Albert Viktor Julius Joseph Michael Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein
5 September 1861
Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein is an Austro-Hungarian diplomat and the current Minister-President of the regional Austrian government.
Born at Lemberg, he was the second son of Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly, Prince Dietrichstein von Nicolsburg, and Alexandrine, born Countess Dietrichstein-Proskau and Leslie. Entering the diplomatic service at an early age, he was assigned in 1886 to the Paris embassy and in 1889 transferred to London, where with short intervals he was ambassador from 1904 to August 13, 1914.
Albert used his family connections with the British court, derived through the marriage of his grandfather Count Emmanuel Mensdorff-Pouilly (1777–1862) with Queen Victoria's aunt, Princess Sophia of Saxe-Coburg, his friendship with Edward VII and George V, and his popularity in British aristocratic circles, to establish and secure friendly relations between the Cabinets of Vienna and London. Considered both an effective and popular diplomat, his connections with the British Royal family gave him an entrée to the British court unrivalled by any other diplomat. However, his alleged Anglophilia also brought him a certain mistrust in some circles in Vienna.
During the Weltkrieg
In the critical negotiations before the outbreak of the Weltkrieg he supported every attempt to avert the danger and correspondence has shown that he was not kept fully informed of his capital's intentions. During the war's early years he was repeatedly entrusted with missions directed towards the restoration of peace. He met Jan Smuts in Switzerland in December 1917, but these negotiations proved fruitless. Towards the middle of the war he was recalled to Vienna and the Austrian Court. In 1918, he was appointed to the Upper House (Herrenhaus) and in the following year he was a favourite of the court to replace Count von Czernin as Foreign Minister, but he was judged too Anglophile by Berlin.
After the Weltkrieg
After the end of the war, he aided the young emperor in appeasing his diverse and rebellious subjects, albeit temporarily. For his service, he was rewarded, first with the position of chief diplomat for the emperor at the Ausgliech and then with the subsequent post of Minister-President in 1927 after the tumultuous negotiations, during which he managed to make the most out of a poor hand.