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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 19, 1950

TELEGRAM SHTYKOV TO VYSHINSKY ON A LUNCHEON AT THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE DPRK

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Shtykov reports a meeting with Kim Il Sung, along with Chinese and Korean delegates. Kim Il Sung expresses his view on the prospect of a liberation of the South Korean people that is to follow the Chinese success in liberation. Kim expresses his view that the South Koreans support his cause for reunification which the South Korean government does not seem to purse, and that he desires to ask Stalin for permission on an offensive action on South Korea.
    "Telegram Shtykov to Vyshinsky on a Luncheon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK," January 19, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVP RF, Fond 059a, Opis 5a, Delo 3, Papka 11, listy 87-91. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112135
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I report about the frame of mind expressed by Kim Il Sung during a luncheon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK. On January 17 the minister of foreign affairs of the DPRK Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong] held a lunch attended by a small circle of persons, on the occasion of the departure of the Korean ambassador Ri Ju-yeon to the Chinese Peoples Republic. At the luncheon from the Korean side were Kim Du-bong [Kim Tu Phong], Kim Il Sung, Pak Heon-yeong, deputy minister of foreign affairs Pak Jeong-jo [Pak Jung Jo], Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon]. The trade representative of the PRC Wen Shizhen attended the luncheon. On our side in attendance were myself and the advisers of the embassy Ignatiev and Pelishenko. The luncheon took place in a friendly, warm atmosphere. Kim Il Sung, Pak Heon-yeong and also the Chinese trade representative in their toasts expressed a feeling of love and gratitude toward the Soviet Union and personally toward Comrade Stalin for the liberation [of Korea from Japanese rule] and for the selfless assistance to both the Korean and Chinese people.

Kim Du-bong shared his impressions of his trip to the USSR for the 70th birthday of Comrade Stalin. In his account he repeatedly underscored the great interest of the Soviet people in Korea and the numerous wishes for quick unification of the country.

During the luncheon Kim Il Sung and the Chinese trade representative, who was sitting next to him, many times enthusiastically conversed with each other in Chinese. From individual phrases it was possible to understand that they were speaking about the victory in China and about the situation in Korea. After the luncheon, in the reception room Kim Il Sung gave advice and orders to his ambassador to China Ri Ju-yeon about his work in China, and moreover, while speaking in Korean, Kim several times said phrases in Russian about how Ri would act boldly in China, since Mao Zedong is his friend and will always help Korea.

Then, after Ri Ju-yeon left, Kim, addressing the advisers Ignatiev and Pelishenko in an excited manner, began to speak about how now, when China is completing its liberation, the liberation of the Korean people in the south of the country is next in line. In connection with this he said:

“The people of the southern portion of Korea trust me and rely on our armed might. Partisans will not decide the question. The people of the south know that we have a good army. Lately I do not sleep at night, thinking about how to resolve the question of the unification of the whole country. If the matter of the liberation of the people of the southern portion of Korea and the unification of the country is drawn out, then I can lose the trust of the people of Korea.”

Further Kim stated that when he was in Moscow, Comrade Stalin said to him that it was not necessary to attack the south, in case of an attack on the north of the country by the army of Rhee Syngmann, then it is possible to go on the counteroffensive to the south of Korea. But since Rhee Syngmann is still not instigating an attack, it means that the liberation of the people of the southern part of the country and the unification of the country are being drawn out, that he (Kim Il Sung) thinks that he needs again to visit Comrade Stalin and receive an order and permission for offensive action by the Peoples' Army for the purpose of the liberation of the people of Southern Korea. Further Kim said that he himself cannot begin an attack, because he is a communist, a disciplined person and for him the order of Comrade Stalin is law. Then he stated that if it is now possible to meet with Comrade Stalin, then he will try to meet with Mao Zedong, after his return from Moscow. Kim underscored that Mao Zedong promised to render him assistance after the conclusion of the war in China. (Apparently Kim Il Sung has in mind the conversation of his representative Kim Il with Mao Zedong in June 1949, about which I reported by ciphered telegram.) Kim said that he also has other questions for Mao Zedong, in particular the question of the possibility of the creation of an eastern bureau of the Cominform. He further stated that on all these questions he will try to meet with Comrade Shtykov and to secure through him a meeting with Comrade Stalin.

The advisers of the embassy Ignatiev and Pelishenko, avoiding discussing these questions, tried to switch the discussion to a general theme, then Kim Il Sung came toward me, took me aside and began the following conversation: can he meet with Comrade Stalin and discuss the question of the position in the south and the question of aggressive actions against the army of Rhee Syngmann, that their people's army now is significantly stronger than the army of Rhee Syngmann. Here he stated that if it is impossible to meet with Comrade Stalin, then he wants to meet with Mao Zedong, since Mao after his visit to Moscow will have orders on all questions. Then Kim Il Sung placed before me the question, why don't I allow him to attack the Ongjin peninsula, which the People's Army could take in three days, and with a general attack the People's Army could be in Seoul in several days. I answered Kim that he has not raised the question of a meeting with Comrade Stalin and if he raises such a question, then it is possible that Comrade Stalin will receive him. On the question of an attack on the Ongjin peninsula I answered him that it is impossible to do this. Then I tried to conclude the conversation on these questions and, alluding to a later time, proposed to go home. With that the conversation was concluded. After the luncheon Kim Il Sung was in a mood of some intoxication. It was obvious that he began this conversation not accidentally, but had thought it out earlier, with the goal of laying out his frame of mind and elucidating our attitude to these questions.

In the process of this conversation Kim Il Sung repeatedly underscored his wish to get the advice of Comrade Stalin on the question of the situation in the south of Korea, since [Kim Il Sung] is constantly nurturing his idea about an attack.