THE SITUATION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA AND RUMANIA (AS OF 11:30 EDT)

Created: 9/2/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

RAL INTHLLIUEHCE Directorate/of

An AP report from tioscow quotes Communist sources as saying that an important meeting of the Soviet party central committee on Czechoslovakia io expected, and may already have started. Large numbers of government limousines were seen parked outside the central committee building. No official

information from Soviet sources could bo obtained. According

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to Conrauni.sche meeting was called to eceX. ways of Mitigating hostile world reaction to the occupation of Czechoslovakia, particularly the criticism voiced by the French and Italian communist parties. These sources said that the Kremlin was considering some conciliatory gesture such as partial withdrawal of troops. Though unconfirrood, these first report- from Moscow imply continued perturbation within the soviet leadership over the Czechoslovak problem.

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US Embassy in "oscow had seen evidence inoptember of en affort to take some steam out

of the Czechoslovak situation, both internally and externally. Life in Czechoslovakia is portrayed as returning to normalairly satisfactory pace, dcspito the continued presence of "counter-revolutionaries." Improved relations between Soviet soldiers and Czechoslovaks aro stressed. Pravdaeptember specifically deniedabricated" story of the "serious illness" of an unspecified Czechoslovak leaderpresumably Dubcek and denied rumors of arrests among Czechoslovak Intellectuals. The press has suspended denunciation of Yugoslavia, Rumania and Austria. Although "imperialists" remain under attack, specific references to. are rare.

the same time, today's Pravda warns thoresuming negotiations with western countries forloans. Although claiming that the USSR and"sovereign and equal" trade partners, Pravda said thatinfants could thinklirting withwho soduceith heavy credits." hard currency credit requested by the Czechs

from the USSR several months ago has not been granted. Since

last spring the Czechs also have nvido Inquiriesseveral west Europoan sources on tha availability of credits. It now appears thot the Czechs will bo precluded from seeding the largo Western loans and technical assistance needed to develop efficient Czech export industries.

4. The US Embassy in Prague reportedeptember that the Soviets do not seem to bo proceeding with haste in clamping down on Czechoslovakia. Despite continuing ruxoore ofi^gst an impending wave of arrests, the Embassy had not heard of any iCI

sources hove described the current Soviet tactics as "Machiavellian, and suspect the Soviets hope to lure bock Czechoslovaks now abroad so that they will not propagate Czech resentment. The Czechoslovaks are also suspicious of the relatively lenient Soviet attitude toward the press, believing the Soviets hope to beguilo writers with progressive tendencies and then "pick

Jill TUB BlIHHiMUIlW'l"

their, off."

5. Tho Czechoslovak Journalists Union reportedly announced yesterday that it will acoept cemiorship for three months only.

It also stated that the Soviets have insisted that three of the

;.ioro outspoken and liberal journals, Reporter, Student, and

Literarni Listy, be forced to casso publication. Two other

papers, the trade union daily Pr&ce and the Socialist daily

Svobodne Slovo, announced yesterday that they intend to test the

limits of permissible publication under the now conditions. Tho

Embassy reported that most papers were still operating, but from

outside thoir premises.

6. Routers roportod today thntzechoslovaks

expected to arrive in Vienna last night were not aboard the

Prague-Vienna express train. Austrian officials suspect that

the Soviets have tightened border controls. In this connection,

JMbassyII mi

yesterday that aseptember no exit permits will be issued

eriod of at least several days.

ilitary activity in Bulgaria picked up this morning

with the beginninground forces field training exercise

involving at least the Bulgarian army formation in the eastern

part of the country. An air defense exercise was under way

yesterday in northeastern Bulgaria and probablyrelude

to the ground activity. Bulgarian aircraft remain deployed

at airfields in tha northeastern part of thoNW

on the travel of Allied liaisonsoutheastern East Germanybeen extended once againSoviet commander in East Germany. The new terminal datetravel ban iseptember.

Rumanian press has not published or cortaiientod on

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President Johnson's speoch, and, according to/Rumanian nowsagency official, would not do so in an effort to avoid anything which could bo interpreted as "provocative." Tho US Embassy in Bucharest notes that the Rumanian presseptember had virtually no coverage of tha situation in Czechoslovakia.

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