The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 129: Stenographic Account of the Meeting
of the "Warsaw Five" in Moscow, September 27,1968 (Excerpts)

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, Z/S 13.

This transcript of a meeting of the "Warsaw Five" in Moscow, originally 66 pages in length and taken
from tape recordings and participants' notes, records the Soviet Union's efforts to overcome the difficulties
that emerged as a result of Dubček's alleged failure to abide by the Moscow protocol.

The meeting, which took place a day after the Politburo reviewed the Czechoslovak situation, focused
on forcing Dubček to carry out the requisite changes of personnel in all major areas of Czechoslovak life:
the party, the government, the mass media, the higher educational system, the security forces, and the
army. Soviet leaders also wanted to prevent the CPCz first secretary from trying to salvage anything more
of the pre-August reforms and, above all, to head off any attempt he might make to relax the censorship
mandated by Article 4 of the protocol. The instrument for achieving these political goals, as decided both
at the CPSU Politburo session and at the meeting of the Five, was the permanent Soviet troop presence
in Czechoslovakia based on a formal treaty. The meeting transcript records Kosygin pointing out that
making Dubček sign a status-of-forces treaty would discredit the CPCz leader in the eyes of all the "rightist
forces" who had supported the Prague Spring. Over the longer term, the troops would be a convenient
medium through which the Soviet Union could exert political pressure, precluding any renewed attempts
at reform. For this purpose Brezhnev believed that around five divisions and command staffs would suffice
because "if any real danger emerges, the number of troops can always be increased again."

The Russian government turned over a copy of this document to the Czechoslovak commission in the
spring of 1992.

L I. Brezhnev welcomes the leaders of the parties and governments of the fraternal countries and notes that events in Czechoslovakia have made it imperative that they meet, exchange information, calmly assess the situation, and reach agreement on what joint actions should be taken.

We will try to keep you informed of what we know and set forth our position and the measures to be taken in the immediate future. We expect that the process under way in Czechoslovakia is of a long-term character. We must work out a general position and follow it through right to the end….

Moving on now to a brief report, which should provide a starting point for our negotiations, it is necessary to mention the following items, above all.

The month that has passed since the entry of our troops has fully confirmed both the need for our joint action and its timeliness. We have information about a whole series of facts attesting to the actions of the counterrevolutionary, anti-socialist underground in Czechoslovakia. The activity of the rightist forces, the revisionist wing in the CPCz, represents a great danger.

The main result of what we did is that we have blocked the road to counterrevolution in Czechoslovakia.

Furthermore, a strong blow was delivered to the right-wing forces in the CPCz itself; the prerequisites have been created for the gradual consolidation and activation of the healthy forces in the communist party.

On the whole, the groundwork has been laid for a renewal of the situation in both the party and the country. From a military-political standpoint, the entry of our troops demonstrated not only the capabilities of our countries in putting up a joint defense of the gains of socialism, but also our common resolve to use these capabilities when necessary. The military side of things provided ample confirmation of the high state of mobilized readiness of our armed forces and their efficiency in solving complicated tasks collectively.

It proved that the state interests and security of the Warsaw Pact countries are in fact guaranteed by the united might of our armies….

-504-

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