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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 28, 1955

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

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    Report from Pál Szarvas, Hungarian Ambassador to the DPRK, describing a meeting he had with Kim Il Sung on 24 June 1955. Topics they talked about included Hungarian experts in the DPRK, the economic situation in the DPRK and factionalism within the North Korean CC.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," June 28, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j-Korea-5/f-006944/1955 7.d. Translated by Jószef Litkei. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113205
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The Embassy of the Hungarian People's Republic.
Top Secret.

00135/Top secret-1955

Pyongyang, 28 June 1955.
Prepared in 4 copies, 3 for the FM, 1 copy for the Embassy
Typed by Mrs. Sóváradi

Subject: Visit to Comrade Kim Il Sung.

On 24 June, I went to the foreign ministry for a prearranged meeting at 4:45 p.m., where Comrade Foreign Minister Nam Il was already expecting me. After a few welcoming words, we drove with Comrade Nam Il in his car to [meet] Comrade Kim Il Sung, arriving a few minutes before five. I took Comrade Golub with me to act as interpreter for the conversation. Comrade Kim Il Sung received us very warmly. His speech was translated by Comrade Nam Il into Russian. The conversation lasted for forty minutes.

At the very beginning of the conversation, I thanked Comrade Kim Il Sung for receiving me so quickly, despite his amount of work. After this, I immediately presented the reason for my visit. I told him that [I came] on behalf of our party's Central Committee in order to hand over materials dealing with the March CC [Central Committee] session of our party. These materials consist of resolutions that were passed and documents dealing with the inner life of our party. I think that Comrade Kim Il Sung and the CC of the Workers' Party can make use of these materials, since there are certain problems that are common to both parties. Comrade Kim Il Sung received the material gratefully. He responded that he and the members of the CC will carefully study them.

Following this, Comrade Kim Il Sung inquired about our experts and the employees of our embassy. I answered that we live here in Korea just as if we were at home; I myself almost feel like an old Pyongyang resident, since I have been living in Korea already for a year. Comrade Kim Il Sung expressed his thanks for the good work of our engineers, who are helping to plan the rebuilding of Pyongyang and are also participating in the actual construction work. I answered that it is very pleasant for us to hear that Comrade Kim Il Sung values our experts and their work so highly. Our experts do everything in order to do as good a job as possible—while of course there are nonetheless some shortcomings in this respect. The rebuilding of Pyongyang has otherwise greatly advanced in the course of the last year. Last year it was difficult to notice its urban character, but now we can say that Pyongyang really has become a city. Comrade Kim Il Sung responded that this is only the beginning of the city's development, and that the city will only be built up to a great extent in three or four years time. Otherwise, they are having difficulties with the construction, and especially in providing the necessary cement. They lack a sufficient amount of cement, and so they need to import it from abroad. Recently they have partially repaired a cement factory. Due to the urgent need for cement, they were forced to put it into operation. The factory was producing for a while, but now its operations have stopped again. It should not have been put into operation in a half-finished condition. Well, we are inexperienced in this respect. But we have drawn the necessary lessons in order to avoid such events in the future. I responded that we are familiar with cement shortages. One of our technical delegations was here recently, and he was intensively engaged with this very issue.

Following this, Comrade Kim Il Sung told us that the country's party leaders and experts are young, with little experience. During the more than 30 years of Japanese rule, there was no education of Korean experts. The majority of the present experts began to study after the liberation, and they had hardly graduated when we had to appoint them to responsible professional or party positions. It is no wonder that mistakes in the work still occur. It makes our situation even more difficult that our country is ruined, divided into two, and the fact that Southern slogans are emphasizing that they want to launch a “military campaign against the North” is forcing us to strengthen our defense capabilities. Hungary is in a much better situation in this respect. I responded that this is indeed the case; Hungary has been free for ten years, and during this time we did not have to wage a war. Of course, we also have difficulties. We also must intensify raising our country's defense capacity and developing our heavy industry, since there are imperialist states in our neighborhood. The road of our development is not paved with smooth asphalt either.

After all this, Comrade Kim Il Sung said that last autumn the party took the necessary measures to overcome the difficulties caused by last year's bad harvest. When I asked about the prospects for this year's harvest, he answered jokingly that the weather is good now, it rains a lot, and they make use of God's help. I answered, also jokingly, that we don't really care much about God's help, but sometimes it comes in handy.

I asked Comrade Kim Il Sung if he might have the time to answer a question of mine. Comrade Kim Il Sung courteously gave a positive answer. Then I asked him what were those fractional actions that were discussed during the last meeting of the party's Central Committee. Based on the material we received, we could not understand whether this refers to an old and ongoing question or merely to isolated phenomena. Comrade Kim Il Sung explained that the subversive elements uncovered last year exerted some influence on some party members, such as the Minister of Postal Affairs, and other members too. These elements were not in direct contact with the elements from last year. They did not have a separate organization. They criticized the party's policy and were unsatisfied with it. The same thing happened in the army. The person who continued this policy in the army was a general who has already admitted his mistake and made honest [self-] criticism, so he was relieved of his post and appointed to another position. The CC is now dealing with the case of the minister of postal affairs. He is being cultivated and educated. Of course, the party does everything to avoid this or similar things from happening in the future. They have organized things so that if something like this happens again, it can be immediately prevented. It is absolutely important to be vigilant. And we will be vigilant for any such action. The activities of those members who pursued a clique-policy in the past are being observed as well. At the moment, they are not yet excluded from the party, but this could also happen in the future.

I thanked Comrade Kim Il Sung for his reply and told him that we are very interested in the situation of the fraternal parties. Unfortunately, not very long ago, similar problems also occurred in our party. The materials we brought deal with this issue, among other things. Our party had to engage in a hard struggle, from which it emerged victorious.

Comrade Kim Il Sung repeated that of course there is no guarantee against such things happening in the party in the future, but that they did everything they could to prevent such incidents from occuring again.

Following this, Comrade Kim Il Sung inquired about Comrade Rákosi. I told him that [Comrade Rákosi] has been sick lately, and for this reason he was not able actively to participate in the work done before March. He feels much better now, and the doctors have allowed him a six-hour workday, but he works more than that because he has so much to do.

Finally, I expressed my thanks to Comrade Kim Il Sung for receiving me at such short notice and wished him good health and success in his work. Comrade Kim Il Sung replied that whenever I have any problem, I should turn to him. He is ready to receive me at any time. It is possible that he will have some questions concerning the materials I brought him.

The conversation took place in a very cordial atmosphere.

Remarks:

1. It was very friendly of Comrade Kim Il Sung to receive me immediately after learning the reason [for my request].

2. Praising our engineers and experts was more than a formal act of courtesy.

3. The information received concerning the issue of sectarianism is important for us because it explains the nature of the phenomenon discussed at the last plenum.

4. Comrade Kim Il Sung is in very good condition, in an extremely good mood, and he is very friendly.

signature
Ambassador Pál Szarvas