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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 21, 1961

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN NORTH KOREA, 'CONTENTS OF THE MAY 18TH NORTH KOREAN PARTY CENTRAL STANDING COMMITTEE MEETING'

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    A Chinese report on a Meeting of the Central Standing Committee in which the North Koreans negatively reflected on the Park Chung Hee coup in South Korea.
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in North Korea, 'Contents of the May 18th North Korean Party Central Standing Committee Meeting'," May 21, 1961, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 106-00581-06, 32-33. Translated by Anna Beth Keim. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110055
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[...]

Contents of the [May] 18th [North] Korean Party Central Standing Committee Meeting

To the [Chinese] Foreign Ministry, General Staff [of the PLA], and Xinhua Press Headquarters: (secret)

On the evening of May 19th, the Xinhua Press branch office’s [North] Korean translator Yeom Gukpa (a Worker’s Party member) translated and discussed with me the contents of the [North] Korean Labor Party Central Standing Committee’s [May] 18th meeting on the recent circumstances in South Korea.

Yeom first said that he had listened to a transmission of this Party Central Standing Committee meeting and that the meeting was very important; it researched this military coup in South Korea and measures to deal with the current situation. The contents of the meeting were secret, but the authorities said that if necessary they could be discussed with the comrades from Xinhua Press; they must be kept confidential and not casually discussed. Then Yeom said, in accordance with his notebook, that the Party Central Standing Committee’s conclusion was: This coup was reactionary, and deliberately engineered by the American imperialists. After the American imperialist running dog Syngman Rhee was toppled, [they] brought Jang Myeon [Chang Myun] to power, bringing in so-called American-style “democracy” with the scheme to strengthen their colonial rule in South Korea. But since last April the people’s struggle had been growing by the day, the struggle for peaceful reunification gathering more and more steam. Under these circumstances, the American imperialists saw that if things went on this way the people would overthrow Chang as well, and that people in favor of South-North negotiations and peaceful reunification might rise up and take power. So in advance they engineered a so-called “military coup”, with the purpose of suppressing the South Korean people’s struggle and strengthening fascist rule. The gang that carried out this military coup is the most reactionary; from the start, they propagated “destroying communism” and Advance on the North Reunification [beijin tongyi]. But they are as yet unable to carry out an immediate offensive, because they have just begun and it will take a while to sort out their internal affairs. In light of these circumstances, the Party Central Standing Committee decided: [We should] enhance our vigilance, concentrate forces on strengthening national defense, and delay the original Seven Year Plan until 1963. Otherwise economic construction and the national defense industry would be held up. In the period from this year until 1963, [we] should slow down development of the national economic plan, maintaining the same level as in the 1960 cooling-off period, and concentrating on strengthening national defense and strengthening defensive fortifications. We must make great efforts to enlist soldiers and mobilize youth to join the army. We should reduce the number of workers in the industry sector, and reassign them to national defense industry and defensive fortifications. We must strengthen worker and peasant Red Guard troops [chi wei dui]. We must mobilize greater numbers of women to shoulder the work in the civilian sector of the economy. Housing construction should be more or less halted, and reasonable adjustments carried out under the existing conditions. The planned construction of harbors should also be halted. No large ships should be made, just some small ones that allow for fishing. However, the coal industry, mining industry, metals industry, etc. should continue running. The people’s living [conditions] should also maintain their current levels. We must be doubly vigilant, continue to increase production and practice frugality, and prevent extravagant eating or drinking. But being vigilant is not to say that war will break out today or tomorrow; we must guard against rumors and troubling the people’s minds. Before this transmission, the authorities also said not to be afraid, we often stress raising vigilance and are emphasizing it more this time in accordance with the circumstances; the entire socialist camp is also stronger than it was before the war. In the past, during wartime, we sometimes misled Party members about the real situation: the enemy was in fact already approaching Pyongyang, but we still claimed that we had several hundred planes, so everything would be alright - - and as a result, we suffered setbacks. Now we must make the situation clear to all Party members, and have Party members and the people take the initiative to mobilize and strengthen vigilance against enemies.

Lastly Yeom said that the Party Central [Committee] recently convened a plenary session about the current situation.

Specially reported for reference.

The [Chinese] Embassy in [North] Korea

May 21 [1961]