Measures to Facilitate the Process of Mutual Understanding in Relations
with the USSR," by Czechoslovak Foreign Minister Jiří Hájek,
April 17,1968 (Excerpts)
Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 07/15.
Foreign Minister Jiří Hájek made this proposal to the Czechoslovak leadership two weeks before a
delegation traveled to Moscow for bilateral talks. It reflects his awareness of the growing tensions in
Soviet-Czechoslovak relations, and records his suggestions on easing the pressure from Moscow.
Hájek's proposal assumes that the main reason for the deterioration of Soviet-Czechoslovak ties is that
"with few exceptions, the Soviet comrades do not understand the situation in our country." If Czechoslovak
officials could do a better job of "convincing the leaders of the CPSU and the Soviet state of the
overwhelmingly positive nature of the developments in our country," they would eventually succeed in
winning Moscow over, according to this position. For this reason, Hájek recommends that Dubček accept
the Soviet invitation to come to Moscow for bilateral consultations in order to address "the particular
lack of clarity" in the Kremlin concerning the reform movement.
to Facilitate the Process of Mutual Understanding
in Relations with the USSR
Relations between the ČSSR and the USSR have existed on a purely formal basis over recent years. This situation was undoubtedly caused by the position adopted by the CPCz CC regarding the dismissal of Cde. Khrushchev.6
Transformations in the Czechoslovak economy and certain traits in Czechoslovak culture have aroused doubts among several leading officials in the USSR, more often than not because of insufficient and inaccurate information.
Consequently, recent developments (from the plenum in October) have been followed with unusual attention.
In general one might say that, on the one hand, there are many people in the USSR who are keenly interested in the recent developments in Czechoslovakia, but on the other hand, the public at large is not properly informed. The result is a wide spectrum of views and responses, ranging from fears and fundamentally negative views to restraint and even great optimism….
The results of the January session of the CPCz CC, and the measures adopted there, have made a strong impression in the USSR. It is understandable that in such an agitated atmosphere a number of inaccurate or distorted views emerged. For example, concerns were expressed that Czechoslovakia had set out on the road of revisionism and was following the example of Yugoslavia or Romania. There were even suggestions that our policies were being driven by the difficult economic situation in our country or that our decisions were meant solely to alleviate nationality problems in the ČSSR. In these circumstances, it was a good thing that the Soviet
6 This is a reference to Antonín Novotný's opposition to Khrushchev's ouster, a position that hardly endeared him to