The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 35: Letter from Leonid Brezhnev to Alexander Dubček
Informing Him about the Results of the Moscow Meeting
of the "Five", May 1968

Source: ÚSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 07/15, Zahr. kor. c. 797.

Leonid Brezhnev wrote this undated letter sometime around May 26. It is a response to a request that
Dubček made on May 15 to the Soviet ambassador in Czechoslovakia, Stepan Chervonenko, for official
information about the five-party meeting held in Moscow on May 8. Brezhnev's letter only nominally
responds to Dubček's request for information and its tone is notably chillier than Brezhnev's two earlier
letters. (He uses the formal second-person pronoun, "vy," when addressing Dubček rather than using the
familiar "ty," as in earlier correspondence.) Moreover, the Soviet leader withholds information from
Dubček. The letter does not mention that during the Moscow meeting Brezhnev raised, for the first time,
the possibility of military intervention in Czechoslovakia; nor does Brezhnev provide any hint that
large-scale Warsaw Pact military maneuvers are about to get under way on Czechoslovak territory.

"no date"

To the First Secretary of the CPCz CC Comrade A. Dubček:

In connection with your letter asking me to inform you about the meeting of top officials from the Bulgarian Communist Party, the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the Polish United Workers' Party, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which took place on 8 May of this year, I have been authorized by the CPSU CC Politburo to tell you the following:

At this meeting we exchanged views on a number of urgent international problems, especially those connected with the intrigues of the recently activated circles of imperialism and, above all, the revanchists and neo-Nazis in the FRG. We also touched on questions connected with the development of mutual cooperation among the fraternal parties and governments, especially in economic areas.

During the meeting the Polish comrades stated that they had prepared specific ideas for the further perfection of economic relations among the CMEA countries. The participants at the meeting agreed that the Polish comrades should send their materials to all the member states of CMEA.

At this meeting the same questions were discussed that were discussed at the previous meeting of Soviet and Czechoslovak officials. These are matters on which you and we, as we recently affirmed, have the same basic position. Obviously, at this meeting, as at other meetings of fraternal parties, we and the other participants would have preferred it if representatives also had been present from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, a party with which we have close fraternal ties and a relationship of complete trust, with no need to keep secrets from one another. But when we took into account that only a few days earlier a group of top officials from the CPCz and the Czechoslovak state, headed by you, had visited Moscow, we concluded that a request on our part for you to come again could be difficult for you in view of the large number of urgent matters in your country that demand your attention. This is all the more the case insofar as the general situation in Czechoslovakia at the time, as you yourself acknowledged, was still complicated. Irrespective of that, such a swift repetition of a visit by Czechoslovak officials to Moscow could have given rise to speculation and various reports about supposed difficulties emerging in relations between the CPSU and other fraternal parties, on the one hand, and the CPCz, on the other.

-148-

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