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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 27, 1963

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    A North Korean political officer speaks of Kim Il Sung's firm belief that an American nuclear attack could not destroy North Korea for their country would find refuge in the maze of underground caverns.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," May 27, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-k Korea, 5. doboz, 5/f, 1/25/17-1/1963. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110606
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On 23 May […] we visited the museum in Pyongyang that was built to commemorate the 1950-53 Korean War. […] an interesting conversation occurred between me [István Garajszki] and the political officer who accompanied us. The latter declared that not even a hydrogen bomb could do damage to such fortifications that had been hollowed into rocks. Thereupon I remarked that the deeper caverns could indeed save those who stayed there in the moment of the explosion, but on the surface everything would be destroyed, and thereafter for a long time people could not leave the caverns because of the radioactive pollution. The officer replied that the people staying in the caverns would be provided with everything that they needed, and the Americans could not devastate the entire country anyway. Therefore „on the order of Comrade Kim Il Sung, we built a network of caverns of this type in the entire country.” When I remarked that two or three hydrogen bombs would be sufficient to destroy an area the size of the DPRK, the officer became embarrassed, and declared “Comrade Kim Il Sung told us that we won the first war by means of our rock-caverns, and we would also win the second one with their help!” [emphasis in the original] Understandably, I dropped the subject after that.

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Károly Fendler
deputy ambassador