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Miroslav Polreich (1931) - Biography

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My life’s endeavour was always to eliminate war and search for compromise

Miroslav Polreich was born on 17 June 1931 in what was then Německý Brod (renamed to Havlíčkův Brod in 1945). His father was an active Communist. On his recommendation, Miroslav first learnt a craft and only after completing his training and passing an ADK course (Workers' Course Graduate, a six-month substitute to four years of grammar school - trans.), he began studies at the University of Political Sciences. He later switched to the Faculty of International Relations. After completing his studies in 1954 he was offered a job in the intelligence services. He underwent a year of intelligence training and was then assigned Canada, later the USA. After domestic unrest he was sent to Washington for four years in 1957. He returned home in 1961. His superior tasked him with purging the intelligence corps of State Security members. Polreich, enthused by this new direction, accepted the job willingly. At the time he was already clearly oriented towards the reformist movement inside the Communist Party. In 1964 he was designated as intelligence resident at the Czechoslovak mission to the UN (his cover was the post of first secretary). Before beginning the mission, he demanded and obtained a business trip to Vietnam. This gave him an extra say in backstage negotiations, and he could thus bring a positive contribution to the development of USA-USSR relations in the critical period of the Israeli Six Day War and the Vietnam War. In 1969 he resigned out of principle (due to the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia) and was long barred from doing any work at all, even manual labour. Finally, after two years, he found employment at Řempo. At the time he was active in the dissent with Jiří Hájek. In March 1989 he came in touch with reform Communists from the Obroda (Renewal) group. November 1989 brought him rehabilitation and the post of director of the Security Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1991-1992 he led the Czechoslovak delegation as ambassador for disarmament supervision at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna. When Jiří Dienstbier left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Polreich also resigned and took up lecturing (mostly in the USA), among other places, at the National Defence University in Washington, DC. He serves as an independent foreign policy analyst, he lectures at universities. He publishes reports on security issues.

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