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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 18, 1967

INFORMATION ABOUT SOME NEW ASPECTS ON KOREAN WORKERS' PARTY POSITIONS CONCERNING ISSUES OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICY

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    The Acting East German Ambassador to North Korea discusses Kim Il Sung's leadership and cult of personality, Korean reunification, and North Korea's foreign relations with China and Japan.
    "Information about Some New Aspects on Korean Workers' Party Positions concerning Issues of Domestic and Foreign Policy," August 18, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, C 153/75. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111828
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GDR Embassy to the DPRK

Pyongyang, 18 August 1967

I n f o r m a t i o n

about some new aspects on KWP positions

concerning issues of domestic and foreign policy

The overall assessment of KWP positions we and the [Foreign Ministry Korean] section undertook when we evaluated the October 1966 Party Conference is still valid.

Our assumption we already expressed in our assessment of the October Conference, according to which inner conflicts must not be ruled out, has meanwhile been confirmed. As we can now state with certainty, these conflicts also concerned the course of the party. As it looks in all likelihood, this was about two issues which are closely related:

- the question of unification of the country and the evaluation of the situation in South Korea

- the issue of DPRK economic development and the build-up of the military

We assume that these discussions were already going on before and during the October Conference, and in particular so during preparations for the 2nd Plenum. In late April, this resulted in the elimination of Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol], Ri Hyo-sun [Ri Hyo Sun] and some other high-ranking individuals from leadership circles. It was notable how in a parallel development in preparation for May 1, during the festivities and especially so, however, after the 2nd Plenum certain issues were accentuated stronger.

  

1.

The personality cult surrounding Kim Il Sung significantly increased:

- The role of anti-Japanese partisans in Korea’s recent history and Kim Il Sung’s role as their sole leader have been elevated to a legendary level.

- There is an emphasis on Kim Il Sung’s continuous leadership role since this period and his proven infallibility.

- Based in that, Kim Il Sung’s leadership claim gets derived and manifested not only for DPRK and KWP but for all of Korea: “... under the wise guidance of the honorable and beloved leader of the 40 million Korean people ...”.

- At the same time, Kim Il Sung becomes elevated to an eminent theoretician of Marxism-Leninism. Increasingly he is built up as an international leader due to his permanent leadership in conjunction with the victory against the Japanese imperialists and the United States, the strongest imperialist power; as well as through his success in the economic development of a former dependent colony. Such argumentation is directed especially towards the national liberation movement. (See publication of statements by foreign personalities on this issue). 

This cult results in such grotesque phenomena like the dotting of fireplaces, tree stumps and the like, with glass and aluminum covers in remembrance of Kim Il Sung in the forests of former operation areas of the [anti-Japanese] partisans. Recently there appeared an article about Kim Il Sung’s mother stating verbatim that there exists no such mother with such a son in the entire world. It was suggested to the visiting Cambodian Foreign Minister to lay down wreaths in Mangyeongdae at the graves of Kim Il Sung’s parents and grandparents.

  

2.  

The statement from the Party Conference that the most pressing national task consists in the implementation of the fatherland’s unification has now received full attention.

There is no reference any more to the issue of developments in South Korea, as it still was the case in the Party Conference’s assessment. Ri Hyo-sun’s remark during the farewell for Soviet Ambassador Gorchakov, according to which nobody does know when unification is possible and everything depends on the development of revolutionary forces in South Korea, was the last of its kind. Now the emphasis lies exclusively on the necessity to liberate South Korea and achieve unification still in the current generation under the leadership of Kim Il Sung. Increasingly the readiness is repeated to destroy the enemy and liberate South Korea following the orders from the party and the leader. At the same time, the DPRK press published accumulative reports about revolutionary movements and events in South Korea. They are supposed to create the impression as if a revolutionary upsurge is in the making. Comparing the situation after Johnson’s visit to South Korea with the Dulles visit before the outbreak of the Korean war, as well as an increasing number of incidents along the demarcation zone (often by units infiltrated 7 to 10 kilometers South of the DMZ), does both correspond to an overall and continuously aggravating situation.

  

3.

Domestically there have been new accentuations by way of the theory about parallel development of the economy and the military, with increasing emphasis on the priority of the military. This is a natural consequence of the assessment stating a daily increasing danger of war in Korea.

However, positive efforts visible in summer of 1966 to expose parts of the population to a minimum of world culture were discontinued.

  

4.

In the context of a growing cult of personality, and the replacement of Marxism-Leninism through the “Ideology of Kim Il Sung” as the party’s guiding principle unrivaled by any other valid ideology, there are increasing indications made towards the absolute imperative and validity of the so-called Juche precept. This is tantamount to further implementation and solidification of the special nationalist and centrist position of the KWP.

In this sense we also have to evaluate the phenomenon that there are no more public statements, even no indirect ones, directed against the so-called Cultural Revolution in China. On the other hand, recently those decisions from the Party Conference get repeated and increasingly emphasized, which contain false assessments about the development and role of the national liberation movement. Here as well armed struggle is viewed as absolute. Statements by the Party Conference about the role of the international workers‘ movement and the socialist camp are usually ignored. (In part this is erroneously interpreted as a tendency towards rapprochement with the policy of the Chinese Communist Party.)

  

5.

It became evident in the context of [Japanese Foreign Minister Takeo] Miki’s visit [to South Korea] how the KWP, less than ever before, is willing to make corrections when it comes to the issue of assessing the Japanese role and relations towards Japan. The KWP’s stance has rather hardened.   

[signed] Strauss

Acting Ambassador

CC:

1 x Foreign Ministry/2nd Department

1 x Central Committee/ Department of International Relations

1 x Embassy

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