289. Editorial Note

On the night of August 20–21, 1968, Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin informed President Johnson of the invasion at a White House meeting that began at 8:15 p.m. on August 20. A summary of the meeting and the text of the Soviet message read by Dobrynin at the meeting are printed in Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, Volume XVII, Document 80. At 10:15 p.m. on August 20 the President convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, at which a decision was made to inform Dobrynin that the U.S. Government would not announce the President’s impending visit to Moscow. For notes of the meeting, see ibid., Document 81.

President Johnson condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia in a statement broadcast by radio and television on August 21. For text, see Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968–69, Book II, page 905. That same day the Embassy in Moscow informed the Department of State in telegram 9465 that all elements of the mission had been asked “to keep official and social contacts with Soviet authorities to minimum,” an action approved by the Department in telegram 224834, August 21. Plans for technical talks with the Soviets on the peaceful uses of nuclear explosives, scheduled to begin [Page 687] in early October, were suspended. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27–1 COM BLOC CZECH)