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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 21, 1965

INFORMATION ABOUT A GRAVE INCIDENT WITH THE CUBAN AMBASSADOR ON 25 MARCH 1965 IN PYONGYANG

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    Verwiebe describes the inability of the North Korean Worker's Party to control Korean people and their education in light of the recent attacks against the Cuban Ambassador in Pyongyang.
    "Information about a Grave Incident with the Cuban Ambassador on 25 March 1965 in Pyongyang," April 21, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BA, Berlin, DY 30, IV A2/20/252. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111818
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SED Central Committee

Department of International Relations

Archival Signature: SAPMO-BA, Berlin, DY 30, IV A2/20/252

[GDR Ministry for Foreign Affairs]

1st Extra-European Department

Section Korea

Berlin, 21 April 1965

I n f o r m a t i o n

about a grave incident with the Cuban Ambassador on 25 March 1965 in Pyongyang

I.  During a city tour in Pyongyang the Cuban ambassador gave to a doctors' delegation of his country, a large number of Koreans repeatedly attacked in a new residential area the Cuban guests. They hurled insults, took cameras, and tore the Cuban flag from the ambassador's car. The reason behind all that: The Cuban doctors took pictures of ruins from a building destroyed during the [Korean] war.

Militia members stationed nearby did not intervene.

After a while, armed members of the security organs arrived and turned against the crowds with extraordinary brutality (striking hard blows with rifle butts, even against children).

II. Right afterwards, the Cuban ambassador went to the DPRK Foreign Ministry and talked to Acting Foreign Minister Kim Jong-eun [sic]. It was agreed to discuss the incident on the party level.

In a brief conversation with Kim Il Sung two days later, [the DPRK leader] voiced his regret about the incident to the Cuban ambassador, to Fidel Castro, and to the Cuban people. Kim Il Sung assured that guilty people will be punished and measures be taken to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Lee Ho-sun [sic], member of the KWP politburo and deputy chairman of the ministers’ council, stated during a four-hour talk with the [Cuban] ambassador at the same day that leadership performance of KWP party cadres stays on a very low level. Cadres command the masses and just work by issuing orders. The masses have an even lower level of education and cannot distinguish friend from foe.

According to the Cuban ambassador, he had stated during his first talk at the Foreign Ministry this incident was a result of the false political education in the DPRK.

III. Assessment

The incident is a clear indication of the negative influence the KWP leadership is exerting on the masses. Under the conditions of personality cult and wrong policies in the DPRK, the masses are educated towards schematic routines, lack of independence, and nationalism. The admissions by Lee Ho-sun demonstrate how the party acknowledges certain deficits. However, the party does not see the blame with the KWP leadership, but with lower-ranking cadres and the population.

[signed]

Verwiebe

Senior Associate

CC:

1x Foreign Ministry, Section  Korea

1x Central Committee, International Relations Department

1x Folder Information Department

1x Foreign Ministry, Section Cuba

1x Embassy Pyongyang

1x Section Korea