Conversation between Leonid Brezhnev and Alexander Dubček,
Source: Sb. KV, Z/S 8; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2, pp. 164–167.
This transcript records one of several important telephone conversations that Brezhnev had with Dubček
in the two weeks following the Bratislava conference. Brezhnev repeatedly expresses his concern that the
CPCz leader has yet to implement personnel changes, reorganizations and social crackdowns that the
Czechoslovak authorities had supposedly agreed to at the Čierna nad Tisou and Bratislava meetings.
Although Brezhnev makes no explicit or even implicit threats of military intervention in this discussion,
he does stress Dubček's need "to understand certain increasing concerns here "and how "in my opinion,
this is very serious now."
(See also Document No. 81.)
9 August 1968
Cde. Brezhnev greets Cde. Dubček and inquires how things are going. A short conversation on general matters follows.
Then Cde. Brezhnev says that the Soviet party and people are concerned about a number of unpleasant matters appearing in the press and the remarks of Císař and others. One gains the impression that the proper conclusions have not been drawn from the meeting. Then Cde. Brezhnev goes on to say the following:
Brezhnev:… We understand perfectly well that it is the rightists who are doing such things, but communists and the people do not understand and have different attitudes toward the actions of the leadership as a whole. It is becoming difficult to hold back the wave of protests and replies to all this. Besides, we are gaining the impression that the commitments we approved with you in Čierna nad Tisou are not being fulfilled, as well as those approved at the bilateral talks in the presence of the entire CPCz CC Presidium, and also the personnel questions agreed upon at the multilateral conference.15
In such circumstances, Alexander Stepanovich, I wanted to ask in what way we can help….
Dubček: I understand your concerns, Cde. Brezhnev. But at the moment I am not asking for any assistance.
Brezhnev: In analyzing what is happening in your country now and in view of all the information we have at our disposal, we have come to the conclusion that the rightists, and you know the people I'm referring to, once again are waging organized, subversive work against the decisions we adopted in Čierna nad Tisou.
Dubček: Yes, we also attribute everything negative in our activities to right-wing tendencies.
Brezhnev: In connection with this, Sasha, I would like to emphasize that we are now living through a very trying period. In many ways it will define our future links and relations. I always spoke the truth and was honest in keeping with circumstances and the situation.I have come to the conviction, the firm conviction, that you have the strength, and people in the Presidium—the healthy forces—on whom you can rely and who will give you everything. The only serious
15 In the last few years of his life, Dubček denied that he had made any specific commitments on personnel changes
at Čierna, but the issue is by no means clear-cut, especially in light of the speech Dubček gave, at the September 1969
plenum of the CPCz CC. For further discussion of this matter, see Document No. 85.