The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 138: Talks between ČSSR Defense Minister Dzúr
and Soviet Defense Minister Grechko, April 1,1969

Source: AK, N—VHA, file MNO-SM.

While the Soviet-led invasion represented an easy military victory for Moscow, many of the documents
in this collection show that the political battle for Czechoslovakia was far more problematic. In this vivid
discussion, Soviet Marshal Andrei Grechko reacts furiously to the outbreak of widespread demonstrations
following Czechoslovakia's victory over the Soviets at the world ice hockey championships on March 28.
He accuses the Czechoslovak leadership of organizing the demonstrations, using the hockey match as a
pretext. Amid charges that counterrevolution is on the advance, he comments, in the words of the
Czechoslovak note-taker, that "the situation in our country is worse than on August 21, 1968."


Minutes of Talks between Representatives of the Czechoslovak People's Army
Command and the Soviet Army
April 1, 1969 (10:00–12.30 P.M.)
in the building of the Ministry of National DefenseThe ČSSR Minister of National Defense Col. General M. Dzúr received the USSR Defense Minister, Marshal of the USSR A.A. Grechko at his own request. In addition to Minister Grechko, the Soviet side was represented by:
Col. Gen. Maiorov, commander of the Central group of forces in the ČSSR,
Col. Gen. Povalin, head of the main operational administration and secretary of the State Defense Council,
Maj. Gen. Zolotov, head of the political administration and member of the Military Council of the Central group of forces in the ČSSR.
In addition to the minister of national defense, the Czechoslovak side was represented by:
Lt. Gen. V. Dvořák, state secretary of the ČSSR government at the Ministry of National Defense,
Lt. Gen. K. Rusov, chief of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak People's Army,
Lt. Gen. F. Bedřich, head of the main political administration of the Czechoslovak People's Army,
Lt. Gen. A. Mucha, head of the main administration of land forces, deputy minister,
Maj. Gen. J. Lux, head of the main rear, deputy minister,
Col. Gen. M. Šmoldas, inspector general of the Czechoslovak People's Army, deputy minister.

Minister: stated at the outset of the talks that he had convened those members of the army command requested by Minister Grechko. The meeting is unexpected for us and it would have been more agreeable had it been possible to talk under different circumstances.

Grechko: stated that he, too, would have wished the situation had been better. He had come at the decision of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR government to investigate the causes and consequences of anti-socialist outrages on March 28–29, 1969, directed against the Soviet army and the Soviet people. He would carry out the investigations with his own people.

It was a shameful thing and that is why he felt obliged to inform the minister of national defense and the command of the Czechoslovak People's Army on his opinion of the affronts directed

-564-

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