The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 136: Minutes of the Soviet-Czechoslovak Negotiations
in Kiev, 7–8 December 1968 (Excerpts)

Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, Z/S 17.

This transcription of the Kiev meetings between Czechoslovak and Soviet authorities reflects Moscow's
continuing pressure on Dubček to, as Brezhnev stated, "handle personnel matters"purge the reformers
from the leadership of the CPCz. Soviet leaders also emphasized the necessity of removing the "revisionist
tendencies" within the Czechoslovak People's Army.

Brezhnev, Kosygin, and Podgorny led the Soviet delegation at these talks. They were accompanied by
Pyotr Shelest, the Ukrainian party secretary, and Vladimir Shcherbitskii, the Ukrainian prime minister,
both members of the CPSU Politburo (Shelest as a full member, and Shcherbitskii as a candidate). Shelest
had attended earlier negotiations in Čierna and Bratislava. The Soviet delegation also included Konstantin
Katushev, the CPSU secretary responsible for intra-bloc relations, and Vasilii Kuznetsov, the first deputy
foreign minister who had effectively taken over from Chervonenko as ambassador to Czechoslovakia.

(See also Document No. 111.)


Minutes of the Soviet-Czechoslovak Negotiations in Kiev
7–8 December 1968

From the Soviet side: L. I. Brezhnev, A. N. Kosygin, N. V. Podgorny, P. E. Shelest, V. V. Shcherbitskii, K. F. Katushev, V. V. Kuznetsov.

From the Czechoslovak side: A. Dubček, L. Svoboda, O. Černík, G. Husák, L. Štrougal

L. I. Brezhnev:… We wish to express our thanks to you for agreeing to meet. The program for our meeting has not been fixed precisely, but we agreed with Cde. Dubček that we would listen to your reports on how the decisions of the November plenum are being implemented, how preparations are coming along for the December plenum, and, in particular, how you expect to handle personnel matters….

A. Dubček: … In the two months that have passed since our last meeting in Moscow, the leadership of the CPCz has focused its efforts on reducing internal tension, isolating the right-wing forces, and strengthening the leading role of the party."8 In doing so we used the conclusions we agreed upon together during our last meetings as our starting point.

To ensure fulfillment of the Moscow protocol means obtaining the support of the whole party and the majority of our society.

Of course, this is a long and complicated process when one considers the persistently negative mood that exists in Czechoslovakia. Our party rejects the views of those who believe that normalization of conditions can be achieved in one fell swoop—quickly, by using administrative measures. The adoption of such measures would cause further tension, which would entail resorting to extreme measures.119

118 In accordance with the Moscow Protocol, KAN and K-231 were effectively banned; censorship was reintroduced;
the Social Democratic Party had been formally proscribed; measures to restrict public assembly had been enacted; several
top reformers (Kriegel, Šik, Hájek, Pelikán. Pavel, and Hejzlar) had been dismissed or demoted; another reformer, Zdeněk
Mlynář, had abruptly resigned at the November plenum of the CPCz Central Committee; and the status-of-forces treaty
with the Soviet Union had taken effect.

119 Dubček appears to be referring here to the imposition of martial law.

-555-

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