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December 14, 2016
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May 22, 2003
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August 21, 1968
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Approved For ReYase 2003gft f,FtRDP79B00887fi 500010027-2 No. 0615/68 CENTR.. INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence 21 Augi4st 1968 MEMORANDUM SUBJECT: Free World Reaction to Events in Czecho- slovakia (as of 1630 hours) Summary Free World reaction to the military interven- tion in Czechoslovakia has been almost universally critical although little reporting is available as yet from areas other than Western Europe. A number of key officials in Europe were on vacation at the time of the event. The tone of comment has ranged from Belgium's expression of "consternation" and condemna- tion of "methods of coercion which nothing can jus- tify" to Austria's reassertion of its neutrality and its announcement of a military alert. There have been demonstrations before Soviet and other Communist diplomatic establiRhments i n ,cv0ra 1. countries. EUro0 1. The United Kingdom and WcsL Germany reacted promptly and strongly. Prime Minister Wilson called the invasion "a tragedy not only for Czechoslovakia but for Europe and the whole world." The ri is ar ia- ment as been ca or an emergency session on 26 August. Britain's attitude was echoed by Prime Min- istry Holyoake of New Zealand who stated that the in- vasion turned t1e clock back to the darkest days of the cold war. 2. German Chancellor Kiesinger called a cab- inet meeting and then issued a statement branding the invasion "a clear violation of Czech sovereignty and interference in its internal affairs," A West Ger- man Defense Ministry spokesman indicated that the Federal Republic would assume the same attitude as other members of the NATO alliance. in Bavaria, State Dept. review completed Note: This memorandum was prepared by the Office of Current Intelligence. App 0027-2 Approved For F 'ase 2003/07/30 : CIA-RDP79B00887 500010027-2 5X6 steps were ta~en to provide for potential. Czech refu- - goes. In both Britain and Germa demonstrators ap cared before Soviet embassies. had now become more urgent. Italian Prime Minister Leone was not in Rome when news of the invasion was received. .fore Camp David" and that revitalization of NATO and progress toward political integration of Europe France had been trying to foster. Deploring the events in Czechoslovakian which he felt constituted an attack on the rights and destiny of a friendly nation, De Gaulle indicated that Moscow apparently still could not free itself from "bloc politics" which interfered with the rights of people to manage their own affairs. Italian Foreign Minister Medici felt that the world had returned to the period be- 3. French President de Gaulle's main concern was with the effect on the European detente which 4. Belgium and the Netherlands stronc-oly con- demned the Soviet action. The Belgian Acting For- eign Minister expressed his government's co nsterna.- tion, and the Belgian radio drew obvious parallels with the 1956 invasion of Hungary. In the Hague, both the government and the opposition La.bor_ Party issued strong condemnations. The public reacted with ,shock and horror. Demonstrations were expected and pal i.o n were assigned to guard I 1;:,nt I ~r >I,c>an embassi.r,,, , Luxembourg officially ann()ufl(_.(,.(1 consternation at Czech developments. said about US involvement in Vietnam. The Finnish public reportedly was stunned and worried by the Soviet action, and demonstrations against the So- viet Embassy seemed likely. for its weak reaction in the face of all it has conservative press may take the government to task issued a statement deploring the intervention. and expressing deep concern for the "sorrow and dis- appointment" that must be felt by the Czech people. Swedish press comment is not yet available, bu.t the S. In Scandinavia, Denmark. took t. lit l t a ] i. i t.] a government:' ,~t:etc.mrnt: which stair d in l> i t.]~ rt "for all freedom--loving people, the cav_~nt: haunt-. he felt as a tragedy." All Danish military leaves were cancelled, and the cabinet was to hold an emergency meeting. Swedish Prime Minister Approved 11-or a ease 25X1 25X6 25X1 Approved For Rase 2003/Op DP79B00887 0500010027-2 6. In central Europe, Austrian ChAncellor Klaus addressed the nation on 21 August to reassure Austrians and visiting foreigners of their safety and to serve notice indirectly to the USSR that Austria did not intend to interfere at present. but Swiss citizens were quick to ?_.demonstrate before the Soviet and Polish embassies in Bern. been no official reaction from.S,-iitzerland as yet, Middle East 7. The Greek, Turkish, and Iranian governments are apparently concerned, but there has been no of- ficial reaction from them as yet. Privately, they are almost certain to be adversely affected by the Soviet move. Popular sympathy for Czechoslovakia is likely to run high in Turkey, but the Turkish radio has confined itself so far to full tactical reporting. Nothing significant has been heard from the Arab states as yet. Indian Prime Minister Indiri Gandhi, who is torn between moral considera- tions and India's dependence on Soviet military aid, has informed parliament of her "anguish." She hopes that the military forces which had entered Czechoslo- vakia would withdraw shortly. She stated that the ._rights of a nation to live peacefully without out- side interference should not be denied in the name of religion or ideology. Far East 8. In this area only Japan and Malaysia have reacted as yet. Japanese official reaction has been confined to a statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary to the effect that the Soviet intervention is unac- ceptable "whatever the reason." Press and radio comment has been sparse and limited to expressions of concern. Small groups have demonstrated before the Soviet Embassy. Malaysian Prime Minister Rahman has termed the Soviet action "most unfortunate," stating that any country that used force in this man- ner was a threat to Malaysia. The Deputy Prime Min- ister echoed these sentiments. Malaysian leaders now may have second thoughts regarding their recent policy of encouraging closer relations with the USSR. Appro 25X6 25X1 Approved for Fuse 2003/0 7Wi73,0 :f2DP79B008870500010027-2 Africa on to say that "this affair shows us once more that the 4nvasion "shameful" and "revolting." He went Republic was quoted on the,national radio as calling 9. Reaction from Africa so far has been uni- versally critical. The President of the Malagasy to join up with the Communists is to accept their subjugation, to agree to be their tool, and thus to Tunisian Foreign Minister Bourguiba expressed deep concern to a US Embassy official. The Kenyan Foreign Minister stated that "gunboat diplomacy" was out of, place in the secona nal.t of the 4utn century. 10. A Congo (Kinshasa spokesman made a statemen critical of the use of brute force against Czecho- from countries which had participated in the invasion. slovakia and said the Congo would recall its students of Czech events, terming the movement of. Communist The Ethiopian radio gave unusually detailed-coverage mila.tary forces a "full invasion." The government has ordered news media not to editorialize, however. In is likely. The'government of Nigeria is'also concerned,' the Minister of Information says no public statement the US Embassy of their concern and disapproval, but' Sierra Legne, several cabinet ministers have notified. has not yet commented publicly. but has no direct information so~}rces,of its own,ara. 11. Reaction from Central and South America is light. The Brazilian Foreign Minister has condemned that freedom And Communism were irreconcilable,, In tion of the principles of the UN charter. He added received with surprise and that the invasion is a viola- the Soviet action, telling reporters that the news was Chile, a TV commentator stated that Russia cannot al- Early morning papers in Latin America carried full news. Czechoslovakia had suffered the same fate as Hungary. security would be weakened, and he suggested that reports but little editorial comment. renounce freedom of choice and self-determination.,"