The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 60: Soviet Government Diplomatic Note
to the Czechoslovak Government, July 20,1968

Source:? SD, Sb. KV, K—Archiv MZV, F. Gs ""TK ""; Vondrová & Navrátil,
vol. 1, pp. 321–323.

The Soviet government transmitted this harsh diplomatic demarche in response to Gen. Prchlík's July
15 news conference. In it, the Kremlin denounces Prchlík's remarks as further evidence that Czechoslo-
vakia's "obligations to the Warsaw Pact" are being "undermined" by "anti-socialist and anti-Soviet
forces." Using virtually identical language to Marshal Yakubovskii 's letter on the general's misdeeds, the
note explicitly demands that the Czechoslovak authorities "exact the requisite measures against people"
like Prchlík.

The Soviet authorities also allege that the situation around Czechoslovakia's western border had
become "absolutely abnormal and dangerous" and was being "exploited by the intelligence organs of
imperialist states." This was "not a purely, internal Czechoslovak matter," because it affected the
"common safety of the socialist countries," and the USSR could "not be remain indifferent."

The Soviet government 's note was drafted on the same day that top Soviet political and military officials
met and decided to proceed with the final planning and preparations for an invasion. The Soviet
ambassador in Prague, Stepan Chervonenko, passed it to Czechoslovak leaders two days later.

The Soviet government believes it is obliged to draw the attention of the ČSSR government once again to several serious matters affecting the vital interests and security of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries in the Warsaw Pact.

1. Earlier on, the Soviet government drew the attention of the Czechoslovak side to the fact that actions are being taken in the ČSSR aimed at undermining the Warsaw Pact. It must be said that such actions are not a one-time occurrence, and far from decreasing, they have recently been stepped up in pursuit of a fully defined objective: namely, to undermine the obligations assumed by Czechoslovakia along with the other socialist states in the Warsaw Pact. All these actions cannot be regarded as matters relating solely to the internal affairs of a country; for they directly affect the security interests of the Soviet Union and all the other socialist countries.89

In this regard, one cannot help noticing that leading officials in the ČSSR, while stressing their loyalty to Czechoslovakia's alliance treaties and obligations, are doing nothing to rebuff all sorts of developments that are eroding the structure and principles of the Warsaw Pact. This inaction does great harm to the common interests of the socialist countries.

As is known, on 15 July of this year a press conference was held in the Journalists' Club in Prague under the auspices of the CPCz CC State-Administrative Department, with the head of the department, V. Prchlík, as the main speaker. At this conference, according to the Czechoslovak press, V. Prchlík argued, without offering any evidence, that the structure of the Warsaw Pact nowadays is obsolete.

In an unacceptable manner, he defamed the activities of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact Member States, declaring that this body does not fulfill its functions. Speaking about the structure of the Warsaw Pact Joint Armed Forces Command, the press conference organizers not only distorted the essence of this structure and its organization, but went even further and divulged some top-secret data contained in the protocol "On the Creation of the Joint Armed Forces Command of Member States of the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance" of 14 May 1955, and also clauses about the Joint Armed Forces

89 Here and elsewhere the letter emphasizes the central theme of the Brezhnev Doctrine, namely, that the internal
situation in Czechoslovakia was of vital concern not only for Czechoslovakia itself, but for all socialist countries.

-265-

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