Source: "Zayavlenie kommunisticheskikh i rabochikh partii sotsialisticheskikh stran," Pravda
(Moscow), 4 August 1968, p. 1; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2, pp. 151–155.
The six communist party leaders from the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany and
Czechoslovakia issued this joint declaration at the end of the Bratislava conference on August 3. The final
document was based on a preliminary draft brought by the Soviet delegation. Czechoslovak officials were
able to secure numerous small amendments to the text, but on the major points the Soviet delegates resisted
pressure for modifications.
Some of the phraseology represented a genuine compromise between Czechoslovakia and the "Five."
The declaration stipulated that "each fraternal party" must "take account of specific national features
and conditions" when "deciding questions of socialist development." It also obliged the signatories to
respect one another's "sovereignty, national independence, and territorial integrity."
Following the invasion, Soviet officials argued that those principles had to be understood within the
context of the "laws of class struggle," and that Czechoslovakia could enjoy its "sovereignty," "national
independence, "and "territorial integrity" only by remaining a "socialist" state. Specific parts of the
Bratislava declaration were cited as a justification for the armed intervention in Czechoslovakia. In
particular, Soviet commentators emphasized that the declaration had enshrined "the common interna-
tional duty of all the socialist countries "to undertake the "task of supporting, consolidating, and defending
these gains" for the whole socialist commonwealth. Furthermore, Soviet officials argued that the
declaration had bound the six governments to "increase their efforts to strengthen the defense capabilities
of each socialist state" and to "bolster political and military cooperation within the Warsaw Pact. "That,
according to their post-August 21 justification, was one of the main objectives of the invasion.
"Statement by the Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries"
On 3 August 1968 a conference was held in Bratislava for representatives of the communist and workers' parties of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, the Hungarian People's Republic, the German Democratic Republic, the Polish People's Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic….
"Omitted passage lists the participants."
Because the complicated international situation and the subversive acts of imperialism which are directed against the peace and the security of nations and against the cause of socialism, require the further cohesion of the countries of the socialist system, and also because the development of socialism involves new tasks the resolution of which is essential for the further unification of efforts by socialist states, officials from the communist and workers' parties of socialist countries believe it necessary to convene this meeting in Bratislava.
In deference to traditions, in conditions of absolute frankness, adherence to principles, and friendship of the fraternal parties, they considered topical questions concerning the struggle for socialism, the further strengthening of the socialist community, and the closing of ranks of the world communist movement. There was an exchange of opinions on problems connected with the current international situation and on the need to intensify the struggle against imperialism.
The officials from the communist and workers' parties considered ways of strengthening and developing fraternal cooperation among the socialist states.
In the years since the defeat of fascism and the accession to power of the working class, the peoples of European countries who set out on the path of socialism have achieved victories in all spheres of life. During these years the parties have overcome difficulties and gradually improved their work as they ensured in each socialist country the emergence of a powerful