
Paris Szécsen calls on Bienvenu-Martin to explain the note to Serbia. He says it is an act of self-defence. Though Bienvenu-Martin makes critical comments calling the note "virtually an ultimatum" containing demands that would probably be "unacceptable" he gives a sympathetic impression.
Szécsen reports to Vienna Bienvenu-Martin thinks "energetic action" by Austria-Hungary "can be understood" and "expresses the hope that the dispute will be peacefully settled in a manner agreeable to our wishes".
Szécsen ends his report saying "On the conduct of foreign policy M. Martin has of course no influence."
Paris Schoen calls on Bienvenu-Martin to explain the German view especially the need to keep the conflict local. In view of the various alliances any foreign intervention would have "incalculable consequences".
Bienvenu-Martin has been joined by Philippe Berthelot, the deputy head of the French Foreign Ministry. He repeats his view that Austria-Hungary can make legitimate demands on Serbia but Berthelot adds Russia might be unable to resist the pressure to defend Serbia and he hopes Austria will discuss any demands to which Serbia cannot agree.
Schoen gives a positive report to Berlin saying the French minister is "visibly relieved at our idea that Austro-Serbian conflict is one to be settled exclusively by the two participants. French Government sincerely shares the wishes that conflict remain localised".
Paris Vesnić sees Berthelot. Berthelot gives only his personal opinion that "Serbia should try to gain time". It should also offer "immediate satisfaction" on most points, ask for proof of the Austro-Hungarian allegations and offer to submit the dispute to great power mediation.