The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview
Save to active project

DOCUMENT No. 93: Cable from Ambassador Stepan Chervonenko to
the Kremlin on His Meeting with Alexander Dubček and Oldřich černík,
> August 19,1968

Source: AVPRF, F. 059, Op. 58, P. 124, D. 574, LI. 124–127.

Soviet Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Stepan Chervonenko transmitted this cable to Moscow on August
19, shortly after meeting Alexander Dubček for the last time before the invasion. Chervonenko requested
the meeting primarily in order to hand over the CPSU Politburo's final "letter of warning." The letter
originally was supposed to have been delivered to the CPCz leadership on the morning of the 18th but
Chervonenko obtained the Politburo's approval to wait until the evening of the 19th so that Dubcek would
pay less attention to its significance and there would be less risk of "sparking off premature actions by
the rightist forces." The ambassador's account of the meeting suggests that both Dubček and Černík
regarded the letter as nothing more than the latest in a long series of Soviet protests and complaints.

(See also Documents Nos. 88, 90.)

Dubček said that no obligations of any sort had been undertaken at Čierna, and that there was an exchange of views there, during which certain plans and intentions had been laid out, including personnel matters, which should have remained known only to those who had spoken in private with one another. Now the CPSU CC Politburo is asking him to inform the members of the CPCz CC Presidium about the letter that Cde. Brezhnev sent confidentially to him, Dubček, on 16 August. This means that it will be regarded by party activists and by the people as interference in internal affairs.

I responded that he, as a political leader, should not present the matter as "interference," since what is at issue is whether there will or will not be a struggle against the rightist danger as the main danger, that is, whether they will or will not fulfill the decisions of the May plenum of the CPCz CC, the agreement at Čierna, and the declaration signed at Bratislava. A struggle against the rightist danger requires concrete measures to be adopted against the purveyors and inspirers of the rightist course in the CPCz, and above all the rightist course in the CPCz leadership. I reminded him that he and others had several times linked Kriegel, Císař, and others with a second center and with the rightists. Consequently, the personnel side of things is an important part of the political line, since a political struggle against the rightists must be clear-cut and take a concrete form.

Dubček did not specify what sort of concrete steps and measures would be implemented in the struggle against rightist and anti-socialist forces. He said that they "in Moscow" do not trust him, and that no specific timeframe was set in Čierna for resolving any particular questions. At times he flared up and sputtered comments to the effect that "you want to restore Novotný or Novotný's methods."

Dubček said that in Moscow they do not understand that it is impossible to resolve problems that have been accumulating over a long period in just a week's time, and so forth.

I did not bother to argue any further because Dubček obviously had not made a realistic and concrete analysis of the situation in the ČSSR and did not reveal his plans and intentions. Černík was present, but he barely took part in the conversation. He was gloomy and only occasionally interjected remarks in a cold tone. Dubček said that on 20 August the letter would be considered by the CPCz CC Presidium and that an answer would be given later on.

-400-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 596

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?