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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 30, 1960

NOTE ABOUT A CONVERSATION IN THE SOVIET EMBASSY WITH COMRADE PUZANOV

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    The ambassadors of the Soviet Union and East Germany in North Korea discuss Kim Il Sung's visits to China and the Soviet Union, the personality cult in North Korea, the economic situation in North Korea, and North Korea's policy towards South Korea.
    "Note about a Conversation in the Soviet Embassy with Comrade Puzanov," August 30, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv (SAPMO-BA), Zentrales Parteiarchiv der SED (ZPA), IV 2/20/137. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112960
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SED Central Committee

Department of International Relations

Archival Signature: SAPMO-BA, DY 30, IV 2/20/137

[GDR Embassy in DPRK]

Pyongyang, 30 August 1960

Note

about a Conversation in the Soviet Embassy with Comrade Puzanov

I provided Comrade Puzanov with a translation of our [SED] Central Committee's communique and resolution on the results of the Bucharest Meeting, as well as with some oral information. Comrade Puzanov gave me some oral information about the meeting of the CPSU Central Committee. In the further course of conversation we talked about the KWP's position regarding the decisions made in Bucharest. Comrade Puzanov told me that Kim Il Sung visited Beijing in May 1960 upon invitation by Mao Zedong. During his visit in Moscow, Comrade Kim Il Sung informed Comrade Khrushchev about attempts by the Chinese comrades to pull the Korean comrades into the plot against the CPSU leadership. Comrade Kim Il Sung had told Comrade Khrushchev that they [the Koreans] strictly rejected this Chinese suggestion. In this meeting, Comrade Khrushchev asked for extensive information about Korea's economic development. He provided ample advice how to draft the DPRK's Seven-Year-Plan and promised the Korean comrades substantial Soviet aid if they pursue correct economic policies. Comrade Khrushchev recommended to Comrade Kim Il Sung to practice a somewhat more flexible policy towards South Korea. He suggested to learn more from the German comrades' experiences and follow the concept of a confederation vis-a-vis South Korea. Comrade Kim Il Sung promised to share these questions and suggestions with the KWP Presidium. (Meanwhile it has become known that those suggestions were honored.) According to Comrade Puzanov's opinion, at their recent Central Committee meeting the Korean comrades have taken a clear stand concerning the policy of the Soviet Union. They are in complete support of the course adopted by the majority of the communist and workers parties as they were reflected again at the Bucharest Meeting. They condemn the position of the Chinese comrades.

When discussing the course of the KWP so far, Comrade Puzanov conceded strong tendencies of personality cult which represent a certain obstacle to the implementation of the party's policy. During last year as well, the Korean comrades attempted to apply some methods similar to those of the Chinese comrades (the policy of leaping forward, some methods of economic guidance et cetera). Also, at the [KWP] December Plenum in 1959 the acceptance of disproportions in the economy was defined as a deterministic element for the construction of socialism. Currently there exist two so-called complex cooperative economies, which are similar to the [Chinese] people's communes. Yet Comrade Puzanov does not consider this to be substantial issues. Also, in his opinion they have already corrected some of those mistakes. They have made their own experiences and already moved away from the Chinese experiments. In March 1960 they already omitted the phrase about the determinism of disproportions, and today it is no longer in use. Following my mentioning of policy towards South Korea, Comrade Puzanov said the Korean comrades now conduct a mostly correct policy. Like myself, he also thinks the Democratic Party in South Korea is a conservative party. Existing contradictions within this party must not be overestimated since those are just internal power struggles. In addition, Comrade Puzanov told me the Korean comrades have close ties with the Socialist Mass Party in South Korea, certain trade unions, some independent politicians and local student organizations in Seoul, Busan, and Masan. He said that all those receive political and material support from the North Korean comrades. During celebrations for the [DPRK's] 15th Anniversary, representatives of these organizations were illegally present [in Pyongyang] and subsequently had a meeting with members of the KWP Presidium.

In order to make policy towards the South more operational and effective, a special office for dealing with South Korea was established with the Presidium of the [KWP] Central Committee. It has the following departments: Direct Ties with the South, Agitation and Propaganda, and Japanese-South Korean Ties. The head of the office is a Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the KWP Central Committee. During our discussion, Comrade Puzanov explained the Korean comrades primarily make efforts to find an organized base in the working class and among the youth [in South Korea].

Furthermore, Comrade Puzanov told that all material sent by the Chinese comrades containing attacks against the policy of our party [CPSU] and popularizing their [Chinese] false ideas, is returned [by the Koreans]. When asked to state their positions during discussions, they [Koreans] respond frankly. They continue to send their own material to the Chinese comrades (within the framework of the diplomatic corps). Puzanov suggested all representatives from socialist countries should do it this way. In his opinion, the Chinese comrades [in the diplomatic corps] are right now very cautious. You can just tell by the fact that they join diplomatic events only with second-ranking representatives.

Comrade Puzanov promised to inform me immediately when the exact date of arrival and length of stay for Comrade Khrushchev [in the DPRK] is finalized. We will certainly have to talk later how to arrange our reception, in which Comrade Khrushchev will certainly participate. Comrade Puzanov thanked for the information and proposed to meet more frequently from now on, also within the larger framework of adding other representatives of the socialist countries.

The conversation was trusting and friendly. Although I do think that Comrade Pusanov is minimizing some of the mistakes the Korean comrades allowed to occur, and which are still not yet fully overcome. Those mistakes are also criticized, for instance, by the Czechoslovak Ambassador, the First Secretary of the Polish Embassy, and by other diplomats from the socialist countries.

[signed]

K. Schneidewind

[GDR Ambassador]

CC:

3x Deputy [Foreign] Minister Ambassador Comrade Schwab

(maybe 1 copy to Section [Far East] and Comrade Florin)

1x Ambassador [Pyongyang]

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