The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview
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DOCUMENT No. 79: Cables between Moscow and East Berlin
Regarding the Approaching Czechoslovak-East German Meeting in
Karlovy Vary, August 10–11,1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, Z/S—MID Nos. 31, 32; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2, p. 167.

This exchange of cables preceded a hastily arranged visit by East German leader Walter Ulbricht to
Karlovy Vary, where he held a formal round of talks with Dubček, and his top aides. The first dispatch, from
Brezhnevto Ulbricht, was transmitted via the Soviet ambassador in East Berlin, Pyotr Abrasimov, onAugust
10. In it, the Soviet leader briefly summarizes his phone conversation of the previous day with Dubček and
passes on a copy of a cable he had just received from the Soviet ambassador in Prague, Stepan Chervonenko.
The second cable, from Ambassador Abrasimov to Brezhnev on August 11, conveys Ulbricht's reply.

Ulbricht traveled to Karlovy Vary of his own accord (and at his own invitation, not the CPCz's). But
he closely coordinated the whole trip with Brezhnev who sought to press for the "scrupulous fulfillment"
of the Bratislava Declaration and the "full implementation of the agreements reached at Čierna nad
Tisou." The East German leader, who firmly believed a military solution was necessary in Czechoslovakia,
cabled back that he "had no illusions about the likely results of the forthcoming meeting:" After his talks
at Karlovy Vary, Ulbricht reported to Moscow that Czechoslovakia's "creeping counterrevolution" could
no longer be halted.

Dispatch to Berlin:
Visit Cde. Ulbricht and tell him you have been empowered to inform him personally about the following communication from the Soviet ambassador in the ČSSR, Cde. Chervonenko, regarding a talk he had with Cde. Dubček at the suggestion of Cde. Brezhnev.In addition, Cde. Brezhnev asked to tell you that on 9 August he talked by phone with Cde. Dubček and expressed interest in the way the results of the Čierna nad Tisou conference and the Declaration by the communist parties in Bratislava were being received within the party and by the people.24The main emphasis of the phone conversation by Cde. Brezhnev was on the need to implement the agreements reached during the talks in Čierna nad Tisou, and particularly:
the need for steps to control the mass media; and
the need forsteps to halt the activities of the Social Democratic Party and disband the clubs.

Cde. Brezhnev expressed concern about the incorrect explanation that the press was offering of the results of the conference and about the improper remarks by Cde. Císař.

During the phone conversation with Cde. Dubček, Cde. Brezhnev emphasized the need for the strict observance of the agreements reached between the leaders of the fraternal parties at the consultations in Čierna nad Tisou and in Bratislava.

Cde. Brezhnev hopes that during your bilateral meeting with the Czechoslovak comrades, you, too, Cde. Ulbricht, will give primary emphasis to the need for scrupulous fulfillment of the declaration of the fraternal parties, as well as to the need for the full implementation of the agreements reached at the meeting in Čierna nad Tisou, about which Cde. Brezhnev informed the fraternal parties in Bratislava in the presence of Cde. Dubček and Cde. Černík.

(The text of the communication from Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko is enclosed.) Confirm by telegram.

24 See Document No. 77.


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