Czechoslovak communist party leader and president, Gustav Husak, has dismissed rumours of a rift in the party leadership as completely unfounded, and as a Western propaganda effort to smear Czechoslovakia.
EXTERIOR GV: government building PAN TO crowds carrying banners and assembled in Old Town Square of Prague.
CU PULL BACK TO MV PAN: military brass band playing (2 shots)
GV: posters and banners on building walls (2 shots)
GV: crowd with banners ZOOM IN TO CU banner
MV: soldiers marching past with military flags PAN TO Antonin Kapek, secretary of Czechoslovakian Communist Party;s and Gustav Husak, National Front Central Committee president on dais.
MV: Antonin Kapek speaking with crowd applauding. (2 shots)
GV: dais with portraits above (Marx, Lenin etc)
MV: Gustav Husak speaking with reporter taking notes (2 shots)
MV: Husak speaking.
GV: crowd applauds (2 shots)
Referring to the Soviet-led intervention, which ended the liberalisation attempts of the Communist Party under Alexander Dubcek 10 years ago this spring, Dr Husak said: "With the hindsight of 10 years, we again appreciated the international fraternal assistance of the Soviet Union and Socialist countries, who helped us overcome the counter-revolutionary threat to the cause of socialism". Czechoslovakia was the last post-war East European country where non-communists played a large political role. Communist control in Prague was virtually assured on 20 February 1948, when 12-non communist members resigned in protest against communist infiltration of the police. Faced with the threat of civil war, President Eduard Benes accepted the ministerial resignations and on 25 February, Communist Prime Minister Klement Gottwald announced a new team dominated by communists.
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Background: Czechoslovak communist party leader and president, Gustav Husak, has dismissed rumours of a rift in the party leadership as completely unfounded, and as a Western propaganda effort to smear Czechoslovakia. Speaking at a rally in Prague's Old Town Square to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the communist takeover in February 1948, Dr Husak said on Friday (24 February) that the leadership of the communist party was firm and united, and enjoyed the full support of the people.
SYNOPSIS: Noticeable absentees from the celebrations were delegations from other East European countries. The 20th and 25th anniversaries of the 1948 takeover had been attended by other Communist leaders, including Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. This time Mr Brezhnev sent what was described by observers as an unusually short telegram. It contained none of the customary passages on progress achieved under the personal leadership of Dr. Husak.
Another surprise was the rally lasting only 30 minutes, instead of the expected hour and a half. Communist party secretary Antonin Kapel accompanied Dr Husak, and he was the first to address the tens of thousands, who had gathered in the historic Old Town Square from all over Central Bohemia.
In his address, Dr. Husak described Western speculation about his health, and about his threat to resign over leadership differences on economic policy as having no basis whatsoever. And he added that Western speculation about Czechoslovakia's economic troubles was an attempt to cast doubt on the ??? 30-years rule of the communist party, and discredit the ideals of socialism.