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Situation Report by the U.S. State Department, August 29, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: National Security File, Country File, Czechoslovakia, Czech Crisis 8/68, State Situation Reports, Box 182, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This report was written by the Czech task forces which had been established in USA and which’s only task was to monitor the happenings in Czechoslovakia.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE CZECH TASK FORCE
Situation Report 1200 Hours EDT, August 29, 1968
1. Czechoslovak Leaders Encounter Mixed Reaction to Moscow Accords: Press reports from Czechoslovakia today indicate that the Prague leadership is moving ahead with a slow modification of its liberal reforms. Opposition to the Moscow accords is still voiced from some quarters, but resistance appears to be subsiding in Prague as increasing numbers of people accept implementation of the accords as inevitable. According to the West German news agency DPA, Literární listy, the organ of the Czechoslovak writers and an outspokenly liberal journal, carried an article today calling on the Czechs to reject any compromise, insisting on “all the freedoms we have achieved” and the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops whom it was “our duty to hate.”
A more moderate line was taken by the head of the Czech trade union council Karel Poláček in a speech broadcast this morning. Poláček urged all union members to support Svoboda, Dubček, and other leaders and to achieve “normalization” in order to permit the earliest possible departure of foreign troops. Tanyug reports members of the old and new Czechoslovak Central Committees – the pre-invasion CC and that “elected” by the extraordinary party congress on August 22 – will meet on August 29 or 30, apparently to resolve the question of the validity of the decisions made by the extraordinary congress.
2. Dubček Appears in Bandages: Embassy Prague, citing an American medical scientist residing in Prague, reports that Dubček appeared at a meeting on August 28 heavily bandaged around the head and upper body, “presumably from mistreatment by Soviets.” Reuters reported that Dubček had an “ominous-looking adhesive plaster” on his forehead on August 28, which he attributed to a bathtub fall.
3. Romania Backing Czech Emphasis on Troop Withdrawals, Avoiding Polemics: The Statement of the Romanian Communist Party Executive Committee today underscored the party's “particular attention” to the August 23-26 Soviet-Czechoslovak talks in Moscow, reiterated its “unanimous anxiety and disapproval” of the “penetration” into Czechoslovakia, recalled Romania's insistence from the outset that the only way to “a reasonable solution” lay through negotiations, “appreciated” the return of the Czechoslovak leaders to Prague, and considered it of “utmost importance to carry into effect the complete withdrawal in the shortest time” of the occupation troops. This line is consistent with the Romanians' position on the invasion from the beginning, though the term “penetration,” in lieu of their earlier-used “intervention” and “occupation,” represent a slight toning down of Bucharest's criticism of “the five.” The Romanian press continues to avoid polemical exchanges with the powers that invaded Czechoslovakia – exchanges which today included a Tribuna Ludu attack in Warsaw on Romania's “impermissible” attitude on the crisis. Romanian ambassador Bogdan today indicated he thought the overall Czechoslovak crisis “was beginning to subside.”