to the German Foreign Office tx5940 Telegram 161
Rome, July 31, 1914
The local [i.e., the Italian]Government has
discussed, at the Ministerial Council held today, the question of Italy's
attitude in the war. Marquis San Giuliano [Italian Foreign Minister] told
me that the Italian Government had considered the question thoroughly,
and had again come to the conclusion that Austria's procedure against Serbia
must be regarded as an act of aggression, and that consequently a casus
foederis, according to the terms of the Triple Alliance treaty, did
not exist. Therefore Italy would have to declare herself neutral. Upon
my violently opposing this point of view, the Minister went on to state
In the meanwhile, I pointed out to the Minister in the plainest manner possible the extremely regrettable impression which such an attitude would make on us, and then called to his attention the consequences which might develop for Italy in the future as a result.
The Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at Rome, von Merey, to Count Berchtold
Rome, July 30, 1914
Telegram Minister of Foreign Affairs spontaneously brought up today the question of Italian attitude in the event of a European war.
As the character of the Triple Alliance is purely defensive;
as our measures against Serbia may precipitate a European conflagration;
and finally, as we had not previously consulted this government, Italy
would not be bound to join us in the war. This, however, does not preclude
the alternative that Italy might, in such an event, have to decide for
to M. Rene Viviani, President of the Council,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Rome, August 1,1914
I WENT to see the Marquis di San Giuliano this morning at half-past eight, in order to get precise information from him as to the attitude of Italy in view of the provocative acts of Germany and the results which they may have.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs answered that he had seen the German Ambassador yesterday evening. Herr von Flotow had said to him that Germany had requested the Russian Government to suspend mobilisation, and the French Government to inform them as to their intentions. Germany had given France a time limit of eighteen hours and Russia a time limit of twelve hours.
Herr von Flotow as a result of this communication asked what were the intentions of the Italian Government.
The Marquis di San Giuliano answered that as the war undertaken by Austria was aggressive and did not fall within the purely defensive character of the Triple Alliance, particularly in view of the consequences which might result from it according to the declaration of the German Ambassador, Italy could take part in the war.
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