The Warsaw Treaty and Czechoslovakia
The Government of Czechoslovakia [CSSR] has been deeply convinced of the historic significance of the conclusion and maintenance of the Warsaw treaty on friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance among our countries as well as the formation of the Unified Armed Forces of the participating states. The treaty is our common response to the activities of aggressive forces of the imperialists, particularly of their NATO military bloc. The Government of the CSSR is also fully aware of the fact that the Bundeswehr has gradually become the strongest component of the ground forces of this bloc. We are also aware that neo-Nazism and revanchist tendencies continue to exist and grow in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The CSSR has been perfectly taught about this danger by its entire history, particularly by experiences from the time of Munich. The Government of the CSSR therefore continues to regard our adherence to the Warsaw treaty, as well as our indestructible and fraternal alliance with the USSR, and the decisive force and support for the preservation of our freedom and sovereignty.
The CSSR has been consistently fulfilling its obligations resulting from the Treaty. Particular care and attention are devoted to the question of defense in conformity with the "Agreement on the Creation of the Unified Command of the Armed Forces of the States Participating in the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance." We have confirmed our loyalty to the Treaty and our internationalist duties more than once during the last years (particularly during the Berlin events and the time of the Caribbean crisis), and in this regard our positions and relations have not changed.
At the present time, we are again striving to increase our active share in the common defense of the states of the Warsaw treaty, for we do not wont to be merely its passive signatories.
This basic line follows from both the action program of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia [KS_] and the programmatic statement by the Government of the CSSR.
The action program states explicitly:
The basic orientation of Czechoslovak foreign policy has been born and confirmed at the time of the struggle for national liberation and during the process of socialist reconstruction in our country; it consists in the alliance and cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist states. We will strive to further deepen our friendly relations with our allies—the countries of the world socialist community—on the basis of mutual respect and internationalist solidarity. In this sense we will contribute more actively to the common activities of both the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw treaty.
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The position of the CSSR in the area of defense has been confirmed in practice by our honorable fulfillment of the Warsaw treaty decisions and directives by the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces, as evident in the solution of the problems concerning the buildup of the CSSR armed forces, their combat readiness, the fulfillment of the tasks assigned in allied military exercises, and general political preparation.
The basic line of strengthening the Warsaw treaty could also be seen in the Czechoslovak efforts aimed at supporting the Soviet proposals included in the letter to the central committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of January 7, 1966, which states: "The main purpose of these proposals, as we understand them, is to make the Warsaw treaty organization more flexible and operational while at the same time contributing to the increased effectiveness of the efforts by all our states toward the strengthening of the unity and defense readiness of the European socialist countries. This exchange of opinion justifies the conclusion that the question of an improvement of the Warsaw treaty organization has become topical and requires a practical solution."
The position of the CSSR became clear as early as 1966 during the overall solution of these problems, then also in 1968 when the head of the Czechoslovak delegation at the March 6-7 session of the Political Consultative Committee, the first secretary of the party central committee comrade A. Dubcek, was ready to discuss and approve the relevant documents concerning the strengthening of the military organs of the Warsaw Treaty as they had been presented by the Supreme Commander of the Unified Armed Forces, Marshal of the Soviet Union comrade I.I. Yakubovsky, for we were already then convinced that they "represent another important step in the deepening cooperation for stronger defense of our nations." . . .
During negotiations between the Czechoslovak Minister of National Defense, comrade Col. Gen. M. Dzúr and . . . Marshal Yakubovsky on April 24-25, 1968, the Supreme Commander estimated our amendments, concerning the Statute of the Unified Armed Forces, Statute of the Military Council, and the Statute of the Uniform Air Defense of the participants in the Warsaw Treaty, to be unequivocally aimed at the clarification and substantiation of the contents of the proposed basic documents of the Treaty in the military area. . . . During these discussions a consensus was reached in the sense that the Czechoslovak side was fulfilling its obligations resulting from the "Agreement on the Establishment of the Unified Command" and the "Statute of the Unified Command of the Armed Forces" and the CSSR was effectively contributing to the strengthening of the Warsaw Treaty. During his official discussions with the representatives of the KS_ and the Government of the CSSR, as well as with the Minister of National Defense of the CSSR, . . . Marshal Yakubovsky confirmed that the Czechoslovak proposals were conducive to the strengthening of the unity of the Warsaw Treaty organization and of the roles of the Supreme Commander as well as the Staff of the Unified Armed Forces.
All these facts prove incontrovertibly our firm determination to further strengthen the alliance relationships under the Warsaw Treaty and, in unity with its signatories, the defense of the whole socialist camp.
["The Warsaw Treaty and Czechoslovakia," July 1968, MNO-1968, sekr. min. 2/1-9, Military Historical Archives, Prague; translated by Vojtech Mastny]