The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 20: Cable from Andrei Gromłko for Todor Zhivkov,
János Kádár, Walter Ulbricht, and Wladyslaw Gomułka Regarding
the Internal Security Situation in Czechoslovakia, April 1968

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, Z/S, MID 1.

In this top-secret cable, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko relays KGB intelligence on the alleged
activities of "hostile" and "subversive" elements in Czechoslovakia to the communist party leaders of
Bulgaria, Hungary, the GDR, and Poland. The cable asserts that an "illegal, anti-state" group has been
formed under the leadership of a dissident writer, Jan Procházka, and a professor at the University of
Prague, Václav Černý. This group, according to the KGB, is dedicated to "subvert"ing" the foundations
of socialism in the ČSSR."

The cable reflects the KGB's efforts to put the most negative light on events in Czechoslovakia. During
the Prague Spring, top KGB officials consistently advocated drastic action to halt the Czechoslovak,
reforms. Toward that end, they abandoned balanced intelligence gathering, and began preparing alarming
reports for the Soviet Politburo on the basis of what was, in fact, relatively innocuous information.
Gromyko's transmission is an example of how the KGB, with tacit approval from the CPSU leadership
(or at least certain members of the leadership), manipulated the flow of intelligence during the crisis.

(See also Document No. 130.)

Visit Cde. Zhivkov (Kádár, Ulbricht, Gomułka) personally and pass on to him the following information, which has been sent by diplomatic pouch.

The Committee on State Security of the USSR Council of Ministers wishes to inform you about the activities of the illegal, anti-state group in Czechoslovakia headed by Professor Václav Černý of Prague University and by the deputy chairman of the Union of Czechoslovak Writers and a former candidate member of the CPCz Central Committee, Jan Procházka.1 According to our information, the former chief of the General Staff of the Czechoslovak People's Army, Krejčí, the editor of the newspaper of the Czechoslovak Socialist Party, Svobodné slovo, I. Černý, authors Kohout, Vaculík, Beneš, Kundera, Havel, and Hamšík, an employee of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Konůpek, Professor Řehaák, and others are also taking part in the activities of this anti-state group. The leaders of the illegal group have set out to discredit the CPCz in the eyes of the Czechoslovak people, to subvert the foundations of socialism in the ČSSR, and to gradually return the country to the path of bourgeois development.

Černý and Procházka maintain contact with Tigrid, the leader of the reactionary Czechoslovak emigré center in Paris and editor of the emigré journal Svédectví, who is linked to American and French intelligence.2

Černý has broad contacts among leading figures in culture and science in Czechoslovakia, recasts their work in a hostile spirit, and receives information from them about the situation in various spheres of general, cultural, economic and political life in the ČSSR.

Grouped around Procházka are literary people who are against the policy of the CPCz. At the 4th Czechoslovak Writers' Congress in June 1967, Procházka and his cohorts worked on the speeches of a large number of writers who criticized party policy and forced the congress to adopt an anti-party platform.

This illegal group has forged links with opposition-minded students and inspires them to hostile activities.

1 Procházka was dismissed from the CPCz Central Committee in September 1967 for his role in the 4th Czechoslovak
Writers' Congress. See Document No. 1 above.

2 Pavel Tigrid was a well-known emigré journalist: for further details about him, see the annotations in Document
No. 1 above.

-96-

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