The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 30: Minutes of the CPCz CC Presidium Meeting,
May 7–8,1968 (Excerpts)

Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 02/1.

This document provides a partial transcript of the CPCz CC Presidium meeting immediately following
the bilateral Soviet-Czechoslovak negotiations in Moscow. The speeches by Dubček, Smrkovský, and
Černí reflect the impact of the criticism they encountered, and the depth of Soviet hostility toward the
reform movement. Smrkovský expresses dismay that "events "in Czechoslovakia" have been moving
differently from the way we wanted them to," and Černík says he is now "convinced that counterrevolution
is on the advance "in Czechoslovakia. Černík exhorts his colleagues to wage a vigorous struggle against
the "international bourgeoisie," warning that the situation might otherwise develop as it had in Hungary
in 1956. Even Dubček, who appeared somewhat less shaken than either Smrkovský or Černík, endorses
his colleagues' remarks and urged the CPCz to do more to foster "socialist tendencies."

Cde. Smrkovský: Comrades, I firmly adhere to the principles we incorporated in the party's Action Program after the January session. When I accepted those principles, I was politically conscious of my action, and I have no intention of changing my mind now.

I say this by way of introduction to emphasize that I still support the direction in which we have set out. Even so, things are moving differently from the way we wanted them to. We want to democratize the life of society and the management of society, and we have won immense sympathy among the mass of the people. This is undeniable, it is a fact. We have regained tremendous support that the party did not enjoy last year.28 It is a fact that the people once again have hope when they look to the new policy of the party. But while we are making speeches and want to democratize our life, certain others are not rallying around the Action Program or ways of implementing it (which is the other side of the coin of our efforts), but instead are preparing themselves to launch a frontal attack on our positions. On the basis of my convictions and of what I see and hear around me, I must declare my profound beliefs about this matter, rather than attempt to conceal them. I have not concealed them from the Presidium and I will not conceal them from the Central Committee or from our public. What I am going to say is not something I brought back from the Soviet Union because we spoke about these things when we flew out there, and we all said what we thought.

I want to point out that various forces are now rallying for a frontal attack on the position of the party; they want to use all possible means to drown the party—all possible means, they make no distinction. They do not see and do not want to hear about all the good that has been achieved. The mass media are from morning to night ferreting out all the bad things that have happened. Anti-communist forces and an anti-communist front are forming. …

If you permit me to say so, I as a communist official certainly do not want to live to see a counterrevolution in this country. …

Cde. Černík: I want to say that we regard this phase in the development of socialist democracy to be the advancement of democratic socialism in our country. It has a class character and is democracy for the majority, but is still very far from approaching the notion of democracy for all.

Now that we are facing new tasks of how to promote the development of democracy in this country, I want to say quite clearly that all of us, each one of us, above all each party organ, should be at the forefront of all that is sound and new, and all that is getting under way.

28 inor adjustment has been made in the translation to convey the proper meaning.

-129-

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