Created: 9/9/1968

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Intelligence Memorandum

World Communist Reaction to the Invasion of Czechoslovakia







World Communist Reaction to the Invasion of Czechoslovakia

Deep divisions within the world Communistand many individual parties have been exacerbated by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Theof Communist parties, generally dictated by national circumstances or degree of fealty to Moscow or Peking, have clearly shown that the CPSU can no longer exact the supportarge majority of the parties at the cost of their own interests. Thehas evoked the overwhelming opposition of strong western parties and created internal turmoil in many CPs, as well as Soviet resentment toward its critics. This means, among other things, that such pet Soviet projects as an international Communist conference are in doubt. Few parties will break with Moscow and most parties will undoubtedly smooth over their internal problems but new seeds ofhave been sown for the future.

note: This memorandum was produced solely by CIA.

It was prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence.


reaction of world Communism to the five-power invasion of Czechoslovakia revealed clearl; the deep cleavages within the movement and theeven the necessity, of most parties totheir own nationalist flanks first, and consider the welfare of the movement second. The lineup of Communist countries on the Soviet action reada, five involved, four concurring, and four against. This, of course, does not include Czechoslovakia.

It is ironic that three of the Communist countries supporting theVietnam, North Korea, andrefused to cooperate within its efforts toorld Connuniatand setenerally acceptable line

for the world movement. Although militantlythese three had little sympathy for thetendencies within Czechoslovakia and, at least in the cases of North Vietnam and Cuba,national reasons for not provoking Moscow Nevertheless, the Soviets, who had no significant Asian support for their world conference efforts, and little support of any kind for their invasion of Czechoslovakia, certainly must have been gratified at the concurrence of these three. apparently was quite willing to overlook their motives or the long-tern significance of their

Premier Castro, with whom Moscowat odds on numerous matters, gavemoBt blunt and honest statement ofwhose backing on the issue was by nostated that it was impermissible thatshould break away from the socialistthat "the socialist camp has the right toit one way or the other." Typical of thewhich Moscow must endure the slings and arrows

of even its allies, however, the Cuban leaderto contrast the USSR's firm action inwith its support for various "oligarchic" regimes in Latin America.

Yugoslavia, Rumania, China, andwould be opposed was never in question. prior to the invasion,plague on both

your houses" attitude on the Czechoslovak-Soviet dispute. Chinese media gleefully pounced on the invasion, calling the Soviet leadersack ofnd stating that their "ugly Fascistwere now exposed. In fact, the Chinese leadership was probably far from sorry to see the Soviet intervention. The Czechoslovak liberalism was certainly repugnant to them and the universal abuse heaped on the USSR must be gratifying. That the world Communist conference scheduled forof this year--with the Chineseist Party on the outside lookingnow be rendered much more difficult for the'Sovietslus for Peking.

reaction of nonruling Communistlargely determined by positions already taken

on the dispute, dependence on popular votes, or prior slavish subservience to either Moscow or Within even those parties which issued prompt statements of support or condemnation, however, the Soviet intervention widened existing fissures and many communist leaders concurred with majorityin their parties only with the deepestreservations.

parties, particularly in Westernwhich are fully involved in the electoralfound it incumbent to disassociateand quickly from the USSR. Prior toboth French party leaderItalian party leader Longo had made it knownSoviet leaders that they would oppose When it came both reacted quickly. Inthe invasion Longo made the strongestspeech of his career. The Frenchhod suffered severely from its support ofHungarianwas still reelinglosses in the recent general elections. an unprecedented official and publicof the Soviet action.

fact, Moscow received virtually nofrom West European Communism. InSwedish party roundly berated the Soviets,the loyal Finnish Communist Party made aof objection. The Finnish party abruptly


cancelled the celebration ofh anniversary scheduledugust even as Communist; were arriving. There is also evidence that dissension over the Soviet invasion has exacerbated previously existing splits in both the Finnish and Swedish parties. Suoport from such miniscule parties as the SED-Kest (Westhe underground.West German party, the Luxembourg party, and theand Cypriot parties provided little solace to the Soviets.

Moscow received statements of support from most of the traditionally docile orthodox Latin American parties, but even suffered one defection.Mexican party.

Many statements of support or condemnation were of varying degrees of intensity and reflect the soul-searching and bitter argument thatthen. Many tried to bridge seriously divided opinions. Many parties have simply not been heard from, or were not able to agreetand. The poiitburo of the pro-Soviet Communist Party of India, for example, met after the invasion andwas not able totand either in support or in opposition.

The Soviet and allied militaryin Czechoslovakia, in short,renching experience which compelled the world's Communist parties to undergo their most agonizingand reappraisal Some parties will smooth over their internal problems, but, for most, new seeds of dissension have been sown for the.

Several truths were surfaced in the world Communist movement by the current crisis. Theis that the day when Moscow could compel the overwhelming majority of Communist parties to their own opinions and national positions to the interests of the USSR is long past. Few parties willermanent break with the USSR over this issue and ultimately passions will cool, but Moscow will not soon forget its abandonment by many of the

parties at this critical time. Finally, the chorus of opposition from some of the largest and healtnie Communist parties has demonstrated dramatically the hollowness of Soviet claims that the USSR is acting in the name of world Communism when compelled to take unpopular measures in Soviet national self-interest.


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