The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 119: The Moscow Protocol, August 26,1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, K—Archiv MZV, Gs "T"; Vondrová & Navráil, vol. 2, pp. 271–275.

The Moscow Protocol established the political rules for rolling back the Prague Spring and "normal-
izing" post-invasion Czechoslovakia. The 11-page original Russian document, translated here, was signed
in Moscow after three days of negotiations between Soviet authorities and Czechoslovak leaders, including
Dubček and Černík. During the negotiating sessions, Soviet leaders had made clear that if the Czecho-
slovak delegation refused to sign a finished document, the Warsaw "Five" would establish a full-fledged
military dictatorship in Czechoslovakia.

The document was based on a Soviet draft protocol presented to the Czechoslovaks on August 24. Soviet
officials rejected efforts by Dubček's aides to substitute their own draft for negotiation. Nevertheless, the
Czechoslovak negotiators did obtain some concessions. The final document no longer characterized events
before the invasion as "counterrevolutionary," omitted any mention of the Warsaw Letter, and did not call
for a return to the situation before January 1968. Nevertheless, the Protocol forced Dubček and his
colleagues to concede to a virtual checklist of Soviet demands: nullify the 14th Congress in Vysočany, give
much greater emphasis to central economic planning, ban political groups like KAN and K-231, prohibit
the reemergence of the Social Democratic Party, reimpose censorship across the board, dismiss numerous
reformist officials (understood to include Kriegel, Císař, Jiří Pelikán, Ota Šik, and Jiří Hájek, among others),
refrain from dismissing or carrying out any reprisals against officials who had sided with the "healthy
forces," subordinate Czechoslovak foreign policy completely to Soviet preferences, and retract the ČSSR's
request for the UN Security Council to consider the situation in Czechoslovakia. Finally, the protocol offered
no timetable for the withdrawal of Soviet and allied troops from Czechoslovakia; instead, it merely specified
that withdrawals would "occur in stages" once "the threat to the gains of socialism in Czechoslovakia
and the threat to the security of the countries of the socialist commonwealth have been eliminated."


PROTOCOL
on Negotiations between Delegations from
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic

On 23–26 August 1968, negotiations took place in Moscow between a delegation from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and a delegation from the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. …

1. During the talks, the two sides considered questions linked with the defense of socialist gains of the Czechoslovak people in the circumstances that have arisen in the ČSSR. They also considered the highest priority measures dictated by this situation and by the presence of troops from the five socialist countries on the territory of Czechoslovakia.

During the talks, both sides abided by the generally recognized standards of relations between fraternal parties and countries, and by principles embodied in the final documents of the talks in Čierna nad Tisou and the conference in Bratislava. They reaffirmed their loyalty to the pledge by the socialist countries to support, strengthen, and defend the gains of socialism and to wage an irreconcilable struggle against counterrevolutionary forces, a struggle that is the common international duty of all socialist countries. They expressed the firm conviction that under present circumstances the main thing is to carry out what was formulated at the Bratislava conference regarding provisions and principles, along with the points agreed upon in Čierna nad Tisou. It is also imperative to consistently realize the measures which stem from the agreements reached there.

2. The CC Pesidium of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia declared that the so-called 14th CPCz Congress—which was convened on 22 August without the approval of the CPCz

-477-

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