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Cables from the Czechoslovak Ambassadors in London and Washington on U.S. reactions to the Situation in Czechoslovakia, August 10-12, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998, pp. 339-340
Original Source: Sb. KV, K-Archiv MZV, Dispatches No. 7501, 7529/1968; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2, pp. 167-169.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: The first cable is sent by the Czechoslovak ambassador in London, Miloslav Rusek, to the home country. It deals with a meeting between Dean Rusk, the American Secretary of State, and Antolii Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador in USA.
The second cable, sent by Ambassador Karel Duda in Washington, deals with the American reaction to the Bratislava and Čierna nad Tisou meetings and their positive outcome.
Dispatch from London:
According to reliable information from American quarters in London, after Rusk heard about the discovery of American weapons near Sokolovo, he summoned Dobrynin and told him categorically that the Americans had absolutely nothing to do with the entire affair. He added that the anonymous insinuations as well as reports in the Soviet press had made it blatantly clear that this was a gross provocation. Rusk declared that if this or similar provocations were to lead to military intervention against the ČSSR, congress would refuse to approve the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Americans carefully assessed the outcome of the meetings in Čierna and Bratislava and have concluded that we achieved even more than bad been expected. They did not understand what had caused the turnabout in the harsh position of the USSR, and they believe that we laid down the condition for the withdrawal of Soviet troops before the opening of negotiations. They believe that the results of Čierna are probably permanent, but that economic difficulties could be expected in our country which will cause discontent and could be exploited politically. They are now closely monitoring ČSSR-USSR economic relations to see whether there will be a curtailment and deterioration of Soviet deliveries. The British were surprised by the favourable outcome at Čierna; before the meeting they had thought we would retreat by restoring press censorship and consenting to at least the partial stationing of Soviet troops on our territory.
Dispatch from Washington:
All interested U.S. parties last week gave maximum attention to the outcome of negotiations at Čierna and Bratislava. The only official reaction was a comment by the State Department spokesman, who reiterated the thesis about U.S. non-involvement in any form. He said the Bratislava formulation regarding U.S. subversive activities were regrettable and an unfounded accusation. Official circles look upon the results of the negotiations very favourably. They attach greatest significance to the victory of the moderate forces in the Soviet leadership, which might also help the further improvement of relations with the U.S.
Compared to last week, the press and other media have been paying less attention to Czechoslovak problems, but the major papers continue to devote front-page coverage to the situation in our country. Reports and commentaries show a lack of detailed knowledge about the negotiations and the concessions made by both sides. Commentaries are therefore mainly confined to speculation either about the reasons that a moderate line prevailed or about developments in the weeks to come, as well as the long-term repercussions. Their main source of information and conjectures is our press. The American press generally regards the present state of affairs to be temporary and soon to be followed by more negotiations. A further deterioration of relations in the near future is not ruled out, however.
The sympathy of the U.S. public and of Congress are unquestionably on the side of the ČSSR, albeit with different motivations. Expressions of sympathy for us in Congress and often in the press are accompanied by harsh attacks against the USSR.