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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 16, 1963

MEMORANDUM OF A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE CZECH AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK, COMRADE MORAVEC, WITH THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR, COMRADE MOSKOVSKII, AND THE GDR AMBASSADOR, COMRADE BECKER, ON 23.IV.1963.

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    The Ambassadors of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and East Germany discuss North Korea's foreign relations, the reunification of Korea, and economic conditions in the DPRK.
    "Memorandum of a Conversation between the Czech Ambassador to the DPRK, Comrade Moravec, with the Soviet Ambassador, Comrade Moskovskii, and the GDR Ambassador, Comrade Becker, on 23.IV.1963.," May 16, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, State Central Archive, Prague, file A. Novotny, foreign affairs, KPDR.Translated for NKIDP by Adolf Kotlik. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113714
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In Prague on 5/16/1963
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
003790/63-7
I. [Illegible stamp]

Highly classified.
file no. 267
261/01- OZÚ

Mailing of a conversation record.
Attachment: 1

(OZÚ = Section for
Special Assignments]
01/11/02 Signature:
(illegible)

For your information, we attached a recorded conversation of the Cs. Ambassador in the DPRK c. Moravec with the USSR ambassador c. Moskovskii and the GDR ambassador c. Becker. In connection with the complaint of c. Kim Il Sung, included on page 7 of this report, we are preparing an instruction for the staff of our embassy in Pyongyang.

Head of department
[Signature: illegible]

[Handwritten: “0015/63”]
[Handwritten: check mark]
file no.: 003790/63-7

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
7th Territorial Department
P r a g u e

H i g h l y c l a s s i f i e d !
B y c o u r i e r !

(stamp)
STATE CENTRAL ARCHIVE IN PRAGUE
DEGREE OF SECRECY CANCELED
Reason: file no. 267 261/01- OZÚ
(OZÚ = Section for Special Assignments]
Date: 01/11/02 Alena Noskova, Ph.D.
Signature: (illegible)

Memorandum of a conversation with the USSR
Ambassador c. V.P. Moskovskii and the GDR
Ambassador c. Otto Becker.

On 23rd April of this year, the GDR Ambassador invited me to his office for a meeting along with the USSR Ambassador c. Moskovskii. C. Becker then informed us about his visit at the KWP CC Deputy Chairman c. Pak Geum-cheol, and said that c. Pak Geum-cheol welcomed him very friendly, started with the development of the DPRK and continued talking about cooperation of the DPRK with the GDR. He said that the DPRK is very interested in cooperation with the GDR namely when it comes to the economy. At the same time he informed c. Becker that comrade Kim Il Sung instructed party and government officials to keep strengthening decisively economic ties with all socialist camp countries.


Comrade Becker then wanted to lead the conversation to political issues and informed c. Pak Geum-cheol about the resolution of the VI. SED Convention, namely about the 7 platform points and how they were received by the international communist movement. C. Pak Geum-cheol listened and then turned to the issues of development in South Korea and to the possibilities of a peaceful unification of the country. He said that the DPRK adheres in principle to the plan of creating a confederacy of the two parts of Korea, as c. Kim Il Sung talked about it in a government exposé in October of this year. However, the main objective of the DPRK today is to facilitate an overthrow in South Korea of the military junta of Park Chung Hee. C. Becker pointed out that he was amazed by the fact that c. Pak Geum-cheol did not talk about the USA and the necessity to drive Americans from the South, and talked only about Park Chung Hee. He stressed that, on the contrary, c. Pak Geum-cheol emphasized the necessity of a peaceful unification, which, of course, will not be possible before the rule of Park Chung Hee is overthrown. In connection with that, he told c. Becker that he believes SED proposals for creation of a confederation of the both German states is a viable policy and that the DPRK supports all GDR proposals in this matter, namely for signing a peace treaty with Germany (he did not mention the USSR proposals at all).


He then said that the DPRK supported very decisively the GDR government's provision from the 13th August 1961, and that the DPRK will continue supporting as well all correct decisions of the GDR government.


C. Becker further informed us that the Headquarters made him aware that Chinese diplomats must have received instructions to engage in conversations about various opinions concerning the communist movement. German comrades think that the purpose of these conversations is probing for and colleting of the opinions from our fraternal parties, so that they could use them in negotiations and for possible argumentation against the CPSU CC. German comrades reject such conversations in principle and consider them as an attempt to transfer these differences in opinion into international relations.


Next, c. Moskovsky informed us about his visit with c. Kim Il Sung (my record no. 0013/63). He said that he visited him on 22nd April and that the conversation took almost two hours. First, he gave him a copy of “memorable notes” and briefly informed him about its content. He also asked c. Kim Il Sung for his opinion about the matter. C. Kim Il Sung , however, remained quiet and, after few minutes of an awkward pause, he offered c. Moskovsky that he would inform him about the current situation in the DPRK. C. Moskovsky welcomed this offer and then c. Kim Il Sung briefly described:


1) The economic situation in the DPRK. He said they succeeded in meeting the quarter year plan but especially recently, a disproportion between the mining and processing industries is deepening considerably. Coal and ore mines are said to be falling very much behind and failing to satisfy consumption. Because of that, it is said that the KWP CC was forced, after a thorough review of the situation, to revise the investment policy and to introduce decisive measures for curtailing further growth of the processing industry. A considerable part of investments, they said, then had to be transferred to the mining industry. This step is said to necessarily mean suspension of further construction of processing plants. On the other hand, they say, the existing, already realized investments will be fully utilized in their current capacity.


2) In connection with that, he informed c. Moskovskii the KWP CC is currently dealing intensively with the issues of directing enterprises and namely with both the science-technology and theoretical-economic aspect of the industrial development of the DPRK. He allegedly told c. Moskovskii that in connection with this, the KWP CC was organizing for May a plenary meeting (KWP CC members allegedly have not been informed about it yet), the agenda of which would consist of two points. First, the KWP CC would listen to reports from chairmen of KWP PO (Parent Organizations) from the most important plants like in Teen, Cheongjin and so on (altogether about 20), and second, they will deal with the complexities of directing enterprises and with the theoretical-economic issues of industrial production.


C. Kim Il Sung also informed c. Moskovskii that the KWP CC recently organized a meeting together with science/technology professionals and theoretical economists. Of course, the KWP CC leaders study in detail the situation in these sectors. It is said that at the meeting, c. Kim Il Sung had to strongly criticize the irresponsible approach and other shortcomings in the work of these professionals. He is said to have pointed out openly a number of shortcomings, especially not applying in production (the results of) science/technological experiments and not being interested in them, an irresponsible approach of science/technology cadres to collecting and generalizing of practical experience, that not a single scientific or technological paper has been published in the DPRK so far from which namely students and workers could gain a deeper understanding of the given issues. C. Kim Il Sung is said to have condemned yet another lack of interest in economics theory. C. Kim Il Sung talked with great indignation about a serious shortage in the DPRK of any, albeit concise textbooks of industrial economy that would help economists, as well as workers, to better familiarize themselves with the most basic issues of the socialist economy.


He said that the KWP CC is now dealing very intensively with these issues and ordered the competent leading professionals to commence compilation of the required textbooks.


3) In connection with the current situation in managing the national economy, c. Kim Il Sung is said to have informed c Moskovskii that the KWP CC has decided to establish about 20 experimental regional centers (in regions where industry is concentrated) where a new management method should be tested. The KWP CC was forced to take this step allegedly because there is still deep confusion and indecision in carrying out the duties of a chief engineer and namely of enterprise party organizations' chairmen. Considering these shortcomings, the KWP CC decided to appoint experienced political operatives from the CC, who also have professional qualifications, as heads of organizations in these industrial centers. Current chairmen of organizations in predominantly industrial regions were appointed as deputy chairmen. However, most of these old chairmen are said to have been transferred to the lead positions in agricultural management committees because they dealt mostly with agricultural issues in the past anyway, and neglected the industrial issues most of the time.


C. Kim Il Sung also pointed out to c. Moskovskii that this system(obviously a Korean application of Soviet experience) still needs many clarifications, especially in the supervision of the chief engineer's work. The purpose of this new system is to be, among other things, ensuring the science-technological development and consistent implementation of the principles of socialist economics in the economy of the DPRK.

4) As for the agriculture, c. Kim Il Sung informed c. Moskovskii that the Korean village currently suffers from many shortcomings, the most serious of which is still insufficient mechanization and also severe shortage of workforce. At the same time, the Korean agriculture is facing this year a serious challenge of expanding the arable area for planting rice by 70 thousand (square) “jeongbo” (1 “jeongbo” is 1000 steps or squared, about 0.99 ha), so that the total area reserved for rice would reach 600,000 “jeongbo” by fall. Of course, that requires further irrigation. The Korean village is seriously hindered by predominantly primitive way of land cultivation. It is said to be very easy for Soviet comrades to develop virgin lands – they can deploy numerous tractors and other state-of-the-art equipment for this work. However, in the DPRK, everything depends on manual labor that is mostly on the same level as it was centuries ago. They say the irrigation system has been and to a large degree is being built the same way. The KWP CC therefore decided that it is necessary to shift majority of investments towards procurement of the needed machinery. A considerable part of the investments will also be set aside for finishing the irrigation systems, especially the distribution hubs.


In the following conversation, c. Kim Il Sung mentioned to c. Moskovskii the task of securing sufficient workforce for the village, outlined by the plenary of the KWP CC. He said that agriculture suffers from large shortage of people; therefore, they issued a strict ban on hiring new workers from agriculture for industrial jobs. Nevertheless, they say, it does not mean that the growth of the workers class will be in jeopardy. They said that before discussing this mater, the KWP CC conducted a thorough investigation and found that in cities, there are a sufficient number of women who can immediately start doing lighter work and make men available for those industry sectors that demand hard physical labor. They supported this statement with the example of the city Cheongjin where there are allegedly in reserve 9,000 women capable to take an industrial job anytime.


On the other hand, there is the requirement to strengthen the village with new workers. The KWP CC and the DPRK government is said to have initiated steps for sending in the nearest future urban workers to help in agriculture. (According to our information reported recently, about a million workers from cities are to be sent to work in agriculture.)

5) C. Kim Il Sung shared with c. Moskovskii an interesting piece of information about South Korea as well.


He told him that everything seems to indicate that what in South Korea is slowly getting energized is especially intelligentsia, which, expressing the interests of the national bourgeoisie, is more and more openly demanding national independence and sovereignty. Growing number of anonymous articles (probably editorials) in the South Korean press is said to be indicative of it.

C. Kim Il Sung also expressed an opinion that especially the last days of political chaos in South Korea when students are becoming energized, show new momentum. Admittedly, he says, it does not mean that the situation is ripe for a revolution but, he claims, it clearly shows that the crisis there is ripening.


In connection with that, he says, the DPRK economy, which must become the main revolutionizing factor for South Korean citizens, will play progressively more important role. C. Moskovskii (for whom this argument was very surprising because it was completely ignored in the DPRK lately) allegedly could not help telling c. Kim Il Sung that this was eventually a Leninist approach. C. Kim Il Sung smiled and said that it was actually a very correct idea of Lenin.

6) Later in his conversation about South Korea and namely about challenges in front of the DPRK after the unification of the country, c. Kim Il Sung stressed the issues of ideology.

First of all he told c. Moskovskii that he has studied all c. Khrushchev's papers concerning ideological methods of the CPSU, and that he liked much of what c. Khrushchev said, especially when it comes to the work with artists. He told him, to the word: “it is necessary to have a very good grip of this audience and not to loosen the reins.” Talking about the ideological work of the KWP, he showed that they now have to engage especially the young people who think that “the smokestacks have always been here and (illegible) as well as other houses just grew on their own.” That's why the KWP now works diligently on the class theory education. Attention is focused in this direction also because after the unification of the both parts of the country, a bitter struggle is expected to ensue with all kinds of bourgeoisie influences, which is what not only communists and komsomols must be ready for, but also all citizens of the DPRK. How soon and successfully they deal with the next stage of struggle that awaits them is said to depend on how well the KWP manages to educate and make stalwart the working class as well as all the DPRK workers.


At the end of his meeting with c. Moskovskii, c. Kim Il Sung complained about the recently recalled counsel-ambassador c. Krukov. He told c. Moskovskii that c. Krukov, who had been in the DPRK since 1959, obviously forgot that something had changed in the DPRK. As he stayed in the DPRK in times when the country was only being built and staff members, namely in the Foreign Ministry, were new and inexperienced, it was only natural that they turned to the Soviet comrades for advice. It was in times, as explained, when the Soviet and some few other embassies of the SCC (Socialist Camp Countries) were accepted not merely as embassies but rather as centers of fraternal council. C. Krukov then allegedly made many friends among ministers and other party or government leaders. However, at that time he got used to openly talking about various measures of the KWP CC and the DPRK government at all kinds of social gatherings. Now, when the DPRK is entering into diplomatic relations with many non-socialist countries, such public comments could have serious consequences and could in the best case weaken our unity. That's why c. Kim Il Sung, as he says, wants to bring this behavior of c. Krukov to c. Moskovskii's attention and to explain why none of c. Krukov's former friends among ministers and KWP leaders came to say good-bye. C. Kim Il Sung also told c. Moskovskii not to interpret it that they were against criticism. On the contrary, they said, they would appreciate if they are made aware of other different opinions at “in office” meetings with any comrade at the Ministry or Party organizations; just that these opinions should not be pronounced at official occasions.


C. Kim Il Sung is said to have concluded this complaint with an assurance that they had no issues with the work of c. Moskovskii or any other staff members of the USSR Embassy.
While talking with us, c. Moskovskii offered a conjecture that, aside of any comments about c. Krukov's behavior, the target of this complaint may have been the reaction of c. Moskovskii and myself to the appearance of c. Pak Seong-cheol at the conference of local titularies, for which c. Pak Seong-cheol later apologized, saying that his presentation was not very well thought through. (addition of my record no. 0100/63).


At the conclusion of our conversation, c. Moskovskii added that the Romanian ambassador c. Bednarash told him that the Korean comrades asked even the PRB for delivery of 60,000 tons of wheat in exchange for 30,000 tons of rice.

Ambassador
[Signature: illegible]