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Alexander Dubček´s Presidium Report on the Dresden Meeting, March 1968
Our Source: Navratil,
Jaromir. "The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press,
1998, pp. 73-75
Original Source: ŮSD, AÚV KSČ, F. 02/1; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 117-119
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This is the report presented by Dubček at his return from the Dresden meeting. Dubček does not mention the fact that Rumanian representatives had not been present at the meeting.
Information on the Experience of the CPCz Central Committee Delegation at the Meeting of Six Communist Parties in Dresden, 23 March 1968 (Dubček orally)
On my return from the meeting of the Political Consultative Committee in Sofia I informed you that at the end of the meeting there was a consultation among six of the communist parties. I told you that in this loose gathering new questions were raised in the discussion on the work of CMEA, the Political Consultative Committee, and the international communist movement. It was noted at the meeting that judging from experience, measures within CMEA, the economic division of labor, and other matters could not always be settled with the participation of every member state. It was further pointed out that the proposals for modifying the Joint Command had still not been settled, and that the question of whether to rotate the headquarters of the Warsaw Pact has also not been resolved yet. As became evident at the meeting in Sofia, no common language could be found when discussing moves in the United Nations on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
In Sofia we noted that it would be desirable if these six communist parties were to meet from time to time to discuss the conclusions and measures on which a common language could be found. At the first meeting of the six, a joint procedure was agreed on action to take in the UN when the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons was discussed. This was soon achieved with the proviso that every country would have the right to state its own position. It was also said that it would be good to come back to some other issues. Cde. Kádár mentioned the experience of the Budapest meeting.
The main conclusion of the Sofia meeting was that it would be good to meet more often in a group of this composition.
So we met in Dresden. I would like to say that we were reassured in our view on the procedure and need to strengthen the Warsaw Pact. This means that in the coming period the members of these communist parties and the representatives of these states will have to work faster in preparing a proposal about the Joint Command, the Military Council, and the Technical Committee." We adopted the communiqué without discussion.
Cde. Kosygin spoke about certain questions pertaining to economic cooperation of the states within CMEA and updated certain political aspects. What problems were these? First, in his speech Cde. Kosygin said that the proposal of mutual cooperation within CMEA was very good and that positive results had been attained. He mentioned these results because he felt that they were being approached in a pessimistic manner, and that the community of socialist states was experiencing good results in economic cooperation. In this context he said it was necessary to take advantage of the positive results of our economic cooperation.
In our propaganda it will be necessary, so to speak, to avoid downplaying this factor and to highlight the positive results of economic cooperation. He pointed to further possibilities of deepening economic cooperation. He mentioned that in their country there are huge crude oil deposits (about 11 billion tons). Why did he mention this? He wanted to show that far from all possibilities of cooperation are being exploited within the CMEA and that they as a country with raw material reserves are able to go further. He said there would have to be a race against time, as in the case of the construction of the gas pipeline, etc.
He also spoke about the economic conditions in the United States. This section was amazing for many comrades. What was so surprising? His contention was that the United States is approaching a real shock. The problem concerns the value of the dollar. The United States is looking for a way of propping up the dollar. It resorted to and is still taking a number of internal measures. It has even turned to the Soviet Union. He said that as a result of this state of affairs the economic situation was not very good.
It was also said that the State Planning Corn missions of countries working on Five-Year Plans should work more efficiently and aim to coordinate to a certain extent. Cde. Kosygin’s remarks made it clear that things had to be worked out better and taken up more actively. Officials from individual states should get together and prepare materials for top-level negotiations in order to find further ways of economic collaboration.
There was also an exchange of views and information at the meeting about our communist parties. I would like to say that in my introduction I spoke about certain conclusions of the January CPCz CC plenum and about its consequences. I also spoke about the preparation for the March plenum of the CPCz CC and certain connections. Other comrades spoke after me. What was there in common? There was some concern that certain activities should not be,-misused in our development. Cde. Gomulka spoke about the Polish experience, or how certain elements were hangers-on of the new movement. The parties must always remember this.
I can say that the specific concerns and advice we heard were prompted by the fact that the comrades are on our side and want things to work out."
Cde. Gomulka recalled the situation in his country. There they have problems with anti-Soviet attitudes and religious fanaticism. Then there are the Zionist problems. They have difficulties. And now we are pushing things. We ought to give the comrades the materials of the Central Committee session. Cde. Koucký should prepare them for the six parties and later we will have to consider how to inform our representatives in the socialist countries and in the capitalist ones as well.
Cde. Kolder: Their views are mostly printed in our press. The comrades are concerned and worried whether the party will manage to deal with the situation.
Cde. Vasil Bilák: They were astonished that the resignation of the president of the republic took place before the Central Committee plenum. In addition, regional secretaries are resigning and they are asking whether this was because of their disagreement with the policy after the January plenum.
Cde. Jozef Lenárt. They clearly do not have sufficient information about the district conferences. There was talk about the question of criticism. How were developments progressing? Whether this would not reflect on living standards. They said: We are allies, we want to know things. 'Re Slovak question, too, was explained there.