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|Karl von Macchio was Undersecretary for Graf Leopold Berchtold in the Foreign Ministry. He spoke in Berchtold's name whenever the Foreign Minister was not available at the Ballplatz. From August 11, Karl Freiherr von Macchio was de facto ambassador (in außerordenlicher Mission) in Rome, Italy. He was not the Ambassador officially, but was send as a special mission (because of the war's start) to support the diplomatic corps there; this was done at other important posts too, but in Rome this was neccessary because of the illness of Kajetan Mérey Baron von Kapos-Mére. That means, whatever correspondence between Rome and Vienna was of his hand, but signed off by Merey.
Macchio's primary task was to work according to Foreign Minister István Burián to stall an Italian declaration of war against Austria-Hungary. Macchio held no illusions about the Italians' ultimate path, but it was simply a question of when. For this period, then, Macchio was ranked Sektionschef (2nd Rangklasse ad personam) but for this mission he was promoted to “außerordentlicher und bevollmächtigter Botschafter mit Titel und Charakter” which did not mean he was ambassador but rather “ambassador in all but name.” Macchio had a rank in der Evidenz der Landwehr; namely, as Rittmeister. This was common for Diplomats to have a Reserve-officer's rank which was then turned into Evidenz der Landwehr in times of conflict. On 23 May 1915, Macchio, Merey, and the whole diplomatic staff was evacuated from Rome on account of the declaration of war the Italian ambassador had handed out in Vienna.
After the war, Macchio wrote "Momentbilder aus der Julikrise 1914," published in Berlin in 1936.
GWS, 11/01 [rev. 4/03]