The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 18: Dispatch from Budapest Outlining Hungarian
Concerns about Events in Czechoslovakia after the Dresden Meeting,
April 6,1968

Source: Sb. KV, K—Archiv MZV, Dispatches Received 2950/1968; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. l.pp. 128–129.

This cable, from the Czechoslovak ambassador in Budapest, Jozef Púčik, transmits a summary of a
meeting of the HSWP Politburo a few days after the Dresden conference. The views of Zoltán Komócsin,
that the CPCz "had lost control of events and that decisions about the way things in the ČSSR should
proceed were now being made in the streets," are highlighted. Although Komócsin publicly defended the
Prague Spring, privately he predicts to the Politburo that Czechoslovakia is on its way to becoming a
"bourgeois democracy."

The cable includes a final paragraph on a comment by an official from the Bulgarian embassy in
Budapest, V. Pangelov. Pangelov asserts that Czechoslovakia is of greater security importance to the
Warsaw Pact than even the GDR, and predicts that the socialist countries will resort to joint military
intervention in Czechoslovakia if the Prague Spring creates a "breach in the socialist camp."

The plenary session of the HSWP Central Committee met on 27 March. The press contained only scanty reports about the proceedings. Kom6csin reported on the meeting in Dresden, and at a later gathering of top party officials he made an assessment of the events in the ČSSR. He said there had been fundamental changes in the political life of theČSSR, which were continuing. The HSWP was worried that as the situation unfolded, the Action Program would gradually take on a revisionist character. The HSWP had expected the situation to calm down after the January CPCz plenary session, but the very opposite happened. They were afraid that a situation analogous to that in Hungary in 1956 would arise. Komócsin said they had told this to Dubček, who rejected such an allegation, arguing that Prague would not become Budapest. Dubcek went on to say that an internal revolution and a process of renewal were taking place in the ČSSR gradually, and that political leadership was firmly under the control of the CPCz. The HSWP did not share this assessment and did not agree.41 The HSWP had its own information indicating that the communist party in the ČSSR had lost control of events and that decisions about the way things in the ČSSR should proceed were now being made in the streets rather than in the CC. The Czechoslovak press and radio openly approved efforts to introduce a new electoral law that would provide for a system of bourgeois democracy in the future. There are no signs that the party can regain control over events. Everything is being solved in the streets. Communists, including members of the CPCz Central Committee, have joined forces with elements in the streets and are backing them. They are acting on the basis of their own political platform, including some who want to rehabilitate themselves in the public's eyes and others who wish to do so for their own peace of mind. Some time ago Dubcek invited journalists from the press, radio, and television to see him and asked them to stop putting down the results of 20 years of work, to avoid writing in anti-Soviet terms, and to abandon demands for neutrality. Such activities, Dubček said, were giving impetus to a pro-Western orientation, and that did not serve the interests of the CPCz….

41 In late May, the HSWP CC International Department prepared a memorandum combining both optimistic and
pessimistic views of events in Prague for the HSWP Politburo. For a copy, see "Zapis' besedy s zam. ministra
inostrannykh del VNR tov. Karoem Erdei, 29 maya 1968 goda," Cable No. 500 (SECRET) from N. N. Sikachev,
minister-counselor at the Soviet embassy in Hungary, to K. V. Rusakov, 30 May 1968, in TsKhSD, F. 5, Op. 60, D. 339,
LI. 2–9.

-81-

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