Third World Reaction to Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia
. II. 25
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence8
Third World Reaction to Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia
The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia haslargely predictable reactions among the "third-world" nations of Africa and Asia. reat majority of the governments making official statements have voiced disapproval of the Soviet action, but indegrees of severity. In Asia, criticism of the Sovietsonaligned countries was generallywhile in Africa the reaction was almosthostile. (See Table) There is already some evidence, however, that the unpopularity of theaction will be only temporary, and will have little long-range impact on Soviet relations with the nations of Africa and Asia.
iiote; This memorandum was produced solely by CIA. It waeTprepcred by the Office of Current Intelligence and coordinated uith the Office of national Estimates.
Reaction of Those African and Asian Governments Making Official Statements
X. Asian governments generally have beenin their official reactions to the events in Czechoslovakia. Except for the anticipatedby Australia, the Philippines, andno Asian country expressed more than simple disapproval of the Soviet action. The only explicit endorsements of the Soviet intervention came from North Korea and North Vietnam.
Asia's two major powers, Indiaofficially reacted withby their abstention from the UNSoviet intervention. India'ssubstantial Soviet military and economic aid
and its consequent unwillingness to jeopardize Indo-Soviet relations diluted the government's censure but did not prevent widespread public condemnation and hostile parliamentary dehate. The Pakistani Government, by failing to issue any public statement on the Czech crisis and instructing the press to tone down its criticism of the invaders,irm intention to avoid offending the USSRime when Pak-Soviet relations are increasingly warm and Soviet military aid may be forthcoming. The only unequivocal statement in South Asia came from the Government of Ceylon, which labeled the Soviet actionreacherous stab in the back."
Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Burmastatements voicing adherence to the coexistence and noninterference in theof another country. Malaysia's positioninfluenced by large Soviet purchasesas well as Moscow's support in thewith the Philippines over Sabah. TheGovernment, although expressing shockin private conversations, temperedreaction because of the scheduleda Soviet economic delegation onugust todebt rescheduling and economic assistance.
The African countries were nearly unanimous in their disapproval and condemnation of the Soviet intervention. Such an overwhelmingly unfavorable reaction was made possible by the lack of substantial dependence on the USSR for military and economic In addition, African capitals arehostile to any actionGreat Power" which hints of interference in the internal affairseaction emphasized by the repeated disapproval of the violation of the territorialegrity and national sovereignty of Czechoslovakia.
Only the radical state of Mali has officially endorsed the Soviet action, and even here there are indications that the Bamako regime took the action only after strong Soviet pressures had been applied. Although the Guinean regime hasublic silence on the event, regime leaders, including Presi>-dent Toure, are evidently disturbed by the Soviet tactics and concerned at the divisions the invasion has created in the socialist camp. Elsewhere in west Africa, numerous official statements accused
the Soviets of flagrant violation of the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia and demanded the immediateof all Soviet forces from the country. Ghana labeled the Soviet invasion an act of "unjustified aggression and blatanthile Gambia suspended its limited cultural relations with the USSR and its Warsaw Pact associates in the Czech venture. Senegal's foreign minister privately characterized the Soviet action as "openwhich destroyed the Soviet claim toeace-loving nation. Although no public statement was issued in Dakar, Senegal's representative at the UN said his government "regrets, and condemns" the intervention.
Soviet support for Lagos'maintain Nigerian unity probably was thefactor in Nigeria's refusal to commenton Soviet intervention inSoviet's backing of federal militarya civil war with secessionist Ibo tribesmen
has included the sale of jet planes, patrol boats, and other military equipment. Widespread public outcry in Nigeria against the Soviet intervention was dampened by Lagos, whichtop topress articles.
The reaction in Central Africa was severe. Zaxbia's statement denounced the "Russianin Czechoslovakia"monstrous act ofsavagery." Congo (K) acted to withdraw all its students from Warsaw Pact countries. Burundi condemned the Soviet intervention, and students scheduled to study in the USSR were deniedto leave the country.
Condemnation from the East African nations, though generally more restrained, was nevertheless widespread. Kenya colled the Sovietnaked and brutal manifestation of the worst form of imperialism." Tanzania in unusually strongcondemned the Soviet "aggression"irect violation of international law and of the UN charter. Uganda stated that respect had been lost for the USSRountry assertedly opposing imperialism and championing freedom and democracy. Haile Selassie deplored the events in Eastern Europe asmall country being overrun, and urged the withdrawal of Soviet forces as quickly as Lesotho, in Southern Africa, condemned theinvasion" of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces in "the strongest possible terms."
the USSR has tried to elicitfor the intervention by emphasizingto the "far-reaching imperialistCzechoslovakia, most Arab countries havean official statement on the issue. Moscow has come from Iraq, Syria, andall left-wing regimes dependent on, or hopefulassistance from the USSR. Similarly,has come mainly from those states considered Jordan, Israel, and Libya. The UAR has taken
an equivocal line, which is interesting in view of the large amounts of aid received from the Soviets. So have Morocco and Sudan, which are more recentof the USSR.
The UAR's most authoritative commentary to date makes little attempt to hide Cairo's distaste for the Soviet action.' Hasanayn Heykal, editor of Cairo's majorhramonfidant of President Nasir, wrote orTTO" August that the dangers to Czechoslovak Communism were "not sufficient to warrant military intervention." Because ofhe said, he chose not to approve thebut because of "circumstance'* he chose not to condemn it. Nevertheless, he concluded thatintervention is wrong" and "what is wrong is wrong."
There have been other signs of the UAR's displeasure. Cairo's press spokesman, Al-2ayyat, has missed both weekly news conferences'since the invasion and, according to US sources there, has privately repudiated the pro-Soviet line. Other press comment points to Egypt's long-standingwith Czechoslovakia, especially Prague's in helping to break the Western arms monopoly. Newspapers have also carried Western press accounts of the event, which is not usual in Egypt, along with numerous pictures of the occupation.
There are many reasons whypossibly other Arabresent Moscow's occupation of Czechoslovakia. As of late, the Egyptians have appeared to be looking toward the US and the USSR toolitical settlement of the Middle East deadlock. Cairo surely views the occupationerious blow to those hopes. Now Egypt's only majorin de facto military occupation of another nation and Cairo can hardly support such an action whilethe occupation of its own territory. By and large, however, the UAR is trying to lie low, and has issued no official statement thus far.
Of all the Middle Eastern statesthe Soviet action, Iraq has been the mostcalling thedefense of world-wide freedom." The Soviet government has hithertojudgment on the new Iraqi regime, implying that Moscow's approval is linked to Baghdad's future performance. Iraq may believe that supporting the intervention will increase its standing with the Kremlin.
14. The image the Soviet Union has sought to create for itself in Africa and Asia as an enemy of imperialism and champion of democracy hasbeen tarnished by recent events in Several African governments have canceled cultural exchange programs with the USSR andexisting suspicion in some governments of Soviet propaganda efforts has probably been Nevertheless, there is unlikely to be much lasting or significant impact on Soviet relations with these countries." Many of them receive Soviet military and economic assistance, and some have strategic or internal political reasons for keeping their relations with Moscow on an even keel. In most of the others, Moscow had little prestige to lose.Original document.