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Statement by the President Calling on the Warsaw Pact Allies To Withdraw From Czechoslovakia

August 21, 1968

The tragic news from Czechoslovakia shocks the conscience of the world. The Soviet Union and its allies have invaded a defenseless country to stamp out a resurgence of ordinary human freedom. It is a sad commentary on the Communist mind that a sign of liberty in Czechoslovakia is deemed a fundamental threat to the security of the Soviet system.

The excuses offered by the Soviet Union are patently contrived. The Czechoslovakian Government did not request its allies to intervene in its internal affairs. No external aggression threatened Czechoslovakia.

The action of the Warsaw Pact allies is in flat violation of the United Nations Charter. We are consulting urgently with others to consider what steps should be undertaken in the United Nations. Ambassador George Ball has been instructed to join with other nations in the Security Council to insist upon the Charter rights of Czechoslovakia and its people.

Meanwhile, in the name of mankind's hope for peace, I call on the Soviet Union and its associates to withdraw their troops from Czechoslovakia. I hope responsible spokesmen for governments and people throughout the world will support this appeal. It is never too late for reason to prevail.

Note: The President recorded the statement at 12:15 p.m. in the Fish Room at the White House for broadcast by radio and television networks.

Following an August 22 Cabinet meeting on the Czechoslovakian crisis Secretary of State Dean Rusk held a press briefing. On August 23 the congressional leadership attended a White House briefing by the President and administration officials on the Czechoslovakian crisis, the Vietnam conflict, and the Middle East situation. The text of Secretary Rusk's remarks to the press and the list of those attending the White House meeting are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 4, pp. 1263 and 1265).

APP NOTE: Although this document is referred to as a "statement" in the Public Papers of the Presidents publication, it is classified as "remarks" by the American Presidency Project because the president delivered his statement orally via radio and television.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President Calling on the Warsaw Pact Allies To Withdraw From Czechoslovakia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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