Serbia, Saturday, 25th July
Morning A telegram in two parts, one arriving at 4.00 A.M. and one 10.00 A.M., from Spalajković in St Petersburg gives only general expressions of support for Serbia.
There is no clear advice apart from accepting as much of the ultimatum as possible. It seems Russia thinks Serbia should not offer any resistance to the expected Austro-Hungarian attack, should give up Belgrade and then appeal for international support.
Morning Pašić wires all Serbia's foreign legations saying ".... the reply would be quite conciliatory on all points and the Serbian Government would accept the Austro-Hungarian demands as far as possible. The Serbian Government trust that the Austro-Hungarian Government, unless they are determined to make war at all costs, will see their way to accept the full satisfaction offered in the Serbian reply.".
Morning The diplomatic reaction of other powers, Britain, France, and Italy, is not encouraging. There is little support for Serbia. Serbia should be prudent and cooperative. The appeal to the Italian King has had no effect.
Morning Both the British and French ministers in Belgrade report home that they expect the Serbian reply to agree to all the Austrian demands with a few reservations.
11.30 A.M. A third telegram arrives from Spalajković in St Petersburg reporting that the Russian Council of Ministers has decided to take energetic measures, even mobilisation, and that it will issue an official announcement supporting Serbia.
Drafting The preparation of the reply is chaotic as changes are made up to the last moment. In the final version the Serbs give the impression they are accepting as much as possible of the ultimatum while rejecting outright only point six - the participation of Austro-Hungarian officials in the judicial inquiry.
The drafting is clever and subtle. The wording is conciliatory and caveats are included on nearly every point which would lead to lengthy discussions and enable Serbia to avoid implementing many of them.
Afternoon Giesl discovers by 3.00 P.M., when he sees a Serbian minister on a routine matter, that the reply will not be unconditional. He begins final preparations to leave Belgrade.
Afternoon Crown Prince Alexander signs the order for mobilisation
6.00 P.M. The two texts of the reply (in Serbian and French) are ready by 5.45 P.M. Most government officials have left their offices to catch the train for Nish due to leave at 6.00 P.M. Pašić takes the reply to the Austro-Hungarian legation arriving at 5.55 P.M. and hands it to Giesl. [More - The Serbian Reply]
Immediately after Giesl reads the reply. His instructions are to accept the reply only if it is unconditional. It is not unconditional. He signs an already typed note telling the Serbian government they have not accepted the Austro-Hungarian demands and diplomatic relations between the two countries are broken off. Giesl says he and his staff are leaving Belgrade that evening. The note is taken by messenger to Pašić.
Evening The Serbs expect Austria-Hungary to invade at any moment and Belgrade empties. The Government is moving to Nish. Crown Prince Alexander has already signed the order for general mobilisation. It is the first mobilisation of the crisis.
Brief Serbian reaction and Russian influence [More]