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The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 51 Message from Alexander Dubček
and Oldřich Černík to Leonid Brezhnev,
July 14,1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, K—Archiv MZV, Dispatches Sent,
No. 2667/1968.

This message to Brezhnev expresses the consternation of CPCz officials on learning that the Soviet
Union, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and East Germany have sent delegations to Warsaw for a joint meeting
without informing the authorities in Prague. The decision to go ahead with the multilateral conference,
Dubček and Černík argue in their letter, would provoke "a new protest wave "of unrest and spur on the
very forces that had given rise to such alarm in Moscow. Their communique was received by Brezhnev
after the multilateral meeting had ended with the drafting of the "Warsaw Letter."

Hand to Brezhnev immediately.

The CPCz CC Presidium has received letters from the fraternal parties referring to efforts by the fraternal parties to state their position on the situation in the CPCz and the ČSSR. The CPCz CC Presidium was asked to take part in a conference of six parties to assess the situation in the ČSSR. The CPCz CC Presidium discussed the content of the letters at two meetings and unanimously decided that because the assessments of the situation in the ČSSR by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, on the one hand, and the individual fraternal parties, on the other, are so divergent, it would be useful to hold bilateral negotiations in theČSSR prior to the joint conference. The CPCz CC first secretary, Cde. Dubček, having been entrusted by the CPCz CC Presidium, asked you, Cde. Brezhnev, for a meeting between the CPSU and the CPCz at the earliest possible time. He suggested two dates—Sunday, 14 July, and Wednesday, 17 July—or any other day convenient for you. We fail to understand why it has not been possible for you to comply with our request. On Thursday, 11 July, the CPCz CC Presidium received another letter signed by the five parties which again summons the CPCz CC Presidium to a joint meeting. The CPCz CC Presidium met on Friday and again had a long discussion about the content of the letter. After a very long debate and in light of the complicated situation in the CPCz and the ČSSR, the Presidium unanimously decided to send a letter to the fraternal parties in which we will again ask them to understand that at the present time we feel it would be useful to hold bilateral meetings prior to a joint conference. The CPCz CC Presidium was motivated by the desire to have a better opportunity to explain to each side the CPCz's position based on the resolution of the CPCz CC plenum in May, and also to agree on the procedure, content, and venue of a joint meeting. The letter was dispatched to the fraternal parties on Saturday, 13 July.

We regret to say that the deliberations of the CPCz CC Presidium on Friday, 12 July, were pointless. On Saturday, 13 July, we were informed by a ČTK report that the delegations of the fraternal parties were already assembling for a joint meeting. Referring to earlier letters, we can expect that the meeting will assess the situation in the CPCz and in the ČSSR without the participation of representatives of our party. We cannot understand why the view of our party is not being heard and why the party is facing a fait accompli through a decision by several other parties. Our party was never informed of the date of the meeting. We cannot understand why a summit meeting has been convened for Sunday in such haste. We fear the serious consequences of such a procedure. The CPCz CC Presidium and our entire party are working in an extremely complicated situation. Now, before the 14th CPCz Congress, we have to weigh every step most carefully. We expected a sensitive approach from the fraternal parties. It is to be expected that

-210-

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