The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 54: Press Conference with Lt. General Václav Prchlík,
July 15,1968

Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ F. 07/15.

This transcript of Lt. General Vaclav Prchlík's July 15 news conference reflects the growing tension
between Prague and Moscow as well as the influence of the Prague Spring on the Czechoslovak People's
Army. As the chief of the CPCz CC department for state organs, General Prchlík opened his press
conference by outlining a number of changes in the security organs, including loosening centralized
communist party control over the military, that his department planned to recommend for approval at the
upcoming Extraordinary 14th Congress of the CPCz.

The key question asked by reporters dealt with the continuing presence of Soviet military troops on
Czechoslovak soil, despite repeated promises by Marshal Yakubovskii to withdraw them and an-
nouncements by Czechoslovak officials that they would soon be gone. Prchlík responded that he had
carefully checked all the documents pertaining to the Warsaw Pact to determine whether any provisions
in those documents entitled "certain partners to station their units arbitrarily on the territory of other
member states." He declared that he had found no such provisions and that, on the contrary, all the relevant
documents stipulated that troop deployments were permitted "only after agreement has been reached
among the member states of the pact. I emphasize here: only after their agreement!"

Prchlík also used the news conference to voice complaints about other aspects of the Warsaw Pact. It
was "deplorable, "he stated, that the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria had
chosen to "disregard our "the CPCz's" views" by going ahead with the meeting in Warsaw. Prchlík
contended that the alliance had not yet provided for "genuine equality" or "genuinely equal rights" of its
members. Echoing proposals voiced by Romanian leaders since the mid-1960s, Prchlík called for reforms in
the Joint Command so that it could "perform its functions much better," and urged that every member state of
the pact be permitted to "assert its own role." On this point, he advocated the "formulation of Czechoslovakia's
own military doctrine," which would be distinct from the standardized doctrine of the Warsaw Pact. Both
publicly and privately, the General's comments provoked swift denunciations from Soviet leaders.

(See Documents Nos. 68, 69, 84.)

In the past, the party always insisted on maintaining direct control over the army and security forces. Moreover, given the concept of the past model of the party, this principle of direct control was narrowed down even further. As a result, military and security policy was, in essence, determined by a small group of the party bureaucracy in the center. Indeed, serious matters often were decided by only a single person. In recent years it has become increasingly evident that this concept of direct control of the army and security forces, and the concept of political control over these institutions, did not provide for a complete and lasting solution of matters in their proper context. Rigid bureaucratic centralism in the running of things did not allow us to improve the quality of the process of deliberation and decision-making. On the contrary, it was a fertile breeding ground for amateurism and subjectivism. Not only was the entire command-and-control system in these institutions of power characterized by all the afflictions which we speak about nowadays in our critical analysis of the political system, but it was in precisely these institutions, as a result of the specific principles governing their development, that such ailments were most acute. The same applies to the party-political system. Increasingly serious conflicts and disputes emerged in these institutions in the past—that is, in the army and security forces—which were insoluble under the previous system. The mounting criticism of such phenomena by employees of these institutions, by party and political bodies, and by party organizations ran up against an insurmountable wall of bureaucratic incompetence and the inability of the previous political leadership to deal with these matters….

The first analyses we are making in the sphere of military and security policy show that in the security sphere, for example, the state security forces had a number of very progressive-minded

-239-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 596

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.