INTERVIEW WITH YURI IVANOVICH MODIN - 31/1/96
Right, so coming back then to the chronology of events in 1947, you said how though many people welcomed the Marshal Plan, can you describe to me then what happened to Gottwald and Masaryk when they went to Moscow from July the ninth, 1947?
Well certainly, I will come to your question, but before that I would like to state another thing which is very important. That at the time, even the communist ministers in the Government, in the Czechoslovak Government, agreed with our participation in Paris. That means to attend the conference to prepare the Marshall Plan. the decision of the Czechoslovak Government was absolutely unanimous.
There were no voices against that. Before the visit in Moscow, that is just a question you are putting to me now. , the change came and it a.......?, inex. Unexpected change, on the ninth of July. At that time, it is necessarto explain, the Government, Czechoslovak Government accepted or attended the N......, an invitation from the Soviet Government, from Moscow, in order to negotiate the French Czechoslovak friendship treaty, as it was in 1934 before the war when the Soviets were involved. And the Soviets didn't answer, didn't answer, didn't answer. At once an invitation came, just that the delegation, Czechoslovak Governmental delegation should come over to Moscow to discuss this question, that means the French Czechoslovak treaty. So at once they came there, and, or they went there, and there were Gottwald as Chairman of the Government, Prime Minister, then Mr. Masaryk as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Derkini..., who was the Minister of Justice, he was from the Nation Socialist Party, that means the democratic party at that time, and with them was Mr. Heidrich, who was Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was an excellent man, very old diplomatist, extremely clever and so on, and the Czechoslovak Minister to Moscow, Mr. Horrak. And they went to Moscow, they were as usual in those ........ surrounded by by walls about six metres of height, and guarded and nobody could come out, nobody could get in, yeah, so they were absolutely in seclusion there, they didn't know what was going on and so on, and they were waiting to be invited to Kremlin. Nothing happened, long long time. And they have asked they would like to speak with Mr. Gottwald, who was with them, and the answer of the Secretary was; well he's lying in his bed, he's a little bit uneasy. So nothing happened, and then at once about eleven o'clock in the evening, that means before midnight, somebody came that they should immediately go over to Kremlin. So they asked that they, means Masaryk, the General Heidrich and these, ask where's Gottwald Well he's already there. That means in Kremlin. So he went there before that and they discussed the whole thing before the others could know what's going on, so that when they, when they came to, over to Kremlin, well they were put before a situation which was quite clear. Because Stalin accepted them very roughly, as far as the information for, from those attending was given to me at the time, and the only, well not only, but the principal question put before them was that the Czechoslovak delegation shouldn't go over to Paris to attend to the conference on the Marshall Plan. Well only Minister Masaryk objected, and said; well General .....? title was Genera... with the highest General at the time, as Franco was in, no, before the war, yeah, in Spain, so we came over here to discuss the French treaty. And he said; well we're not interesting, we have to discuss it because we feel that when you would go over to Paris you would betray our interests, you would betray socialist community. And you can't do it. You would help the imperialists, this word was used, even in the protocol about this meeting is this word used. So it was a new situation, they were discussing, in very shortly practically, because Stalin was quite clear, quite rough, and he didn't want to to hear any objections, as far as I remember from the minister, at one moment he said; well we can't do nothing because the President would object again that, because it was agreed that we would go there, the Government has has supported it so unanimously and so on, and Stalin said; well I know perfectly the point of view of your President, because I hear, I have hear his memorandum which was given to you. And he pointed to his table and it was this memorandum. So that was, that mean that somebody in his nearest neighbour who gave it immediately to Gottwald who took it with him to Stalin, it was a little bit unpleasant, or I couldn't use a better word,
From what you were told at the time, how was Stalin, was he polite about this, was he tough, was he demanding, how did he behave, behave to the Czech representatives?
Well, the, how did he behave? Well the behaviour of Stalin was very, as far as I know, I didn't meet him, ..... that's quite clear, but I've heard from those who have met him, not only once, several times, so his mood was changing very quickly. And it was dependent of the situation, of the concrete situation. So in this respect, that means as far as the Marshall Plan is concerned, there was no normal discussion, there was practically only a quite clear order, you have to do it, and if you do not do it, so you are not our friends, you are betraying the Unions, Soviet Union, and so on and so on. So it was quite clear.
And when he met, at the meeting, the midnight meeting, on July the ninth, how, how did he behave then, was he demonstrative, or was he relaxed, how did he behave, from what you were told of the meeting....?
...Yes, yes, this is, I understand. Well his behaviour, as far as I've heard, at, at least from Masaryk, from Heidrich, I didn't speak with Drikini, whom I knew too quite well, but only with those two I spoke about it, so he was rough. He didn't allow any discussion about this problem, yeah. About this meeting, there was a protocol, the raft?.... protocol, and in that only the third version of this protocol was used after the first two versions which were quite objective, that means what was really going on was destroyed, the embassy, the country couldn't use them because they would at that time harm the regulations.