The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 70: Polish Views of the Situation in Czechoslovakia
on the Eve of the Bratislava Conference, August 2,1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, K—Archiv MZV, Received Dispatches No. 7289/1968.

This cable from the Czechoslovak Ambassador in Warsaw Antonín Gregor provides a brief summary
of a conversation he had with Gomułka the day before the Bratislava conference. Gregor reports that the
Polish leader expressed irritation that the Soviet authorities had agreed to hold the Čierna nad Tisou and
Bratislava conferences, and remained skeptical that any political "solution "would prove viable under
the existing leadership in Prague. Gomułka, as Ambassador Gregor notes, "feared a further impact of
our developments on certain sections of Polish society," and "expects that the Bratislava meeting will not
produce either a change of course or a solution."

2 August 1968

To the CPCz Central Committee

As the Polish delegation was leaving for Bratislava I had about a 20-minute talk with Gomułka. He voiced a certain discontent that the Soviet comrades had agreed to the Bratislava meeting and said, explicitly, that he could not agree with our Action Program because in it he saw the cause of all, in their opinion, negative events in our country. He does not believe an end to polemics is a real solution, even though he sees no guarantees that we will be able to live up to this pledge. It was abundantly evident that he was extremely worried by the continuing democratization process, which would be unacceptable under their conditions. This process has already caused them difficulties among various sections of the public, especially the clergy. Naturally he does not expect a change in the ownership of the means of production or the break-up of unified agricultural cooperatives in our country, especially in connection with the social security of cooperative farmers. He expects that the Bratislava meeting will not produce either a change of course or a solution. He explicitly said that this would have to be a long-term process, but from his hints it was obvious that he feared a further impact of our developments on various sections of Polish society. A certain irritation was evident on his part that the Soviet comrades had agreed to a bilateral meeting on our territory, at Čierna nad Tisou, and now a multilateral conference in Bratislava. He regards this as one-sided for prestige reasons and believes that it will also leave long-term shadows on inter-party relations. He further expressed annoyance at being labeled a "conservative" and "dogmatic." From the entire conversation I had the impression that once he states all his misgivings, he will not resist the conclusions adopted at Čierna nad Tisou, even though he said he was not informed of their content since he had only just returned from his holiday resort….

-319-

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