95. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Czechoslovakia1
244534. 1. Czech Ambassador Duda urgently requested and was given appointment with Secretary September 24.
2. Duda said, under instructions from his Government, he wished raise two matters in connection with international aspects of recent events in Czechoslovakia.
- UN Action—His Government has concluded from press reports and information transmitted by Czech UN Mission that US is giving thought to supporting discussions in UNGA on recent Czech events. There are indications that Czechoslovakia might even be put on agenda as separate item. His Government believes such action, whether discussion in general debate or item on agenda, would not help Czechoslovakia but would cause harm. Discussions have been held with other socialist countries involved and in opinion his Government there has been solution to difficulties. Therefore, raising this subject in UNGA would not only harm Czechoslovakia but all other countries. Czech Government is also of opinion that anything which would plunge world into cold war, such as debate of Czechoslovak issue in UN, should be avoided. Czech Government therefore requests that attempts to put Czech item on agenda or to discuss Czechoslovak events in UNGA be stopped.
- NPT—Duda prefaced his remarks on NPT by stating that US Congressional action on ratification of NPT is clearly an internal matter and Czechoslovak Government does not wish in any way to interfere in internal affairs of US. Because Czech Government has noticed that certain Members of Congress have asked for postponement of ratification because of developments in Czechoslovakia, it wishes to restate its position on NPT. Czechoslovak Government strongly supports NPT. This has been made clear in statements by leading Czechoslovak officials and by fact that, on instructions from President Svoboda which were approved by Government, he, Ambassador Duda, had signed NPT here in Washington. Czech Government’s position on and support for NPT has been emphasized both in Geneva and New York. Duda concluded that, in his Government’s view, there is no logical link between Czechoslovak events and NPT.
3. UN Action—Secretary responded that he would note Ambassador’s statement on behalf of Czechoslovak Government with regard to [Page 281] raising Czechoslovak events in UN. His statement would be taken into account in developing our judgment on how best to handle problem in UNGA. There was, however, no possibility that General Assembly would remain silent on this issue whether it appears as item on agenda or is given major attention in general debate. It will be discussed for following reasons:
- Sympathy in most parts of world is with Czechoslovak people and there is no way of preventing discussion of Czech developments despite previous differences which may have existed between Czech Government and other governments.
- Our judgment will be based on our national interests. We have a national interest in rights guaranteed under UN Charter as they pertain to member countries. We are deeply concerned about world order. If Charter rights of member countries are not observed, structure of world order will be disrupted. This could lead to a nuclear war. Our national interests are based on peace and right of all countries to develop in their own way and have this right respected. There are about 120 smaller countries and four to five great powers. With this combination it is easy to see what could happen if rights of all guaranteed under UN Charter are not observed. The guarantees of UN Charter are vital to US national interest.
- As member of NATO our national interests are also involved for security reasons. There are now several hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops in Czechoslovakia, including Soviet forces along the frontier with West Germany. The Soviet intentions are not clear, and what is prudence in this situation? What are the capabilities? All these questions must be considered in addition to Czech Government’s position.
- Peaceful coexistence among socialist countries also concerns our national interests, particularly when this involves judgments which are being made in Moscow. These judgments concern the whole world. Similar action such as that taken in Czechoslovakia could happen elsewhere. World opinion must try to have an influence on these decisions. Nations must make their positions clear so there are no miscalculations on part of any nation. US takes these matters seriously but has no interest in returning to cold war period. We have deep interest in peace, in standards of conduct among nations, and how military forces are deployed.
- Secretary concluded his comments on UN situation by repeating that views of Czechoslovak Government would be taken into account when formulating our position with regard to discussions in UNGA.
5.2 NPT—Secretary stated NPT is of major importance to USG. He observed that one nation with nuclear power is too many; five, many [Page 282] times too many; and 20, beyond the comprehension of modern man. NPT is not a bilateral matter between US and Soviet Union. These two nations are not customers for nuclear arms. If there were no Soviet Union, USG would still be for NPT. These are views of President and Secretary. Both have made their views clear to Congress. If someone had been seeking way to sabotage NPT, no better way could have been found than to move Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia. This is connection between NPT and events in Czechoslovakia. Prior to these events, six or perhaps eight Members of Congress would have been against NPT. Now there are strong feelings with regard to events in Eastern Europe. American public is indignant and shocked and one way of expressing this indignation is by using NPT as a target. Secretary then asked Duda to inform his Government that President and Secretary are in favor of NPT and are working for its ratification but recent events in Eastern Europe have created obstacles to its ratification.
6. Duda thanked Secretary for his remarks and said that if Czechoslovakia is to preserve any of gains made after January an atmosphere of peace is absolutely necessary.
7. When Secretary privately asked Duda if the reason he had stressed that his Government did not wish to interfere in internal affairs of US during this election period was because Czechoslovak leadership in fact would prefer to see ratification of NPT put off, Ambassador Duda replied Czechoslovak Government meant exactly what it said. He added Secretary should not try to read between the lines.