To the Editors:
The unannounced and overnight Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was a brutal crime and act of aggression. The Czechoslovak people met this invasion with extraordinary discipline. Their acts, the functioning of the clandestine radios and successful convening of the Communist Party Congress under the noses of the occupying troops, all expressed unmistakably the refusal of Czechoslovak communists to see their country as an occupied territory or as a colony of the Soviet leadership.
Communist militants, workers, writers and intellectuals led a resistance which had the clear and passionate support of the Czechoslovak population. Having kidnapped, maltreated and terrorised the acknowledged state and party leaders of Czechoslovakia, the leaders of the Soviet Union have now imposed their Diktat under conditions of military occupation. This Diktat reverses the reforms achieved. It ratifies the aggression and occupation. Under its cover, the leaders of the Czechoslovak resistance—communist militants, workers and intellectuals—are declared to be counter-revolutionary and placed on a blacklist.
Pravda has stated that 40,000 people are involved. The lives and freedom of the political and intellectual leaders of the Czechoslovak people—almost all devoted communists and socialists—are under dire threat by the occupying forces.
We who sign this appeal have consistently opposed imperialism. We view these acts with utter abhorrence and condemn them without reservation.
Loyal to our principles, we are total opponents of the American aggression in Vietnam and of imperialism everywhere. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia is a severe setback for world socialism. It gravely impedes the anti-imperialist struggle. It is, therefore, our duty to demand an end to these acts which dishonour the Soviet Union.
We pledge our political resistance to this assault on the most conscious and devoted part of the Czechoslovak people and declare our solidarity with them. We demand the immediate withdrawal of all occupying troops of the Soviet Union, including the secret police.
We insist upon the complete rest restoration of Czechoslovak sovereignty in all its a $$$ for only thus can there be a release of any now under detention and the necessary guarantees that there will no longer be a persecution of militants, writers, intellectuals and other resistance leaders, permitting those living underground to resume normal lives.
I. F. Stone