The Projected Austrian Intervention in Serbia in 1913.

The ex-premier of Italy, Signor Giolitti, in a speech delivered in the Chamber of Deputies on December 5, 1914, revealed the fact that in 1913 Austria-Hungary had planned to attack Serbia. He said that on August 9, 1913, he had received the following telegram from the Marquis di San Giuliano:

Austria has communicated to us and to Germany her intention of taking action against Serbia, and defines such action is defensive, hoping to bring into operation the casus foederis of the Triple Alliance.

He replied:

If Austria intervenes against Serbia, it is clear that a casus foederis can not be established. It is a step which she is taking on her own account, since there is no question of defense, inasmuch as no one is thinking of attacking her.

The fact that the Treaty of Bucharest was signed on the day following Giolitti's receipt of the telegram reveals Austria's motive as a desire to prevent Serbia from profiting by the conclusion of a highly advantageous treaty.

The telegram indicates that the assassination of the Archduke was the occasion rather than the cause of Austria's ultimatum to Serbia, and it reveals the reason for Austria's action in July, 1914, in omitting to notify Italy in advance of her demands upon Serbia.

The authenticity of the telegram is established by the fact that the Austrian Government has not denied it. Its contents are brought into relief by the statements of M. Pichon, ex-minister of foreign affairs of France. The Paris correspondent of Il Giornale d'Italia reported (December 29, 1914) a conversation which he had with M. Pichon on the subject of Giolitti's disclosure. M. Pichon said that in June, 1913, when he was minister of foreign affairs, at the time of the affair of Scutari, the Italian Government had informed him that Austria had notified it of her intentions with regard to Serbia, and that the Italian Government had replied that the casus foederis was not applicable.

Source: Anderson, Frank Maloy and Amos Shartle Hershey, Handbook for the Diplomatic History of Europe, Asia, and Africa 1870-1914. Prepared for the National Board for Historical Service. Government Printing Office, Washington, 1918.

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