The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 57: Letter from Marshal Yakubovskii to
Alexander Dubček on Gen. Prchlík's News Conference, July 18,1968

Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 07/15.

This top-secret letter from Marshal Yakubovskii to Dubček was the first in a long series of complaints
that Soviet officials lodged, both openly and behind-the-scenes, about Prchlík's remarks. As the com-
mander-in-chief(C-in-C) of the Warsaw Pact, Yakubovskii addresses Prchlík's comments about the Pact,
claiming that the Czechoslovak general had "distorted the essence "of the alliance, "divulged top-secret
information about the organization and its structures," and "defamed Soviet military commanders."
Yakubovskii demands that the Czechoslovak authorities "draw the proper conclusions in this case "to
ensure that there would be "no further disclosures of interstate secrets dealing with the content of the
Warsaw Pact or any further denunciations of the Supreme Command of the Pact"a not-so-subtle
recommendation that Prchlík be removed.

Dubious though Yakubovskii's accusations were, they reflected the broader concerns that Soviet leaders
had about the effects of the Prague Spring on Czechoslovakia's military alignment and the strength of the
Warsaw Pact. The specific allegations and much of the language in Yakubovskii's letter were subsequently
incorporated in a formal note of protest from the Soviet government to the Czechoslovak government and
in a bitter article published in Krasnaya zvezda on July 23 under the title "Whose Interests Is V. Prchlík
Serving? "On July 25, Dubček yielded to this pressure and solved the Prchlíik problem by closing the CPCz
CC State Administration Department the head of which was Prchlík

Commander-in-Chief of the Joint Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact Countries

TOP SECRET

To the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Comrade Alexander Dub5ek

Prague

Esteemed Comrade Dubček!

On 16 July of this year, the newspapers Rudé právo, Práce, Mladá fronta, and others carried reports about a press conference held on 15 July in the Journalists' Club in Prague under the auspices of the CPCz CC State-Administrative Department, with the head of the department, V. Prchlík, as the main speaker.

As is clear from the newspapers, V. Prchlík spoke at length about the structure of the Warsaw Pact, which he believes is now outdated. At the same time, and without any justification or authority, he denounced the activities of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact Member States, describing it as an organ that is not carrying out its intended functions.

In explaining to the journalists the structure of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact countries, the organizers of the press conference not only distorted the essence of this structure and its organization, but went so far as to divulge some top-secret information contained in the protocol "On the Creation of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of States Participating in the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance" of 14 May 1955, and also in the "Principles of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of the Member States of the Warsaw Pact," as approved by the Political Consultative Committee on 11 January 1956.

Furthermore, in the process of creating a distorted picture of the true composition of the Joint Command, V. Prchlík went so far as to defame Soviet military commanders. He told the audience

-259-

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