Russia, Friday, 24th July

10.00 A.M. On learning the details of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum Sazonov declares angrily "C'est La guerre Européenne!". He summons Szápáry. He tells the Tsar by phone that he thinks the ultimatum is designed to be rejected, that Vienna intends to attack, and they must have been given prior German approval. The Tsar orders him to call a Council of Ministers.

Morning Szápáry comes to the Foreign Ministry and tries to read from the document summarising the evidence linking Serbia with the assassination but Sazonov interrupts him. "You mean to make war on Serbia and this is just a pretext". Both men are angry. Sazonov says "You want to go to war with Serbia; You are setting fire to Europe".

Morning Sazonov calls in the General Yanushkevich and tells him the army should be ready for partial mobilisation, that is mobilisation against Austria-Hungary, but not Germany. [More]

Lunchtime Sazonov has lunch at the French embassy with Paléologue and Buchanan. Paléologue says France will give full diplomatic support to Russia and will fulfil all its alliance obligations. Buchanan points out Britain has no direct interest in Serbia.
Sazonov says if there is war Britain will be drawn in and if Britain does not support France and Russia from the outset it renders war more likely and Britain will not have played a "beau role". [More]

3.00 P.M. The Russian Council of Ministers meets and decides if Austria-Hungary takes action against Serbia, to move to partial mobilisation, that is, to mobilise in those military districts facing Austria-Hungary. The Tsar is to be asked to approve the measure the next day.
They discuss what advice to give Serbia and Sazonov is to contact the other major powers to seek an extension of the deadline so each country can take a view on the Austro-Hungarian case. [More]

Early evening Sazonov sees Spalajkovic and condemns the ultimatum saying no sovereign state could accept parts of it.
As agreed at the Council of Ministers he says if Serbia is not able to resist the expected attack they should offer no military resistance and instead appeal to the great powers for help. He says Serbia can rely on Russian help but does not say what that help might be.

7.00 P.M. Sazonov sees Pourtalès. Sazonov disagrees with the Austro-Hungarian and German view that the dispute should be localised as it concerns only Vienna and Belgrade. There should be some form of international arbitration. He also says "If Austria-Hungary devours Serbia, we will go to war with her". Pourtalès takes this to mean Russia will only take military steps if Austria attempts to acquire Serbian territory. [More]

Evening Sazonov sees Paléologue again and updates him on the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers. Paléologue telegrams Paris but does not mention the Russians are considering partial mobilisation. He speaks of the need for solidarity with Russia and says "M. Sazonov will endeavour to win the day for ideas of moderation".