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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 15, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 15 April 1957

    Puzanov and Kim Il Sung reaffirm the need for solidarity between the Soviet Union and North Korea. Then Kim Il Sung shares about the unanimity achieved in KWP ranks and the agenda to discuss rice and fish products at the upcoming KWP CC plenum on 18 April.

  • April 29, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 29 April 1957

    The DPRK Ambassador to the GDR tell Puzanov about a conference of DPRK ambassadors. He directs Puzanov's attention to the following issues: the disgrace of the former DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Ri Sang-jo, the possibility of a neutral Korea, DPRK foreign trade relations, the recall of the DPRK Ambassador from Romania, and party-government delegations from various communist countries.

  • May 02, 1957

    Note from Conversations with Comade Pimenov, 1st Secretary of the Embassy of the USSR, on 23 and 25 April 1957

    Kim Du-bong's speech and his relation to the August group are summarized in this Polish Embassy report.

  • May 12, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 12 May 1957

    During a one-on-one conversation between Puzanov and Pak Jeong-ae, Pak justifies North Korea's efforts in agricultural collectivization and claims that the KWP CC is not waging a campaign against Soviet Koreans. Then the two discuss prominent DPRK officials and how they are assessed in the party.

  • July 03, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 3 July 1957

    Puzanov discusses with Kim Il Sung the CPSU CC Plenum's declaration of factionalists, which Kim lauds as exemplary measures for party unity. Then Puzanov updates Kim Il Sung on the USSR government's favorable responses to the DPRK's various proposals.

  • July 05, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 5 July 1957

    Puzanov and Nam Il discuss the KWP CC Presidium's violation of Leninist norms during the August Plenum, possible leadership transitions in the KWP CC, and how the KWP is handling individual dissidents. Later, Puzanov discusses the CPSU CC's approval for education and cultural exchange as well as the Plenum's June decisions with Pak Jeong-aei.

  • July 12, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 12 July 1957

    Pak Ui-wan informs Puzanov on the characteristics of KWP CC meetings, criticizes Choe Yong-geon, and discusses issues regarding Soviet-Koreans and DPRK-PRC relations. Pak reports on instances of incorrect attitudes of North Korean officials and his personal relations with KWP members.

  • July 29, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 29 July 1957

    Puzanov and Pak Jeong-aei discuss potential KWP leadership promotions, the combining of several ministries, and relations between the Chinese People's Volunteers and the North Korean population.

  • July 31, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 31 July 1957

    The GDR Ambassador and Ambassador of the Hungarian People's Republic express dissatisfaction that the DPRK MFA inadequately informs ambassadors about important issues of DPRK domestic and foreign policy. Puzanov suggests regular meetings between ambassadors for the mutual exchange of information.

  • August 05, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 5 August 1957

    Pak Ui-wan and Puzanov discuss the recent arrest of suspected factionalist KWP members. Pak expresses anxiety for Soviet Koreans.

  • August 09, 1957

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

    Nam Il shares his positive impressions of meeting North Korean voters with Puzanov. Puzanov also asks about the investigation of anti-Party North Korean factionalists and encourages the exchange of information with the PRC Ambassador to the DPRK, Qiao Xiaoguang.

  • August 13, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 13 August 1957

    At a conference of Ambassadros, Puzanov offers information on the DPRK's economic progress and the USSR's achievements since the Great October Socialist Revoloution. He also visits Nam Il and inquires about the investigations of anti-Party North Korean leaders and North Korean greetings to USSR officials.

  • August 19, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 19 August 1957

    Kim Il Sung and Puzanov discuss the possibility of Korean citizens in Japan studying in DPRK higher education institutions, matters of the DPRK's draft five-year plan and terms of trade between the Soviet Union and North Korea, factionalist activities against the KWP leadership and DPRK government, and South Korean insurgency against North Korea leading up to DPRK elections.

  • August 22, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 22 August 1957

    Puzanov and Pak Ui-wan discuss the construction of the Soviet Embassy in North Korea, the KWP CC leadership's suspicions against factionalists, and Pak Ui-wan's efforts to clear himself of suspicion. Later, Puzanov meets with Nam Il and discusses railroad construction, the second session of the World Meteorological Organization, settling citizenship issues, and the sale of goods for agricultural products from collective farms in the Soviet Union.

  • August 23, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 23 August 1957

    Kim Il Sung tells Puzanov that he endorses organized public screenings of Socialist Revolution films. Nam Il and Kim Il Sung suggest a bilateral convention regarding dual citizenship, and Nam Il reports that the KWP CC is occupied with the investigation of anti-Party activity in the KWP leadership. Puzanov recommends that they inform the PRC Ambassador Qiao Xiaoguang about developments in this regard as soon as possible.

  • August 31, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 31 August 1957

    Nam Il reports to Puzanov that the KWP Presidium approved all USSR suggestions on the DPRK's draft five-year plan. They go on to discuss the commissions that exist in the Soviet Union and plans for organizing DPRK commissions. At a luncheon later that day, Kim Il Sung reiterates his gratitude for USSR consultation on DPRK economic development with Puzanov reminding the DPRK of its trade obligations.

  • September 03, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 3 September 1957

    Kim Il Sung informs Puzanov at length about the KWP's new leadership considerations, expressing his opinions about specific individuals recommended to or disqualified from prestigious government posts. Then they discuss a DPRK agricultural cooperative and bartering for the purchase of agricultural produce. Later, Puzanov meets with Pak Ui-wan, who is concerned about KWP investigations regarding his past work in addition to his alleged connection to accused factionalists.

  • September 04, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 4 September 1957

    Puzanov and Nam Il discuss preparations for a citizenship convention in Pyongyang as well as a KWP delegation's trip to Moscow in celebration of Great October. Then Nam Il solicits Puzanov's feedback on the composition of the DPRK government as described in 3 September. The anti-Party group of Choe Chang-ik, Pak Chang-ok, and others still appears to concern the KWP CC leadership.

  • September 09, 1957

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

    Pak Jeong-ae informs Puzanov that a KWP CC Plenum in October will discuss the issue of construction. The anti-Party group discussion will resume after Kim Il Sung's visit to Moscow for the 40th anniversary of Great October. Pak also notifies Puzanov of the final leadership decisions regarding Kim Du-bong and Pak Ui-wan.

  • September 29, 1957

    Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 29 September 1957

    Pak Ui-wan informs Puzanov that the upcoming KWP CC Plenum will scrutinize his competence. Methods used for the trial of the factionalists are also harsh, and fear of condemnation by association makes it difficult for anyone to defend the accused; Soviet Koreans in particular seem to be heavily criticized. Kim Il Sung has discouraged KWP members from taking a holiday or seeking medical treatment in the Soviet Union.