Leonid Brezhnev: Lets agree not to bury ourselves in the past, but to discuss calmly, proceeding from the situation that has developed, in order to find a solution that will work to the benefit of the Czechoslovak Communist Party so that it can act, normally and independently along the lines laid down by the Bratislava Declaration Let it be independent. We don't want and we're not thinking of further intervention. And let the leadership work according to the principles of the January and May plenary sessions of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. We have said this in our reports and we're prepared to affirm it again. Of course, we can't say that you re in a good mood. But your moods aren't the point. We must sensibly and soberly direct our talks toward the search for a solution. It can be stated flatly that the failure to carry out fixed obligations impelled five countries to extreme and inevitable measures. The sequence of events that has materialized confirms entirely that behind your back (by no means do we wish to say that you were at the head of it) right-wing powers (we will simply call them antisocialist) prepared both the congress and its actions. Underground stations and arms caches have now come to light. All of this has now come out. We don't want to raise claims against you personally, that you're guilty. You might not even have been aware of it; the right-wing powers are broad enough to have organized it all 'We would like to find the most acceptable solutions that will serve to stabilize the country, normalizing a workers' party without links to the right and normalizing a workers' government free from those links.
We don't need to conceal from each other that if we find the best solution we will still need time for normalization. No one should have the illusion that everything will all of a sudden become rosy. But if we do find the correct solution, then time will pass and every day will bring us successes, material talks and contacts will begin, the odor will dissipate, and propaganda and ideology will start to work normally. The working class will understand that, behind the backs of the Central Committee and the government leadership, right-wingers were preparing to transform Czechoslovakia from a socialist into a bourgeois republic. All that is clear now. Talks on economic and other matters will begin. The departure of troops, et cetera, will begin according to material principles. We have not occupied Czechoslovakia, we do not intend to keep it under "occupation," but we hope for her to be free and to undertake the socialist cooperation that was agreed upon in Bratislava. It is on that basis that we want to talk with you and find a workable solution. If need be, with Comrade Cernik as well. If we stay silent we will not improve the situation and will not spare the Czech, Slovak, and Russian peoples from tension. And with every passing day the right-wingers will fire up chauvinistic emotions against every socialist country, and first of all against the Soviet Union. Under such circumstances it would be impossible to pull out the troops; it's not to our advantage. It is on these grounds, on this basis, that we would like to conduct the talks, to see what you think, what's the best way to act. We're ready to listen. We have no diktat; let's look for another option together.
And we would be very grateful to you if you freely expressed different options, not just to be contrary, but to calmly find the proper option. We consider you an honorable communist and socialist. In Cierna you were unlucky, and there was a breakdown. Let's cast everything that happened aside. If we start asking which one of us was right, it will lead nowhere. But let's talk on the basis of what is, and under these conditions we must find a way out of the situation, what you're thinking and what we must do.
Alexander Dubcek: It's hard for me, given the trip and my bitter mood, to explain immediately my opinion about why we must reach a solution about the real situation that has arisen. Comrades Brezhnev, Kosygin, Podgorny, and Voronov, I don't know what the situation is at home. In the first day of the Soviet Army's arrival, I and the other comrades were isolated and then found ourselves here, not knowing anything. ... I can only conjecture what could have happened. In the first moments, the members of the Presidium who were with me at the Secretariat were taken to the Party Central Committee under the control of Soviet forces. Through the window I saw several hundred people gathered around the building, and you could hear what they were shouting: "We want to see Svoboda!" "We want to see the president!" "We want Dubcek!" I heard a number of slogans. After that there were shots. It was the last thing I saw. From that point on I know nothing, and can't imagine what's happening in the country and in the Party.
As a Communist who bears a great responsibility for recent events, I am sure that - not only in Czechoslovakia but in Europe, in the whole Communist movement - this action will cause us the bitterest consequences in the breakdown of, and bitter dissension within, the ranks of Communist parties in foreign countries, in capitalist countries.
Thus the matters at hand and the situation are, it seems to me very complex, although today was the first time I read the newspapers. I can only say, think of me what you will, I have worked for thirty years in the Party, and my whole family has devoted everything to the affairs of the Party, the affairs of socialism. Let whatever is going to happen to me happen. I'm expecting the worst for myself and I'm resigned to it.