Russia, Monday, 27th July

Morning Buchanan calls on Sazonov to put forward London's idea for an ambassadors' conference. Sazonov prefers the direct talks which he believes he has arranged with Austria-Hungary on the modification of the ultimatum. He says if they fail he is willing to accept the British proposal if accepted by other powers or any other that would resolve the conflict.

Morning Sazonov has studied the Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum. He wires all Russian ambassadors saying it ".... exceeds all our expectations in its moderation and readiness to offer Austria the fullest satisfaction. We cannot understand in what Austria’s demand can still consist unless she seeks a pretext for a campaign against Serbia".

Morning Sazonov is in a good mood when he sees Pourtalès. He thinks the Serbian answer is a way forward. He tells him "the moment has come to seek the means by an exchange of views among the Powers" and to "build a golden bridge" for Austria. He is confident the Austrians will negotiate. Pourtalès does not know if Vienna is prepared to modify its demands but says it is time to put an end to Serbian provocations. Sazonov seems to agree saying it must be possible to give Serbia a well-merited lesson while respecting her sovereign rights.

During the day Sazonov gets report from Bronevski that Jagow has said Germany will only mobilise if Russia mobilises on their common border. [More]

During the day Sukhomlinov sends for Major Eggeling and gives him his word of honour no order for mobilisation has been issued. Purely preparatory measures are being taken. If Austria crosses the Serbian frontier there will be mobilisation in the districts facing Austria. Eggeling says even mobilisation against Austria must be regarded as dangerous.

Afternoon General Danilov, the man in charge of mobilisation plans, arrived back in St Petersburg on Sunday evening from an inspection tour. He is strongly opposed to partial mobilisation believing it jeopardises any general mobilisation that might follow.
He persuades Yanushkevich to call a staff conference which concludes from a practical military point of view the choice is between general mobilisation and no mobilisation at all. [More]