21/7/1914 Poincaré meets the ambassadors

President Poincaré meets the various ambassadors accredited to St. Petersburg for a series of short conversations. Viviani attends these meetings in the Winter Palace, but protocol requires he remain silent, for it is the president’s state visit, not his.

The British ambassador is Sir George Buchanan. He suggests to Poincaré that dialogue between Austria-Hungary and Russia be encouraged. Poincaré is aghast at this suggestion.

Poincaré is a native of Lorraine, under German rule since France’s defeat in 1870; he makes no secret of his desire for France to recover all the territory lost then. Yet he now has a friendly chat with Ambassador Pourtalès of Germany. Pourtalès is planning a holiday in Provence. He and Poincaré compare notes on that pleasant region.

The conversation with the Austro-Hungarian ambassador is less pleasant. Poincaré asks about news from Serbia, to which Szapáry replies that inquiries are progressing. Furthermore he asserts that Austria-Hungary cannot tolerate foreign governments allowing their territory to be used for murderous attacks on its leaders. Poincaré warns that Serbia has a friend in Russia. He parts from the Austro-Hungarian on strained terms.

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