The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 56: Speech by Leonid Brezhnev to the CPSU Central
Committee on the Proceedings and Results of the Warsaw Meeting,
July 17,1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, Z/S 4; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 316–321.

Leonid Brezhnev gave this lengthy presentation to a hastily-convened meeting of the CPSU Cen-
tral Committee on July 17. He structured his debriefing of the Warsaw Meeting around three distinct
areas: introductory comments to the CPSU Central Committee outlining the background to the Warsaw
Meeting; the speech Brezhnev delivered at the Warsaw Meeting, which he read again in full to the members
of the Central Committee; and his assessment of the Warsaw Meeting and actions to be taken in its
aftermath.

The transcript records Brezhnev's uncompromising tone. Brezhnev emphasized that the Soviet Politburo
had done its utmost to convince CPCz leaders that they should reassert control themselves. If the
Czechoslovak authorities refrained much longer from adopting the requisite measures, he made clear, the
Soviet Union would have to undertake coercive steps of its own, including military as well as political
pressure. The Soviet first secretary insisted that Moscow had both a right and a duty to use any means
necessary to thwart the impending "counterrevolutionary coup "in Czechoslovakiaa task that could be
accomplished only by crushing the "second center" in the CPCz, which was behind the "reactionary
onslaught." Although Brezhnev promised that the Soviet Union would "continue to expend all efforts "to
find a political solution before resorting to "extreme measures," he conveyed the impression throughout
his speech that the search for meaningful political steps was likely to be futile.

Brezhnev's lengthy speech won the "complete approval" and "unanimous endorsement" of the CPSU
Central Committee plenum.


Results of the Meeting in Warsaw of Delegations from the Communist
and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries63

Comrades,

The CPSU CC Politburo believes it is necessary to convene this plenum in order to present the results of the meeting that took place in Warsaw on 14–15 July among the party and government leaders of Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, Poland, and the Soviet Union.

At the center of attention—that is, the basic question considered at this meeting—was the dangerous course of events in Czechoslovakia. Before presenting materials from the conference, let me explain that after the CPSU Central Committee plenum in April, which dealt with the Czechoslovak events, the CPSU CC Politburo believed at the time, as expressed at the April plenum, that it should help the healthy forces and above all the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia to prevent the loss of socialist achievements in Czechoslovakia and a rupture in the socialist community. In the meantime, the Politburo informed our party about the dangerous twists and turns in the political processes and political life of Czechoslovakia that had taken place recently.

There is no doubt that the situation in Czechoslovakia since the April plenum has become more and more complicated. We carefully followed the course of events and adopted a number of measures aimed at helping the leadership of the CPCz, in a comradely way, to correct the situation and thwart the danger looming over the socialist gains of a fraternal people. All the members of the Politburo and the CPSU CC Secretariat are taking part in this work.

63 Russian President Boris Yeltsin turned this valuable historical document over to the Czechoslovak commission in
1992.

-250-

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