The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 52: Transcript of the Warsaw Meeting, July 14–15,
1968 (Excerpts)

Source: "Protokol ze spotkania przywodcow partii i rzadow krajow socjalistycznych: Bulgarii,
NRD, Polski, Wegier, i ZSRR," Archiwum Akt Nowych, Arch. KC PZPR, P. 193, T. 24,
Dok. 4; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 269–297.

The Warsaw Meeting convened in a large hall in the Polish Council of Ministers building on the morning
of July 14, 1968, and adjourned mid-afternoon the following day. The conference consisted of six formal
sessions, many informal discussions, and an effort by a drafting committee to complete a joint communiqué
and joint letter from the "Five "to the CPCz Central Committee. The six formal sessions were chaired on
a rotating basis by one of the five delegation leaders. Brezhnev spoke last, allowing him to sort out any
disagreements and establish the meeting's conclusions.

Of the speeches by the communist bloc leaders, János Kádár's reflects the most dramatic change in
perspective on the Czechoslovak crisis. Unlike earlier meetings in Dresden and Moscow, the Hungarian
leader made no attempt to defend Dubček and other reformist CPCz officials. Although Kádár stated at
Warsaw that he did not believe the whole Prague Spring "can be uniformly regarded as counterrevolu-
tionary, "he conceded that "the situation in Czechoslovakia is steadily deteriorating" and "is now much
more dangerous than in the past." Echoing what later became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine, Kádár
emphasized that it was "both the right and the duty of the socialist countries to decide collectively "what
to do about Czechoslovakia. Kádár also announced that Hungary was "prepared to take part in all joint
actions" to resolve the crisis, a reference to military intervention.

Brezhnev used his keynote speech, which set forth conclusions for the whole meeting, to underscore the
Soviet Politburo's growing dismay at the situation in Czechoslovakia. His remarks reflect no hopes of
finding a solution with the existing CPCz leadership; instead he urged that the Five "continue the search
for healthy forces in the party and to look for ways of appealing to the forces in the party that might take
the lead in initiating a struggle to restore the leading role of the CPCz and normalize the situation in the
country."

(See Document No. 53.)

SECRET

Copy No. 5

Protocol19
of the Meeting of the Heads of Parties and Governments of the Socialist Countries: Bulgaria,
the GDR, Poland, Hungary, and the USSR

Warsaw, 14–15 July 1968

19Until very recently, all transcripts of the Warsaw Meeting were sealed from public access. A 91-page Soviet
transcript is stored in the Russian Presidential Archive in Moscow but that version has still not been released, despite
numerous requests. This 52-page Polish transcript was recently discovered in the Archiwum Akt Nowych (Modern
Records Archive) in Warsaw, and is now freely available to researchers. Only six copies of the Polish document were
produced, of which this is No. 5. For other accounts of the meeting see Brezhnev's speech to the Central Committee
(Document No. 56) and János Kádár's recollections (Document No. 105). See also Kádárs detailed briefing on the
Warsaw Meeting to the July 15, 1968 session of the HSWP CC Politburo, entitled "The Warsaw Meeting of 15 July
1968," which has become available at the Hungarian National Archive in Budapest (PTTI, 288, F. 5/462 oe); and Erwin
Weit, Eyewitness: The Autobiography of Gomulka's Interpreter, trans. by Mary Schofield (London: Andné Deutsch,
1973).

-212-

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