A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 42: Transcript of Gathering of Warsaw Pact
Leaders in Karlovy Vary, April 25, 1967

This conference of Warsaw Pact leaders at Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, received significant attention in the West at the time, but it was only recently that the transcript of most of the sessions became available. Officially, it was not a Warsaw Pact meet- ing, but it dealt extensively with socialist bloc political strategy vis-à-vis NATO. Significantly, the Romanians refused to attend, allegedly because Ceaușescu had not been properly consulted, but in reality because he did not want to commit to what the Soviet Union would dictate on behalf of the other member-states. Ceaușescu also want- ed to avoid being associated with an anti-NATO policy since he was already trying to improve relations with certain members of the alliance himself. The thrust of the ses- sion was to call publicly for the dissolution of NATO and ejection of the United States from Europe, a move which Western observers regarded as the start of a broad cam- paign against the Atlantic alliance. Some analysts, such as Marshall Shulman8, saw the declaration as amounting to the creation of a northern tier within the Warsaw Pact comprising Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia, strategically the most impor- tant members of the bloc.

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Notes of Conversations of First Secretaries of CC Communist and Workers' Parties in Socialist Countries at the Meeting in Karlovy Vary

"…"

Brezhnev: First of all, I would like to inform the comrades about the purpose of our meeting. "…" Cde. Gomułka put forth an idea, to which we adhere. Namely, whether we, as communist parties of socialist countries, should approach the Chinese leadership with a letter. The main thought was to invite the Chinese for joint agreedupon actions in the fight against American imperialism in the defense of Vietnam. And not only in general words, but to try to present certain matters concretely while complementing the aspect of political unity:

1. Taking into consideration the danger of the Americans breaking Haiphong, we asked the Chinese to designate their ports for the transfer of supplies to Vietnam.

2. The capacity of the rail "system" should also be increased, since there is much congestion over there at the moment.

"…"

8 Marshall Shulman, a political scientist at Columbia University, was a specialist on the Soviet Union who later became special adviser to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance for Soviet affairs from 1977 to 1980.

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