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Briefing on the umava Exercises for Alexander Dubček and Oldřich Černík by Commanders of the Czechoslovak People´s Army, July 1, 1968, with Follow-up Talks between Dubček and Marshal Yakubovskii.
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: VHA, F. MNO, OS/GS, Sv. umava
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: These are notes that Prime Minister Černik and First Secretary Dubček were given from top military commanders with in the CzPA Czechoslovakias Peoples Army on their meeting with the Soviet Marshal Yakubovskii.
NOTES on Meetings between the Minister of National Defense Col. Gen. Dzúr, the Deputy Minister Lt. Gen. A. Mucha, and the Chief of the General Staff of the CzPA Lt. Gen. K. Rusov, with the CPCz CC First Secretary Dubček, and ČSSR Prime Minister Černik about the End of the umava Exercises.
On I July 1968, between 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M., the minister of national defense, the chief of the general staff, and the deputy minister of national defense briefed the CPCz CC first secretary and the prime minister on the umava exercises. They informed them:
1. that the exercises had taken place successfully on 20-30 June 1968;
2. that certain irregularities had arisen in connection with the exercises, including:
- the plan for directing the exercises was not worked out in detail and was not made available to the armies' adjudicative service;
- the exercises were arranged on an hour-by-hour basis, from one day to the next, on the basis of decisions by Marshal Yakubovskii;
- officials from the CzPA exercise directorate were not invited to consultations or to the start of the exercises and were not kept sufficiently informed about the intended procedures;
3. that when the Hungarian Minister of Defense Col. Gen. Czinege arrived, there was some irregularity in welcoming him on the part of Marshal Yakubovskii. The Hungarian minister of defense was welcomed only by the chief of staff of the Joint Armed Forces, Army General Kazakov. Marshal Yakubovskii's decision not to receive him and instead to designate Army General Kazakov drew comments in the staff of the Hungarian People's Army;
4. that there were irregularities in the agreement to carry out an analysis of the exercises. It turned out that for unknown reasons Marshal Yakubovskii has sought to prolong the exercises.
The state of the umava exercises as of 1 July 1968 was discussed and the main questions at issue were the reasons for (1) postponing the analysis of the exercises from the originally scheduled date of I July 1968 at 9 A.M. to a later date, and (2) the intention of the Soviet side to extend the maneuvers until 4-5 July 1968.
On the basis of recommendations by the Minister of National Defense Col. Gen. Dzúr, Cdes. Dubček and Černik decided:
1. The Ministry of National Defense is to prepare a letter to Cde. Brezhnev, the CPSU CC first secretary and convey it to Moscow today, requesting the Soviet side to terminate the exercises, carry out the final analysis, and withdraw all allied troops from ČSSR territory;
2. The Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Rusov is to convey the following request from the CPCz CC first secretary and the ČSSR prime minister to Cde. Yakubovskiii personally:
Cdes. Dubček and Černik were today informed by National Defense Minister Dzúr that the umava exercises, which, according to the original plan, were supposed to end on 30 June 1968, are still continuing. Because our public bas been kept constantly informed about the progress of the exercises, and because the continuation of the exercises is causing anxiety among our public and among the staffs and troops of the CzPA that are taking part in the exercises, this does not help the consolidation of the political situation in our country.
Marshal Yakubovskii is requested to present a report by 12:00 P.M. on 1 July to the CPCz CC and the national government explaining-
1. why the umava exercises have not yet ended;
2. when they will end;
3. when the exercises will be analyzed.
It was requested that Marshal Yakubovskii should give these replies to Cde. Dubček personally and confirm this in writing by a courier.
After this report was transmitted, there was a telephone conversation between the CPCz CC first secretary and Marshal Yakubovskii on I July 1968 at 11:30 A.M.
Cde. Dubček asks Cde. Yakubovskii:
- Why, if the analysis was to have been carried out today, I July 1968, at 9:00 A.M., did neither I nor Cde. Černik know anything about a change of that date.
- I don't know why the analysis did not take place; this question should have been consulted with us. Neither the minister of national defense nor the chief of the General Staff was able to explain it to me because they had not been informed and did not know the reasons for the postponement.
- This puts me in an unpleasant situation because at a workers' assembly I announced the
end of the exercises and wished the units and staffs taking part in the maneuvers a good return journey home.
Cde. Yakubovskii replies:
- Yesterday, the 3Oth of June, at 1:30 P.M., I finished listening to a report on the latest situation and issued instructions for the following additional activity:
I July - sum up the results from the exercise needed for the final stage and compilation of the analysis;
2 July - carry out another analysis of the forces; the main analysis, as requested by Cde. Dubček, might also be carried out;
- I possibly suggest the morning of 3 July depending on what is convenient for Cdes. Dubček and Černik.
Cde. Dubček asks again: But is this not possible on I July?
Cde. Yakubovskii: No, it cannot be done on I July.
Cde. Yakubovskii proposes that the analysis be made on 2 July and that be will adjust his plans.
Following the analysis be wishes to host a festive luncheon.
Cde. Dubček says be will discuss it with Cde. Černik and will call Cde. Yakubovskii afterwards.
Cde. Dubček called Cde. Yakubovskii at 12 noon and told him that be and Cde. Černík agreed that the analysis should be held on 2 July 1968 at 9:00 A.M., with the proviso that those taking part will include the ČSSR president, the CPCz CC first secretary, Cdc. Dubček, Cde. Černik, Cde. Smrkovský, Cde. Piller, and Cde. Prchlík, and members of the CzPA command on the basis of a decision by the Soviet side. In addition be asked Cde. Yakubovskii that the analysis, including lunch, be terminated by 1:00 P.M.
Cde. Yakubovskii said be would make arrangements in accordance with this request, but asked for greater participation by party and government officials in the analysis of the exercises.
Cde. Dubček told him that because of a heavy workload at the CPCz Central Committee and preparations for CPCz district and regional conferences, other officials could not take part in the analysis. He then asked about Cde. Yakubovskiis general impression of the exercises.
Cde. Yakubovskii said be is satisfied with the progress of the exercises. The morale of the staffs and troops was good.
- He is satisfied with the work of the commanders and staffs that took part in the maneuvers, and offered high praise for the troops.
Cde. Dubček asked whether be could not manage to prepare the analysis on 1 July.
Cde. Yakubovskii replied that:
- be did not have the necessary background material from the exercise directorate and, even more important, be wanted to talk to the staffs of the maneuvering armies on those days,
- the actual exercises bad ended officially on 30 June 1968,
- they will end completely once the analysis is over.
Cdes. Dubček and Černik gave instructions to the CzPA chief of the General Staff to respond in writing to the request of Army General Kazakov regarding the supply of additional special repair units to the ČSSR. The reply should state that all necessary repairs of the technical hardware of the Joint Forces can be carried out by repair units of the CzPA, and that a further transfer of units to the ČSSR could complicate the political situation and jeopardize consolidation.
Chief of the General Staff
of the Czechoslovak People's Army
Lt General Karel Rusov
Deputy Minister of National
Defense and Commander of Ground Forces
Lt. General Alexandr Mucha