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Message from Alexander Dubček and Oldřich Černík to Leonid Brezhnev, July 14, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir. "The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary:
Central European Press, 1998, pp. 210-211
Original Source: ÚSD, Sb. KV, K–Archiv MZV, Dispatches Sent, No. 2667/1968.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: A multilateral meeting took place without the knowledge of the Czechoslovak authorities. This letter was sent to Brezhnev. The Czechoslovak authorities had asked for bilateral meetings with the Warsaw Pact countries prior to the joint meeting which was now taking place.
Hand to Brezhnev immediately,
The CPCz CC Presidium bas received letters from the fraternal parties referring to efforts by the fraternal parties to state their position on the situation in the CPCz and the ČSSR. The CPCz CC Presidium was asked to take part in a conference of six parties to assess the situation in the ČSSR. The CPCz CC Presidium discussed the content of the letters at two meetings and unanimously decided that because the assessments of the situation in the ČSSR by the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, on the one hand, and the individual fraternal parties, on the other, are so divergent, it would be useful to hold bilateral negotiations in the ČSSR prior to the joint conference. The CPCz CC first secretary, Cde. A. Dubček, having been entrusted by the CPCz CC Presidium, asked you, Cde. L.I. Brezhnev, for a meeting between the CPSU and the CPCz at the earliest possible time. He suggested two dates – Sunday, 14 July, and Wednesday, 17 July-or any other day convenient for you. We fail to understand why it has not been possible for you to comply with our request. On Thursday, I l July, the CPCz CC Presidium received another letter signed by the five parties which again summons the CPCz CC Presidium to a joint meeting. The CPCz CC Presidium met on Friday and again bad a long discussion about the content of the letter. After a very long debate and in light of the complicated situation in the CPCz and the ČSSR, the Presidium unanimously decided to send a letter to the fraternal parties in which we will again ask them to understand that at the present time we feel it would be useful to hold bilateral meetings prior to a joint conference. The CPCz CC Presidium was motivated by the desire to have a better opportunity to explain to each side the CPCz’s position based on the resolution of the CPCz CC plenum in May, and also to agree on the procedure, content, and venue of a joint meeting. The letter was dispatched to the fraternal parties on Saturday, 13 July.
We regret to say that the deliberations of the CPCz CC Presidium on Friday, 12 July, were pointless. On Saturday, 13 July, we were informed by a ČTK report that the delegations of the fraternal parties were already assembling for a joint meeting. Referring to earlier letters, we can expect that the meeting will assess the situation in the CPCz and in the ČSSR without the participation of representatives of our party. We cannot understand why the view of our party is not being beard and why the party is facing afait accompli through a decision by several other parties. Our party was never informed of the date of the meeting. We cannot understand why a summit meeting bas been convened for Sunday in such haste. We fear the serious consequences of such a procedure. The CPCz CC Presidium and our entire party are working in an extremely complicated situation. Now, before the 14th CPCz Congress, we have to weigh every step most carefully. We expected a sensitive approach from the fraternal parties. It is to be expected that we will have to face a new protest wave that will strengthen both right-wing and sectarian forces in our country. In the interest of the future advance of socialism in our country and in the interest of international relations, we call on you, comrades, to refrain from steps that could worsen the situation in the ČSSR and relations between our fraternal parties. We would ask you to inform the other delegations at the meeting about the content of this letter.
A. Dubček and O. Černik