File No. 763.72119/776

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State


2428. For the President:

This afternoon I have received the following communication from Mr. Pashitch, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Servian Government, now resident in Paris:

The Chargé d’Affaires of the Government of the United States having communicated to me the desire of the President of the United States to be informed of the opinion of the Servian Government relative to the recent papal peace communication, I hasten to send you the enclosed note requesting that you kindly forward it to His Excellency the President.

Translation of the note accompanying the above letter reads as follows:

The appeal of His Holiness the Pope for the conclusion of peace between the belligerents could not in our opinion serve as basis of discussion of conditions for a future peace for the following reasons: His Holiness the Pope makes no distinction between those who provoked this horrible and disastrous war and those who are its victims. Similarly His Holiness the Pope makes no mention of the principle of liberty and of the right of each nation to dispose of its own lot, a principle which would allow peoples oppressed and entangled under the yoke of dynasties either by matrimonial combinations or by the toiling of international conventions to liberate themselves and to live freely. The stability of future peace could [Page 181] be assured only by the liberty and equality of all peoples and by a real sanction of the decision of an international tribunal which should watch over the safety of the entire world. Servia and the Servian people who were unjustly attacked by Austria-Hungary, the advance guard of Germany in her penetration towards the Orient, were not even mentioned in the pontifical appeal, which deals however with other questions, very interesting and useful from the international point of view, but having a lesser importance.

Again, the peace proposition of His Holiness passes under silence all Yugoslavs other than the Serbs; nor does it mention the Czechs and the Slovaks, Servian [Slavic?] peoples enslaved to the interests of the Hapsburg dynasty and thereby to the interests of Germany in her policy of imperialism and conquest.

For all these considerations, the Servian Government and people, who gave so many proofs of their pacifism and their great love for peace at the time of the Austrian ultimatum, when they accepted all the conditions laid down by Austria-Hungary which were compatible with the dignity of an independent state, find it impossible to give their consent to the last pontifical note.