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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 17, 1967

ATTACHMENT, 'FUNDAMENTAL LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE AGGRESSION AND PROPOSALS FOR FURTHER STEPS'

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    Czechoslovakian assessment of the situation in the Middle East following the Six-Day War and recommended foreign policy activities.
    "Attachment, 'Fundamental Lessons Learned from the Aggression and Proposals for Further Steps'," June 17, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, National Archives Prague/UV KSC Predsednictvo 1966-1971/02_, sv. 37, aj. 37, b. 28. Obtained by Jan Koura and translated for CWIHP by David Růžička http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/144977
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[Attachment] III/b

Fundamental lesson learned from the aggression and proposals for further steps

The armed conflict in the Near and Middle East demonstrated that world imperialism headed by the USA is exploiting any opportunity arising anywhere in the world in order to try to halt the national liberation and independence movement and to strengthen its own position. This country is making use of the fact that the socialist system countries are practicing a policy of peaceful coexistence, putting a lot of effort into preserving peace worldwide and to liquidate sources of war threat. Imperialism is trying to weaken the socialist system countries through coup d'etats and putsches and to discredit them in the eyes of the progressive non-communist society around the world, especially as far as the developing countries are concerned that are facing the decision which way to choose and how to develop further on.

The socialist countries that are limited in their options by the destructive activities from the Chinese leaders which is highly damaging to the international communist and workers movement, came into a certain kind of defensive against these imperialist powers' policy which is reflected especially by the fact that they are lacking – including the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic – a thoroughly developed and thus more effective concept that would face the imperialist countries' policy in hindering progressive development in the world. The Arab states failing in halting Israeli aggression is to be seen as a fail of the progressive powers in the world, including the socialist countries. It is thus necessary to draw the respective deductions from this experience and within the next step, to strive for limiting the negative impact of the military fail and to create the conditions for the success Israel achieved with armed forces to be gradually annulled. The base we can build upon is the fact that imperialism didn't manage to overthrow the progressive regimes in the United Arab Republic and Syria in spite of this step and as far as the United Arab Republic is concerned – if it manages to stop reactionary powers in taking over power, development might speed up because, as first evidence shows, the United Arab Republic's leadership has learned from the military fail and is removing anti-revolutionary forces from managing posts replacing these with more progressive people.

The situation that has arisen, is making it necessary for us to strive for decreasing and minimizing the impact of Israel's military success. This presupposes Israeli forces retreating from the conquered area and returning to the status quo prior to the aggression, i.e. behind the ceasefire line of 4.6.1967.

A gradual and long-term solution of the whole Near and Middle East situation building on a just foundation and providing the Palestinian refugees with rights, as well as the solution of territorial problems in line with the Charter and the UN General Assembly resolution that need to become the basis for settling the situation.

At the same time, it is necessary to influence the Arab states to promote a responsible and realistic policy especially in the economic and social development sphere and to refrain from slogans of liquidating Israel, as these slogans are a powerful weapon in the hands of Israel protectors and confusing public over the worldwide; and, when the agreement regarding the compensation of damages caused by the Israeli aggression will be reached, then they should consider acknowledging the existence of Israel.

Yet as far as the solution of this situation is concerned, Israel's opinion will become especially important and the fact that it achieved the military defeat and occupies Arab territory, is giving Israel the stronger arguments and it will impose conditions. This was already manifested in Israel openly demanding the annexation of Gaza, the West bank of the Jordan and whole Jerusalem, yet this significantly supercedes the original requirement to provide for ship travel through the Gulf of Aqaba, the Suez Canal, to provide for the solution of the Palestinian refugees in Israel's favor and to provide for the existence of Israel within the ceasefire borders from 1949. These maximalist Israeli demands could even lead to a new and increased conflict and an aggravated international situation.

The current state of affairs needs resolute action to be taken by the socialist countries on the international scene and to support Arab requirements. In order to settle the international situation in the Near and Middle East, the Czechoslovak government declared its consent with the Soviet initiative to summon an extraordinary UN General Assembly and fully supports it. The Czechoslovak delegation will proceed in coordination with other socialist countries as well as other countries so that Israel will be condemned as an aggressor and so that conditions will be created in order to push it back behind the ceasefire line without carrying out the second requirement precluding the first requirement to have been put through before that. Furthermore, it will be necessary to demand guarantees from Israel that it will stop being a source of unrest and aggression in this part of the world.

Support for the Arab states is to be expressed also in bilateral contacts between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and third world countries as well as some European and some Asian capitalist countries, and especially in the UN and other international governmental and non-governmental organizations.

As a first political measure, we propose to send a personal envoy from the President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic to president Gamal Abdel Nasser. This intention is to be carried out if the negotiations with Ahmed Fuad, president Gamal Abdel Nasser's envoy who is going to visit Prague these days, will reveal that such an intention is purposeful.

The task for the envoy of the President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic shall be:

To find out Nasser's intentions in settling the conflict with Israel, in solving domestic political and economic problems the country faces and its international relationships.

Express our opinion towards the situation and its solution. Stress that according to our opinion, it mustn't be allowed to Israel to remain on the territory it acquired through aggression. Both the United Arab Republic and other Arab states can expect our full support in putting through this requirement. At the same time, the task is to explain why we didn't agree and why won't agree with some Arab countries' requirement to liquidate the State of Israel.

We are willing to offer our support for the sake of maintaining a progressive development in the country. Yet we do want guarantees that this support will be effectively made use of. That's why we are expecting an open declaration on how Nasser and his colleagues will fight anti-Soviet and anti-socialist moods and whether they will limit these influences of reactionary powers and remove them from high posts within the economic, political sphere and within the army.

Stressing the need for considering mistakes from the past and taking a lesson from them as much as possible, express the need to consequently have a realistic opinion regarding the solution of main issues and stress the importance of consultations with friendly countries prior to taking more profound measures especially within the sphere of international policy.

Stress the importance of a union of revolutionary powers within the country and the importance of an anti-imperialist union of Arab states and ask what the SAR is intending to do out of these measures in the nearest and farer future based upon the lessons learned during the course of the conflict with Israel.

Following negotiations about political issues, fundamental issues linked to our aid and economic as well as business connections with both countries would be discussed.

Based upon the report on the results of the negotiations, the Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will receive a draft of the overall concept of our relations with the United Arab Republic.

We propose to send comrade Vladimír Koucký, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, as a special envoy from the President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic to President Nasser.

We recommend comrade Koucký to negotiate at this opportunity and as a representative of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia also issues of developing the relationship and cooperation between the Arab Socialist Party and the Czechoslovak Communist Party.

We recommend to send comrade V. Pleskot, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs as a special envoy from the President of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic to the Syrian Arab Republic, to the Syrian Head of Government Zuayyin. Based upon the results of the negotiations, a draft of the concept for further relations with the Syrian Arab Republic will be presented to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, delegations of leading workers from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Main Technical Administrations will visit the United Arab Republic and Syria for the purpose of specific negotiations.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of National Defense, the State Planning Commission in cooperation with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will prepare documents for both envoy's negotiations.

In order to uphold the sources of progressive development within the Arab world, it is necessary to provide multilateral aid especially in the United Arab Republic and Syria. When offering aid, it is necessary thoroughly to monitor it being used with maximum effectiveness.

Within the military sphere and after the Israeli aggression against Arab states, a situation emerged following the destruction of large quantities of the Arab states' military technology and due to the Western countries', especially the USA's and Great Britain's attitude, which creates good conditions for delivering military technology from socialist countries to the Arab world.

If going on purposefully, Czechoslovakia might exploit this situation in order to compensate at least part of the losses as well as the adverse effects that one has to count with. In order to achieve these aims, it's appropriate to stick to the principles listed below and:

1) to focus especially on speeding up deliveries of already contracted materials and to try to provide for a fast renewal of the combat readiness of the equipment the Arab states still have by delivering spare parts, ammunition and by possibly helping them with repairs.

2) to inform the United Arab Republic and Syria about the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic's fundamental will to further on help in building their economy and defense with the remark that they will be informed about the options of Czechoslovak special technology deliveries that will be based upon the United Arab Republic's and Syria's requirements after evaluating the requirements of all Arab states and the opportunities the Czechoslovak national economy has.

3) the issues of free-of-charge or partially paid aid, be it in the form of military technology deliveries or the deployment of experts, need to be consequently evaluated in accordance with the options the Czechoslovak national economy has; and the accompanying costs linked with such an aid, also have to be taken into consideration.

4) confine a possible free-of-charge aid only to the United Arab Republic, or possibly in a smaller scale also to Syria, whereas in the case of the other countries, the usual payment conditions are to be put through.

5) To make use of the fact that the Western countries have offered aid to Israel and tried to deliver their special technology also to Arab states that have hitherto been the Western countries' domain within the special technology area.

6) Evaluate the options of direct negotiations with some Arab countries (Kuwait, Libya) regarding the payment options of special technology deliveries to some Arab countries that are in a bad economic and financial situation.

At the same time, it's presupposed that the first ČSA flight following the re-established air-transport to the United Arab Republic (on Friday, 16.6., 16.00 - hitherto, the United Arab Republic's authorities haven't had granted the ČSA an approval to land) will bring a donation from the Czechoslovak Red Cross (medicine and medical material) and some military technology spare parts which the United Arab Republic urgently requests.

As far as the options for the development of economic relations between the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic are concerned, there is an information attachment (attachment IV/d). Based upon the findings on the current economic situation in both countries, their needs and requirements regarding the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and on the basis of negotiations with the G.A. Nasser's envoy, the Egyptian Bank governor Ahmed Fuad, and possibly based on the negotiations of comrade V. Koucký and comrade V. Pleskot with other comrades in the United Arab Republic or Syria, a strategic plan for the further steps will be worked out.

The task for our economic bodies is to monitor and implement options of actively exploiting the newly emerged situation in the Near and Middle East for our economic interests; this includes, among others, the options for the Arab States to deposit money in the Czechoslovak National Bank that will have been withdrawn from Western banks.

Active support within the Comecon bodies for the draft proposals meant to support the coordination of economic aid for Arab states.

The Israeli aggression against the progressive Arab states and the difficult situation into which the progressive powers and European socialist countries came, the impact of this conflict on the communist parties' role within the capitalist countries and the impact on the situation within the international Communist movement again underlined how urgent it is to have a worldwide conference of communist and workers party representatives.

Negotiating about the issue of developing countries and about the national liberation movement in relation to the international communism movement should be one of the main topics for the next international conference that would be to evaluate the international situation, its development throughout the past years and draw conclusions the whole movement would abide to in relation to the fight against imperialism, for liquidating all kinds of colonialism, in order to provide for a progressive movement around the world and to prevent the imperialist strategy of exporting counter-revolution through local wars and other means (reactionary putsches) and by halting our support for progressive powers by threatening with nuclear war.

As far as this aspect is concerned, it will become necessary to discuss also the joint proceeding of communist and workers parties towards national-democratic parties that are in power and towards other progressive parties and organizations.

By negotiating with representatives from fraternal parties on the urgency of the conference and its program we will stress the importance of discussing the importance of the above-mentioned issues and exchange opinions regarding these issues' solutions.

In this respect, it will be necessary to work out draft opinions of our party regarding several important issues that became unexpectedly urgent and very clear during the Near East conflict.

It's especially about the fundamental question of how to face imperialist attacks against sources of progressive development in different parts of the world. Within this aspect, it will be about working on a series of important issues such as the concept of strengthening the socialist system alliance with the national liberation movement, the concept of political, military and scientific-technical aid for developing countries etc.

These materials containing the opinions and proposals of our party would serve as a document for elaborating a joint evaluation and proceeding of at least those fraternal parties and socialist countries that have signed the Moscow declaration on June 9, 1967.

It is advisable that the international department immediately starts working on these issues together with the respective Ministries and institutions and that it presents these issues for discussion at the body's meeting by September 15, 1967.

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Taking into consideration our relatively rich contacts with progressive Arab states (political parties, diplomats, economic-political cooperation), we grasped a relatively good picture of the situation in individual countries including their weaknesses and insufficiencies in different sectors. Yet our cooperation lacked an intensive active effort for getting rid of wrong opinions and practices.

We only rarely react towards wrong tendencies and bad opinion, the reason for this is non-interference into other countries' or parties' internal affairs.

In order to promote the progressive powers' efforts, it will be necessary to aptly face both wrong opinions and practice within our contacts, as such a thing would weaken our aid's effectiveness, and it will be necessary to take actively part in the discussion especially in relation to issues such as mutual relations between the socialist camp and the third world and the national liberation movement.

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The development of the situation in the Arab East that grew into the Israeli aggression uncovered the weaknesses within the activities of some bodies as well as an insufficient political and moral preparedness of our workers abroad.

It is also necessary to mention the fact that the Near and Middle East crisis uncovered certain deficiencies, mainly within the intelligence sphere of all components of embassies within the Near and Middle East region. A certain kind of imprudence and hastiness when carrying out necessary measures as a precaution for the case of possible extraordinary events was proven as well.

We recommend that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of the Interior carry out an analysis of these insufficiencies and weaknesses and put through measures that would prevent such a situation occurring again either in the Arab states or in other countries.

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The reflection of the events in the Near East also uncovered some of our weaknesses in influencing public opinion. Whereas some magazines (Literární noviny [Literary newspaper]) systematically presented the state of Israel as peaceful, economically successful, democratic and progressive - our public hasn't been informed about the development within the United Arab Republic and Syria sufficiently. Furthermore, at the beginning of the Israeli aggression information appeared, mainly on the radio and on television that was doubting our evaluating the conflict being an Israeli aggression. These information appeared under the “veil of objectivity” and under the veil of necessity to face Western propaganda. To a certain kind, this fact is linked with the personnel situation within the mass media.

We recommend that the Ideology department at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia carry out an analysis of these insufficiencies and propose necessary measure.

As far as the content of our propaganda is concerned, it is currently necessary to focus especially on strengthening the ideas of proletarian internationalism and the international solidarity among progressive powers. It's about explaining the nature of the Near East conflict, uncover the State of Israel's real character with real facts. Facing propaganda, yet at the same time – facing anti-Semitism. For this end, the analysis of both groups within the State of Israel conflict is to be exploited. Facing the threat of defeatism and feeling of helplessness among progressive citizens and contempt against developing countries and their importance within the anti-imperialist struggle.

As far as life within the party is concerned, it's necessary to pay attention that only those opinions are expressed during member meetings of Communist Party base organizations that are in line with the Central Committee of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia's opinion towards all issues that are being discussed. For this reason the organizational department within the Central Committee of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia provides that only officers sent by higher bodies of the Party will express their opinion at Communist Party base organizations meetings.