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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)

  • September 25, 1956

    Mikoyan's Notes for the Central Committee Presidium Meeting

  • September 25, 1956

    Telegram from V. Ivanov to A.I. Mikoyan

  • September 26, 1956

    Telegram from Ponomarev to the CPSU Central Committee

    Peng Dehuai informs the Soviet delegation that the DPRK has not published the results of the Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Pllenum as promised. Peng suggests that if the DPRK fails to publish the resolutions, another joint delegation should be sent to Pyongyang.

  • September 27, 1956

    Telegram addressed to Mikoyan, 'With regards to Pak Il-u'

    This telegram lists identification numbers of five telegrams sent to Usov, Alekseevich, and Aleksandrov between November 11, 1955 and May 22, 1956 on the topic of Pak Il-u.

  • October 05, 1956

    Letter from Ri Sang-jo to the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party

    Letter from Ri Sang-jo to CPSU Central Committee in which Ri writes about his disagreement with the decisions made at Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Plenum in August 1956.

  • October 11, 1956

    Telegram from USSR Ambassador to the DPRK V.I. Ivanov to A.I. Mikoyan, 'Decision of the Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Plenum'

    Ivanov lists the accusations raised against those involved in the August Plenum incident, and describes the decision which calls for their expulsion from the Korean Workers' Party.

  • October 11, 1956

    Decision of the KWP CC Plenum, 30-31 August 1956

  • October 12, 1956

    Letter from Ri Sang-jo to the Korean Workers' Party Central Committee

    Ri Sang-jo seeks to redress the issue of aid from the Soviet Union by reminding party members of the CPSU's friendship and assistance to the North Korean people both before and after the Korean War. Ri discloses Soviet criticism of Kim Il Sung's economic policies and the cult of personality during meetings held in Moscow in the summer of 1956 and insists that the DPRK learn from the experiences of the fraternal communist parties in economic planning and in their struggles against cults of personality.

  • October 15, 1956

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Report on 8 October Conversation between Ambassador Ivanov and Kim Il Sung

    Report on Kim Il Sung's rejection to publish the text of the decree of the KWP CC Plenum in its entirety. CPSU CC agrees with Ambassador Ivanov's suggestion to familiarize the Chinese ambassador in the DPRK with the contents.

  • October 17, 1956

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Memo on the Situation in the Korean Workers' Party

    CPSU CC intends to ask Ianov for updates on conditions conditions post-August and September KWP CC plenary sessions.

  • October 19, 1956

    Record of a Conversation between B.N. Vereshchagin and DPRK Consul General to the USSR Kim Hyung-mo

    Kim Hyung-mo tells advisor to the Far East Department B.N. Vereshchagin about a letter written by DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Ri Sang-jo, addressed to Kim Il Sung. Ri asked Kim to have it translated into Russian so that Fedorenko could read it as well.

  • October 26, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the charge d’ affaires of the Chinese Embassy in the DPRK, Chao Ke Xian

    Ambassador Ivanov meets with charge d’ affaires of the Chinese embassy in the DPRK, Chao Ke Xian, regarding Ivanov's meeting with Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung allegedly made promises about publishing the decrees of the August and September Plenums, which he has not done.

  • November 05, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with the Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Qiao Xiaoguang

    The PRC intervention of Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai regarding the September Plenum is discussed, along with the possibility of the critics of Kim Il Sung's leadership returning from the PRC.

  • November 22, 1956

    Memorandum of Conversation with Bak Uiwan on 22 November 1956

    Discussion with Bak Uiwan, who notes that the KWP's atmosphere is still tense following the August Plenum. Uiwan claimed Kim Il Sung agreed with the suggestions of the Sino-Soviet delegation (Mikoyan and Dehuai) in order to avoid tension in the meeting, but had no intention of following through.

  • November 28, 1956

    Letter Fischer to Florin, North Korean Ambassador to the Soviet Union

    Fisher informs Florin about personnel changes in North Korean Embassy in Soviet Union.

  • December 24, 1956

    Notes from a Conversation between the 1st Secretary of the PRL Embassy in the DPRK and Comrade Samsonov, 1st Secretary of the Embassy of the USSR on 20.XII.1956

    The document features a conversation between Brzezinski Henryk and comrade Samsonov. To the questions of the 1st Secretary of the PRL Embassy in the DPRK, Samsonov states his opinion on the following topics: the group from the August plenum, different groups in the leadership of the DPRK, exchange of party cards, changes in economic policies, the standard of living of the population, agricultural production, Korean unification, and the role of the intelligentsia in the DPRK.

  • December 28, 1956

    Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Report on the Situation in the Korean Workers' Party and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

    The Soviet embassy in Pyongyang provides a description of the events leading up to the 1956 August Plenum,the strained relations between the DPRK and the PRC following the joint Sino-Soviet intervention, and North Korean development strategies.

  • February 14, 1957

    Note from a Conversation with the 1st Secretary of the Embassy of the USSR, Comrade Pimenov on 10 February 1957

    Counselor at the Embassy of Pyongyang Comrade Petrov is recalled for incorrectly supporting the August Group.

  • April 09, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 9 April 1957

    During his conversation with Puzanov, Kim Il Sung discusses the five-year plan to develop the DPRK's economy, the KWP's efforts to improve the standard of living for the North Korean people, factionalism and the eventual consolidation of KWP members under the official party line, Stalin's cult of personality, and problems in the North Korean judiciary.

  • April 11, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 11 April 1957

    Puzanov, Kim Il, and Hong Myeong-hui discuss the DPRK's fertilizer needs, the possible aid of Uzbekistan grapevines to North Korea, and the DPRK's prioritization of heavy industry in its development model.