Mr. Delaplaine to Mr. Evarts.
Vienna, August 1, 1877. (Received August 20.)
Sir: A full council of the ministerial cabinet was yesterday held, at which His Majesty the Emperor presided. According to the information obtained as to the decisions adopted, it would appear that the imperial-royal minister for foreign affairs had presented a general expose of the actual situation under the recent rapid march of events at the theater of conflict. He invited, therefore, the members of the council to pronounce as to whether the moment had come for Austria-Hungary to quit the passive attitude which she had heretofore observed, and to take such precautionary military measures as prudence might suggest. The response of the members was in affirmation of his views and recognized the necessity of opportune action.
Count Andrássy accordingly was vested with authority to order such military dispositions as he might consider demanded by any exigency which should arise relative to the defense and protection of the interests of the nation, without a further convocation of the council; but, nevertheless, after a previous submission of the intended measures to the approval of the Emperor.
The financial question involved herein with regard to the sources whence the requisite funds for covering the expenses of such measures should be derived, also the estimate of their probable amount, further entered into the deliberations of the council.
The amount required was estimated not to exceed twenty-five millions of florins, but no apprehension was expressed as to that sum being readily obtained from several sources indicated, independently of the reserve now in the national treasury; still no definitive selection was resolved upon as to that point, it not being of immediate urgency.
A résumé of the deliberations may be stated as follows: no general mobilization, but simply putting into execution due measures of precaution, and that four army divisions now in Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia should meanwhile serve as re-enforcements to the troops now encamped on the frontier, and prepared for action, if events might require it.
As a fact not generally known, and moreover pertinent to the foregoing, I would refer to a recent article contained in the Wehrzeitung, an exclusively military journal, and devoted to the interests of the army, published in Vienna. Maintaining that the institution of maneuvers and periodical parades of soldiers on leave and those belonging to the reserve, an institution created in 1870, has materially contributed to facilitate the work, of mobilization of the Austrian army, the journal remarks that—
while formerly the Austrian army required several weeks for putting the regiments on a war footing, we are at the present time in a condition, even in those districts [Page 41]less favored with easy communication, to put, in eight days at the latest, our troops in a state for entering upon campaign service. That is, however, not all for the army which we should place on foot in this short period would be not only imposing in respect to its efficiency, but would possess force and energy by reason of discipline, and those military qualities which distinguish our soldiers, whether forming part of the active army or of the reserve.
I have, &c.,