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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 27, 1968

TELEGRAM FROM PYONGYANG TO BUCHAREST, TOP SECRET, NO. 76.051, 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 briefing at the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in which foreign diplomats were encouraged to build bunkers in anticipation of an armed conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
    "Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, TOP SECRET, No. 76.051, Urgent" February 27, 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/113963
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On February 26, at a meeting with the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we were given a comprehensive presentation which concluded that the situation in Korea had become extremely tense and the outbreak of war was possible at any moment and that the provocations of the Americans and of Park Chung Hee made war inevitable. The Head of the Construction Section told A. Lazar that all diplomatic missions in Pyongyang were encouraged to build an anti-air defense bunker, in case they did not have one already, to protect foreigners against air attacks.

When asked by the Romanian diplomat about the characteristics of the bunker (depth, shape, resistance) and about the deadline by which this bunker ought to be finalized, the interlocutor answered that after the agreement in principle of the Romanian government, the ODCD [Office of Services to the Diplomatic Corps] would immediately send a group of experts and specialists to the embassy to decide on where to install the bunker, and in accordance with the specific requirements of the ODCD, it would put together the project and the approval and would start the construction work.

With respect to the deadline, he replied that the sooner, the better, as the situation was rapidly deteriorating.

In conclusion, the Korean interlocutor made some vague references to the peaceful intentions of the DPRK, to its desire to prevent grave things from happening, but in the end he emphasized the peril of the resumption of war and the desire to insure the anti-air defenses of foreigners.

With respect to the situation in Korea we would like to inform you about the following things:

A state of general tension prevails in Pyongyang; troop movements and neighborhood anti-air defense drills continue; night alarm drills using planes and floodlights are intensifying; in Pyongyang and in the suburbs, anti-air bunkers from the Korean War have been restored and new bunkers have been built between apartment buildings and next to every single household. Trenches and pits for shooters are being dug, especially at the periphery; and general camouflage measures have been adopted (outside of Pyongyang, trucks and buses circulate only covered in camouflage nets, etc.).

An intense evacuation operation is being carried out in Pyongyang (probably in other densely populated centers as well). The archives of central institutions, a significant part of the State Library and of the Academy, more than half of the machinery used in the Typographic Complex and probably in many other factories have been moved out of Pyongyang.

Given that the Foreign Ministry urged us to provide an answer regarding the size, shape and location for the anti-air bunker for our embassy, we would like to ask you to give us your approval for this construction first, and if possible, to send us a civil engineer, with the mandate to decide on the project and to supervise the execution of this construction work.

We are asking for this since the planning and the execution of the construction work only by locals does not present sufficient guarantees to us

We are awaiting your response.

Signed: N. Popa