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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XVII, Eastern Europe

Editor:
James E. Miller
General Editor:
Glenn W. LaFantasie

United States Government Printing Office
Washington
1996

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs



Overview

The documentation in this volume highlights U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe, particularly the U.S. response to the crisis created by the August 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Prior to the invasion, U.S. policy in the region had been characterized by an ongoing effort to loosen ties between the Soviet Union and its Communist satellites through the use of limited economic assistance. This policy of "Bridge Building" to Eastern Europe through selective use of U.S. economic power was only partially successful. President Johnson faced serious opposition from within Congress to this initiative. In addition, Eastern European Communist regimes, while eager to obtain U.S. aid, wanted few conditions attached to its utilization and aimed to use outside assist-ance to consolidate their political control. The rise of a Communist reform movement in Czechoslovakia, while welcomed by the United States, offered U.S. diplomacy little practical assistance in carrying out this policy. The Communist reformers were fundamentally hostile to the United States. As a result the Johnson administration was an interested observer as the Czech and Soviet states confronted each other. After the Soviet invasion of August 1968, the United States feared further Soviet military moves and actively sought to provide support to bolster the independence of Austria, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Finland.