Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Which Socialism, Whose Détente?

 | 
Maud Bracke

Part II. The Prague spring, the invasion, the dissent

Chapter 6. Normalization and Realignment

Texte intégral

  • 1 Report Marchais to the CC of December 1968, APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2

“De Gaulle understands our action in Czechoslovakia”
L. Brezhnev, December 19681

  • 2 This is the case, for example, in Höbel, “Il PCI, il ’68 cecoslovacco.”

1As an immediate consequence of the invasion and their protest against it, both the PCI and the PCF went through a phase of acute crisis in their relations with the Soviet Union and the world communist movement. During the second half of 1968 and the first half of 1969, the PCI, PCF, and all the West European communist parties were realigned to Soviet dominance and “orthodoxy,” although to varying extents and in differing conditions. The realignment of the PCI and the PCF happened in two ways. Firstly, severe pressure was exerted on both parties, not only by the Soviet Communist Party but also by the East German SED. The PCI and the PCF resumed their relations with the Soviet Communist Party at bilateral meetings at the end of 1968. Secondly, the two parties were partially realigned through a broader process that took place in the world communist movement. In a context of sharply tightening discipline, a new consensus on internationalism was constructed. This happened concretely through the intense preparations for the world conference of communist parties, and the eventual meeting in June 1969 in Moscow. The pressure to comply with “orthodoxy” and discipline exerted on the out-of-government communist parties in this phase has not been perceived in its totality in most of the literature.2 At the same time, it will become clear that the West European communist parties played a role, together with Romania and to a lesser extent Yugoslavia, in obstructing the imposition of the harshest forms of discipline. However, the price they paid for maintaining a level of autonomy was to accept the non-discussion of essential issues of strategy and doctrine— which undermined the very reasons for their continued belonging to the Soviet-aligned communist world.

1. INDIVIDUAL REALIGNMENT

2In the aftermath of the invasion, the communist parties of the Soviet Union and of the GDR exerted strong and direct pressure on the communist parties of Western Europe. The aim, first and foremost, was to force these parties into adhering to their interpretation of the events in Czechoslovakia and to seek support for the ongoing “normalization” there. Besides this, the aim, especially on the part of the Soviet Union, was to realign the West European communist parties in the context of the theory of limited sovereignty within the world communist movement and to reimpose stricter rules of orthodoxy. The Soviet and East German communist parties used a number of means of pressure, most of which were well-known habits in the communist world. These included bilateral meetings, withdrawal of financial support and material support, attacks on the dissenting parties in the press, support to the internal opposition in these parties against their leaderships by means of sending propaganda material, and attempts to “divide” the West European parties. However, the totality of the pressure that was exerted on the dissenting communist parties in the West from September to December 1968 was exceptional and had not occurred since 1948.

  • 3 The rise to power of Berlinguer in the PCI and the ousting of Rochet in the PCF are discussed in t (...)

3The episode discussed here is illuminating for the different levels of intensity of pressure exerted on the PCI and the PCF, as well as for the different responses by both party leaderships. This should be understood in connection to the position of the central party leaderships in their parties at this stage. As we have seen above, in the case of the PCI the position of dissent was almost perfectly accepted among the wider party cadres (in the Direzione and the Central Committee). The PCI leaders dealing with the Soviets—Berlinguer in the first place—felt assured that there was widespread willingness in the party to insist on issues such as autonomy. Berlinguer’s relatively comfortable position is in contrast to the unstable situation in the PCF leadership at the time. It had become clear that the Rochet–Kanapa line of careful dissent was seriously challenged in the leadership, by intellectuals and in the rank and file. The disunity in the party was one factor that jeopardized the bargaining position of the PCF leadership in its dealings with the Soviets.3 More fundamentally, the problem for the PCF was that it was more dependent on the Soviet Union than was the PCI in terms of its domestic sources of legitimation. As we have seen, its concept of revolution referred more directly to the (historical) world communist movement, and, in contrast to the PCI, anti-fascism did not refer to the domestic situation.

1.1. The PCI

1.1.1. The open conflict with the Soviet and East German parties

  • 4 A. P. Kirilenko was a member of the Soviet Presidium, responsible for international affairs.
  • 5 A French translation of the article in “Sous le drapeau d’internationalisme,” APCF, Fund Waldeck R (...)
  • 6 Ferrara, “Tesi inaccetabili,” Unità, 8/9/68.
  • 7 An Italian translation of the article of 8/9/68: “Doveri dei comunisti,” APCI, Dir, 020.0996–0998. (...)

4Following the invasion, aggressive press polemics developed between the Italian and Soviet communist parties. In late August, an article by Kirilenko appeared in Pravda which, under the header of an “appeal to all true Marxist-Leninists,” called upon communist parties to rally around the Soviet Union.4 Communist parties that had condemned the invasion were criticized for falling into the trap of imperialist propaganda. In quintessential divide-and-rule style, the Soviet press started to discriminate between the PCI and the PCF. A Pravda article, “Under the banner of internationalism,” published in late October, for example, emphasized the differences between the interpretations by the two parties of the Moscow Protocol and the withdrawal of troops.5 Another Pravda article by Nekrasov, referring to the dissenting parties, defended the thesis of the “decisive role” of the Soviet Union in the communist world. Fierce protest against these “unacceptable theses” was developed in a Unità article by Ferrara.6 At the same time, the Polish Communist Party’s paper Trybuna Ludu targeted the PCI in the article “Tasks of the communists.” The article not only attacked the PCI for continuing to ask for the withdrawal of troops, but more generally criticized the “Italian road to socialism” and statements on it by Amendola and Longo.7

  • 8 Zagladin also threatened to increase the press attacks and to instrumentalize divisions inside the (...)

5The crisis between the Italian and Soviet communists grew into a standoff and led to a phase of re-discussion of the very foundations of their relation. Although this was a negotiation between two very unequal partners, the PCI in this phase succeeded in stretching its autonomy inside the world communist movement further than it had ever done before, and further than any out-of-government communist party. When it became clear that the PCI did not intend to shift to the Soviet interpretation of the Czechoslovak crisis, more important issues were put under question and Moscow was ready to initiate difficult debates such as the national roads strategy, party autonomy, and the Soviet position in the communist world. In a conversation between Berlinguer and Zagladin in Budapest in early October, the latter stated that the “peaceful road to socialism” remained exceptional and its acceptance by the world communist movement (that is to say the Soviet Union) not automatic.8

  • 9 The issue of the funding was usually taboo between the PCI leaders and in the wider party; in this (...)
  • 10 Written report Cossutta to the Direzione: APCI, Dir, 12/9/68 (annex to meeting of 18/9), 020.0976– (...)
  • 11 Oral report Cossutta to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 31/10/68, 1104.
  • 12 Ponomariov on this occasion listed the Soviet motives behind financial support to the PCI as follo (...)
  • 13 In December, Ponomariev promised Cossutta $ 3,700,000 for 1969, a cut of almost 50 per cent. This (...)

6While Soviet attacks amplified, the responses by the PCI became increasingly harsh. At the same time there was a consensus in the PCI leadership that some sort of modus vivendi with the Soviets needed to be sought. This involved the very delicate issue of the PCI’s direct funding by the Soviets. To investigate the possibilities for the resumption of relations between the two parties, and particularly to find out where the funding was at, A. Cossutta was sent to Moscow twice on a secret mission.9 During his first visit in mid-September, the Soviets implicitly threatened to withhold funding. Zagladin emphasized that a common understanding of the Czechoslovak events needed to be reached; this included support of the Moscow agreements and an end to demands for the withdrawal of troops.10 As the open attacks did not cease, Cossutta was sent a second time to Moscow in late October. The threats and conditions imposed were even more explicit than before. There was, for example, pressure to adhere to the thesis of “invitation,” and the prohibition on critical analyses of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the texts of the PCI’s latest CC meeting, which had been closely read in Moscow, were criticized—that is, the contributions by Rossanda, Pintor and Natoli, and what was called the “lack of an adequate response” by the central leadership. Also Amendola was criticized for “confusing communism with social democracy.”11 Most unusually, the taboo regarding the funding was broken on this occasion and the Soviets threatened to cease their “support” to the PCI.12 The Soviets pressured Longo to write a letter to Brezhnev requesting the resuming of financial assistance. As this implied conceding to the Soviet conditions, the Direzione, after discussion, refused to do so.13

  • 14 Occhetto, A., “A proposito dei fatti Cecoslovacchi: Forze rivoluzionarie e lotta per il socialismo (...)
  • 15 Berlinguer, E., “Le contraddizioni delle societa’ socialiste,” Rinascita, 27/9/68.
  • 16 Kurt Hager, ideologist of the SED, wrote in a Neues Deutschlands article of October 1968 that the (...)
  • 17 Unità, 1/11/68.

7Furthermore, fierce polemics developed between the SED and the PCI. The SED responded in particular to two Rinascita articles by Occhetto and Berlinguer. Occhetto’s article of early September discussed the strategy of the communist parties and workers’ movements in Western Europe in the context of the crisis of world communism. It suggested a different type of communism and revolution in Western Europe and the non-applicability in the West of the experiences of Eastern Europe.14 Berlinguer’s article of late September, with the provocative title “The contradictions of the socialist societies,” argued against a “mythical view” of the situation in the socialist countries. Berlinguer stated not only that the Soviet Union had failed to carry out the promises of the 20th CPSU congress of 1956, but went as far as to criticize the “20th congress line” as such, which was a new element in the PCI’s official analysis of the Soviet Union and the communist world.15 The result was a series of open attacks in the SED press on the PCI, on its strategy, and on its “new internationalism.” At a Central Committee meeting of the SED, H. Axen, responsible for relations with other communist parties, and general secretary E. Honecker, criticized the PCI’s “revisionism.”16 Subsequently, an anonymous article was published in Unità, which deplored these “unacceptable methods” and attacked Honecker for conflating internationalism with loyalty to the Soviet Union.17

1.1.2. The Moscow meeting and the PCI’s bluff

  • 18 Sources for the meeting are: Oral report Berlinuger to Direzione: APCI, Dir, 16/11/68, 020.1162–11 (...)

8The bilateral meeting between delegations of the Soviet and Italian communist parties on 13–14 November was a crucial moment. Not only were relations between the two parties renegotiated, but also the extent to which the PCI would realign to the “orthodox” Soviet conception of internationalism, in terms of the organization of the communist world, of its conception of socialism, and of strategy vis-à-vis the West.18 The meeting was a moderate success from the PCI point of view, especially compared to the case of the PCF. It left the party with an enlarged, although still limited, room for maneuver. The method was to use the party’s dissent over the invasion in order to obtain larger party autonomy. Berlinguer played a crucial role in this: probably more sharply than any other PCI leader he intuited that the margins of maneuver could indeed be manipulated in this moment of crisis, as the Soviets needed moral and ideological support from as many communist parties as possible.

  • 19 Unità, 15/1/68, p. 3.

9The Soviet delegation had prepared a joint communication and the entire discussions were about pressuring the Italians to sign it. However, the latter (Berlinguer, Galluzzi, Bufalini and Colombi), although willing to discuss and to make certain concessions, eventually considered that the concessions would go too far. Instead, a joint communication was published, which only in general terms stated that the meeting had taken place.19 The Soviets attempted to make the PCI align on the following points in particular:

  • Regarding the Czechoslovak crisis: the PCI needed to admit that there had been a counter-revolution, should cease to ask publicly for the withdrawal of troops, and should publicly support the Moscow Protocol.
  • Regarding relations between the two parties: the public polemics should be stopped and common ground between both parties and in the world communist movement should generally be sought.
  • Regarding the model of socialism: the PCI should state that “general laws” governed the road to socialism. There was pressure to elaborate entirely positive analyses of the socialist regimes and criticism of the PCI’s domestic strategy, for example in terms of the interpretation of democratic centralism and the leading role of the communist party.20
  • With respect to strategy vis-à-vis the West: the Soviet delegation dwelt on the German question and implicitly pressured the PCI to agree on the thesis that no change had occurred in Bonn’s policy towards the East.
  • 21 The PCI delegation had also prepared a communication; it included statements on party autonomy, th (...)
  • 22 APCI, Dir, 16/11/68, 020.1165.
  • 23 This was especially Berlinguer’s interpretation of the situation, but he was crucially supported b (...)

10The PCI delegation could only agree on the second point and considered the points on the situation in Czechoslovakia in particular to be “a provocation.”21 Regarding Czechoslovakia, the Italian communists were willing to refer in general terms to the need for the “re-enforcement of Marxism-Leninism” in the country, provided that there was reference to the Dubček program and sovereignty—which the Soviets could not accept.22 Both delegations were willing to avoid deeper-lying discussions regarding autonomy, socialism and democracy, and so on. This gave proof of both parties’ farreaching willingness to come to an agreement, and it was largely to the benefit of the PCI, because this situation meant de facto autonomy. As a result of this meeting, the Italian communist leaders felt largely reassured that the polemics against them would cease. They also understood that, while Czechoslovakia remained the sensitive point, their margins of maneuver in terms of domestic strategy and conception of socialism remained relatively wide in practice, despite the rhetoric of limited sovereignty.23 However, one of the basic contradictions of the party’s internatonalism became clear at this point: abstaining from any kind of debate on central questions of doctrine and strategy was the only condition on which the party could (and wanted to) remain a part of the world communist movement.

1.2. The PCF

1.2.1. The attacks on the PCF

  • 24 At least six different brochures were diffused among PCF militants by the SED. APCF, BP, 23/9/68. (...)
  • 25 APCF, BP, 13/9/68; “Quelques questions concernant nos relations avec le PCUS,” 3/11/68, s.n., APCF (...)
  • 26 “Communication verbale au CC PCUS, transmise oralement par Plissonnier,” 17/7/68, APCF, Fund “Evén (...)

11Pressure on the French communists by the Soviet and East German communist parties was significantly more aggressive, and interventions more direct, in comparison with the Italian case. At the same time, the PCF was far less assertive in its responses to the “brother parties” than was the PCI. Open attacks on the PCF from the Soviets and East Germans developed in early September and only came to a halt in December. Moreover, both the CPSU and the SED sent propaganda material (letters, brochures, and so on) to individual members of the PCF. The material not only justified the invasion but also attacked the PCF leadership and questioned the national roads strategy.24 The PCF leadership protested, though only privately, and cancelled all planned visits to the Soviet Union and the socialist countries.25 Waldeck Rochet and Fajon discussed the problem with Zimyanin of the CPSU Central Committee on the occasion of the Fêtes de l’Humanité in Paris in mid-September; it was agreed not to engage in public polemics.26

  • 27 “Notes de Kanapa à Waldeck Rochet à propos d’un article paru dans la Pravda,” APCF, Fund Waldeck R (...)
  • 28 APCF, BP, 13/9/68.
  • 29 For example, Nouvelles de Moscou on 14/9 published a letter by party member Charles Frechard in di (...)
  • 30 “Une réponse de Louis Aragon à la Literaturnaia Gazeta,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, bo (...)

12The pressure and public attacks were, nonetheless, intensified. Pravda published an article by Kovalev in early September on the French longuettistes, in which Lenin was quoted referring to “those who do not understand” as traitors.27 Furthermore, the CPSU press published an article by Duclos from May 1968 that discussed internationalism: brought into the context of the Czechoslovak crisis, this article could be interpreted as suggesting Duclos’ disagreement with the central party line.28 Attempts to undermine the position of the PCF central leadership were intensified, now also by the publication in the CPSU press of letters from PCF members who were in disagreement with the leadership.29 Nor were the PCF intellectuals spared: an article in the Soviet literature review Literaturnaya Gazeta heavily attacked Aragon. The French poet coldly replied in Lettres françaises that he was and remained supportive of the disagreement with the invasion.30

  • 31 The CPSU responded that it was Humanité which had provoked the polemics by criticizing the Soviet (...)
  • 32 At the Budapest meeting Axen criticized the positions of Garaudy and Aragon. In his reply Marchais (...)
  • 33 Hence, Soviet articles containing criticism of the PCF were not published in the party press. Deci (...)
  • 34 APCF, Sec, 28/11/68.

13The PCF leaders protested in private with the Soviets on several occasions,31 while avoiding making the conflict public. At a meeting with an SED delegation in Budapest in late September, Marchais suggested that the PCF would publish a response in Humanité in the event that the SED failed to stop sending propaganda brochures. Axen agreed to stop the interventions but insisted on a bilateral meeting to “discuss” the Czechoslovak question. It was agreed, furthermore, to avoid touching upon the theme of Czechoslovakia in the public communications between the two parties.32 The leadership was very concerned about keeping the polemics with the Soviet Union hidden from the wider party and other political forces in France.33 At the same time, however, the PCF leaders were preparing for an aggravation of the polemics. If this were to occur, some of them, primarily Waldeck Rochet and Kanapa, were willing to open a debate on the more fundamental issues such as autonomy, the conception of socialism, and strategy towards the Western world. The Secretariat meeting of 28 November decided: “If a number of brother parties would render an ideological confrontation on the important current questions of our movement inevitable, we are ready for such a confrontation. Our party would on such an occasion firmly hold its positions.”34

  • 35 “Avant-projet pour un article,” s.n. (but most likely Rochet and/or Kanapa), s.d., APCF, Fund Wald (...)
  • 36 Besides, the Soviets also withheld direct funding to the PCF until 1969, as it did in the case of (...)

14Rochet prepared an article, probably to be published in Humanité in the event the public attacks became aggravated. The draft text of the article, which was never published, criticized the Soviet Union (but not the GDR) for causing the polemics.35 It repeated the PCF position on the Czechoslovak events, but in a more pronounced and assertive way than the party had ever done since 22 August. For the first time, the theses of “invitation” and of counter-revolution were rejected in unambiguous terms. Also far-reaching was the statement that the invasion went counter to the PCF thesis on the diversity of roads to socialism.36 The above-mentioned note written by Kanapa in September, which was intended to be sent to the Soviets in response to their justification of the invasion, should also be seen in this context. The note listed the disagreements between the PCF and the CPSU on fundamental issues and in clear terms. All this was in line with the careful reinterpretation of internationalism of which Rochet’s “diplomatic” campaign of July had also been an expression: it reflected an idealized view of co-operation inside the world communist movement, which, while not entirely ignoring the reality of Soviet dominance, failed to take the full implications of it into account. However, the fact that the Rochet article was never published and the Kanapa letter to the Soviets never sent reflected the wider shift in the party back to full “orthodoxy” and obedience, due to a lack of support in the leadership for a critical position, as well as effective Soviet pressure.

1.2.2. The Moscow meeting and the PCF’s retreat

15As in the case of the PCI, the polemics did not cease before a bilateral meeting with the Soviets. Also here, the significance of this meeting went far beyond the fact of resuming contact and was a moment of renegotiating the parameters of internationalism. In contrast to the PCI case, however, the PCF, at its meeting with Soviets in Moscow in early November, largely complied with Soviet pressure. This was so, firstly, because the PCF leadership was from the outset partly “self-realigned,” and secondly because the Soviets imposed tighter conditions on the French than they did on the Italians. The PCF delegation in Moscow, which included Rochet, Duclos, Guyot, Kanapa and Marchais, found itself in a much weaker position than the PCI delegation had been. Waldeck Rochet’s position in the leadership was at this point weak, and his views on internationalism and on how to move on were not even shared by the entire delegation. As we will see in further detail in the next chapter, this phase marked the start of the elimination of Rochet and the rise to power of Marchais. The latter considered complete realignment with the Soviet Union as the precondition for the reconstruction of the unity and identity of the party, and for the further elaboration of its domestic strategy.

  • 37 Partial records of the CC meeting of October 1968 in Ivry-sur-Seine, on the basis of notes by Kana (...)
  • 38 KremlinPCF, p. 134.
  • 39 “PCF–Projet de la rencontre PCF-URSS sur la Tchécoslovaquie,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Roche (...)
  • 40 “Première intervention Waldeck Rochet,” s.n., s.d., APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie 1968,” bo (...)
  • 41 “Première intervention Waldeck Rochet,” s.n., s.d., APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie 1968,” bo (...)

16The PCF self-censored its initial position in anticipation of the meeting. Its initial position, as laid down at the CC meeting of Ivry, stated that not only the existence of divergences should be mentioned but that also the Soviet’s interference in the PCF.37 As to relations between communist parties, the CC report emphasized the fact that divergences between communist parties were possible, without this necessarily leading to a break. With exceptional straightforwardness, the report mentioned that relations inside the world communist movement had deteriorated since the late 1950s, against the PCF’s wishes.38 This suggested Chinese but also Soviet responsibility; it was one of the last elements in PCF public statements to hint at the differentiation between Soviet internationalism and the PCF’s own line. A further retreat from this initial position took place, as the French delegation to Moscow prepared a joint communication. This stated the existence of divergences between the two parties on Czechoslovakia but dropped the other points.39 In his first intervention at the meeting itself, Waldeck Rochet no longer mentioned the Soviet obligations in connection to the Moscow agreements. He did, however, continue to state that the two parties had had a different analysis of the situation in Czechoslovakia.40 Regarding the organization of the world communist movement, Rochet added that the Soviet Union played “a considerable role.”41

  • 42 The draft Soviet communication can be found in KremlinPCF, pp. 207–210.

17The Soviets had also prepared a joint communication. The demands imposed on the French clearly went beyond what had been imposed on the Italians:42

  • Regarding the Czechoslovak crisis: no confirmation of the PCF’s position of dissent of 22 August; a positive appreciation of the Moscow agreements and all the following agreements between the Soviet and Czechoslovak parties; not to ask for the withdrawal of troops.
  • Regarding the organization of the communist world: a statement on the “vanguard role” of the Soviet Union in the struggle against imperialism.
  • In terms of global strategy: a very pessimistic view of the “balance of forces” between socialism and imperialism and emphasis on the aggressive tendencies in capitalism; the affirmation that West German foreign policy continued to be expansionist; significantly, a statement on the friendly state relations between the Soviet Union and France.
  • 43 At the meeting Brezhnev provocatively stated that “de Gaulle understands our action in Czechoslova (...)
  • 44 There are no details of this in the records, but Rochet noted: “…We are always ready to receive cr (...)
  • 45 It was said, furthermore, that the Champigny Manifesto of December 1968 (see chapter 7.) presented (...)

18The central matter of conflict, however, was to do with strategy—that is, the PCF’s domestic strategy and the valuation of Gaullist foreign policy. While the Soviets wanted to push the PCF into at least an implicit agreement with Gaullist foreign policy, the PCF delegation wished to emphasize the links between Gaullist France and West Germany.43 Worse still, in terms of domestic strategy the Soviet delegation criticized the PCF for its strategy in the crisis of May–June.44 This was inconsistent with its more or less positive evaluation of this strategy during the events themselves. Also the East German SED now shifted its position regarding PCF strategy in the spring of 1968 to a more negative one. In an internal report, based on the publications of the PCF, it was noted that the PCF had offered a “superficial” analysis of the situation in May–June and had not granted enough attention to non-parliamentary means of action.45 This situation was reminiscent of the first Cominform meeting of 1947, at which the PCF and PCI were criticized for their domestic strategy of 1944–1947, which they had carried out in full agreement with the Soviets. In contrast to 1947, however, criticism of West European communist strategy was no longer overt, the public attacks on the Western parties being limited to matters of doctrine rather than domestic strategy. This reflected the unclear nature of the view held by the communist bloc, and the Soviet Union in particular, on what such a strategy in the West should be.

  • 46 The pressure exerted on this issue by the Soviets on the French was tremendous. The Soviet delegat (...)

19The shifting position of the Soviet and East German communist parties on French domestic strategy demonstrates that this issue was considered entirely in terms of the situation in the communist world, rather than in terms of the situation in France or in terms of East–West relations. This is evidence of the non-relevance of West European communist strategy to the Soviet Union. In the following contacts between the PCF and the Soviet and East German communist parties, this issue, as far as can be known from the currently available archives, was no longer brought up. It thus became clear that “friendly” relations with the Soviet Union and the world communist movement could only be restored, as in the case of the PCI, on the basis of the non-discussion of essential issues. The joint communication, issued after the November meeting with the Soviet Communist Party, referred neither to the invasion nor to the dissent. The PCF did not succeed in maintaining a note on the “divergences” between the two parties; instead, there was a reference to the “respective points of view” of the two parties.46 The final communication did not include any mention of the principle of autonomy, the possibility of disagreement in the world communist movement, or equality in relations between communist parties. Moreover, the “special role” of the Soviet Union was mentioned. The text dwelled largely on global strategy: Vietnam, the Middle East, the system of collective security and Karlovy Vary, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty; it also included a statement on French–Soviet state relations.

  • 47 Report Marchais to the CC of December 1968, APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2
  • 48 “Intervention devant le groupe parlementaire communiste sur la rencontrée entre les délégations de (...)
  • 49 Rochet felt compelled to defend the position of the delegation in Moscow on his much-awaited speec (...)

20The only point that the French had been able to push through was a less pessimistic view of the global “balance of forces,” with more emphasis on the potentials of the global “progressive forces,” the peace forces and the liberation movements.47 It reflected the PCF’s understanding that the world communist movement needed to make a more “optimistic” analysis of the global balance of forces, in order for the Soviet Union to shift its strategy on the European continent to a more offensive register. This element was also, however, to be given up by PCF analyses at a later stage. The issue of the joint communication became a matter of controversy within the PCF and in France, even more so when Pravda omitted the crucial phrase on “respective points of view” from its publication. A number of the party’s representatives in parliament protested with the leadership. Justifying themselves before the party, the PCF leaders argued, in an obviously meek way, that they had succeeded in avoiding the real danger of an “irreversible rupture” with the Soviets. They also argued that the essentials had been saved: no concessions on the dissent of 22 August, emphasis on the elements of convergence, and avoidance of continued polemics.48 In the party rank and file, for example in the Paris federations, there was also disappointment and open criticism.49

1.3. The question of the West European communist conference

  • 50 Little is written on the plans for a West European communist conference in the aftermath of the in (...)

21A direct result of the pressure put on the Western communist parties was the failure of the latter to bring about a regional conference of the West European communist parties immediately following the invasion. A number of joint actions of the dissenting parties of Europe were suggested, some of which involved Romania and Yugoslavia. In all these plans the PCI and PCF were the crucial actors. All these attempts broke down, due partly to strong Soviet pressure against initiatives, which it considered as factional. The episode demonstrated the limited potential of polycentrism: groupings of communist parties in the world communist movement were only allowed insofar as they did not go counter to Soviet interests as a hegemon; ultimately, also the PCI succumbed to this.50

  • 51 Pajetta remembers that there was “full agreement” on the need to condemn the invasion. Pajetta, Le (...)
  • 52 This position was reaffirmed during the phone conversation between Longo and Rochet on the morning (...)
  • 53 Oral report Longo, APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0859 and 0905.
  • 54 For example, Bufalini affirmed that it would have been much more difficult for the PCI to express (...)
  • 55 The PCI had telephone contact with the French, Austrian, British, Swedish, Spanish, Finnish and Be (...)
  • 56 The earliest trace of the KPÖ proposal is Galluzzi at the Direzione meeting: APCI, Dir, 23/8, 020. (...)
  • 57 It was added: “we doubt that he [Fischer] would obtain support from communist parties such as the (...)

22On their way back from Moscow to Rome on 21 August, Longo and Pajetta met with Rochet in Paris. Although it was clear that the positions of the leaders of both parties largely converged,51 there was an agreement not to carry out an explicitly concerted action (as, for example, a common statement of dissent), at least for the time being. A short statement only communicated that the meeting had taken place.52 According to Longo, it was the French who dismissed a common initiative. But he himself also declared to the Direzione that “the moment for a common initiative has not occurred.”53 Although the dissent of the two parties came about separately, it was for both very important to know that they did not have an isolated position in the world communist movement.54 The invasion and the events immediately following it strongly intensified the contacts between the West European communist parties. Intense communication between West European communist leaders took place at the height of the crisis.55 The day following the invasion, the Austrian KPÖ, which was rapidly radicalizing in terms of autonomy, unofficially proposed convening a conference of the “dissenting” West European communist parties, which would, at the least, issue a joint statement on the current situation.56 The project caused great alarm in Moscow and East Berlin, as it suggested the secession of the West European parties. Neues Deutschlands, the organ of the SED, promptly published an article criticizing the KPÖ and its general secretary E. Fischer for revisionism and strongly condemning the initiative.57

  • 58 At the 23/8 meeting of the Direzione, Galluzzi and Berlinguer argued in favour of the KPÖ proposal (...)
  • 59 “Luigi Longo: Sui fatti di Cecoslovacchia, Rapporto al CC,” in (PCI, ed.) Il Partito comunista ita (...)

23The PCI showed an interest in the project, but its commitment to it turned out to be limited. The PCI leadership anticipated that, in the highly confrontational atmosphere in the world communist movement at that moment, regional action would be interpreted as factional by the Soviets and might cause a rupture. This had never been the aim behind the PCI’s conceptions of regional communism. The PCI leadership shifted between two positions. A “minimalist” position demonstrated its interest in the project as a bargaining tool inside the WCM and an implicit threat vis-à-vis the Soviets. A “maximalist” position, held at this point especially by Galluzzi and Berlinguer, more genuinely conceived the regional conference as a way to cause change in the world communist movement.58 Longo’s report to the CC of 27 August mentioned the existence of various proposals for broad multilateral meetings, “especially among the communist parties of capitalist Europe.” Importantly, he added that the goal of such meetings should be not only the exchange of ideas but also the co-ordination of strategy in favor of détente and international co-operation.59

  • 60 This was the case at least for Rochet, Kanapa and Fajon. Report by Galluzzi of his talks with the (...)
  • 61 “Interview télévisée Radio Canada,” 26/8/68. APCF, Fund Fajon, box 8, folder 1.
  • 62 CPSU to PCF, 31/8/68, in APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” 2, 3.
  • 63 Mentioned in a letter from the PCF to the KPÖ (Muhri), 9/10/68. APCF, Evénements en Tchécoslovaqui (...)

24The PCF, always wary of polycentrism and preferring to operate in the wider WCM context, showed little sympathy for the project. However, part of the leadership initially held a position similar to the “minimalist” one in the PCI.60 This was the reason why, in a radio interview, Fajon announced that common initiatives between the West European communist parties were envisaged.61 However, in early September the PCF leadership pronounced itself against the proposal. This was the consequence of direct Soviet pressure on this issue, but also of the fact that the party did not consider the issue of West European communist regionalism worthy of a conflict. On 31 August the French communist leaders received a letter from Moscow, informing them that they had heard about preparations for a separate West European conference. It was made clear that this was out of the question.62 Although the PCF did not adhere to the proposal, in early September the KPÖ press published a list of parties supporting the idea, among which figured the PCF and the PCI.63

  • 64 On this occasion Suslov reportedly said: “We have been informed that you and the Austrians are pre (...)
  • 65 Galluzzi reported this. At this point Galluzzi changed his position, arguing against holding the c (...)

25The Soviets put pressure on the Italians as well, especially on the occasion of Cossutta’s trip to Moscow in mid-September.64 By mid-September the Italian communists gave up their support for the regional conference, despite the pressure exerted on them by some of the reformist Czechoslovak leaders to go through with it.65 While the Austrian party continued to toy with the idea for a while, this was the end of it. The separate conference of West European parties, with all the implications it might have had in terms of diversification inside the communist world, did not only fail because the Soviets were opposed to it. While the PCF continued to be profoundly opposed to any conception of the communist world which was not a centralist one, the PCI was not willing fully to engage in such a radical initiative if the French were not involved. It was not willing to risk Soviet sanctions for the benefits that a West European communist grouping outside the world communist movement might have. These were certainly limited in terms of strategy as well as doctrine from the PCI perspective. The PCI’s unwillingness to consider the West European communist grouping as anything more than a pressure group inside the world communist movement was to remain a constant feature of the PCI’s regional internationalism into the 1970s.

  • 66 APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0913. A delegation of the Direzione met with a delegation of the Yugoslavi (...)
  • 67 Report Longo to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0918.
  • 68 The tone of the letter makes clear that the difficult relations between the two parties also playe (...)

26The position of the PCI and PCF on the invasion to some extent converged with those taken by Romania and Yugoslavia. Here too, however, the attitudes of the PCF and the PCI were characterized by a careful anticipation of Soviet reactions. The Yugoslavs requested the PCI to undertake a common initiative—to which the latter, despite several meetings, did not respond.66 Romania meanwhile officially proposed organizing a pan-European conference of communist parties on the Czechoslovak crisis. Longo consulted Rochet on the matter, and both concluded that it was “not a priority.”67 Enthusiasm for this project among the PCI leaders was lukewarm; this was reflected in the party’s statement, which read that the party “adhered in principle.” The PCF was also reluctant and rejected the idea in a private letter to Ceauşescu.68 The reluctance with which the PCI responded to these initiatives might seem surprising. Its position should be understood in the light of its usual caution in anticipation of negative Soviet responses and reprisals, particularly in the context of open and severe conflict between Moscow and itsey. In spite of its theoretical adherence to polycentric models for the communist world, the PCI did not consider it worth risking “excommunication” or a total rupture with Moscow for a probably shaky alliance with parties with which it did not share a firm ideological and strategic common basis. This was at the heart of the contradictions of the PCI’s internationalism after 1968.

2. THE REALIGNMENT OF THE COMMUNIST WORLD AFTER CZECHOSLOVAKIA

  • 69 I will go into some detail on this here, because the role played by the West European communist pa (...)

27The (partial) individual realignment of the PCI and the PCF took place in a context of realignment in the Soviet-dominated communist world throughout late 1968 and 1969. This occurred at different levels: inside the communist regimes, in the relations between them, and in the wider movement. Of particular importance to the out-of-government communist parties was the holding of the Moscow Conference in June 1969 and the intense preparations that preceded it. Although this was predominantly a matter of discipline being tightened, the West European communist parties, in co-ordination with Romania, succeeded in cutting off the sharp edges of the realignment. They did so in two ways: firstly, immediately following the invasion, by obtaining the postponement of the conference which was planned for September; and secondly, by obstructing various plans for the organization of a “permanent organ” of world communist parties, in the tradition of the Comintern and Cominform.69

2.1. The realignment of the communist world

  • 70 More detail on this in Medvedev, On Stalin and Stalinism, pp. 178–182.

28In the Soviet Communist Party leadership, the invasion of Czechoslovakia led the conservatives to gain renewed influence. A struggle between opponents and advocates of change had been ongoing throughout the 1960s, the debate crystallizing around the question of Stalin. In early 1969, the Stalinists launched the question of the rehabilitation of Stalin in the context of the 90th anniversary of the birth of Stalin, planned for late 1969. While signs of an official rehabilitation multiplied in the course of 1969, by the end of the year the progressives were able to obstruct the attempts at official rehabilitation. The argument that the West European communist parties and Yugoslavia would never have accepted this seemed to have influenced the debates in Moscow.70

  • 71 Ouimet (The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine, pp. 58–59) also emphasizes the pressure to rea (...)
  • 72 Ouimet, The Rise and Fall, p. 82.
  • 73 Zimmerman, “Soviet Relations with Yugoslavia and Romania,” in Terry, ed., Soviet Policy in Eastern (...)

29In terms of relations between socialist states, Soviet dominance was generally greater after 1969 than it was in 1960–1968, but it was smaller than it had been before 1956.71 In the short term, the centrifugal tendencies came to a halt. A situation came about in which the Soviet Union was once more the undisputed leader of the communist world, albeit a leader that to some extent shared power and responsibilities with other states. The Soviets enforced discipline through further political, military and economic integration. There was the appearance of a degree of multilateral decision making. To this end, the Soviet Union signed a series of agreements of co-operation and friendship, with Czechoslovakia in 1970 and with East Germany in 1975.72 While relations with Yugoslavia and Romania sharply worsened immediately following the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the former seemed keen on establishing friendly relations with the Soviets in the early 1970s; and the latter, while developing a nationally based military strategy, no longer obstructed WTO decision making on fundamental issues. Economic integration was enhanced in the framework of the CMEA, and military integration through a reform of the WTO, decided in March 1969 in Budapest. The latter reform, while it did address East European concerns regarding burden sharing, solidified Soviet dominance. As a result of the Czechoslovak crisis, the resistance that had emerged in the CMEA and WTO against these “integrative” reforms between 1965 and 1968 was now significantly smaller.73

  • 74 Ouimet, The Rise and Fall, pp. 70–74.
  • 75 More detail in Korbonski, “Soviet Policy towards Poland,” in Terry, Soviet Policy in Eastern Europ (...)

30The Brezhnev Doctrine marked an end to some of the ambiguity that had existed throughout the 1960s regarding the acceptable variations in socialist regimes. With the exceptions of Yugoslavia and to some extent Romania, all the East European socialist regimes accepted these limits. Overt challenges to the Soviet model for socialism posed by a national communist party did not occur after 1968. This went hand in hand with the reimposition of “general laws” of socialism. Central here was the maintaining of the “leading role of the communist party”: any form of political pluralism was unacceptable. However, on this common basis national variations remained possible. This became clear from the case of Hungary, which, despite Soviet pressures in 1969, was able to continue its line of “new economic policy” throughout the 1970s and 1980.74 Furthermore, the Soviet response to the events in Poland in late 1970 was also telling of this ambivalence. Workers’ riots broke out in Gdańsk, with demands for wage increases and fair consumer goods prices. The Soviet Union put pressure on the Polish communist leadership and withheld support for party leader Gomułka. While it abstained from openly interfering, the threat of a Soviet invasion was always present.75 The Polish crisis, though not leading to yet another major crisis in the communist world, did demonstrate once more the gravity of the domestic problems of the European socialist regimes.

  • 76 See Cohen, “The Sino–Soviet Border Crisis of 1969,” pp. 269–296; Kuisong, “The Sino–Soviet Border (...)

31In the aftermath of the Czechoslovak crisis, a major border conflict broke out between China and the Soviet Union. Although tensions on the Ussuri river border between the two powers had occurred earlier, the conflict of March 1969 was a consequence of the Czechoslovak crisis in two ways. After the enunciation of the Brezhnev Doctrine, China felt threatened, feared a Soviet nuclear attack or a pre-emptive strike, and re-enforced its military presence at its borders with the Soviet Union. The revival of the Sino–Soviet conflict broke with the relatively “tolerant” approach of the Soviet leadership vis-à-vis China of the years 1966 to 1968. For Moscow, which seems not to have sought the military clashes of the spring of 1969, its harsh response was part of the realignment of the communist world and was a demonstration of its political, strategic and military dominance over it. As the invasion of Czechoslovakia had caused disunity in the communist bloc, and especially the communist world, a renewed anti-Chinese campaign, in military as well as propagandistic and ideological terms, was expected to enhance “unity.” Hostilities continued up to the summer of 1969. Although the Soviets re-enforced their military presence in the East, this did not involve nuclear weapons and diplomatic contacts were soon resumed. Moscow was especially worried that an escalation of the conflict would draw China even closer to the United States.76

2.2. The “permanent agency”

  • 77 It was added that, in the event of the September meeting taking place, the party would send a dele (...)

32It was obvious that, apart from other motives the Soviet leaders had, the intensification of Sino–Soviet tension served to pressure its allies into strict discipline and “normalization.” In these circumstances, the conference of communist parties of the world, planned before the Czechoslovak crisis and scheduled for late 1968, took on a new meaning. In early September, after having received the invitation for a preparatory meeting scheduled for late September in Budapest, the PCF sent a letter to the Hungarian communists in which it proposed the postponement of the preparations and of the conference itself. The PCF, it said, although in principle still supportive of the world communist conference, did not consider the circumstances suitable for convening it in the near future.77 Kanapa and his collaborator, L. Feix, seem to have exercised a decisive influence on Rochet in this decision.

  • 78 See chapter 3.
  • 79 For the perception of this in the PCI (Galluzzi) see APCI, Dir, 18/8, 020.0955.
  • 80 Marchais’s report to the Central Committee of 4–5/12/68, published in Humanité (Paris), 5–6/12/68.
  • 81 “Note de Feix pour préparer la conférence internationale,” 11/9/68, APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box (...)

33Once more, the PCF’s intention was not to obstruct the conference or collaboration in the communist world, but to gain time. The party’s motives were a mix of (contradictory) motives, very similar to its position with regard to the world communist conference in 1965.78 Firstly, the PCF, like the PCI and most of the “dissenting” parties, feared that a conference in the given circumstances would turn into a public trial against them. The conference seemed to initiate a new phase of ideological rigidity which would completely mark the end of party autonomy.79 All the “dissenting” parties shared the fear that the international conference might turn into a forum for reaffirming the “leading role” of the Soviet Union over the movement.80 Secondly, the PCF feared that a plenary conference would bring the many disagreements to the surface and make clear to the capitalist world how serious the crisis was. It also feared that parties which were more critical of the Soviet Union than it was itself, such as the Yugoslavs, the Romanians and the PCI, would either not attend, or if they did would be given a forum for expressing far-reaching dissent. In a note to Rochet of early September, Feix stated that the main problem was that “all parties should attend.”81

  • 82 With the exception of Colombi there was a broad consensus in the Direzione on the need for postpon (...)
  • 83 APCI, Dir, 18/9/68, 020.0955–8. While Pajetta was one of the few arguing in favour of sending a si (...)
  • 84 “Materiali per eventuale discussione a Budapest,” s.n., s.d., APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 53.6.
  • 85 “Dichiarazione non fatta. Comunicato pubblicato,” s.n., s.d., APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 53.8.
  • 86 Longo stated these two conditions openly in an interview with the non-communist paper Astrolabio. (...)

34The PCI leadership also favored the postponement of the conference preparations, but, once again, kept a lower profile than the PCF did.82 The PCI leadership did not send a similar letter, despite French pressure and despite the fact that the Spanish Communist Party also did.83 However, Berlinguer seems to have been ready, should the postponement not be accepted at the Budapest meeting, to initiate a general debate on the motives behind the dissent, the events in Czechoslovakia, the letter of invitation, the presence of the troops, and some of the ideological divergences that lay behind the Czechoslovak crisis.84 In a press communication Berlinguer announced his party’s agreement with the postponement, arguing that “the situation in the entire movement is not good nor normal […]. More divergences have come to the fore.”85 The PCI now linked the question of the conference to, firstly, the withdrawal of troops and restoration of Czechoslovak sovereignty; and secondly, the debate on modes of interaction between communist parties.86

  • 87 The PCF asked the PCI (and probably other West European communist parties) to wait with the public (...)
  • 88 The last three parties radicalized rapidly and suggested their unwillingness to attend the world c (...)
  • 89 Oral report by Berlinguer of the meeting, APCI, Dir, 4/10, 020.1073. The Swedish and Norwegian par (...)
  • 90 Oral report by Berlinguer of the meeting, APCI, Dir, 4/10/68, 020.1071–1072.
  • 91 APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1104. The CPCS had also requested not to bring up the invasion.

35There was a convergence of the dissenting European communist parties in view of the Budapest meeting in late September, of which the PCF now took the lead.87 The British, Finnish, Swiss, Austrian, Swedish and Norwegian parties publicly adhered to the postponement.88 At the preparatory meeting of September in Budapest the atmosphere was grim; the West European communist parties felt that they were being isolated and got the impression that the Soviets wished to make the conference adopt a statement of post factum support for the invasion of Czechoslovakia.89 Nevertheless, the conference was postponed to an unspecified date, and the next preparatory meeting was to take place in November. As the Soviets, East Germans and Hungarians opposed the postponement, this was a victory for the dissenting parties.90 However, the price that the PCF, PCI and PCE had to pay for this was their agreement not to mention Czechoslovakia throughout the conference preparations.91

  • 92 Cossutta’s report: APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1102–1106.
  • 93 See also chapter four.
  • 94 Berlinguer’s oral report of his meeting with the Soviets: APCI, Dir, 16/11, 020.1162–1167.
  • 95 APCI, Dir, 16/11, 020.1166. The majority of the Direzione members followed him, as they realised t (...)
  • 96 APCI, Dir, 4/10, 020.1073.
  • 97 At the meeting, Rochet asked that the conference texts would mention, first, that relations betwee (...)
  • 98 Berlinguer had already understood this at the September meeting in Budapest, when he noted “the op (...)

36Resistance to the holding of the conference dissipated as the realignment went ahead. In October–November the PCI crucially shifted towards the acceptance of the greater part of the Soviet conditions surrounding the conference preparations, although it maintained a core of its own conditions. The Direzione accepted the proposal set out by the Soviets at their meeting with Cossutta in late October, to hold the conference in April–May.92 This was the direct result of the meeting between the PCI and the Soviets in November. At this meeting, the Soviets proposed the following: the basis of these texts would be the ones drafted earlier by the Hungarians (which the PCI had opposed since early 1968);93 the drafting of the texts would be done by a restricted commission of eight parties (i.e. the “old way”); and from March onwards all parties which wished to do so could join this commission.94 Crucially, Berlinguer advised the Direzione to accept this proposal.95 His shift was complete with respect to early October, when he had still argued for fundamentally changing the drafted texts and had considered that “all fundamental issues are still open.”96 The PCF, after the November meeting with the Soviets, also came to accept the conference date proposed by the Soviets and the current draft texts.97 The postponement of the world conference, in retrospect, was largely to the advantage of those parties favoring cohesion, such as the Soviets and the East Germans. These parties, once they had understood how chaotic the situation in the WCM was, tended to favor the postponement.98

  • 99 The projects for a new permanent structure of the world communist movement have received little at (...)
  • 100 The PCF Secretariat decided, in an unusually explicit way: “No acceptance of the proposal to form (...)
  • 101 APCF, Sec, 28/11/68.

37At this point, however, a far more important matter came up, namely, the organization of a new “permanent agency” inside the world communist movement, in the tradition of the Comintern and the Cominform.99 The PCF, the PCI and the other dissenting parties, including Romania, strongly opposed this.100 The first proposal for a permanent organization was a Hungarian one; it was camouflaged as a commission that would draft a text on the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of Lenin’s birth. Although the dissenting parties certainly did not oppose such a commemoration, they realized that it would, through the initiation of a heavy ideological “debate” on Leninism, tighten doctrinal control over them. The PCF delegation reported that “several brother parties, in particular the five socialist countries, desire such a discussion […] and we could say, an ideological fight,” and that “the socialist countries have not given up on the idea of a conference which decides upon all ideological issues.” The PCF “saved” the situation by proposing a compromise: a text for the commemoration would be drafted at the next plenary session in Budapest in March. Secondly, the Communist Party of the United States proposed organizing an “International Information Agency for Communist Parties.” Like the first proposal, it was really instigated by the Soviet Union and was reminiscent of the founding of the Cominform, which was initially also presented as a mere information bureau. According to the French delegation, the project was already at a rather advanced stage and financial means had already been authorized. This was also rejected because of the fierce opposition of nearly all of the West European communist parties, the Romanian, Australian, and some of the Latin American parties.101

2.3. The Moscow Conference

  • 102 Devlin, “The Role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 30.

38The conference eventually took place in Moscow between 5 and 17 June 1969. It has been described in the literature, with special reference to the position of the West European communist parties, as “the institutionalization of diversity” in the world communist movement.102 In reality, however, the conference largely meant a return to a higher degree of discipline with respect to the preceding period. To be sure, the conference brought to the surface some of the divisions existing in the world communist movement. Not only did Yugoslavia and the Dutch Communist Party refuse to attend the conference, the meetings demonstrated how individual parties, if they wished to, could express their opinions, including critical ones of Soviet policy, more openly than beforehand. What was institutionalized at the Moscow meeting was the possibility for individual communist parties unilaterally to disagree with some elements of the common doctrine. This, however, was not exactly diversity: as the failed attempts of the PCI will demonstrate, no encompassing alternative views on internationalism were accepted at the meeting. Rather, they demonstrated the fact that “unity,” discipline and Soviet dominance were restored without this being underpinned by a commonly accepted concept of strategy or ideology.

  • 103 A “Commission of Eight Parties” was responsible for the drafting of a main document and a “peace m (...)
  • 104 This according to the report of Galluzzi to the Direzione: APCI, Dir, 16/4/69, 020.1391. Galluzzi (...)

39As the West European communist parties were partly or largely realigned through their bilateral contacts with the Soviets, the pressure group which had brought about the postponement of the conference as well as the obstruction of the plans for a permanent structure fell apart. This became clear at the preparatory meetings held in Budapest and Moscow between February and May.103 According to the Italians, four groups of parties could at this point be distinguished:104

  • the PCI, supported by the Swiss, Belgian, Swedish, British and Australian parties. They demanded far-reaching changes of the draft texts, which dated from before the invasion;
  • the Finnish, Spanish and Romanian parties, which were willing to accept the texts as a further basis for discussion;
  • the Soviet, French, and East German communist parties and their “loyal” allies, which were willing to re-discuss the text in a limited way but were not willing to change it on key points;
  • the Polish, which pressured for a confrontational debate and antirevisionist attacks.
  • 105 The PCF press reported none of these meetings, and no records of them can be found in the PCF arch (...)
  • 106 “Décisions de la Commission préparatoire de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69.
  • 107 “Blitz-telegram” 23/5/69, Hermann Axen in Budapest to Ulbricht and Honecker in Berlin. SAPMDB, ZPA (...)

40The PCF turned into the staunchest defender of the draft texts and played an important role in clearing the ground for unanimity. In line with its fille ainée role, but also in an attempt to “normalize” polycentrism, it undertook a campaign among the West European communist parties to make them accept the terms as well as the texts of the conference. In April–May 1969, a PCF delegation met unofficially with leaders of the Spanish, British, Belgian, Swiss and Italian communist parties. As the French communists in that period also held an unofficial meeting in Paris with a Soviet delegation, the former meetings were most probably organized at least in agreement with the Soviet Communist Party.105 During the preparations, many of the conflicts between the autonomist parties such as the Italian and the Romanian ones, and the “conservative” parties such as the Polish and East German ones, were in fact resolved by a French compromise proposal. Regarding the conference procedures, for example, the Italian proposal to make all meetings public met with fierce opposition, and the French compromise that the conference organizers hold a press conference at the end of each day was accepted.106 Furthermore, the French communists fell back into the old tactics of parallel discussions and pre-meeting agreements. For example, they agreed with the East Germans that they would support the draft texts on social democracy, which presented a very negative analysis of it and decided upon the need for the European communist world to take on a defensive attitude towards it. The PCF gave its support here most probably in return for a definite abandonment of the “permanent agency” plan.107

  • 108 “Décisions de la Commission préparatoire de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69.

41On the other hand, the PCF maintained a strong stance on party autonomy and non-interference. It played a determining role in the definite rejection of the “press agency” proposal. Furthermore, it played an active role in the drafting of a text for the commemoration of Lenin’s birth with the aim to turn it into a ceremonial document rather than an ideological one.108 This last point can be regarded as illustrative of the PCF’s relation to the communist world, which increasingly shifted towards one based on the sense of sharing a common past and the continuous reproduction of a number of common memories, foremost the 1917 revolution. The PCF did not wish to avoid discussions of doctrine as a matter of principle, but rather for tactical reasons. Its attitude was similar to the one it had held around 1965 regarding the calling of the world communist conference: given the chaotic situation in the movement, the PCF considered engaging in doctrinal discussions as damaging to “unity” rather than enhancing it.

  • 109 “Proposition du PC belge. Lettre de Drumaux, Bruxelles 4/2/69. Note à la Commission de 8 Partis.” (...)
  • 110 Especially the PCI and the Romanian CP insisted on this. “Aufzeichnung. Betr.: Erste Wertung der W (...)

42The PCI, by contrast, fiercely criticized the draft texts and proposed a vast number of amendments, very often as a matter of principle. Only a handful of these were accepted. In the “Commission of Eight Parties,” the PCI was supported only by the small Belgian Communist Party. Both parties complained that the texts were too vague, reflected the atmosphere of “false unity” in the world communist movement, and lacked clarity on the strategy of peaceful coexistence and the struggle for peace. Significantly, both parties argued that the struggle for socialism needed a “synchronization” of the strategies of the East and West European communist parties. By this they meant that the ruling communist parties in Eastern Europe needed to take into account the (domestic) interests of the West European communist parties.109 As to the final resolutions, the only significant amendment which the PCI and the autonomist parties could enforce was the omission of a reference to the Soviet Union as “leading centre” of the communist world.110

  • 111 The PCF reproached the Italians for turning this issue into a question of honour. “Décisions de la (...)
  • 112 At a meeting with Hermann Axen of the SED in January 1968, for example, Gaston Plissonnier and Jea (...)
  • 113 See the next chapter for the 12th Congress.

43Of central importance to the Italians was their proposition of the allargamento, or the invitation of non-communist groups to the conference and future occasions. It became a central point of debate, but was supported only by the PCE and some of the smaller West European parties. It was rejected, due to fierce opposition from those parties which emphasized doctrinal “orthodoxy”: the Soviet, East German and Polish parties, and most vehemently also the PCF.111 This demonstrated the extent to which the PCF had realigned itself over the past year, as at least until spring 1968 it had been willing to compromise on the issue.112 It also demonstrated its incapability of conceiving of the world communist movement as anything radically different from what it was or had been historically. The non-acceptance of the allargamento was a major defeat for the PCI, as it had been presented as a central pillar of its new internationalist line on the occasion of the 12th National Congress of February 1969.113 In a wider context, it signified the non-acceptance of true diversity in the world communist movement and the sharp demarcation of old boundaries—in terms of organization, identity, doctrine and strategy.

  • 114 Since April, Galluzzi, the key actor present at all the preparatory meetings, had considered secti (...)
  • 115 Oral report Berlinguer to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, 006–1721. The PCF at this point volun (...)

44The fact that most of its proposals were not accepted led the Italian delegation to sign only one of the four sections of the conference resolutions, namely the one regarding the “anti-imperialist struggle” and global strategy. Disagreement at this point was more pronounced than it had ever been before at a world communist meeting. While the Swedes, British and Norwegians did not subscribe to the final text as a whole, the Spanish voiced reservations regarding some parts of the final resolutions. The decision of the PCI delegation was not an ad hoc one and its genesis can be traced back to early 1969. The issue had been thoroughly discussed in the Direzione, and the Central Committee of May 1969 authorized the delegation to the conference not to sign the three problematic sections if considered necessary.114 However, it was also the result of a failed agreement with the Soviets. When, during the conference itself, it became clear to the Italian delegation that no significant changes would be made to the texts, Berlinguer, in a series of private meetings before the final session, came to an agreement with Brezhnev. The PCI would sign the whole final document, but would be allowed to issue a special declaration with criticism of the text as a whole. In return, the PCI would not refer to the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia. Berlinguer was willing to settle for this, but as the Soviets pretended at the final meeting that there was no such agreement between them, the Italians no longer felt compelled to stick to it either.115 This episode demonstrates, on the one hand, the extent to which the PCI was willing to compromise, and on the other hand the unwillingness of parties such as the Soviet one to allow real diversification.

  • 116 Berlinguer noted with concern that the Soviet Union “will not accept unity in diversity in one day (...)
  • 117 Berlinguer also asked the rhetorical question: “What interest is there for the Soviet Union to bre (...)

45The PCI leadership was largely satisfied with the outcome of the conference, despite the non-acceptance of some of the pillars of its definition of internationalism. However, at this point Berlinguer did express serious worries regarding the enormous difficulties which the party was likely to encounter in making its conception of internationalism acceptable and in changing the internationalism of the world communist movement.116 What the PCI leaders had learnt from the conference, first and foremost, was a greater awareness of the limits of flexibility, which existed inside the boundaries set by official WCM doctrine. This was a matter of perception as much as of reality, and it led them unilaterally to claim autonomy. While, during the post-invasion debate, many Direzione members had still felt and expressed the fear of excommunication and isolation, this fear had now genuinely diminished. Ingrao made a straightforward comment on this at a Direzione meeting, but his feeling was without doubt shared by many of his colleagues, including Berlinguer, Galluzzi and Napolitano: “I do not wish to believe that our disagreement [with the conference resolutions] will lead to a break or an excommunication. This is what I think to have learned from Czechoslovakia.”117

  • 118 This was the analysis made by the SED: “Zur abweichende Haltung einiger kommunistischen und Arbeit (...)

46There was, however, a mirror development to this, which seriously infringed upon the PCI’s capabilities to enforce real change in the world communist movement. The fact that the PCI, despite its many fundamental disagreements with the protagonists of the world communist movement, did attend the conference, and the fact that it did not turn away from the WCM after August 1968 but instead affirmed its adherence to it at the 12th Congress, had not gone unnoticed in the East European capitals. “Orthodox” communist parties such as the East German one understood from the realignment of the PCI—however partial—that the latter party was not likely to ever break with the communist world and that, ultimately, it would be willing to go far in accepting the existing situation.118

CONCLUDING REMARKS

47The protests against the invasion expressed by the PCI and PCF provoked a profound crisis in their relations with the communist world and the Soviet Union. Both parties were systematically and openly attacked by the Soviet, East German and Polish communist parties. The discussions which both party leaderships held with the Soviet leaders at the end of 1968 were of longer-term significance: in this phase, the limits inside which the internationalism of the two parties could develop were defined. This marked the start of a divergence in the evolution of the two parties. It was the combined result of, on the one hand, the different attitudes of the leaderships themselves, and on the other hand different attitudes displayed by the Soviet leaders towards them. In both the PCI and PCF cases, it became clear that the central condition on which both parties could remain part of the world communist movement was that fundamental issues of doctrine and strategy would henceforth not be discussed. In the case of the PCI, this meant the non-discussing of such important questions as the “Italian road,” pluralism and democracy, European détente, and so on. In the case of the PCF, this implied the non-discussing of domestic and European strategy, and such fundamental issues as Gaullist foreign policy and PCF strategy in the May–June ’68 events. The fact that both the Soviet and East German leaderships now criticized the PCF for this strategy, while at the time they had endorsed it, clearly demonstrated the secondary importance accorded by these parties to communist strategy in the West.

48The limits to autonomy imposed by the Soviets and the formal and informal structures of the world communist movement, but also self-imposed by the West European communist parties, became sharply delineated as the project for a separate West European communist conference failed. While the PCF did not welcome a regionalist initiative, neither was the PCI willing to go to any lengths to defend the project, as, in the given context, it would be openly antagonistic to the Soviet Union. The type of common action which came about among the West European communist parties was directed not at creating alternatives to the world communist movement, but rather at obstructing some of the furthest-reaching implications of the ongoing process of realignment. Together with Romania, the PCI and PCF succeeded in jeopardizing the plans for the organization of a permanent structure of world communism. Furthermore, the West European parties, led by the PCF, succeeded in postponing the planned world communist conference. However, while this was initially felt as a victory, the postponement permitted the Soviet Union and its allies to organize the meeting after most of the communist parties—the PCF in the first place—had been realigned individually.

49By June 1969, the PCI was one of the few parties still advocating a different kind of internationalism, in organizational, doctrinal and strategic terms. However, one of the central elements of its alternative view on internationalism— the allargamento—was not accepted. By signing only one of the three sections of the conference resolutions (“the anti-imperialist struggle”), the PCI seemed to suggest that it was critically narrowing down its internationalism to the strategic dimension, and gave proof of the expansion of its autonomy in the world communist movement. However, this made the PCI into an exception rather than significantly influencing the overall situation. Moreover, the Czechoslovak crisis had made it clear that the party, ultimately, was willing to go far in accepting the existing situation in the world communist movement.

Notes

1 Report Marchais to the CC of December 1968, APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2.

2 This is the case, for example, in Höbel, “Il PCI, il ’68 cecoslovacco.”

3 The rise to power of Berlinguer in the PCI and the ousting of Rochet in the PCF are discussed in the next chapter.

4 A. P. Kirilenko was a member of the Soviet Presidium, responsible for international affairs.

5 A French translation of the article in “Sous le drapeau d’internationalisme,” APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 1.

6 Ferrara, “Tesi inaccetabili,” Unità, 8/9/68.

7 An Italian translation of the article of 8/9/68: “Doveri dei comunisti,” APCI, Dir, 020.0996–0998. A discussion of the CPSU–PCI press polemics can also be found in “Article Trybuna Ludu: Le devoir des communistes,” APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoloslovaquie,” box 2 folder 4.

8 Zagladin also threatened to increase the press attacks and to instrumentalize divisions inside the PCI. Oral report Berlinguer to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 4/10/68, 020.1073.

9 The issue of the funding was usually taboo between the PCI leaders and in the wider party; in this period the PCI leaders did mention it, referring to it as “the practical things” (le cose pratiche).

10 Written report Cossutta to the Direzione: APCI, Dir, 12/9/68 (annex to meeting of 18/9), 020.0976–0981. Zagladin concluded that “Czechoslovakia will become less and less important and the comrades will understand this.” The crisis over Soviet funding in the PCI after the invasion is also discussed on the basis of Soviet sources in Riva, Oro da Mosca, pp. 367–369. Riva however does not mention Cossuta’s first trip.

11 Oral report Cossutta to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 31/10/68, 1104.

12 Ponomariov on this occasion listed the Soviet motives behind financial support to the PCI as follows: firstly, the PCI was constructing socialism; secondly, it strove for peace; and thirdly, it helped building towards unity in the WCM. Oral report Cossutta to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 31/10/68, 1102–1106.

13 In December, Ponomariev promised Cossutta $ 3,700,000 for 1969, a cut of almost 50 per cent. This was indeed what the PCI received, though only in the second half of 1969. From 1972 onwards, funding was increased to $ 6,200,000. Riva, Oro da Mosca, pp. 374–381.

14 Occhetto, A., “A proposito dei fatti Cecoslovacchi: Forze rivoluzionarie e lotta per il socialismo nell’Europa capitalista,” Rinascita, 6/9/68.

15 Berlinguer, E., “Le contraddizioni delle societa’ socialiste,” Rinascita, 27/9/68.

16 Kurt Hager, ideologist of the SED, wrote in a Neues Deutschlands article of October 1968 that the PCI was “a convergence of left and right revisionism.” “Paesi socialisti” and “Art. Einheit,” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 41.8.

17 Unità, 1/11/68.

18 Sources for the meeting are: Oral report Berlinuger to Direzione: APCI, Dir, 16/11/68, 020.1162–1167; and “Incontri PCI-PCUS, svolgimento, seduta 13/11,” m.s., APCI, Berlinguer, 59.2.

19 Unità, 15/1/68, p. 3.

20 Kirilenko stated that the PCI as a whole did not (yet) suffer from “reformist-nationalist deviations” as did, in his view, the Swedish and Austrian. APCI, Dir, 16/11/68, 020.1163.

21 The PCI delegation had also prepared a communication; it included statements on party autonomy, the allargamento, co-operation between communist parties and peace forces; it referred to the system of collective security in Europe, Karlovy Vary, and non-proliferation. “Nostro comunicato iniziale,” APCI, Berlinguer, 59.4. At the meeting with the Soviets Colombi emphasised different points than the other members, referring to the PCI’s “prestige” and its ability to exert pressure on the Czechoslovaks. “Incontri PCI-PCUS, svoglimento,” APCI, Berlinguer, 59.2.

22 APCI, Dir, 16/11/68, 020.1165.

23 This was especially Berlinguer’s interpretation of the situation, but he was crucially supported by Galluzzi, Amendola and Napolitano. There were Direzione members (Terracini, Natta, Ingrao) who wished to affirm the disagreement with the Soviets more strongly, for example by publishing a separate statement on the meeting and on the situation in Czechoslovakia. On the other hand, Colombi argued for no longer demanding the withdrawal of the troops. The discussion of Berlinguer’s report can be found in APCI, Dir, 16/11/68.

24 At least six different brochures were diffused among PCF militants by the SED. APCF, BP, 23/9/68. However, at a meeting with Galluzzi, 17/9, on the Fêtes de l’Humanité, Guyot and Denis spoke of a massive amount of material. “Incontro del compagno Galluzzi con i compagni Guyot e Denis 17/9/68,” APCI, Dir, 020. 0987.

25 APCF, BP, 13/9/68; “Quelques questions concernant nos relations avec le PCUS,” 3/11/68, s.n., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 1; APCF, BP, 13/9/68; also discussed by the PCI in APCI, Dir, 18/9/68, 020.0954.

26 “Communication verbale au CC PCUS, transmise oralement par Plissonnier,” 17/7/68, APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 3.

27 “Notes de Kanapa à Waldeck Rochet à propos d’un article paru dans la Pravda,” APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 1; and “Communication verbale au CC PCUS, transmise oralement par Plissonnier,” 17/7/68, APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécolsovaquie,” box 2, folder 3.

28 APCF, BP, 13/9/68.

29 For example, Nouvelles de Moscou on 14/9 published a letter by party member Charles Frechard in disagreement with the dissent over the invasion. “Communication verbale au CC PCUS, transmise oralement par Plissonnier,” 17/7/68, APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécolsovaquie,” box 2, folder 3.

30 “Une réponse de Louis Aragon à la Literaturnaia Gazeta,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 12, folder 5.

31 The CPSU responded that it was Humanité which had provoked the polemics by criticizing the Soviet Union. “Communication verbale au CC PCUS, transmise oralement par Plissonnier,” 17/7/68, APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 3; and “Communication du CC du PCUS au PCF,” 26/9/68, APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécolsovaquie,” box 2, folder 3.

32 At the Budapest meeting Axen criticized the positions of Garaudy and Aragon. In his reply Marchais differentiated between Garaudy and Lettres françaises. “Conversation entre la délégation du PCF et la délégation du SED à Budapest 29/9/68,” APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 3. A meeting between the two parties indeed took place in early December, which Fajon reported as “positive.” The SED delegation confirmed its intention to cease the sending of propaganda, which indeed seems to have happened. APCF, BP, 19/12/68.

33 Hence, Soviet articles containing criticism of the PCF were not published in the party press. Decided by the Secretariat: APCF, Sec, 1/10/68.

34 APCF, Sec, 28/11/68.

35 “Avant-projet pour un article,” s.n. (but most likely Rochet and/or Kanapa), s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 1. This document is not mentioned in Vigreux, Waldeck Rochet.

36 Besides, the Soviets also withheld direct funding to the PCF until 1969, as it did in the case of the PCI; after that, direct funding was resumed and maintained at $ 2,000,000. Riva, Oro da Mosca, pp. 46–65. The BP and Secretariat meetings of September–October discussed the financial problems of the party, although without direct reference to the immediate cause. See, for example, APCF, BP, 26/9/68: “Rapport Georges Gosnat sur la situation financière du parti. Souligner le sérieux de la situation financière du CC et des fédérations.”

37 Partial records of the CC meeting of October 1968 in Ivry-sur-Seine, on the basis of notes by Kanapa, KremlinPCF, pp. 131–142.

38 KremlinPCF, p. 134.

39 “PCF–Projet de la rencontre PCF-URSS sur la Tchécoslovaquie,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 14, folder 4.

40 “Première intervention Waldeck Rochet,” s.n., s.d., APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie 1968,” box 2, folder 2.

41 “Première intervention Waldeck Rochet,” s.n., s.d., APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie 1968,” box 2, folder 2.

42 The draft Soviet communication can be found in KremlinPCF, pp. 207–210.

43 At the meeting Brezhnev provocatively stated that “de Gaulle understands our action in Czechoslovakia.” Report Marchais to the CC of December 1968, APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2.

44 There are no details of this in the records, but Rochet noted: “…We are always ready to receive criticism when it is justified. Certainly during the struggle mistakes have been made. But we think our line was right.” “Sur une rencontre avec le PCUS,” s.n. (but Waldeck Rochet), s.d., 19 pp, APCF, fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 3. Also Streiff notes that the Soviets criticized the PCF’s line in May–June. Streiff, Kanapa, p. 516.

45 It was said, furthermore, that the Champigny Manifesto of December 1968 (see chapter 7.) presented a first attempt to develop more sophisticated analyses. “Abt. Internationale Verbindungen. Berlin, 15/3/69. Zur abweichenden Haltung einiger kommunistischen und Arbeiterparteien, zu Grundfragen des Marxismus-Leninismus, zur kommunistischen Weltbezegung und zu wichtigen internationalen Fragen,” SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY/30/IV, 2/2.035, 27.

46 The pressure exerted on this issue by the Soviets on the French was tremendous. The Soviet delegates stated: “It is impossible to write in a communication that there are disagreements between us.” “Notes manuscrites: Les trois divergences profondes,” “Note sur la rencontre entre le PCF et le PCUS,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 14, folder 4. The final version of the communication can be found in KremlinPCF, pp. 213–216.

47 Report Marchais to the CC of December 1968, APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2.

48 “Intervention devant le groupe parlementaire communiste sur la rencontrée entre les délégations de l’URSS–PCF,” s.n., s.d., 12 pp, APCF, fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 3. Rochet added: “Ultimately, what more could we expect?”

49 Rochet felt compelled to defend the position of the delegation in Moscow on his much-awaited speech at the Paris Mutualité on the occasion of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. PCF, BP, 14/11/68.

50 Little is written on the plans for a West European communist conference in the aftermath of the invasion. Robrieux gives some detail on it: Robrieux, La secte, pp. 127–130. Although I agree with Robrieux’s picture of intense Soviet pressures against this initiative, his argument that Rochet was planning with Longo to organize international opposition against the Soviet leadership seems exaggerated. See also Timmermann, “Das präkonziliäre Budapäster Karussel,” pp. 35–38.

51 Pajetta remembers that there was “full agreement” on the need to condemn the invasion. Pajetta, Le crisi, p. 130.

52 This position was reaffirmed during the phone conversation between Longo and Rochet on the morning of the 23 August. Oral report Longo to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 23/8, 020.0918. See also the account of this in Robrieux, La secte, pp. 125–127.

53 Oral report Longo, APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0859 and 0905.

54 For example, Bufalini affirmed that it would have been much more difficult for the PCI to express its dissent if the PCF had not done the same. APCI, Dir, 23/8, 020.0927.

55 The PCI had telephone contact with the French, Austrian, British, Swedish, Spanish, Finnish and Belgian communist parties on several occasions. All reported in APCI, Dir, 23/8 and 18/9/68.

56 The earliest trace of the KPÖ proposal is Galluzzi at the Direzione meeting: APCI, Dir, 23/8, 020.0913. The Soviets later accused the PCI of initially launching the idea—wrongly, it seems.

57 It was added: “we doubt that he [Fischer] would obtain support from communist parties such as the French, Finnish, West German and Greek.” French translation of the article, s.n., s.d., in APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 2.

58 At the 23/8 meeting of the Direzione, Galluzzi and Berlinguer argued in favour of the KPÖ proposal, while Ingrao and Colombi were against. APCI, dir, 23/8, passim.

59 “Luigi Longo: Sui fatti di Cecoslovacchia, Rapporto al CC,” in (PCI, ed.) Il Partito comunista italiano, p. 347.

60 This was the case at least for Rochet, Kanapa and Fajon. Report by Galluzzi of his talks with the PCF leadership, APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1107.

61 “Interview télévisée Radio Canada,” 26/8/68. APCF, Fund Fajon, box 8, folder 1.

62 CPSU to PCF, 31/8/68, in APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” 2, 3.

63 Mentioned in a letter from the PCF to the KPÖ (Muhri), 9/10/68. APCF, Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 1, folder 5. A month later the KPÖ once more published that the PCF was in favour, to which the PCF again reacted strongly. “Lettre KPÖ a PCF, 25/10/68,” APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 13, folder 2.

64 On this occasion Suslov reportedly said: “We have been informed that you and the Austrians are preparing a separate conference […]. This will be a motive for an irreparable break.” Cossutta, “Note sul viaggio a Mosca,” 12/9/68, APCI, Dir, 020.0974.

65 Galluzzi reported this. At this point Galluzzi changed his position, arguing against holding the conference as it would aggravate the polemics with the Soviets, maintaining instead intense informal contacts with the other West European CPs. APCI, Dir, 18/9, 020.0955 and 1076.

66 APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0913. A delegation of the Direzione met with a delegation of the Yugoslavian League of Communists on 6/9 in Belgrade (APCI, Dir, 18/9, 020.0981); Colombi criticized this (APCI, Dir, 18/9, 020.0964).

67 Report Longo to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 23/8/68, 020.0918.

68 The tone of the letter makes clear that the difficult relations between the two parties also played a role in this decision, and the fact that in July Romania had not supported the PCF proposal for a conference. “Au Comité central du PC Roumain, 24/8/68,” in APCF, “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 4. It should be noted that the Czechoslovak Communist Party itself had also suggested a pan-European communist conference, notably in an appeal by the Vysocany congress. According to Bartošek, Rochet promised the CPCS that he would raise the issue before the BP of his party. Bartošek, Les Aveux, p. 193.

69 I will go into some detail on this here, because the role played by the West European communist parties in this crucial phase has, in my view, either been overestimated (this is the case for example in Devlin, “The Role of the Non-ruling Communist Parties in Transforming Internationalism”), or ignored.

70 More detail on this in Medvedev, On Stalin and Stalinism, pp. 178–182.

71 Ouimet (The Rise and Fall of the Brezhnev Doctrine, pp. 58–59) also emphasizes the pressure to realign on Soviet terms inside the communist bloc after the invasion.

72 Ouimet, The Rise and Fall, p. 82.

73 Zimmerman, “Soviet Relations with Yugoslavia and Romania,” in Terry, ed., Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe, pp. 125–153 at 136–148.

74 Ouimet, The Rise and Fall, pp. 70–74.

75 More detail in Korbonski, “Soviet Policy towards Poland,” in Terry, Soviet Policy in Eastern Europe, pp. 61–92 at 63–66.

76 See Cohen, “The Sino–Soviet Border Crisis of 1969,” pp. 269–296; Kuisong, “The Sino–Soviet Border Clash of 1969,” pp. 21–52; Gobarev, “Soviet Policy toward China,” pp. 43–47.

77 It was added that, in the event of the September meeting taking place, the party would send a delegation only mandated to vote on the postponement of the conference. The letter is in APCI, annex to Dir 17/9, 020.0990.

78 See chapter 3.

79 For the perception of this in the PCI (Galluzzi) see APCI, Dir, 18/8, 020.0955.

80 Marchais’s report to the Central Committee of 4–5/12/68, published in Humanité (Paris), 5–6/12/68.

81 “Note de Feix pour préparer la conférence internationale,” 11/9/68, APCF, Fund Waldeck Rochet, box 14, folder 4.

82 With the exception of Colombi there was a broad consensus in the Direzione on the need for postponement, though the motives differed. APCI, Dir, 18/9/68, passim.

83 APCI, Dir, 18/9/68, 020.0955–8. While Pajetta was one of the few arguing in favour of sending a similar letter, Berlinguer was against it.

84 “Materiali per eventuale discussione a Budapest,” s.n., s.d., APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 53.6.

85 “Dichiarazione non fatta. Comunicato pubblicato,” s.n., s.d., APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 53.8.

86 Longo stated these two conditions openly in an interview with the non-communist paper Astrolabio. “Intervista all’Astrolabio del compagno Luigi Longo,” 8/9/68, in (PCI, ed.) Documenti politici dal XI al XII Congresso, pp. 507–519.

87 The PCF asked the PCI (and probably other West European communist parties) to wait with the publication of their position after it had done so itself. APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1112.

88 The last three parties radicalized rapidly and suggested their unwillingness to attend the world conference tout court. APCI, Dir, 18/9/68, 020.0956.

89 Oral report by Berlinguer of the meeting, APCI, Dir, 4/10, 020.1073. The Swedish and Norwegian parties only sent observers.

90 Oral report by Berlinguer of the meeting, APCI, Dir, 4/10/68, 020.1071–1072.

91 APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1104. The CPCS had also requested not to bring up the invasion.

92 Cossutta’s report: APCI, Dir, 31/10, 020.1102–1106.

93 See also chapter four.

94 Berlinguer’s oral report of his meeting with the Soviets: APCI, Dir, 16/11, 020.1162–1167.

95 APCI, Dir, 16/11, 020.1166. The majority of the Direzione members followed him, as they realised that this shift would be hard to justify before the wider party and in Italy. Significantly, the Direzione had earlier decided not to call a CC meeting on this issue. APCI, Dir, 4/10, 020.1080. Berlinguer nevertheless claimed: “We might be blamed for deviating from our attitude of principle, but this change is to our advantage, because we can demonstrate that we go there [to Budapest] for the sake of unity and because it is a context of confrontation.”

96 APCI, Dir, 4/10, 020.1073.

97 At the meeting, Rochet asked that the conference texts would mention, first, that relations between communist parties should be based on non-interference, and second, that bilateral and regional meetings would be formally allowed as forms of collaboration between parties. Pressure from the Soviets was such that the PCF delegation dropped this demand. “Première intervention Waldeck Rochet,” s.n., s.d., APCF, Fund “Evénements en Tchécoslovaquie,” box 2, folder 2.

98 Berlinguer had already understood this at the September meeting in Budapest, when he noted “the opposite demands converge.” APCI, Dir, 4/10/68, 020.1072. This has also been argued by J.B. Urban, against the dominant interpretation of the 1969 conference. Urban, Moscow and the Italian Communist Party, p. 255.

99 The projects for a new permanent structure of the world communist movement have received little attention in the literature.

100 The PCF Secretariat decided, in an unusually explicit way: “No acceptance of the proposal to form ‘an international press and information agency of communist and workers’ parties’ and firm opposition to anything which in one way or the other will lead to the construction of an international centre.” APCF, Sec, 28/11/68.

101 APCF, Sec, 28/11/68.

102 Devlin, “The Role of Non-ruling Communist Parties,” p. 30.

103 A “Commission of Eight Parties” was responsible for the drafting of a main document and a “peace manifesto.” Members of this commission were the communist parties of the Soviet Union, Hungary, Romania, Italy, France, Japan, Belgium and Venezuela. The French joined in later at their own request. See “Décisions de la Commission préparatoire de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69.

104 This according to the report of Galluzzi to the Direzione: APCI, Dir, 16/4/69, 020.1391. Galluzzi also noted that the Soviet delegation was divided internally.

105 The PCF press reported none of these meetings, and no records of them can be found in the PCF archives. They are mentioned at the BP meetings (ACF, BP, 27/3/69) and in a manuscript of Waldeck Rochet, which stated quite explicitly: “Our goal is to favor their support for the draft text” [the main conference document]. “Note manuscrite: travail préparatoire de la conférence internationale,” s.d., APCF, Fund Rochet, box 14, folder 4.

106 “Décisions de la Commission préparatoire de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69.

107 “Blitz-telegram” 23/5/69, Hermann Axen in Budapest to Ulbricht and Honecker in Berlin. SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY/30/IV 2/2.035 (Büro Hermann Axen), 27.

108 “Décisions de la Commission préparatoire de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69.

109 “Proposition du PC belge. Lettre de Drumaux, Bruxelles 4/2/69. Note à la Commission de 8 Partis.” APCI, Fund Berlinguer, 73.

110 Especially the PCI and the Romanian CP insisted on this. “Aufzeichnung. Betr.: Erste Wertung der Weltkonferenz der kommunistischen Parteien” 18/6/69, s.n. MfAA-PA, Bestand B 40, Band 178, 84.00, p. 3.

111 The PCF reproached the Italians for turning this issue into a question of honour. “Décisions de la commission préparative de Budapest,” APCF, BP, 27/3/69

112 At a meeting with Hermann Axen of the SED in January 1968, for example, Gaston Plissonnier and Jean Jérome had said that, while it should remain clear that the communist parties were the only vanguard forces of any progressive movement, it could be envisaged that some non-Marxist liberation movements could be invited to the conference as observers. “Vermerk ueber die Aussprache zwischen Gen. Axen, und den Gen. Plissonnier und Jérome,” Abteilung Internationale verbindungen, Berlin, den 24. Januar 1968, 9p. dact, p. 5. BA, SAPMDB, ZPA-SED, DY/30 IVA 2/20, 457.

113 See the next chapter for the 12th Congress.

114 Since April, Galluzzi, the key actor present at all the preparatory meetings, had considered sections one, two and three of the four draft resolutions unacceptable and had advised the party not to sign these. APCI, Dir, 16/4/69, 7–8/5/69 and 29/5/69.

115 Oral report Berlinguer to the Direzione, APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, 006–1721. The PCF at this point volunteered to negotiate between the PCI and the CPSU. APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, 006–1734.

116 Berlinguer noted with concern that the Soviet Union “will not accept unity in diversity in one day,” because “the question of dissent raises the question of internal dissidence [in the Soviet Union].” Brezhnev, according to him, had “very specific ideas on internationalism.” APCI, Dir, 20/6/69, 006–1742.

117 Berlinguer also asked the rhetorical question: “What interest is there for the Soviet Union to break with us? […] After August there were polemics [from the Soviet Union] but not a break.” Even Cossutta agreed with Berlinguer, and, referring to a possible cessation of Soviet funding, noted that the party should “prepare itself.” APCI, Dir, 7–8/5/69, 006–1703–1709.

118 This was the analysis made by the SED: “Zur abweichende Haltung einiger kommunistischen und Arbeiterparteien zu grundfragen des ML, zur kommunistischen Weltbewegung und zu wichtige internationalen Fragen,” Abteilung Internationale Verbindungen, Berlin, 15/3/69, SAPMDB, SED-ZK, DY 30/IV 2/2.035,27.

© Central European University Press, 2007

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter

Volume papier

amazon.fr