ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT SITUATION IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA

Created: 7/24/1968

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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CZECHOSLOVAKIA

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IT IS SOURCE'S OPINION THAT THE CRISIS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA IS NOW AT AN END AND THAT THE CZECHOSLOVAKS WILL PROBABLY CAPITULATE TO THE SOVIETS. URTAILMENT OF THE

CZECHOSLOVAK LIBERALIZATION PROGRAM IN^THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND MILITARY AREAS WILL ENSUEESULT OF SOVIET

PRESSURE. ALTHOUGH THE CZECHOSLOVAK LEADERSHIP IS CONCERNED THAT IT HAY INVITE STRONG ADVERSE PUBLIC REACTION BECAUSE OF ANY RETRENCHMENT OF ITS PREVIOUSLY STATED

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POSITION, SOURCE FEELS THAT THE REGIME1 IS OVERLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS SINCE NEITHER THE CZECHOSLOVAK WORKERS NOR

THE SLOVAKS HAVE AS YET BECOME ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE

LIBERALIZATION. BARRING AN EXTREME SITUATION IN

WHICH THE WORKERS ARE CALLED TO DEMONSTRATE, SOURCE DOES NOT ANTICIPATE PROBLEMS FROM THE MILITARY, WHO MAT BE CALLED UPON TO RESTORE PUBLIC ORDER, BECAUSE THEY ARE BASICALLY PRO-SOVIET AND CONSERVATIVE IN

THEIR POLITICAL ORIENTATION. ANOTHER POINT WHICH IS TO

THE SOVIETS'ADVANTAGE IS THAT SOVIET ADVISORS STILL HAVE

UNLIMI TEDACCESS^TO^INFORMATION INSIDE CZECHOSLOVAKIA^

ESPECIALLY TO PRESIDIUM PROCEEDINGS THROUGH THE CONSERVATIVE

; CZECHOSLOVAK ELEMENTS OF THAT BODY. END OF SUMMARY.

1. OF PRIME CONCERN TO THE SOVIETS CONCERNING CZECHOSLOVAKIA

TODAY IS THEIR FEAR THAT THE REFORMS AND LIBERALIZING TENDENCIES IN

CZECHOSLOVAKIA WHICH ARE NOW TAKING PLACE WILL BE CAST IN CONCRETE

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SOVIETS ARE UNDOUBTEDLY UNDER VERY HEAVY PRESSURE FROM CONSERVATIVE

FORCES IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA BUT ESPECIALLY FROM CONSERVATIVE FORCES

POLAND AND EAST GERMANY TO CONTROL THE SITUATION

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CZECHOSLOVAKIA. WHAT THESE CONSERVATIVES PROBABLY FEAR MOST IS AN OPENING Of THE CZECHOSLOVAK BORDERS WHICH.ASS EXODUS FROM THEIREj^^LAND. AND EAST GERMANY, TO THE WEST. THEY ARE UNDOUBTEDLY ALSO EXTREMELY CONCERNED THAT THE LACK OF CENSORSHIP AND RESULTANT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA WILL HAVE UNPLEASANT CONSEQUENCES IN INFLUENCING THE INTERNAL SITUATION IN THEIR COUNTRIES. IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT THE INTENSIFICATION IN SOVIET POLITICAL PRESSURE IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA DATES FROM THE PERIOD WHEN THE CZECHOSLOVAKS ABOLISHED CENSORSHIP AND TOOK STEPS TO IMPLEMENT REHABILITATION PROCEDURES IN THEIR COUNTRY.

2. THE PATTERN OF SOVIET PRESSURE ON,THE EAST EUROPEANHAS TRADITIONALLY BEEN POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, AND MILITARY IN WHAT WE ARE NOW SEEING IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA IS PRESSURE WHICH WILL PROVE TO BE THE PRELUDE TOECONOMIC AND MILITARY PRESSURES SHOULD THENOT GIVE IN. THE MOST LIKELY FORM OFSHOULD IT COME TO THIS WOULDURTAILMENTOF SOVIET OIL AND IRON ORE DELIVERIES IF MILITARY MEASURES BECOMENECESSARY

IS CONVINCED THAT THESE WILL CONSIST OF

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MILITARY MOVES BY SOVIET FORCES INTO CZECHOSLOVAKIA.

3. THE DUBCEK REGIME IS PROBABLYERY DIFFICULT TIME INDEED IN CONVINCING THE SOVIETS THAT THEY MEAN IT WHEN THEY SAY THAT THEY WILL NOT LET THE SITUATION GET OUT OF CONTROL AND THAT THEY WILL REMAIN LOYAL TO THE SOVIET BLOC. AS EARLY AS8 RIGHT AFTER DUBCEK REPLACED NOVOTNY AS PARTY PIRST SECRETARY THE LIBERALS BEGAN REASSURING THE SOVIETS ALONG THESE LINES. THE CONSERVATIVES, HOWEVER, WERE QUICK TO POINT OUT TO THE SOVIETS THAT THE LIBERALS WERE LYING AND THAT LITTLE BY LITTLE THEY WOULD LEAD

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AWAY FROM SOVIET INTERESTS. WITH THE ABOLITION OF CENSORSHIP, AND CERTAIN STEPS TOWARD REHABILITATION AS WELL AS OTHER REFORMS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA, THE LIBERALS HAVE TO AN EXTENT CONFIRMED THAT THE CONSERVATIVES WERE RIGHT. THEREFORE, THE SOVIETS ARE PROBABLY MORE RELUCTANT THAN EVER BEFORE TO BELIEVE THE LIBERALS. ALTHOUGH DUBCEK IS UNDOUBTEDLY SINCERE WHEN HE TELLS THE SOVIETS THAT HE DOES NOT WANT TO WEAKEN THE LEADING ROLE OF THE PARTY OR FRIENDSHIP WITH THE SOVIET UNION, HE IS KNOWN TO THE SOVIETS ASS TO CZECHOSLOVAK POLITICIANS AS A MAN LACKING IN POLITICAL ST..hwin

FROM THE VERY BEGINNING THE SOVIETS AND THEIR

ALLIES IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA FEARED THAT DUBCEK WOULD BE J

TO STAND UP TO INFLUENCE FROM THE MORE RADICAL LIBERALS IN 3

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4. IT IS SOURCE'S OPINION THAT GIVEN THE CHARACTER OF THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY LEADERS IN THE COMMUNIST PARTY AND GOVERN- ENT, THE CRISIS IS NOW AT AN END AND THAT THESE MEN WILL PROBABLY CAPITULATE TO THE SOVIETS RATHER THAN TAKE THE DRASTIC STEP OF WITHDRAWING FROM THE WARSAW PACT. THERE ARE MEN IN THE CZECHOSLOVAK LEADERSHIP, SUCH AS CESTMIR CISAR AND OLDRICH CERNIK, WHOOTENTIALLY COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO TAKE SUCH A^ DRASTIC STEP^ AND WHO COULD GATHER SUFFICIENTPUBLIC SUPPORT FOR THIS. HOWEVER, THE STRENGTH AND POSITION OF THE CONSERVATIVES IN THE ARMY AND INTERNAL SECURITY FORCES IS SUCH THAT THIS WOULD INVOLVE TREMENDOUS RISK. ON BALANCE, THE SOURCE DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT IT WILL GO THIS FAR. MORE LIKELY THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP WILL GIVE IN TO THE SOVIETS ON ALLUMBER OF THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

A. IT WILL RETREAT ON CERTAIN IDEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS,

SUCH ASON-COMMUNIST PARTY IN THE NATIONAL FRONT

THE RIGHT TO SET FORTH ITS OWN

_IT WILL NOT ALLOW ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS

UNION OF YOUTH TO BE SPLIT INTO COMMUNIST

THE CZECHOSLOVAK COMMUNIST PARTY (KSC) LEADERSHIP. THEREFORE, BEFORE THE SOVIETS WILL BE SATISFIED DUBCEK WILL HAVE TO MAKE MORE TANGIBLE GESTURES.

NON-COMMUNIST COMPONENTS.

IT WILL ABOLISH THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES OF ALLOWING ELECTION OF POLITICAL OFFICERS IN MILITARY UNITS RATHER THAN APPOINTING THEM.

D. IT WILL TAKE MEASURES TO REINSTITUTE CONTROL OF THE PRESS, PERHAPS NOT OUTRIGHT CENSORSHIP AS PREVIOUSLY EXISTED, BUT RATHER SOME SYSTEM OF SANCTIONS AGAINST EDITORS WHO DO. NOT FOLLOW THE LINE. EW PRESS LAW WILL PROBABLY BE PASSED

IMPOSING THESE MEASURES.

E. CZECHOSLOVAKIA WILL GUARANTEE TO ITS SOCIALIST

NEIGHBORS THAT IT WILL NOT OPEN ITS^BORDERS TO THE,.WEST.

F. CERTAIN OF THE MORE EXTREME RADICAL LIBERALS SUCH AS CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL FRONT FRANTISEK KRIEGEL AND KSC

CENTRAL COMMITTEE SECRETARY ZDENEK MLYNAR, AND PERHAPS OTHERS WILL BE FORCED TO RESIGN.

THE AUTHORITY IT NOW HAS. WHAT WILL MAKE CAPITULATION TO THE

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< SOVIETS TRICKY WILL BE THE NEED TO DEVISE SUBTLETIES WHICH WILL NOT 3

2ISAPPOINTED CZECHOSLOVAK POPULATION. HOWEVER, GIVEN THE 1

5. COMPLICATING THIS WHOLE SITUATION FOR THE CURRENTIS THE FACT THAT WHILE IT RECOGNIZES THE SOVIET DISPLEASURE, IT MUST ALSO CATER TO POPULAR OPINION IF IT IS TO CONTINUE TO HOLD

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FACT THAT NEITHER THE SLOVAKSHOLE NOR THE CZECHOSLOVAK WORKERS HAVE AS VET BECOME VERY ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE LIBERALIZATION, THE REGIME'S PROBLEMS IN THIS RESPECT ARE NOT AS GREAT AS THEY MIGHT BE. EVEN UNDER CAPITULATION DUBCEK MAY STILL REMAIN AS PARTY FIRST SECRETARY, BUT IN THIS INSTANCE MERELYIGUREHEAD UNDER THE CONTROLORE CONSERVATIVE REGIME RATHER THAN UNDER THE CONTROL, AS HE NOW APPARENTLY IS, OF THE LIBERALS.OSSIBLE INDICATION OF CZECHOSLOVAK READINESS TO CAPITULATE UNDER EXTREME SOVIET PRESSURE, SOURCE TAKES NOTE OF THE FACT

THAT YUGOSLAVIA'S PRESIDENT TITO AND SECRETARY GENERAL OF RUMANIA'S COMMUNIST PARTY CEAlSESCU HAVE DELAYED VISITS TO CZECHOSLOVAKIA WHICH WERE TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE AT THE END OF

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SOURCE ATTRIBUTES THIS TO SOVIET PRESSURES WHICH INFLUENCED DUBCEK TO CANCEL THE VISITS OR AT LEAST POSTPONE THEM. WHEN THE CZECHOSLOVAKS DO CAPITULATE, SOURCE BELIEVES THAT THE SOVIETS FOR THEIR PART WILL MAKE CERTAIN CONCESSIONS, ALBEIT RELATIVELY MEANINGLESS ONES^ SUCH AS GRANTING THE CZECH OS- OVAK5 OSTENSIBLY GREATER PARTICIPATION IS THE WARSAW PACT COMMAND. SPECIF1CALLV, Ml IS WOtXD MEAN THE APPOINTMENT OF CZECHOSLOVAKS

TOOMlNfcNTHIM THE WARSAW PACT STAFF, ALTHOUGH,

OF COURSE, THE SOVIET GENERAL STAFF WOULD STILL REMAIN THE

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OF EFFECTIVE MILITARY POWER WITHIN THE WARSAW PACT.

6. BARRING AN EXTREME SITUATION IN WHICH CZECHOSLOVAK WORKERS ARE CALLED TO THE STREETS IN DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE SOVIETS, SOURCE DOES NOT ANTICIPATE THAT THE CZECHOSLOVAK

ARMY WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS. ALMOST ALL MILITARY LEADERS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA WITH ANY POSITIONS OF SIGNIFICANCE. DIVISION COMMANDERS AND ABOVE. ARE CONSERVATIVE IN THEIR

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THE NEWLY APPOINTED CHIEF OF THE MAIN POLITICAL DIRECTORATE OF THE MINISTRY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE. FRANTISEK BEDRICli, ARE kxtukmf.LY .PHP-SOVIET.. COMMANDERS AT LOWER LEVELS, WHILE MORE LIBERAL IN ORIENTATION, HAVE LITTLE POSSIBILITY OF EFFECTIVELY ORGANIZING NITED FORCE.

7. AN ADDITIONAL FACTOR WHICH WORKS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE SOVIETS IN THE CURRENT CRISIS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA IS THEIR STILL UNLIMITED ACCESS TO INFORMATION INSIDE CZECHOSLOVAKIA. FROM NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS IT IS EVIDENT THAT SOVIET MILITARY ADVISORS ARE STILL TRAVELLING THE BREADTH OF THE LAND AUIOST AT WILL, AND THE SOVIET ADVISORS ATTACHED TO THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR HAVE NOT

VET rv.knn FURTHERMORE, THROUGH PEOPLE OF CONSERVATIVE ORIENTATION, SUCH AS PRESIDIUM MEMBER DRAHOMIR KOLDER AND

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