The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 50: Top-Secret Telegram from Ambassador Stepan
Chervonenko to Moscow Regarding the CPCz CC Presidium's Decision
Not to Attend the Warsaw Meeting, July 9,1968

Source: AVPRF, F. 059, Op. 58, P. 124, D. 571, L1. 145–149.

Soviet Ambassador Stepan Chervonenko transmitted this highly classified cable to Moscow on July 9,
a few days before the Warsaw Meeting was due to start. Chervonenko reports that the CPCz CC Presidium
has declined invitations from the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact countries to attend a joint meeting
in Warsaw, preferring instead to hold a series of bilateral consultations as a prelude to a full multilateral
conference. The cable advises that the Presidium wants bilateral talks to be held with Romania and
Yugoslavia as well as with the "Five," and that the series of bilateral meetings could be arranged, for the
sake of convenience, during the upcoming Extraordinary 14th CPCz Congress, when other communist
party leaders would be in Prague. Chervonenko's cable also describes, at some length, the strong concerns
he had conveyed to Dubček on behalf of the Soviet and East European authorities.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR

TOP SECRET Copy No. 1


CIPHERED TELEGRAM

From Prague 10 July 68

EYES ONLY

SPECIAL CLASSIFICATION

Today, 9 July 68,I was invited to the CPCz CC where, at Cde. Dubček's instruction, Cde. Lenárt gave me a formal response to the proposal to convene a meeting in Warsaw of representatives from the fraternal parties.

The response is as follows:

"Based on a review of letters we have received from the fraternal countries proposing that a meeting be held to consider the situation in the ČSSR and the CPCz, the CPCz CC Presidium states:

In principle we agree to and would welcome holding meetings and negotiations with separate communist parties at the level of the Presidium or in some other acceptable format, because at present we are not ready for a joint meeting of the six communist parties that may occur on Thursday, 11 July 1968.

The CPCz CC Presidium recommends that a meeting of the six communist parties not be held at this time to consider the current situation in Czechoslovakia and the CPCz, and proposes instead that bilateral negotiations be held with representatives of the fraternal parties, so that we can mutually inform one another about the situation in our countries and parties.

In taking this position, the Presidium is upholding the generally recognized principles of socialist construction, which hold that the close alliance and cooperation of our parties is a precondition for the successful development of individual countries, while also respecting the specific features and sovereignty of every party on questions of its internal policy. For our part, we will present complete information about the situation in our country and the CPCz and about the measures we are taking. To this end, the Presidium believes it would be appropriate and beneficial if the same sort of bilateral negotiations were held with representatives of the Communist Party of Romania and the League of Communists of Yugoslavia.

-207-

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