The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 8: Report Submitted to the CPCz CC Presidium
on Alexander Duček's Visit to Moscow, January 29–30,1968 (Excerpts)

Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 02/1; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 39–4.

This document provides a summary of the issues Dubček and Brezhnev covered during the Czechoslovak
leader's visit to Moscow at the end of January. Their conversations focused on Soviet-Czechoslovak ties
as well as on internal developments in the two countries. Dubcek pledges to "strengthen fraternal
friendship and all-round cooperation between our parties and countries, "adding that "friendship and
alliance with the Soviet Union are the cornerstone of all our activity." He also commits to uphold and
strengthen the essential features of Czechoslovakia's socialist system, including the "leading role" of the
CPCz and the practice of "democratic centralism" within the party. In response, according to the
summary, Brezhnev indicates he is "pleased that your Central Committee, the leadership of your party,
and Cde. Dubček personally intend to contribute to the expansion and deepening of our friendly ties. "
Brezhnev also expresses full confidence that the CPCz under Dubček's guidance would be able to solve
Czechoslovakia's "acute and critical internal problems."

Brezlinev invited Dubček to Moscow after a top Soviet delegation, consisting of Brezhnev, Podgorny,
and Kosygin, traveled unofficially to Poland and East Germany in mid-January and heard ample
expressions of concern from Gomulka and Ulbricht.

During his stay in Moscow, Cde. Dubček had talks with Cde. Brezhnev and Cde. Podgorny. On the Soviet side, those present included Cdes. Gromyko, Goreglyad (first vice-chairman of the USSR Gosplan), Rusakov (first deputy head of a department at the CPSU Central Committee), Kolesnikov (head of the Czechoslovak-Polish section at the CPSU Central Committee), and Chervonenko.13 On the Czechoslovak side were Cdes. Pavlovský and Synek.14

Cdes. Dubček and Brezhnev exchanged views about certain current international problems and the international communist movement, and informed each other about the domestic situation in their countries.

Cde. Dubček then went into detail about some of the conclusions contained in the resolution of the January plenum of our party.

Cde. Dubček added that the passages in the plenary resolution about our relations with the Soviet Union and the CPSU expressed the unequivocal and clear position of our Central Committee which we firmly endorse. This position expressed the will of our entire party and our people. Thus, it was nonsensical and foolish for anyone to believe that the personnel change in the leading post would cause a reversal on this score. "I would like to stress once again that fraternal friendship and firm alliance with the Soviet Union are not a question for individuals in our party. As far as I am concerned, I would like to give you my assurance—and I hope you never had any doubts about this—that in my new post I will act, as I always have up until now, to do my utmost to assist the efforts of our party's Central Committee to seek the further consolidation of our fraternal friendship and stronger all-round cooperation between our parties and countries. It goes without saying that problems may arise, but I am convinced that our Central Committee and our party will always solve them, bearing in mind that friendship and alliance with the Soviet Union are the cornerstone of all our activities.

13 Andrei Gromyko was the Soviet foreign minister; Stepan Chervonenko was the Soviet ambassador in Prague.

14 At the time, Oldíich Pavlovský was the Czechoslovak ambassador in Moscow. Later on he became minister of
domestic trade in the Czechoslovak government and was one of the hard-line supporters of the Soviet invasion. Ivan
Synek was a specialist on intra-bloc relations in the CPCz CC International Department. Unlike Pavlovský, he supported
the Prague Spring and was a champion of "the inalienable right of every socialist country and every communist party to
determine for itself the forms of socialist construction suitable for its own country."

-42-

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