The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview
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DOCUMENT No. 89: Draft "Letter of Warning" from the CPSU CC
Politburo to the CPCz CC Presidium, August 17,1968

Source: APRF, Prot. No. 38.

This draft of the CPSU Politburo's final "letter of warning" to the CPCz Presidium was approved by
the Politburo on August 17 at the end of the three-day session that determined the invasion of Czechoslo-
vakia. The draft was then promptly transmitted to the Soviet ambassador in Czechoslovakia Stepan
Chervonenko, for delivery to the CPCz leadership. The instructions accompanying the draft stipulated
that Chervonenko must hand over the document by the morning of the 18th, but delivery was held up until
the evening of the 19th. (See headnote for Document No. 90.)

The Politburo's final "letter of warning" contained little other than the numerous previous critical
communications from the Kremlin; it reiterated a litany of complaints and accusations that had been
expressed before, either orally or in writing. Although the document stated that any delay by the CPCz in
complying with Soviet wishes would be "extremely dangerous," it gave no direct or indirect indication of
what the consequences would be, and therefore was not treated as an ultimate "warning "by Dubček.

(See Documents Nos. 82, 90, and 93.)

TO THE PRESIDIUM OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CZECHOSLOVAKIADear Comrades!The development of events after our meetings in Čierna nad Tisou and Bratislava compels us to put a question to you: Has the mutual understanding that resulted from these meetings been upheld, and is the leadership of the CPCz truly ready to carry out the agreements that were reached?In Čierna nad Tisou we told you frankly, in a comradely way, our fears for the fate of socialism in Czechoslovakia in connection with the growing threat of counterrevolution. Along with you we came to the conclusion that this question affects the vital interests of the entire socialist community. The CPCz CC Presidium acknowledged that conditions in the party and the country call for more active and decisive measures against those who are discrediting the CPCz, who are attacking the foundations of socialism, and who are attempting to undermine the fraternal friendship between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. You assured us that the CPCz leadership would take the following concrete steps in the immediate future:
assume control of the mass media; —put a halt to the anti-socialist and anti-Soviet attacks in the press, on radio, and on television;
put an end to the activities of various types of clubs, groups, and organizations supporting anti-socialist positions;
carry out measures that would prohibit any activity by the Social Democratic Party; and
carry out other relevant measures, including steps to strengthen the leading organs, with the aim of securing the leading role of the party and consolidating the positions of socialism in Czechoslovakia.

On the basis of the mutual understanding reached in Čierna nad Tisou in particular, we took joint measures to convene a meeting in Bratislava at which a joint statement was adopted. This statement evoked a positive response from the communist parties and peoples of the socialist countries.

-384-

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