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Letter from Leonid Brehznev to Alexander Dubček Proposing Another Bilateral Meeting, June 11, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir. "The
Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998, pp. 158-159
Original Source: ÚSD, AÚD KSČ, F. 07/15, Zahr. kor. C. 817; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 1, pp. 240-241.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This is the letter written by Leonid Brezhnev and was received by Alexander Dubček on June 12 1968. It contains a proposal for a new Soviet - Czechoslovak meeting. Dubček response is that the meeting must be postponed until such time he is available, preferably after the party conferences – mid July.
To Esteemed Alexander Stepanovich!
Thank you for the information about the most recent plenum of the CPCz CC and about the situation in the state and the party, which we obtained via Cde. Chervonenko. We were satisfied upon receiving your news about the measures designed to activate the internal life of the party and to entrench the leading role of the party in socialist construction. At the same time we understand your worries and concerns about the attacks by anti-socialist forces against the party. As you know, we, too, are closely following the course of events in Czechoslovakia. We share your worries, and in a fraternal spirit we support you and your comrades in the fight you are waging for the defense and further development of socialist gains in Czechoslovakia and for the consolidation of the CPCz and its leading role. It has now become clear that your fight to achieve those goals is taking place against a backdrop of overt and growing pressure from anti-socialist forces.
Now, after the May plenum of the CPCz CC, you have entered an especially difficult period-a period in which preparations will be made for the extraordinary party congress. We well understand the great importance of the upcoming congress for the life of the party and the country. The preparations for the congress, as can now be seen, will be made at a time when your opponents have begun stepping up their attacks against the healthy forces in the communist party and its leadership, and have been perpetrating a campaign of intimidation, lies, and provocation; in this way, under the guise of waging a struggle against "conservatives," they will "shoot down" all the honest and loyal communists. The line faithful to Marxism-Leninism, to the cause of socialism, to internationalist duty, to the world communist movement, and to the Warsaw Pact, which, as was recently proclaimed, has been engaged in a sharp class struggle against bourgeois ideology, has encountered overt pressure from anti-socialist and counterrevolutionary forces. Unfortunately, we see that your mass media (the press, radio, and television) are still mainly espousing right-wing, bourgeois-liberal, and sometimes openly counterrevolutionary positions, irrespective of the results of the May plenum of the CPCz CC.
What especially worries us, as it does you and your comrades, is the existence of a "second center" in the CPCz, which obviously complicates the situation in the party and the country.
We believe that in these circumstances you will find the appropriate solutions and will take the necessary measures to ensure the successful preparation for such an important congress.
Surely you understand that we are sincerely and fraternally standing by you in confronting the difficulties of your struggle, and that we, for our part, would like to lend you all possible assistance and support.
In that connection, it seems worthwhile, in our view, to arrange another unofficial, bilateral, and friendly meeting with you, Alexander Stepanovich, and your closest, like-minded comrades. From our side, Cdes. Brezhnev, Podgorny, Kosygin, and Katushev could take part in the meeting.
This meeting could be held at any location that is suitable for you along the Soviet-Czechoslovak border, in the Tatras, or in Uzhgorod.
We believe that in view of the current situation it would be best if the meeting were held confidentially, and that, for this reason, we suggest meeting on the morning of Saturday, the 15th, and Sunday, the 16th of June of this year after your return from Hungary. A friendly and confidential exchange of opinions would contribute to a better mutual understanding and coordination of our efforts in the struggle for the further consolidation and development of the cause of socialism and of Soviet-Czechoslovak friendship.