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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 29, 1968

TELEGRAM FROM PYONGYANG TO BUCHAREST, TOP SECRET, NO. 76.027, URGENT

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

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    The Embassy of Romania in the DPRK summarizes a recent meeting held with M. Golub, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Pyongyang, and discusses U.S.-North Korean negotiations and the Soviet response to the USS Pueblo crisis.
    "Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, TOP SECRET, No. 76.027, Urgent," January 29, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Political Affairs Fond, Telegrams from Pyongyang, TOP SECRET, 1968, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113951
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From our discussions with M. Golub, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia to Pyongyang, on January 29, we gathered that a dialogue between the representatives of the DPRK and American envoys took place and is expected to continue.

With the help of the four neutral generals, Freeman, the Chief of Staff of the Third American Army stationed in South Korea, warned the head of the North Korean delegation at the Armistice Commission that in the event North Korea opened fire on South Korea, the armed forces of the United States would use the most modern means and weapons available, including the nuclear bomb, against the North Korean people. The document released by the United States asks the North Koreans for detailed information about the health of the USS Pueblo crew members.

General Pak Jeong-guk answered both verbally and in writing that these threats did not intimidate the Korean people. He then discussed the health of the USS Pueblo crew members, warning that if the US tried to liberate the 83 crew members by force, they would only retrieve their corpses. According to Golub, it is promising that a dialogue on this issue began, even though the parties involved are using very harsh language.

Based on the briefings received today from the general in Panmunjeom, the neutral parties believe that the current situation is extremely dangerous. Golub informed us about some of the latest developments, which only make the current situation worse; he told us that the entire South Korean army was carrying out drills and preparations in response to the new and exceptional state of affairs, under the command of General [Charles H.] Bonesteel; six additional mining ships and torpedo boats were moving towards the DPRK waters; and two Soviet ships were stationed in the vicinity of the American carrier USS Enterprise, to monitor its activity.

It is foreseeable that, in the future, more ships from the Soviet Pacific fleet will move to this area.

Golub remarked that among the latest developments was the fact that members of the North Korean military delegation in Panmunjeom started to describe the USS Pueblo crew members as ‘prisoners of war,’ which means that the North Koreans did not intend to bring them before court.

Describing the continuation of diplomatic activity to solve the conflict as a positive development, the Czechoslovakian diplomat mentioned that South Korea had recently invited U Thant to Seoul to show him the ‘revolutionary circumstances’ which the North keeps touting. At the same time, he pointed out the fact that Robert Kennedy advised President Johnson to urgently explore the possibility of signing a bilateral treaty with the Soviets to refrain from intervening in the case of a war in Korea, based on the legal commitments that the two countries have towards North Korea and South Korea, respectively.

M. Golub pointed out that only the Soviet Union would have the influence over the DPRK to ameliorate the situation, since it is beyond any doubt that the Chinese would push the events towards a military conflict.

Signed: N. Popa