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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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North Korea August 1956 Plenum Incident

This collection of documents examines the post-Korean War disputes and debates within the Korean Workers' Party which culminated in the 1956 August Plenum. (Image, Kim Il Sung visits Moscow, 1949, NARA)

  • April 05, 1955

    Record of Conversation with Chairman of the Jagang Provincial People's Committee Illarion Dmitriyevich Pak

    Illarion Dmitriyevich Pak discusses the conclusion of the 10th KWP CC Plenum, where organizational issues within the Party have been discussed.

  • May 11, 1955

    Report from I. Kurdyukov to V.M. Molotov

    Molotov and Kurdyukov discuss political purges under Kim Il Sung, who has established a Stalin-like cult of personality in North Korea and the ongoing relief efforts by various Communist countries to provide food aid to North Korea.

  • June 28, 1955

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Report from Pál Szarvas, Hungarian Ambassador to the DPRK, describing a meeting he had with Kim Il Sung on 24 June 1955. Topics they talked about included Hungarian experts in the DPRK, the economic situation in the DPRK and factionalism within the North Korean CC.

  • August 17, 1955

    Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry

    Report from Pál Szarvas, Hungarian Ambassador to the DPRK, describing a meeting he had with Soviet Ambassador Vasily Ivanovich Ivanov on 29 July 1955. He talks about the unusually frank conversation they had in which the latter openly criticized the secretiveness and reservedness of the North Korean government. The Soviet Ambassador asked that the Hungarian embassy, if it shares the same opinion as the Soviets, exert pressure on the North Koreans to correct their mistakes. Szarvas, though he implies his agreement with Ivanov, suggests that no action be taken at the current time.

  • December 04, 1955

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK V. I. Ivanov for 4 December 1955

    DPRK Vice Premier Pak Ui-wan and Minister of Construction Kim Seung-hwa report to Ivanov about the KWP CC plenum decision to expel Pak Il-u and Kim Yeol from the party and the Central Committee. The conversation touches on the issue of a group of Soviet Korean members who have been accused of supporting anti-Party reactionary writers.

  • 1956

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Directive to Soviet Ambassador Ivanov

    A directive from the CPSU CC to the Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK asking him to familiarize the Chinese Ambassador with the contents of Ianov's discussion with Kim Il Sung.

  • 1956

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Directive to Soviet Ambassador Ivanov

    The CPSU CC requests that Ianov send reports on the decisions of Korean Workers' Party Central Committee September plenary session and how the discussions of the provincial party committees are proceeding.

  • March 05, 1956

    Remarks on the Draft Statutes of the KWP

    Suggestions for improvements in the wording of the DPRK's constitution.

  • March 12, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the DPRK Vice Premier of the Cabinet of Ministers and Member of the KWP CC Presidium, Pak Chang-ok

    Relations between S.Filanov and Kim Il Sung are discussed, the internal political oppression of DPRK, the restricted press.

  • April 19, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Kim Il Sung

    Diary entry of a conversation between V.I. Ivanov and Kim Il Sung about whether Pak Heon-yeong should be put to death or not.

  • May 30, 1956

    Report by N. T. Fedorenko on a Meeting with DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Ri Sang-jo

    Discussions between Fedorenko and Ri Sangjo about the economic troubles in North Korea and potential Soviet aid, allowing the Ministry of Internal affairs to observe Soviet institutions, unrest in the KWP CC, and the power of Kim Il Sung

  • May 31, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Gi Seok-bok

    Discusses the attempts to dispel the rumors that Kim Il Sung's cult of personality exists in DPRK.

  • June 05, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Choe Chang-ik

    Ambassador Ianov and Choe Chang-ik discuss the visit of the DPRK government delegation to Eastern Europe and the USSR and the policies of the Korean Worker's Party.

  • June 05, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Pak Ui-wan

    Ambassador Ianov discusses with Vice Premier and Minister of Light Industry Pak Ui-wan on his hope that Kim Il Sung's trip to the GDR would bring changes in North Korean economic policy.

  • June 07, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation between Kim Sung-hwa and Ambassador Ivanov

    Kim Seung-hwa and Ivanov set up a meeting between Ianov and Choe Chang-ik.

  • June 08, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Choe Chang-ik

    Deputy Prime Minister of DPRK, Choe Chang-ik, discuss the unhealthy situation in the Korean Worker's Party and the North Korean government. Choe argues that there is nepotism within the personnel selection process and that a cult of personality exists within the KWP. Choe also expresses concern regarding the difficult economic situation in the DPRK.

  • June 21, 1956

    Memorandum of a Conversation with DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Ri Sang-jo on 16 June 1956

    Conversation between DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Ri Sang-jo and Kurdyukov of USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ri is concerned about personality cult in DPRK, and argues that KWP leadership needs serious ideological help from CPSU CC; that is to say, help is needed from outside.

  • July 20, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the head of the department of construction materials under the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers, Li Pil-gyu.

    Li Pilgyu holds a frank conversation about Kim Il Sung's inner circle, and where their loyalties lie. Kim Il Sung's cult of personality has created a dangerous politial and social atmosphere.

  • July 24, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, Nam Il

    Nam Il speaks to Soviet Charge d'Affairs about the dangers of recent Soviet-Korean criticism of Kim Il Sung. They fear that Kim Il Sung would misinterpret the criticisms and create international tension.

  • August 04, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Charge d’ Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Qiao Xiaoguang

    A memorandum of conversation between Qiao Xiaoguang of the Chinese Embassy and Petrov of Soviet Embassy in North Korea about the DPRK government delegation's visit to the USSR.