82. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Czechoslovakia1

224693. 1. At Assistant Secretary Leddy’s invitation Czech Ambassador Duda came to Department early morning August 21. Leddy said he wished to inform Ambassador of action taken in Washington regarding Czech crisis.

2. Following delivery to the President by Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin of message (Duda given copy to read, but not to keep), President held meeting of National Security Council to discuss matter. As a result of meeting he asked the Secretary to call in Ambassador Dobrynin to communicate to him the points set forth below.

3. Secretary Rusk met with Dobrynin at approximately 11:30 p.m., August 20 and stated the following:2

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The message communicated to the President by Dobrynin had been received by the US Government with deep concern.

There were certain points which puzzle us and on which we feel we do not have adequate information.

The US failed to understand the reference in this message to the “request of the Government of Czechoslovakia Socialist Republic” for assistance by military forces from the Soviet Union and other socialist countries in the light of the broadcasts from Prague saying that the Warsaw Pact forces were entering Czechoslovakia without the knowledge of the President of the National Assembly (Smrkovsky), the Prime Minister (Cernik), the Chairman of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (Dubcek) and the President of the Republic (Svoboda).

The US Government does not understand the reference in the message to “external … forces of aggression against the existing social order in Czechoslovakia.” The Secretary said that the US has no information to support the idea that any non-socialist country is involved in, or is contemplating, any aggression against Czechoslovakia.

4. Ambassador expressed gratitude for information. Said he uninformed and could not comment.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 27–1 COMBLOC–CZECH. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Batjer, cleared in S/S and CTF, and approved by Leddy.
  2. No other record of the Rusk-Dobrynin conversation was found.