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DIPLOMACY AND THE WAR

grad. Russia made an agreement with Japan (1909), approached Italy (1908–1909), and prepared in advance a solution of the question of the Straits. This solution was not found in conjunction with us, and Petrograd, therefore, strove to achieve the same purpose behind our backs. The Czar and the King of Italy met in Raccionigi, where they agreed to support each other in the question of the Straits and the question of Tripolis respectively (1909). Serbia and Montenegro had been estranged by the assassination of King Nikita, but now a reunion took place once more.

I was Minister of the Interior about this time. For the reasons given above, I opposed the annexation. I wanted to call Serbia to account and force her to sign an agreement by which her army would be disarmed, and by which the constant menace of Serbia would be removed.

Russia was not as yet ready to act, as it still suffered from the Japanese defeat, and her relation to this state had not yet been defined. I was of the opinion that Serbia would give way and that it would be possible to effect the disarmament. If Serbia should resist, she would be isolated. The recent publication of the diplomatic correspondence of Serbia showed that I was justified in taking this view. Iswolski said to the Serbian Ambassador quite definitely that Russia was not yet ready, and would not stir even if Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. I have placed this point of view of mine on record in writing in my ministerial programme.