LETTER FROM RI SANG-JO TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE KOREAN WORKERS PARTY
This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy FoundationCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
get citationLetter from Ri Sang-jo to CPSU Central Committee in which Ri writes about his disagreement with the decisions made at Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Plenum in August 1956."Letter from Ri Sang-jo to the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party," October 05, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, Fond 5, Opis 28, Delo 410, Listy 233-295. Obtained for NKIDP by Nobuo Shimotomai and translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114152
VIEW DOCUMENT IN
5 Oct 56
subject to return to
the CPSU CC General Department]
TO THE CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE
DPRK Ambassador to the USSR Cde. Ri Sang-jo delivered to Cde. Fedorenko, USSR Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, a Russian translation of a letter to the Korea Workers’ Party CC with a request to send the translation of this letter to the CPSU CC Department [for Relations with Foreign Communist Parties].
Cde. Ri Sang-jo reported at the same time that he intends to send the original of the letter to Pyeongyang [Pyongyang] in the middle [v desyatykh chislakh] of October.
I thereby submit the Russian text of the letter of Cde. Ri Sang-jo to the Korean Workers’ Party CC.
Chief of the CPSU CC Department for /signature/
Relations with Foreign Communist Parties I. Vinogradov
5 October 1956
Nº 25-S-2136 [handwritten]: Seen
[to the] archives
Reported to Cde. I. T. Vinogradov [illegible signature]
V. [Voronin] 31/X.56
13 X 56 [illegible signature]
of the letter of Cde. Ri Sang-jo, Candidate Member of the Korean Workers’ Party CC and DPRK Ambassador to the USSR to the Korean Workers’ Party CC
In his letter, Cde. Ri Sang-jo basically describes the issues of the situation of the Korean Workers’ Party already known to the CPSU CC and adds some new facts.
Cde. Ri Sang-jo expresses his disagreement with the decisions of the KWP CC Plenum held in August 1956. He thinks that the following questions should have received solutions at the Plenum:
1. A review of previous plans to restore and develop the economy in order to stress the development of [practical] measures directed at the material improvement of the population.
2. The elimination of the consequences of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in order to ensure genuine intra-party democracy and collective leadership in the party.
3. Restoration of the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people that was falsified under the influence of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung.
4. The elimination of the shortcomings in the field of party propaganda, which even today is divorced from the reality of the party.
5. The removal from leadership positions of a number of people who are interfering with the strengthening of the unity and cohesion of the party.
However, these questions did not receive solutions and with regard to the comrades who tried to raise them, they were subjected to repressive measures.
Cde. Ri Sang-jo tells how the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung developed and that a majority of the “works” of Kim Il Sung were not written by him, but by other comrades. Thanks to the spread of the cult of personality, Cde. Kim Il Sung has concentrated all power in his hands and has ended up above the party and the government.
If intra-party democracy is not ensured and Leninist principles of collective leadership are not completely restored, Cde. Ri Sang-jo concludes, then still more honest communists will become victims of tyranny and lawlessness.
In the opinion of Cde. Ri Sang-jo, at the Central Committee Plenum, Cdes. Kim Il Sung, Pak Jeong-ae, and Nam Il [Nam Il] did not make known the valuable advice which was given them at the CPSU CC. Comrades who spoke critically at the Plenum were declared “conspirators” trying to overthrow the leadership of the party and the government. At the same time a rumor was spread in the KWP that supposedly the CPSU CC had sent a letter to the KWP CC that expressed a desire that Cde. Kim Il Sung not be subjected to criticism.
Even before the Plenum, several comrades in a private conversation with Cde. Kim Il Sung told him their critical comments and he gave assurances that he accepted their comradely comments, but at the same time a “case” about factional activity was created against them. Covert surveillance of many officials has been instituted and therefore they are afraid to visit one another lest they be accused of “conspiracy.”
KWP CC member Cde. Kim Seung-hwa [Kim Song Hwa], who had planned to speak critically at the August plenum, was quickly sent to Moscow to study.
More than 500 career officials occupying posts of chief of a directorate or department of ministries and other [organizations] are being accused of belonging to the “Yan’an group.” All were old communist cadres who fought in Korea in the past. They have been characterized under various names by groups, casting the shadow of anti-party activity on them. Korean Communists who had come from the USSR were called “the nepotist group” and those from China “the Yan’an group.” Only the partisans who had fought under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and members of the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” did not belong to groups and comprise the main backbone of the party.
It appears, writes Ri Sang-jo, that all the revolutionaries who do not have ties with Kim Il Sung must wear the stigma of factionalist.
Cde. Ri Sang-jo then pointed out that at the KWP Third Congress it was declared that the cult of personality in the Workers Party had not spread; however, at the August plenum, in view of the discontent of a considerable number of party members, in the decision about the report of Kim Il Sung it was written “…the cult of personality has spread to a negligible degree in the ranks of the Workers Party. It has found its expression chiefly in the ideological work of our party where one personality has been excessively glorified. However, the cult of personality could not have influenced the highest principle of Party leadership, the collective nature of the leadership which the Central Committee has consistently upheld nor the line or policy of the Workers Party.”
Cde. Ri Sang-jo cites other incidents of the violation of the party statutes and socialist legality.
In violation of a requirement of the party statutes, a number of officials were co-opted into membership in the Central Committee without the permission of the Congress, and several of them then became members of the Politburo and deputy chairmen of the Central Committee. This was the case with Cde. Choe Yong-geon [Choeh Yong Gon], who was Democratic Party Central Committee chairman.
An atmosphere of pressure and Kim Il Sung’s tyranny predominates in the party. Even the most senior officials have been forced to work in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. The texts of speeches at Central Committee Plenums are being strictly monitored in order that the speaker says what “is necessary.” This is also being done for deputies. The texts of the speeches of the delegates of the KWP Third Congress were carefully checked and unceremoniously corrected without asking for the opinions of the delegates.
The Constitution is being violated in the country, writes Cde. Ri Sang-jo. A majority of the representatives of provincial people’s committees are not deputies of local people’s committees, but according to regulation they must be elected.
There are more than 30,000 people in prisons as a result of the violation of socialist legality. In the army alone the number of those arrested is more than one division. Eight thousand have been accused of counterrevolution and about 10,000 have been convicted of other crimes. Thus, one out of every 300 people in North Korea is a criminal.
This fact tells what “counterrevolutionaries” are. Two thousand people were released from confinement before the plenum, among whom there was a “criminal” sentenced to five years for only having made a book cover from a piece of newspaper containing Kim Il Sung’s portrait.
Kim Il Sung gave instructions according to which the existence of two witnesses is sufficient to convict a person for any term of punishment, including the death penalty.
Cde. Ri Sang-jo then writes that Cde. Pak Il-u [Pak Il U] (a former member of the Politburo) was arrested and his family expelled from Pyeongyang for daring to object to Kim Il Sung about the issues of the tax in kind and the party policy about reactionaries, declaring that severe repressive measures cannot be employed without review.
The letter talks about the distortion of the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people in contemporary literature. The role of the partisan detachments of Kim Il Sung, which actually ceased to exist in 1940, is exaggerated. The personal merits of Kim Il Sung are inflated and the routine partisan raid at Bocheonbo is presented as a great battle. The role of the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland,” membership did not exceed 100 men, is also exaggerated.
In addition, the activity of the Korean communists who fought together with the Chinese against the Japanese, Jiang Jieshi’s forces, and the American interventionists is ignored.
Enormous mistakes have been made in economic policy and in the issue of increasing the material and cultural level of the population. For example, the construction of an automobile plant, the Pyeongyang meat-packing plant, a cannery, etc. was planned, but there were no raw materials for these plants in the country. At the same time, the country is experiencing great difficulties with food, housing, and essential goods.
Cde. Ri Sang-jo writes about his conversation with Cde. Mao Zedong during the first period of the war in Korea, when the People’s Army had successfully advanced into the south of Korea. Cde. Mao Zedong was then already alarmed about the possibility of an invasion by a large force of American troops. Cde. Ri Sang-jo reported this to Kim Il Sung, to which the latter replied that we do not expect to make a retreat and therefore there is no need to listen to this advice.
At the end of the letter Cde. Ri Sang-jo states that he is not against Cde. Kim Il Sung remaining in the party leadership, but inasmuch as the questions of principle that he pointed out were not properly resolved at the August Central Committee Plenum, he requests that the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee inform the members and candidate members of the Central Committee of this written statement.
Translation from the Korean
TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE WORKERS PARTY OF KOREA
The recently held Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee Plenum attracted the universal attention both of Korean communists as well as fraternal communist and workers’ parties. The discussion of issues at this plenum about the visit of our government delegation to fraternal countries and other issues did not achieve resolution at the Korean Workers’ Party Third Congress, the resolution of which would have permitted the elimination of the serious shortcomings in party and government work. In particular, a discussion of the issue about overcoming the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung and its consequences that has become widespread in our country was expected at the plenum. In doing this we should have relied on the historical decisions of the CPSU Twentieth Congress which decisively spoke out against the cult of personality and the other decisions that exerted an enormous positive influence on the international workers’ movement. All the fraternal parties have launched a broad ideological struggle to eliminate the cult of personality and its consequences on the basis of the historic decisions of the CPSU Twentieth Congress.
As more specifically regards those issues which required their resolution at the plenum, they boiled down to the following:
1. The issue of reviewing previous plans to restore and develop the economy in order to stress the working out of practical steps directed at an improvement of the material well-being of the population.
2. The issue of the elimination of the consequences of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in order to ensure genuine intra-party democracy and collective leadership in the party.
3. The issue of the restoration of the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people that had been falsified under pressure of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, whose merits were incredibly inflated.
4. The issue of the elimination of the shortcomings in the field of party propaganda, which even today is divorced from the reality of the people.
5. The issue of the removal from leadership positions of sycophants who are preventing the strengthening of the unity and cohesion of the party.
These issues might naturally evoke a lively discussion and the opinions of many party members might not agree with the opinions of individual sycophants and careerists. By no means can administrative and organizational measures be used to solve these issues. On the contrary, an opportunity needs to be given to everyone to express themselves on the issues [I] have touched on since they are of principal importance both from the viewpoint of theory and the viewpoint of practical activity.
Only through a comprehensive collective discussion of the issues can the correct solution be found to strengthen the organizational and ideological unity of the party.
In bringing up these issues I am by no means belittling the merits of our party and individual leaders in the cause of strengthening people’s power and in leading the struggle of our people against foreign invaders during the war years. Our party was and remains the guiding force of the Korean people in its struggle for a bright future. In addition, I do not deny a certain positive role for Cde. Kim Il Sung in the revolutionary struggle of the Korean people.
The essence of the issues is to reveal the shortcomings that undoubtedly exist in our activity and multiply the indisputable successes achieved by the workers of our country. It is for this reason that party members should in every way reveal and eliminate shortcomings in the work and not get drunk on success and then ascribe these successes to the merits of one personality.
However, the results of the plenum not only did not justify the hopes of Korean communists and other fraternal parties but, on the contrary, led to the completely opposite result.
All those comrades who, guided by Leninist organizational principles, expressed principled criticism of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, who harmed our party, were classed as “anti-party factionalists” trying to overthrow the government and the leadership of the party. But at the same time, it is clear that these comrades were setting the goal of expanding intra-party democracy in order to ensure collective leadership in the party, restore the history of our party that was falsified under the influence of the cult of personality, remove the careerists and sycophants from the leadership of the party and the country, and work out specific steps directed at increasing the standard of living of the population.
Under crude pressure from those comrades against whom the criticism was directed, those who spoke in the midst of discussions were deprived of their say and therefore they could not fully describe their ideas at the plenum. The “leading” comrades managed to expel from the ranks of the party honest Communists who had courageously and openly spoken against the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, through deception and threats against Central Committee members.
Is this really not a “strange” matter?
All the repressed comrades are senior officials of our party and state. Among them were: Choe Chang-ik [Choe Chang Ik], member of the KWP CC Presidium and Deputy Prime Minister of the DPRK, and Pak Chang-ok [Pak Chang Ok], member of the KWP CC and Deputy Prime Minister, who were removed from all their posts and whose case was sent to the KWP CC Party Control Committee for examination. Yun Gongheum, member of the KWP CC and Minister of Trade; Seo Hwi [So Hwi], Chairman of the Trade Unions CC; Ri Pil-gyu, candidate member of the KWP CC, and others were expelled from the party. Inasmuch as they were not given an opportunity at the plenum to finish speaking, the other comrades who had also planned to speak on this issue were deprived of their say.
Thus, a gross outrage was committed in violation of the statutes of our party.
They say that these [people] criticized Cde. Kim Il Sung privately or at a Central Committee Presidium meeting: Kim Du-bong [Kim Tu Bong], DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly Presidium Chairman; Pak Ui-wan, Deputy Prime Minister of the DPRK; Kim Seung-hwa, former Minister of Construction; Kim Changhup, Minister of Communications; and others. Crudely trampling on the intra-party democracy guaranteed by the statutes of the party, Kim Il Sung and his supporters through unceremonious pressure have managed to get the comrades who spoke critically against Kim Il Sung classed as “anti-party” elements and “criminals” who tried to “overthrow” the government and the party.
After this can one agree without remorse with the argument of Kim Il Sung and [his] sycophants, who said at the Third Party Congress and afterwards that there is no cult of personality in our party and the specific vehicle [nositel’] of the cult of personality is Pak Heon-yeong?
Can we say that only the Korean Workers’ Party can avoid those serious errors that resulted from the cult of personality, which became widespread in the worker’s movement? It is clear that the Korean Workers’ Party, like other fraternal parties, could not avoid such errors. Nevertheless, our delegation that attended the CPSU Twentieth Congress, in its report about the CPSU Twentieth Congress, declared upon return to our Motherland that the cult of personality had become widespread in the activity of the CPSU. However, as indicated in this report, there can be no cult of personality in the ranks of a genuinely Marxist-Leninist party, but the KWP is one in which the cult of personality is supposedly absent and therefore it has avoided those errors which result from it. Such a statement does not correspond to reality and is aimed at deceiving party members. It cannot fail to be classed as an action that ignores the opinion of an overwhelming majority of party members.
I. The formation of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in Korea and its expression in various areas of public life. Can one really agree with that arrogant argument that, as Kim Il Sung and his supporters put it, “favorable” conditions have developed in Korea that permit the Workers’ Party, being a genuinely Marxist-Leninist party, to avoid the cult of personality in its ranks? If one agrees with such an argument, then one ought to think that the remaining fraternal parties are not genuinely Marxist-Leninist parties.
Isn’t this really a laughable theory?
To tell the truth, in Korea historical conditions have developed that have facilitated the formation of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, not to mention that we did not have such exceptional conditions that permitted [us] to avoid serious errors from the cult of personality.
It is well known that Korea, which for a long time was under the yoke of Japanese colonial domination, did not know what a democratic way of life was. The Japanese colonizers “educated” the population of Korea in the spirit of unquestioning obedience to Japanese bureaucrats in every way. All this became routine for Koreans. After the liberation of Korea by the Soviet Army, power passed into the hands of the people.
In a situation where there were not enough senior officials in the country who had received revolutionary hardening in the course of the liberation struggle, new cadres were promoted to senior positions who had not yet received a sufficient revolutionary education. One cannot fail to recognize that this fact, which is an objective condition, facilitated the spread of bureaucratism, sycophancy, and the cult of personality in Korea. In Korean conditions, where vestiges of a feudal education were deeply rooted in the consciousness of the people, there was fertile ground for the cult of personality to flower. Who can deny that the basis of feudal education was unquestioning obedience to the king and his cult? The king embodied the state. Someone who spoke against the king was declared a traitorous “criminal.” All these vestiges still find their expression in Korean reality. According to the “theory” of sycophants, it turns out that someone who criticizes Kim Il Sung is trying to “overthrow” the government and the party. Then what is the difference between a “theory” that “the king embodies the state” and what the sycophants of Kim Il Sung stubbornly preach? Such an idea has become widespread in our party. Is it really not a vestige of consciousness formed in the epoch of feudalism and colonial domination? In other words, it is an accursed legacy of feudalism and Japanese colonial domination. It has “the absolute obedience of the people to bureaucratic power” at its base. All these circumstances could not fail to promote the formation and development of a cult of personality in Korea. It should be added that by the time of the liberation of Korea by the Soviet Army there was no united Communist Party in the country representing the working class and acting as the recognized leader of the revolution. The underground Communist groups who were fighting at that time in the conditions of the brutal police repression of Japanese imperialism did not have fixed communications among themselves. Thus each Communist group had its own leaders and Kim Il Sung was one of them. Cde. Kim Il Sung, who returned to the Motherland with our liberators, the Soviet Army, enjoyed the universal support of the population at that time. This is understandable. We Communists who felt whole-hearted trust in the Soviet comrades warmly welcomed and defended Kim Il Sung, whom the Soviet comrades also supported.
If one considers the issue of the leadership cadre who joined the various revolutionary organizations at that time, then it ought to be said that they basically were divided into four groups. The first group included the Communists who fought in Korea itself. The second group was Korean Communists who were in the USSR and operated under the leadership of the CPSU. The third group was the Communists who participated in the partisan movement in Manchuria, which ceased in 1940. The fourth group was Communists who fought in China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. This was the situation at the moment of Korea’s liberation. Although there were those among the communists who fought in Korea itself who opposed promoting Kim Il Sung as the leader, nevertheless a considerable social force supported Kim Il Sung and measures were developed that were directed at increasing and strengthening his authority. His portraits hung everywhere next to the portrait of Stalin, and many articles were published in the name of Kim Il Sung, including a 20 point program for the revival of the country.
And at the present time, when the historic decisions of the Twentieth Congress have rocked the entire world, there are still officials who try to ascribe all credit to one “boss.” These circumstances played a decisive role in the formation and development of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung. All power was concentrated in the hands of one personality, in violation of Leninist organizational principles. All power was concentrated in the hands of Kim Il Sung, especially during the war when the foreign invaders who had intervened in the Korean War expanded the scale of [their] military operations.
In wartime conditions, an excuse was found for a restriction on democratic principles in the party and in the country. But when the country entered the period of peaceful development, such a restriction gave rise to negative consequences for the party and the country. Nevertheless, in our country the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung has not only not been overcome, but on the contrary, attempts have been made to reinforce it. As a result, Cde. Kim Il Sung has set himself above the party, the government, and the people, and he himself has ended up as an untouchable personality.
In light of these facts might it be said that there were exceptionally favorable historical conditions in Korea that allowed [it] to avoid those errors which give rise to a cult of personality? It needs to be recognized that in Korea not only were there no such conditions, but on the contrary all the objective conditions in our country facilitated the formation and spread of the cult of personality in greater measure than in other fraternal countries. However, instead of respecting the opinion of those comrades who had worked in various communist groups in the past in order to assure and strengthen party unity, Cde. Kim Il Sung has such a high opinion of himself that he has completely stopped considering the opinions of comrades.
With the appearance of the cult of personality, as night follows day, all kinds of careerists and sycophants follow Kim Il Sung who try to fight their way to power at any price. They have raised the name of Kim Il Sung to an unattainable height by all permissible and impermissible means. If one explains one aspect of the cult of personality by the presence of sycophants then another invariable condition for the existence of a cult of personality is the encouragement of sycophants by leaders. When we analyze the cult of personality from these two aspects then we must recognize that there are sycophants and careerists in our party and that Cde. Kim Il Sung, as leader, has encouraged them and thereby facilitated their emergence. Can one assume that the words “Great leader,” “military leader of genius,” “outstanding leader,” and similar words of praise appeared in the pages of the press without the knowledge and consent of Kim Il Sung?
Can one believe what was said at the Third Congress of our party about the issue of the cult of personality?
It was said that there is no cult of personality in the theory and the practice of the Workers’ Party.
To deny the existence of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in the Workers’ Party means to embark on the road to a conscious deception of the party and the people, and it means ignoring the opinions of party members.
If one analyzes newspaper and magazine materials, school textbooks, fictional literature, and works of art, then we easily see the cult of personality here, there, and everywhere, that is, the name of Kim Il Sung is raised higher than the names of kings in bourgeois countries. The name of Kim Il Sung is celebrated in many songs. The democratic reforms carried out in Korea have been described as if the people received liberty and the peasants received land by the will of Kim Il Sung. He is still relatively young and living a busy life but his name has been given to Pyeongyang University, and streets and squares of cities. And as if this weren’t enough, the young Kim Il Sung is called the father of Korean youth. Is all this not a manifestation of the cult of personality in our party? We must vigorously oppose attempts to depict Kim Il Sung as suffering from immodesty as the “Korean” Lenin or the “Korean” Mao Zedong.
Is it not funny when Kim Il Sung is compared with the great Lenin or with Cde. Mao Zedong? Only one who has finally got a high opinion of himself or has lost all conscience can compare himself with the great Lenin or Mao Zedong.
Let’s talk about the works of Kim Il Sung published in his collected works. The fact that the overwhelming majority of his “works” were written by other comrades who are active advocates of the cult of personality is no secret to anyone. People ask, how much did Kim Il Sung write himself?
I don’t even intend to give an assessment of the quality of these works. Whoever studies party and government materials closely and systematically knows that many documents drawn up on the basis of a report or a speech by Kim Il Sung did not consider the immediate prospects for the development of events. Therefore, they had to make many efforts to draw up additional reports that could correct the mistakes in the main report. This is what Cde. Kim Il Sung, who considered himself above everyone and played an important role in the management of the country, did. We can identify many such government documents that contain statements which are contradictory. But meanwhile, the sycophants and careerists promoted these works of Kim Il Sung as outstanding creations having no equal. I suggest that highly qualified Party officials and researchers reexamine the works of Kim Il Sung in order to identify the positive and the negative and then publish them as collections of party reports and not as works of Kim Il Sung. The remaining materials ought to be called upon as a textbook for studying the politics of the party.
In connection with the cult of personality one cannot fail to cite anecdotal facts that shed light on the spread of the cult of personality in Korea. Until recently there was a rule to issue as a booklet all the speeches of Kim Il Sung that touched on even minor issues. Statements about insignificant issues put forward in the publications immediately became political slogans of the party. The statements he made without any preparation became a party appeal that they hung on every street. For example, the words “rice is socialism” or “spinning is an art” which he threw out became party slogans. Artists were mobilized to reflect these slogans in paintings. All this provokes laughter from sensible people. It is not enough that these slogans are hung on city streets, but dramatists have been found who have written a play on the basis of the slogan “spinning is an art,” which was staged in Pyeongyang. Similar facts not only provoke laughter but also pain.
Thanks to the spread of the cult of personality Cde. Kim Il Sung has concentrated all power in his hands and his authority has turned out to be above the party, government, and the people. Any speech of his at any meeting, whether it expresses the opinion of a majority of party members or not, is considered an “ultimate truth.” Even if his final decision contradicted the party statutes and established law, no one would be so bold as to oppose it. As the recent plenum has just showed, Kim Il Sung and his supporters crudely trampled on the party statutes and other norms of intra-party democracy. Therefore, the fact that the Central Committee Deputy Chairman openly declared that “whoever is against Kim Il Sung, their political life is over; the doors of the prisons where they put enemies of the people are open to them” is no accident. Does this really cause no serious alarm in the party? Does this all really not undermine the unity of our party?
We all remember well how at every conference and meeting Cde. Kim Il Sung abused the name of one comrade who was known in the past for his active factional activity. But at one party activists’ meeting after the CPSU Twentieth Congress he had only to declare that Cde. Kim Il Sung is the true pupil of Lenin, after which he was immediately appointed a minister. Where is the party fidelity to principle here? It is no great difficulty for Cde. Kim Il Sung to violate the party statutes, government laws, and communist principles. He never seriously listens to the voice of the party members, not to mention that he does not consider the opinions of the overwhelming majority of party members. If we say that “force is truth” for Cde. Kim Il Sung and that his opinion is more authoritative then any government law, then this would not be a great exaggeration. If such an idea had predominated before the CPSU Twentieth Congress, then after it everyone began to understand that this is not the party style of operation. The popular masses who blindly believed in Kim Il Sung as a god, have gradually began to purge their consciousness of the cult of personality. Some leading comrades, in defending the position of fidelity to party principles, expressed their critical remarks to Kim Il Sung and organized criticism of the cult of personality.
Instead of heeding the comradely criticism as befits a communist, he embarked on the path to merciless reprisals against those who bravely and openly criticized the cult of personality. For Kim Il Sung and his supporters, the documents of the CPSU Twentieth Congress about the issue of overcoming the cult of personality have become scarier than a tiger and therefore they hate them.
Can a real Communist regard the most important document of the CPSU Twentieth Congress this way? If we do not eliminate a negative phenomenon in our life like this, if we do not ensure intra-party democracy, and finally, if we do not completely restore the Leninist principle of collective leadership, then many more honest communists will become victims of tyranny and lawlessness.
II. The August Central Committee Plenum did not resolve the principal issues about overcoming the consequences of the cult of personality in our party.
It is well known that the August Central Committee Plenum should have become a plenum of vigorous struggle against the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung and overcoming its consequences. But it did not become such a plenum.
During a visit to fraternal countries, our government delegation had a full opportunity to familiarize themselves with the life of the people of these countries that are building socialism. They met often with party and government leaders who directly and indirectly informed our delegation of the issue that disturbs all honest party members, the issue of overcoming the cult of personality and its consequences.
The leaders of the CPSU and the Soviet government, as has become known to me, expressed extraordinarily important comradely comments to our party. These comments touched on the issues of an increase in the standard of living of the population, overcoming the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, and also other [issues]. The Soviet leaders noted that one needs to be on one’s guard against sycophants and careerists, that you can’t present the history of the person Kim Il Sung as the history of the party, and finally they told of the harm of party propaganda divorced from reality. The value of these comments is without doubt. Every time shortcomings are observed in fraternal parties, another fraternal party criticizes from a position of communist principle in order to eliminate the shortcomings. The Soviet leaders expressed their valuable comradely wishes to the Workers Party Central Committee, and not to Kim Il Sung himself. It is clear that Cde. Kim Il Sung, Pak Jeong-ae, and Nam Il, knowing of these wishes, were obliged to report them to the Central Committee Plenum in order to discuss them and eliminate those serious shortcomings that exist in our party and government work. But meanwhile, there was an attempt to conceal these CPSU wishes from the party Central Committee. In this regard, we ought to follow the example of the practical activity of the Soviet comrades after the CPSU Twentieth Congress.
I cite one instance as an example.
For example, in the Soviet Union, after the trip of Comrades N. S. Khrushchev and N. A. Bulganin, their formal report about the talks with the leaders of Great Britain was communicated to primary party organizations. So why do we not inform our party organizations of the comradely wishes of the CPSU?
This is evidence of the desire of the Soviet leaders to broadly inform the party community [obshchestvennost’] of the most important issues of government and party activity and to rely on the energy of the masses. Every party member knows what issues were discussed during the talks and were raised by the British leaders and what answers were given by the Soviet leaders in reply to the questions that were raised.
All this says that the activity of Soviet leaders relies on the creative initiative of the popular masses and their desire to receive a proper assessment from the party masses. Such a work style is one of the specific manifestations of Leninist principles in party organizational work. So why can we not imitate such a Leninist style of party work? The reply to this question can be found in only one thing: either our leaders openly ignore the interests of the party or they are afraid to communicate the valuable comradely wishes of the CPSU to the broad party community.
In addition, we should clearly realize that the CPSU wishes were addressed to our Central Committee. However, there are people who think that the Workers’ Party Central Committee is Kim Il Sung, Pak Jeong-ae, and Nam Il, or that the entire party is embodied in them. It would be a big mistake to take such a position. Every honest party member cannot fail to agree with these comradely comments which were made to our Central Committee by the Soviet leaders.
The recently concluded KWP CC Plenum had a serious nature and because it was held after the valuable comradely comments by the CPSU were made to us, and after our government delegation visited fraternal countries. During the stay in Moscow, our comrades assured the CPSU CC that they took note of the comradely comments by the CPSU and would consider them. But as the Central Committee Plenum shows, they deceived the CPSU CC: not only did they not take effective steps to correct the mistakes that have been made, but they took revenge against those who criticized the cult of personality.
Perhaps all this can be forgiven. The comrades who spoke at the discussions criticized Cde. Kim Il Sung and various sycophants in the spirit of those comments that were made by the CPSU. In response to such healthy criticism, Cde. Kim Il Sung and his supporters took revenge on the comrades who spoke, declaring them “the anti-party Yan’an group” and “conspirators” trying to overthrow the party and the government.
Thus the so-called Yan’an group, which opposed the cult of personality and which in fact did not exist in nature, was fabricated. As a result, intra-party democracy and party unity were undermined even more.
It is well known that some comrades have already criticized Cde. Kim Il Sung privately and he assured [them] that he accepts these comradely comments. And somewhere behind the backs of these comrades, fictitious “cases” were created about their factional activity, calling them the Yan’an “group.” Therefore, at the Central Committee Plenum an open intra-party political struggle developed instead of a discussion of pressing issues.
In conditions when the elementary norms of intra-party democracy are not observed, the comrades who openly criticized Kim Il Sung and his sycophants performed a genuinely courageous act. In spite of the threat that hung over their fate, in the interest of the party and the people they bravely and openly criticized Cde. Kim Il Sung and various sycophants. By no means can their actions be assessed as an attempt to seize the posts of prime minister or chairman of the party Central Committee, although there are people who have lost all conscience and are representing their actions as such an attempt.
The comrades who spoke knew that the automatic majority of the plenum collected by threats and intimidation would expel them from the party. Already on the eve of the plenum supporters of Kim Il Sung openly declared that those who criticized the “leadership” of the party would be expelled. Were the comrades who spoke really concerned about their own personal interests? No. They who criticized the cult of personality were only guided by the interests of the party and were trying to restore the truth.
These repressive measures on the part of Kim Il Sung and his small number of supporters have added a shameful page to the history of our party that is unprecedented in the history of the international workers’ movement. Can such reprisals be considered measures taken in the interest of the party and in the interest of strengthening international ties with other fraternal communist and workers’ parties?
It needs to be said frankly that such measures promote neither the strengthening of party unity nor international ties with other fraternal parties. These repressive measures weaken the ties with other fraternal parties and run counter to Marxist-Leninist truth.
By their unprecedented actions, Kim Il Sung and his supporters have ignored the valuable comradely wishes of the CPSU. Moreover, they have spread rumors that the CPSU CC supposedly sent a letter to the KWP CC in which it expressed a desire that Cde. Kim Il Sung not be subjected to criticism. The letter needs to be read closely. Where did it say there that it was not necessary to oppose the cult of personality? On the contrary, it states the correctness and need to struggle against the cult of personality, during which great success has been achieved in all fraternal parties. These shameful acts were committed by Nam Il, who spread the false rumor, and Kim Chang-man, who supported him on this issue.
Can all these really not be classed as the acts of a coward, a deceiver? Kim Il Sung and his supporters stated that the Korean communists who returned to the motherland from China have formed their own “group,” which they called the “Yan’an group.” The absurdity of such statements is so obvious that they are not worth refuting.
One can only be surprised at their political shortsightedness when they associate “factional activity” in the Korean Workers’ Party with Yan’an, the revolutionary base of the Chinese Revolution, which enjoys the deep love of 600 million Chinese people and the universal respect of communists of the entire world. Let’s look at the arguments with the aid of which they accused honest communists of factional activity. The supporters of Cde. Kim Il Sung say that the comrades who spoke at the plenum had discussed questions of party policy long before the plenum, behind the back of the Central Committee. Such statements do not withstand criticism. Everyone knows well that even before the plenum, the now-repressed comrades made critical remarks to Kim Il Sung in a private conversation with him and then spoke at the Central Committee Plenum. In view of the lack of intra-party democracy, the comrades who spoke in the discussions were deprived of their say at the Central Committee Plenum. Some other comrades could not participate in the discussions for this reason. Can one find traces of a “plot” against the government and the party here? After this, how can one say that the elementary norms of intra-party democracy are being observed in our party?
Their other favorite arguments are that criticism of senior party and government leaders unavoidably leads to “plotting” in the interests of “overthrowing” the party and government. Is it really a “crime” when a party member expresses criticism directed at eliminating the shortcomings which exist in the actions of senior comrades?
The statutes of our party provides for intra-party democracy. It permits criticism of any party member regardless of the post he holds if it, the criticism, is supported by facts. Not one Communist or workers’ party accepts such a situation where individual leaders who have become untouchable prove to be beyond party criticism.
The classics of Marxism-Leninism do not consider it a “crime” when an individual party member criticizes a leader. Where can you see party members, who comprise the party, almost go on their knees before the authority of an individual leader? It is even impossible to display comradely criticism inside the Central Committee and, what is more, inside the Central Committee Presidium. Even in the era of feudalism, in order to strengthen their dominance, bring public opinion to their side, and head off extreme anti-people activities on the part of individual bureaucrats, individual kings created a state council in their court whose members had the right to speak out against unjustified actions of the king.
So it is asked, why can we party members not initiate criticism directed against individual leaders? Those leaders who persecute criticism from below are trying to subjugate all Party members and with the aid of authority demand unquestioning obedience. For it is clear that Kim Il Sung and his supporters are not yet the entire party and not the entire government.
Let’s even assume that someone spoke openly against Kim Il Sung and individual leaders. Can such an act be called an act directed at overthrowing the party and government? Of course not. To overthrow the party and the government in the true sense means a change of the existing people’s democratic system. If one takes such a position then one ought to explain the changes in the leadership in a number of fraternal parties as an overthrow of the previous parties and governments. If one thinks that Kim Il Sung is the Leader [vozhd’] and should be in the post of prime minister and chairman of the Central Committee for life, then what is the difference between him and a king? Who appointed him to the post of prime minister and chairman of the Central Committee for life? And if someone had suggested releasing Cde. Kim Il Sung from the posts he holds in order to eliminate the shortcomings that exist in improving the material situation and cultural life of the population, in order to overcome the cult of personality and its consequences, in order to correct the falsification of the history of the liberation struggle of the Korean people, and in order to ensure the collective leadership of the party and country in practice, then there is nothing anti-party or criminal here. However, the comrades who were expelled did not advance such a demand, but limited themselves to a suggestion to release several sycophants from the positions they hold who are harming the party and the people by their improper actions. What is criminal and anti-party here?
The supporters of Kim Il Sung say that one ought not to hold private conversations on political topics. Is this really not an absurd demand? Are there political leaders who do not hold private conversations amongst themselves on political topics? There are no such leaders. Is there a communist or workers’ party that prohibits holding private conversations on political topics? There are no such parties. Does Kim Il Sung himself really not hold private conversations on political topics? I have personally talked privately with Kim Il Sung about politics over a dinner table on more than one occasion. Can such an act be classed as factional activity? Every party member feeling a responsibility for his party cannot agree with such a classification of factional activity. With the exception of Cde. Kim Il Sung and several of his supporters, each of us has been afraid to meet together in order to eat dinner or celebrate some occasion, since they have been searching for signs of a “plot” in any “assemblage.” Does the covert surveillance of career officials really serve the basic principles of party organization work? Cde. Ri Pil-gyu privately expressed critical comments to Kim Il Sung even before the plenum. When this became known to KWP CC Organizational Instructors Department Deputy Chief, Cde. Kim Yeong-ju (he is a younger brother of Kim Il Sung), the latter demanded that the primary party organization chairman in which Cde. Ri Pil-gyu was registered establish unremitting monitoring of him and then suggested expelling him from the party, although Cde. Ri Pil-gyu is a candidate member of the Central Committee, whom according to the statutes only a Central Committee Plenum has the right to expel from the party. Can such demands be called justified? On the eve of the Central Committee Plenum it became known that Central Committee member Cde. Kim Seung-hwa intended to speak at the plenum on the question of the cult of personality and he was then immediately sent to Moscow to study in order to get rid of him.
Let’s take another case.
Even before the start of the plenum Cde. Kim Il Sung called Deputy Prime Minister and candidate member of the Central Committee Presidium Pak Ui-wan to his office, who also expressed critical comments to Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung intimidated him, saying that he had economic materials that supposedly compromised Pak Ui-wan. Was Kim Il Sung really acting in a party manner? If there really are materials which compromise Cde. Pak Ui-wan then it was hardly necessary to wait until the materials were examined with the expectation of using them for the purposes of intimidation at a “suitable” moment. And here is the tragedy of the Korean Workers’ Party.
At a time when the slogan “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let all Schools of Thought Contend” was disseminated throughout the whole world, why were completely opposite events unfolding in Korea? It is true that Workers’ Party Central Committee Deputy Chairman Kim Chang-man, who was responsible for ideological work, fought everywhere for party members to speak about everything without fear. But who will dare to speak when they are expelled from the party for the slightest critical statement to strengthen party unity, as in these circumstances?
Rumors are already spreading that more than 500 career officials who occupy posts of chiefs of directorates and departments of Ministries and higher are being accused of belonging to the Yan’an “group.”
In conditions when they shout from all the rooftops that they need to root out the Yan’an “group,” who will dare to tell the truth directly? We think that many more than 500 people in our Party oppose the cult of personality. And when the million-member party vigorously opposes the cult of personality, the time will come when all party members will be free of the cult of personality. It is possible in this event that the entire party (more than 1 million members) will be accused of “forming cliques [gruppirovshchina].” Of course, this is impossible. The entire seriousness of the issue is contained in this. The current intra-party struggle clearly expresses the collision of progressive ideas with an old idea. As a result, a so-called Yan’an “group” unprecedented in the history of the party was artificially created. But this could not fail to weaken the organizational and ideological unity of our ranks.
Why in our time should we close [our] mouths, ears, and eyes to party members, including members of the Central Committee Presidium and the party Central Committee?
Many of us embarked upon the path of revolutionary struggle without sparing our lives, and fought in the name of personal freedom, in the name of eliminating the exploitation of man by man, and in the name of improving the life of the working people. This is the primary goal of the people’s revolution. If there is one person in our party like a king he will pompously mouth the truth and concentrate power in his hands but the rest will go on their knees before his power and then many honest party members will be found who will fight this without sparing their lives. Then such a struggle will not be limited to the Workers’ Party but will be unleashed on the international level as a constituent part of the ideological struggle.
The supporters of Kim Il Sung are opposed to a private meeting with Soviet and Chinese comrades. They have spread the rumor that one of the expelled comrades had written a private letter to the CPSU CC and the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. How can a private meeting of Korean communists with Soviet or Chinese Communists be classed as an anti-party act?
Can it really be accepted as a crime when an individual party member writes a letter to a senior leader of a fraternal Party?
We still do not know of such a case when a foreign communist who wrote a letter to Kim Il Sung was accused of an anti-party, anti-government crime.
Cde. Kim Il Sung needs to think a little about the fact that many honest party members who know well the shortcomings and mistakes of our Central Committee are sick at heart and are afraid to speak, since repression follows such an act.
The imaginary case fabricated against the now-repressed comrades shows what the “case” of the group that received the name Yan’an is. As a result of this, all the communist groups that fought in the past in Korea have been classified under various names: (the Hwayohoe [Tuesday Society] group, the M-L group, the northern group, the Communist group, and the Hamnam group).
The Korean Communists who returned from the USSR were called the nepotist group and those from China, the Yan’an group.
Thus only the partisans who fought under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and members of the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” did not belong to a group, and they compose the base of our party.
Can one agree with such a classification? Of course not. It turns out that all the revolutionaries who did not have ties with Kim Il Sung must bear the stigma of factionalists. I think that this issue ought to be resolved from a position of principle. Finally, it is necessary to distinguish honest party members from real factionalists in order to assess their revolutionary merits correctly and in a party way.
Even in Korean conditions, where intra-party democracy is not assured, where the rights of party members are being trampled, and arbitrariness is permitted with respect to individual party members, the comradely comments and wishes of the CPSU CC could not fail to evoke a certain reaction on the part of the sycophants who, having formally accepted these wishes, in fact do not contemplate putting them into effect.
Everyone knows that at the Third Party Congress, where representatives of a number of fraternal parties were present, Cde. Kim Il Sung and his supporters openly declared that the cult of personality had not spread in the Workers’ Party.
At the August Plenum they admitted that in reality the cult of personality had spread somewhat in the Workers’ Party. Was this really not a deception of the party? They say one thing at the Congress and another at the plenum. Can one believe their words after this?
At the August Central Committee Plenum they were forced to record in the Central Committee Resolution what was not said openly in front of the party at the Third Party Congress, in order to suppress the dissatisfaction of a considerable number of party members. It is interesting to go over this section in our letter:
“As the March Central Comittee Plenum of our party recognized (referring to the Central Committee Plenum at which the report of the CPSU Twentieth Congress was heard), the cult of personality has spread in the ranks of the Workers’ Party to a negligible degree. It found its expression mainly in the ideological work of our party where one personality has been exalted above what is proper. However it, the cult of personality, could not exert an influence on the highest principle of party leadership, the collective principle in leadership which the Central Committee has consistently upheld, and on the line and policy of the Workers’ Party.” This is what was recorded in the Resolution of the August Central Committee Plenum of our party.
On the basis of this Resolution it seems that the cult of personality has spread in the activity of the Workers’ Party to a negligible degree, but as regards its consequences, there are none. Thus, having formally accepted the existence of the cult of personality, in fact they have refused to eliminate its consequences.
Those facts that we have already used are sufficient to show how the cult of personality, which became more widespread than in other fraternal parties, has exerted a pernicious influence on the activity of the party.
Can we accept the actions of those senior comrades who spoke at the August Central Committee Plenum in spite of threats and intimidation as anti-party acts directed at “overthrowing” the party and government and as acts directed at forging an anti-party group? The more so because they were inspired to these deeds by the historic decisions of the CPSU Twentieth Congress and the measures of fraternal parties directed at overcoming the harmful consequences of the cult of personality in their ranks.
By their crude tyranny the supporters of Kim Il Sung have trampled on the Leninist principles of party life—intra-party democracy and the principle of collective leadership in the party.
Can such tyranny in the party be accepted?
Below we try to show the pernicious consequences of the cult of personality in the activity of our party.
III. The consequences of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung.
Sycophants say that the cult of personality has not spread in our party and therefore the party is not experiencing its consequences. But this does not correspond to reality.
I will cite some cases that attest to the gross violations of the party statutes and socialist legality. It often occurs in our experience that people are coopted into Central Committee membership without the approval of party statutes, in violation of a requirement of the party statutes, and then such a comrade immediately became a member of the Politburo and deputy chairman of the Central Committee, even though he was not a candidate member of the Central Committee.
I will cite only one case which is no secret to anyone.
All Koreans know well that Cde. Choe Yong-geon is Democratic Party Central Committee Chairman. But at the Workers’ Party Central Committee Plenum he was elected a Central Committee member and then a member of the Politburo and Deputy Chairman of the Central Committee. Was there a need to elect him a Central Committee member if one considers the situation that Korea is divided into two parts and that our party is pursuing a policy of a united front of all patriotic forces? All these illegal decisions were made at the suggestion and insistence of Cde. Kim Il Sung, who has concentrated all power in his hands. All the party members are aware that such a decision violates the party statutes. Such a decision was made not because Central Committee members are ignoramuses but because the atmosphere of Kim Il Sung’s pressure and tyranny dominates the party. Even Politburo members, Deputy Prime Ministers, and ministers are appointed and released from [their] posts at the will of Kim Il Sung. And therefore even the most senior officials have been forced to work in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. Can it be said after this that there were no consequences of the cult of personality in our party?
There is no possibility of recounting all the cases of violations of the Constitution of our country. I will only cite one case that sheds light on this gross violation.
The overwhelming majority of the chairmen of provincial People’s Committees at the present time are not deputies of local people’s committees, whereas according to a regulation only a deputy can be elected People’s Committee Chairman. For Cde. Kim Il Sung and his supporters, the Central Committee elected by the Congress and the Supreme People’s Assembly are some “democratic ornament.” Their lofty phrases about Central Committee members actively participating in party work and monitoring the activity of party organizations in accordance with the party statutes, or a deputy of the Supreme People’s Assembly exercising his authority in accordance with the constitution as the elected representative of the people, are indeed empty words.
During the Third Congress, the texts of the delegates’ speeches were subjected to careful inspection and unceremoniously corrected without asking the opinion of the authors. Cde. Pak Chang-ok, who played a major role in the past in the creation of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung, planned to offer self-criticism at the Congress. When this became known he was not given an opportunity to speak at the Congress. Can all these be called legitimate acts?
Where can one exhibit creative initiative if others at the discussions even write the text for a speech so that a Central Committee member and deputy says what is “necessary.” If someone does the writing himself, such a text is subjected to careful inspection and correction by Central Committee officials beforehand. One can often hear complaints by comrades who always half-jokingly say that they were performing the role of parrots.
In conditions where the basic norms of intra-party democracy are lacking, any speech differing from the opinion of the leading comrades is viewed as factional activity and “anti-State” crimes. Where is there to be the creative initiative of ordinary party members here? Can collective leadership be ensured in the party in the conditions of an absence of freedom of speech? It will be no exaggeration if we say that in the past, at meetings of a leading party body one person pompously mouthed the truth and others just listened and supported him.
When they began to stress the need to strengthen the principles of collective leadership after the Twentieth Congress, Cde. Kim Il Sung said one day: “Collective leadership is not like that. No one favors it.” In fact, who dares to oppose a suggestion of Kim Il Sung with their own opinion? It is clear to everyone that after such a critical statement it is hard to stay in one’s job. Naturally, Kim Il Sung, who considers himself above everyone, increased his opinion of himself and began to take on airs.
After the CPSU Twentieth Congress, Cde. Kim Il Sung began to say that holding meetings ensures collective leadership in the party. In a situation where intra-party democracy is not assured, it is impossible even to consider holding a thousand formal meetings as a sign of collective leadership.
The cult of personality in Korea has also led to a gross violation of socialist legality, as a result of which thousands of people have been illegally arrested and put in prison. At the present time, the number of prisoners in Korea is more than 30,000 people. It has been established that in the army alone the number of those arrested is more than one division. In addition, 8,000 people have been accused of crimes stipulated in Articles 72-76 of the DPRK Criminal Code, on the basis of which people are convicted of counterrevolutionary crimes. It will not be a big mistake if we say that besides this number, about 1,000 people have been convicted of other crimes. If one compares the total number of the population of North Korea (9 million people) with the number of people convicted then every 300th person is a criminal. Is this not a striking fact?
I will cite several facts that describe a “counterrevolutionary.” Two thousand people were released before the plenum under pressure from comrades recently expelled from the party, and also [from] public opinion. Among them was a “criminal” who had been sentenced to five years only because he made a book cover from a magazine page on which a portrait of Kim Il Sung was drawn. There was even a case where an honest comrade, from good motives, corrected a badly drawn portrait of Kim Il Sung. For this he was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Is this not a scandalous matter?
There is no way that these cases can be put in the framework of ordinary court cases. All these facts are confirmed by reliable materials that were reported by the Deputy Minister of Justice in the course of a conversation with one senior leader. (Cde. Kim Du-bong informed Deputy Minister of Justice Kim Tae-hyon of this). There was an order from Kim Il Sung according to which the presence of two witnesses was sufficient to convict a person for any term of punishment, including the death penalty. The nature of the crime and the degree of reliability were not taken into consideration in the process. Can one call such an order correct from a standpoint of maintaining socialist legality?
After all these facts, can we believe the words of Kim Il Sung, Kim Chang-man [Kim Chang Man], Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol], Han Sang-du, Ri Il-gyeong [Ri Il Kyong], and others that there are no consequences of the cult of personality in the Workers’ Party?
I cannot fail to cite one more scandalous case of lawlessness.
During the grain purchases of 1954-1955 grain was taken from peasants by force with the aid of threats. One peasant, who had had his last bit of grain taken away, could not restrain his indignation and went to the district people’s committee. A portrait of Kim Il Sung hung there. The peasant, pointing his finger at the portrait, loudly shouted: “You are poorly informed about the condition of the people, you are tormenting the people in vain.” He paid dearly for this. He was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. After this how can one say that we have observed socialist legality? Now everyone knows well for what Cde. Pak Il-u, who was a member of the Central Committee Politburo, Minister of Internal Affairs, and Deputy Chief of the Joint Command of the Korean People’s Army and Chinese Volunteers, was repressed. His entire “criminal” activity consisted of his daring to object to Kim Il Sung about the issue of the tax in kind and the Party policy with respect to reactionaries. For this he was expelled from the party and was accused of [being part of] an anti-party group. The court materials that were carefully examined did not confirm his anti-party crimes. A case against him was then fabricated about a waste of physical assets and now he has to bear legal responsibility for this. Judging from rumors that he supposedly tried to seize the post of Prime Minister, one can expect a new legal case against him. His family has also been repressed and expelled from Pyeongyang to a coal mining region. Before and during the war, Pak Il-u played the role of Kim Il Sung’s right-hand man. During the retreat of our troops in 1950, I had to retreat together with Cde. Kim Il Sung and Pak Il-u. We all ate together at one stop and talked among ourselves. Then we were the very closest of friends. But as soon as Pak Il-u expressed critical comments to Kim Il Sung, he was immediately arrested and put in a prison run by the same ministry which he himself had headed. These facts give a picture of how much socialist legality is observed in Korea. Is all this not the result of the cult of personality? If not, how can one explain it?
According to our contemporary literature, only the partisan movement of Kim Il Sung and the activity of the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” constitute the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people.
However, the facts say otherwise. An armed anti-Japanese struggle broke out even before the appearance in Korea of the partisan detachment of Cde. Kim Il Sung. A workers’, peasants’, and students’ movement developed under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution [in Russia]. The  March First Movement, the unending wave of peasant unrest (uprisings in Dongcheon, Myeongcheon, Ilpyong, Hwangwan, Dokcheon, and other [locations]), inspiring a strike movement of workers (Wonsan, Hanam, Seoul, Busan, Pyeongyang, and other [locations]) - serve as indicators of the growth of the national liberation struggle.
As everyone knows, these events were in no way connected with the name of Kim Il Sung. But as regards the armed struggle, it sprang up in Northeast China after the “righteous army” [uibyong] and “army of independence” movement. This armed struggle did not spring up under the leadership of Kim Il Sung but as an element of the armed anti-Japanese struggle headed by the Chinese Communist Party.
An entire constellation of leaders of the partisan movements arose as a result of this struggle.
Kim Il Sung became better known inasmuch as the operations of his detachment were associated with Korea. This struggle undoubtedly has great importance. But to identify this movement with the name of Kim Il Sung alone and to ignore the role of the Party leadership means to distort the facts.
It is well known that the operations of the partisan detachment of Kim Il Sung had ceased by 1940 for all practical purposes.
When we analyze any movement, especially the anti-Japanese armed struggle, from the standpoint of a principled revolutionary, then we also must stress those shortcomings that were inherent to it along with the positive aspects of this movement.
From this standpoint, the anti-Japanese armed struggle in Northeast China suffered from certain shortcomings, one of which was that the combat operations of the Korean partisans had essentially ceased by 1940. Of course, in so doing we cannot deny a number of objective facts that did not allow this struggle to continue. This was a time when the Japanese imperialists who occupied Northeast China were attacking China on a broad front and preparing for a great war against the USSR. In order to “strengthen” their rear, the Japanese imperialists undertook severe punitive measures, which created a threat to the existence of partisan units.
At the same time, another issue also arises. Were all opportunities used in the existing conditions to strengthen and expand the partisan movement? I think that not all the opportunities were fully used.
One needs to search for the main reasons that led to the cessation of combat operations by the partisans by 1940 in the organization of partisan detachments itself and in the leadership of this movement.
It is known that in the more difficult conditions of China, (not meaning the Northeast) where unlike Northeast China there were no mountains and no forests, an anti-Japanese base was created and, in addition, the Chinese comrades defended this base to the end in a difficult struggle with Japanese troops.
It is asked where lies the reason for the cessation of the activity of the partisan detachment of Cde. Kim Il Sung. The fact that the partisan movement of Kim Il Sung was not associated with a mass movement and did not have deep roots in the people ought to be considered as one of the most important reasons for this. In contrast with this, the partisan movement in China had the closest contact with the people and was supported by them.
The partisan detachment of Kim Il Sung ceased to exist at a time when the underground struggle of patriotic forces in Northeast China continued.
Many comrades under the leadership of the party took an active part in the underground struggle until liberation.
At the request of the party, beginning in 1942, I worked in Northeast China. Other comrades who participated in the underground struggle in Korea could testify to the existence of the underground in Korea.
One cannot distort history.
There is a need to briefly examine the actual events at Bocheonbo and the activity of the Society for the Rebirth of the Motherland [SIC], for these events and facts are falsely described by such people as Pak Geum-cheol, Han Sang-du, Ri Il-gyeong, Ha Angcheon, Yi Chongwon, and others.
The battle at Bocheonbo is presented in fact as an attack by a partisan detachment on a police station, as a result of which three policemen were killed. As is clear, this was a small clash between partisans and police forces. During the retreat of the partisans after the clash, 10 more Japanese soldiers were killed, according to the newspaper reports of that period. And the above falsifiers of history are trying to present this clash as a great battle having important strategic significance in the Korean revolutionary movement. While conceding the entire political significance of this raid by Korean partisans, it is however impossible to agree with such an assessment, as we want to remain in the framework of Marxist-Leninist historical science.
All these facts testify to the excessive inflation of the personal merits of Cde. Kim Il Sung and the attempts to create a personal history of Kim Il Sung.
For an example we again turn to the materials of the Pyeongyang Museum of the National Liberation Struggle.
The entire territory of Manchuria and Northeast China was shown as an area of combat operations of the partisan detachment of Kim Il Sung. This does not correspond to reality.
Some words about the “Society for the Rebirth of the Motherland.” The matter is presented this way, as though the Society exercised overall leadership in the Korean revolution, but again this is incorrect. Further, the platform of the Society is called a general platform of the principles of Kim Il Sung. The historical facts say that the Society’s platform was based on the decisions of the Comintern about a united people’s front and of the Chinese Communist Party about a united national front. How can these documents be called the creation of Kim Il Sung?
To say this means to falsify history. The supporters of Cde. Kim Il Sung are trying to depict the matter this way, as though “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” had its local organizations in all corners of Korea. This also does not correspond to historical reality. Who does not know that this society contained an extremely insignificant number of revolutionaries? Let those people tell of this who were really in the society. Then it will be clear to everyone.
If one is to believe Kim Il Sung and his supporters, then it turns out that this Society united tens of thousands of revolutionaries around itself.
At the same time, whoever acted at the instructions of this Society in villages and district centers (and this fact needs to be viewed as exaggerated), the number of its members did not exceed 100.
There was no organization in the history of the underground revolutionary movement in Korea that would have united tens of thousands of revolutionaries. In addition, one needs to consider that in the conditions of an underground struggle, a revolutionary organization does not have the task so much of increasing its membership as of increasing the combat effectiveness of the organization.
Every historian describing the issue of the activity of the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” is obliged from a Marxist standpoint to cover such questions as the length of time this society existed, how many members were in this society, what kind of movement it developed, and how long it continued. After taking these facts into account, a historian will be able to give a proper assessment of the activity of this society. In bringing up these questions about the history of the national liberation struggle of the Korean people, we want the partisan movement headed by Cde. Kim Il Sung, a constituent part of the anti-Japanese struggle of the popular masses of Korea, to receive a correct historical assessment. Are we doing the correct thing when we represent the anti-Japanese partisan movement headed by Cde. Kim Il Sung as the story of the entire liberation struggle of the Korean people of 30 years? As regards the anti-Japanese armed struggle of the Korean people, we cannot discount the armed struggle of the Koreans in China against the Japanese imperialists. Korean military subunits not only fought against the Japanese, but also fought against Chiang Kai-shek’s [Jiang Jieshi] troops and the American interventionists. Five divisions of these Koreans participated in the Korean War, not to mention others who performed important work in Korea and China.
The entire Korean people know about the heroism and courage of the Korean divisions who arrived from China. This fact testifies to this: almost all the commanders of these divisions received the rank of Hero of the DPRK and high state awards, not to mention the corps commanders. However, a negligible number of these people remained in the army after the war. But if someone remained in the army, then he is in a less responsible post.
How are we to accept as correct such cases as the falsification of the history of the liberation struggle of the Korean people and the disregard of the revolutionary struggle of a number of comrades who fought in China, in Korea itself, and in other countries? Such actions not only do not strengthen the organizational unity of the party but, on the contrary, weaken it. In order to elevate the name of Kim Il Sung, sycophants have created the so-called Gapsan plan [skhema], according to which the partisan detachment of Kim Il Sung and the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” actively operated in the region of North Korea. According to this plan the “Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland” also included those comrades who had no connection with it.
A small clash of a local nature was presented as an event having an all-Korea nature. Matters have come to the point that some comrades were instantly promoted only for their names figuring in the Gapsan plan.
We did not hear earlier about such scandalous cases of the falsification of history from real factionalists whom we not only do not support, but even hate.
When I was at the Third Party Congress, I went especially to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. During the visit to the Museum, I asked the Museum director: “Who drew up the Gapsan plan and did Cde. Kim Il Sung see it personally?” The director replied that the plan was drawn up in the Central Comimttee, and as regards Cde. Kim Il Sung, he recently visited the Museum and was satisfied with the exhibits and the materials. I was seized with indignation when I heard about this. After the Third Party Congress they were forced to remove this plan from the wall of the Museum under the pressure of public opinion.
Thus the history of the liberation struggle of the Korean people has been unceremoniously falsified. The reasons that caused Pak Geum-cheol, KWP CC Deputy Chairman, Han Sang-du, Central Committee Organizational Instruction Department Chief, Ri Il-gyeong, Central Committee Department of Agitation and Propaganda Chief, Ha Ang-cheon, Central Committee Department of Social Sciences Chief, and Cde. Yi Chong-won to systematically describe our history in a distorted and anti-historical manner ought to be cleared up.
I propose the creation of an authoritative commission composed of party members having a wealth of experience in the revolutionary struggle and who would be engaged in the restoration of the genuine history of the liberation struggle from the standpoint of scientific Marxism-Leninism.
As a result of the dominance of the cult of personality, which precludes collective leadership and intra-party democracy and promotes the spread of bureaucratism, we have committed enormous mistakes in economic development and in the issue of increasing the cultural and material standard of living of the population. I will cite some facts.
The mistakes committed in economic development in the last two years are great, not to mention our oversights in the past. Let’s take the question of grain purchasing. We drew up a bureaucratic plan to carry out grain purchases without proper scientific assessment and inspection in the provinces, as a result of which serious mistakes were made. The forcible collection of grain from peasants led to 300 people committing suicide. And what a response these events received among the peasantry of our country.
Are these not serious oversights in our work? It was proposed to collect 3 million tons of grain as a result of this mistaken campaign.
This event unfolded two months after Cde. Kim Il Sung boastfully declared to one senior foreign comrade that we were in a position to solve the grain problem.
Any person who has the slightest understanding of politics realizes that under the conditions of an acute shortage of mineral fertilizers and labor force, and a reduction of cultivated land, it is impossible to gather a harvest of 3 million tons of grain, which is equal to the amount of grain in the highest prewar harvest year. To this ought to be added the fact that in that year the peasants in the provinces of North and South Hamgyeong were left without grain as a result of natural disasters.
At the instruction of Cde. Kim Il Sung, a forcible campaign of grain purchasing was begun, disregarding the real situation in the provinces. It soon became clear that the peasantry was vigorously opposing this campaign. People committed suicide and handbills appeared calling for resistance to this campaign, but in spite of all this the campaign of forcible collection of grain continued, as a result of which 20,000 tons of grain were collected. This campaign led to the peasants in some places even being deprived of seed stock, and as regards domestic animals, they died from a shortage of feed. The sycophants continued their anti-people activity in this forcible campaign in order to display their “merits” in this scandalous affair.
When it became clear that the event was serious, the Government was forced to issue grain to peasants from its own reserves. How can such actions be assessed? In the direct sense of the word, they undermined the very basis of our system, the alliance of the working class and the working peasantry.
Many peasant families ended up on the threshold of starvation as a result of all this. The Chinese people’s volunteers came to the aid of the peasants, saving a certain amount of grain each day from their own rations to help the Korean peasants. The Korean people will never forget this noble international act of the Chinese volunteers.
We know that in this difficult time, the command of the Chinese volunteers issued an order which gave instructions to each unit and subunit commander that in case of the death of a Korean peasant from starvation the commander whose unit was stationed in that locality would bear responsibility. And in spite of this entire tragic picture, some leaders, including Cde. Kim Il Sung, continue to maintain that “the policy was correct, but the responsible officials [ispolniteli] misinterpreted our correct line.”
Therefore the party responsibility was borne by those officials who carried out this mistaken instruction in the provinces. While working in the military armistice commission, I had to encounter the difficult situation of the peasants in the area of Kaesong. I engaged in an investigation of the real situation of the peasants in this area. On the basis of the materials I collected and the investigation, I came to the conclusion that after deducting for food and the tax in kind, each peasant had 0.5% of marketable grain left.
Based on this numerical data we made a calculation that showed that in the course of the grain purchases, the peasants could get only 150,000 tons of grain (instead of the 3 million tons provided by the plan).
I reported to Cde. Kim Il Sung personally about this serious situation of the peasants and expressed my opinion that in the event the grain purchase campaign was carried out in the area of Kaesong, this campaign could only be conducted here by force. In addition, I added, the forcible grain purchase in newly liberated areas was leading to some weakening of the ties between the party and government and the popular masses and causing unrest among broad sections of peasants. They [SIC] agreed with my argument and the grain purchase campaign was not conducted in the area of Kaesong. Can this policy be called a correct Marxist one, meeting the interests of the people and the state? Of course not. Nevertheless, Cde. Kim Il Sung and some other leaders continue to maintain that “the policy was basically correct.” In spite of this obvious fact, Cde. Kim Il Sung still has not once spoken self-critically on this issue. He thereby is ignoring the interests of the party and state and once again shows himself to be a party member standing above everyone and not subject to party criticism.
I recently asked a question of a DPRK Deputy Minister of Agriculture: “How many days in a year do peasants work for labor service [trudovaya povinnost’] without compensation?” He replied that on average the peasants work 50-60 days a year for the labor service. But this year they will work somewhat more than 40 days. If one does the calculation, it turns out that the peasants work once a week for the labor service. All this is being done after the end of the war in Korea, and after this, how is one to believe the statements of those leaders who say that the peasants are voluntarily going to work for the labor service?
I want to touch on another question, the question of tax policy. A tax policy directed at eliminating private commercial and industrial enterprises has been implemented without any preparatory work or consideration of the real conditions in the country. Has it really become easier for the people and the state that our statistics mention the 100% socialist sector economy? Not at all. In conditions where the country is divided into two parts, such a policy should be implemented on the basis of a deep, comprehensive study of the problem. After some time the Cabinet of Ministers was forced to adopt another solution to this problem, inasmuch as this decision did not correspond to the real state of affairs in the country. In publicizing such facts, I am not at all undertaking the task of classifying these acts as a leftist deviation in our policy. I only want to say that any decision made by the government needs to be discussed collectively and prudently with consideration for all the circumstances of putting the government decision into effect. But these facts are evidence that the decisions were made solely by Cde. Kim Il Sung with the support of several comrades. They can [not] object to the fact that the decisions I am talking about were made at meetings of the Central Committee Politburo and the Cabinet of Ministers.
But in an atmosphere of fear for one’s future fate, who is bold enough to express his opinions in opposition to Cde. Kim Il Sung?
This whole tragedy is a result of the cult of personality, sycophancy, and bureaucratism. Can one expect that these officials have radically changed their style of work in the conditions of an atmosphere of fear and unquestioning obedience?
The consequences of the cult of personality have also caused great harm to economic development in our country.
After the conclusion of the armistice in Korea the Soviet government decided to give free aid to the Korean people in the sum of 1 billion rubles. At that time several leaders, including Cde. Kim Il Sung, made decisions about the construction and restoration of factories and mills in [their] offices on the basis of subjective opinions and without proper consultation with specialists. The construction of an automobile plant, the Pyeongyang Automobile Plant, a cannery, and other [facilities] was planned at the initiative of Cde. Kim Il Sung and several other leaders. Of course, Korea needed these plants. Of this there is no doubt. However, it is known that in deciding any question it is necessary to proceed from the objective state of affairs and not make your plans on the basis of subjective opinions.
It is clear to everyone that in Korea, where the industrial sectors that supply the automobile industry with the necessary material are poorly developed, the construction of the plant was a wasted effort; if you build one it cannot manufacture products for long. Was there a need to design such a plant whose production cost is neither in keeping with our capabilities nor with the interests of our economy?
Here’s another example. The construction of a meatpacking plant, a cannery, and other [facilities] was planned in Korea. But meanwhile everyone knows that in Korean conditions, where animal husbandry is poorly developed, the construction of such plants was also a big mistake. The meatpacking plant built in Pyeongyang is not able to supply itself with raw material for even one month, since there is no such quantity of meat in Korea. To this it needs to be added that a kilogram of meat costs 400-500 won in the market even though workers receive an average of 600-1000 won a month. Based on this, one can imagine how much sausage made at this plant would cost. All these facts are evidence of how much damage the hasty decisions of the leaders, which take into account neither the real standard of living of the population nor the objective situation of the country, cause the economy of the country.
These facts testify that they are all a result of the cult of personality, with whose dominance there is no genuine intra-party democracy and which promotes a spread of bureaucratism in the party. After this, how can one deny the existence of the cult of personality in the theory and practice of our party?
Everyone knows that the standard of living of our people is extremely low. Of course, this is explained by the fact that a considerable part of industry was ruined and agriculture suffered serious damage in the course of the fierce three-year war that was inflicted on us from without. At the same time, we ought to say that our party is displaying insufficient concern about improvement of the life of the population. There is no need to mention that our manual laborers, peasants, and office workers are experiencing enormous difficulty in the problem of food and industrial goods. But we know that certain efforts are being undertaken in this direction after the return of the government delegation to the motherland and after the wishes of the CPSU were expressed to our party.
We are also experiencing great difficulty in the housing issue. It is sufficient to say that a considerable number of the population are huddled together in hovels, warehouses, and mud huts that are completely unsuitable for housing. The housing conditions of industrial workers are such that there are 7.5 square meters for each family of three people, in other words, there are 2.5 square meters per person. Speaking of the material condition of the people, we cannot fail to note that right now in Korea there is an average of 5.4 meters of fabric and 2.1 shoes a year for each person. All these issues require a quick resolution, for in current conditions, considering the existing division of our country, they are acquiring special political and social importance. The wishes of the CPSU CC expressed on this issue are completely justified and it is necessary to implement them as quickly as possible. In raising these issues we are not at all thinking of belittling the importance of heavy industry in the construction of the foundations of socialism. Unquestionably [we] ought to continue to direct attention to the construction of heavy industry. But [we] need to approach the solution of this issue reasonably and with consideration for [our] real capabilities. But the tragedy is that we are directing a considerable amount of capital to the construction of heavy industry and thereby disrupting the planned character of the proportional development of all industrial sectors. Cde. Kim Il Sung is not averse to giving lip service to the effect that we are developing both heavy industrial sectors and light industry in a smooth manner. But when we analyze the total amount of capital investment in various industrial sectors and the number of workers employed in heavy and light industrial enterprises we easily see a shocking disproportion.
Economic development in our country is also determined by the fact that Korea is in the socialist camp system and this dictates the need to keep in step with all the socialist countries. A very close economic and cultural policy [stroitel’stvo] has now been established between the socialist countries, which permits the coordination of their own economic plans with the plans of the other countries. In light of this, are we acting correctly when we take a so-called “independent” position on the issue of economic planning? It seems to me that all these issues need to be decided from the standpoint of the interest of the state and the entire socialist camp.
We have already said above that some of our leading comrades have a disdainful attitude toward the valuable comradely wishes of fraternal communist parties.
Critical comments and comradely wishes were expressed from the CPSU CC to our party through Cdes. Kim Il Sung, Pak Jeong-ae, and Nam Il in time. These comments and wishes touched on the issues of improving the material situation of the population, overcoming the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in our party, the elimination of sycophants and careerists, the history of our party, and party propaganda.
There is no need to demonstrate the seriousness of these issues. Only a quick elimination of all these shortcomings in our party work will permit us to strengthen the organizational and ideological unity of the party and our ties with the popular masses. However, as the facts indicate, we have formally accepted these desires of the CPSU while in fact we are essentially ignoring them.
I have found out that the Chinese Communist Party also expressed its own wishes to our party during the war. But these valuable wishes were concealed in every way under the pretext of party secrecy and not turned into reality. Or a narrow circle of people knew about them but the entire party did not know about this.
As soon as the war began, at the instruction of Cde. Kim Il Sung I went to Beijing, where I had a long conversation with Cde. Mao Zedong. During this conversation Cde. Mao Zedong expressed valuable wishes to the senior officials of the Central Committee.
I think that as a candidate member of the Central Committee, I was obligated to report this fact to the Central Committee since this issue is of great importance. This was a time when our People’s Army had pushed the enemy to the Nakdong River. It seems that there were only several days until victory. In these conditions, in our conversation Cde. Mao Zedong expressed valuable strategic and tactical ideas about the issue of military operations. When I informed him about the overall situation on our fronts he said the following: first, he stressed that there was a strong enemy in front of the Korean people, American imperialism, which heads the camp of world imperialism. This ought not to be forgotten. He stated three possible alternatives concerning the prospects for military operations in Korea. In the course of the conversation he asked me whether the leaders of the Central Committee allowed for the possibility of a strategic retreat of the KPA [Korean Peoples’ Army].
First, there was the possibility of throwing the invaders from the Busan bridgehead into the sea and completely liberating all of Korea. But it was extraordinary limited.
Second, Cde. Mao Zedong expressed the thought that after concentrating his forces, the enemy would undertake a large counteroffensive in the area of Busan.
Third, he said, there existed a direct threat of a landing operation in the rear of the Peoples’ Army. Then a further offensive on the Busan bridgehead is precluded and the enemy will try to cut the lines of communications of the Peoples’ Army in order to perform an encirclement of the units of the Peoples’ Army. At the same time he pointed out that plans for military operations need to be drawn up on the [basis of the] most likely possibility. Therefore, corresponding organizational work needs to be conducted in the entire party.
He expressed a specific wish for the restructuring [perestroika] of our work in a direction according to which all the senior officials of the party and the officers and soldiers of the army be imbued with the realization of a possible strategic retreat.
To do this, as he said, it is necessary for the party to correctly and comprehensively explain to the popular masses the possible danger.
Only in this way can the people’s morale be prepared for any eventualities.
In the conditions that developed, where units of the Peoples’ Army could not advance a step in the area of Nakdong, it was necessary to make a strategic retreat so that the enemy dispersed his forces when advancing. Where it’s harder for a clenched fist to break through than for an unclenched one is when strikes can be launched on each finger. When the enemy is concentrated at one point and is waging defensive battles, that is the same as a clenched fist, and then it’s necessary to launch strikes on it. But when the enemy unclenches his fist, that is, disperses his forces, then it’s easier to launch strikes on each group of the enemy. It seems to me, Cde. Mao Zedong continued, that this proven tactic needs to be used in the Korean War.
After some time, the words of Cde. Mao Zedong came true. Actually, the course of military operations in Korea completely confirmed his hypothesis, the Incheon operation in particular. Our former ambassador in China, Cde. Ri Joo-yong [Ri Joo Yong] knows this well.
I reported the substance of the conversation with Cde. Mao Zedong to Cde. Kim Il Sung in detail, but the latter replied to me that we are not thinking of making a strategic withdrawal and therefore there is no need to listen to this advice. But then Cde. Kim Il Sung warned me not to tell anyone of this. Now we picture the value of this advice more distinctly.
I am in some doubt that the members of the former Central Committee Politburo know about this fact, not to mention the members of the Central Committee of our Party.
We made serious mistakes during the war, especially during the retreat of our troops. As a result of ignoring the advice of Cde. Mao Zedong, we were not prepared for a strategic retreat. The American invaders who landed in the rear of our troops immediately cut the lines of communication of the Peoples’ Army. Our troops ended up surrounded, lost combat effectiveness, and began to crumble. The enemy had struck a serious blow to our troops. There were no party organizations in the KPA troops at that time, with the exception of the Korean divisions arriving from China.
But this event played a fatal role in the matter of the collapse of the troops of the Peoples’ Army that ended up surrounded. Completely untrained divisions without clothing and sometimes without weapons were sent to the front in order to hold back the enemy. All these divisions crumbled from the first blow of the enemy and a considerable number of wounded and sick [troops] became enemy prisoners. The number of Peoples’ Army soldiers who became prisoners was over 100,000 men. This number exceeds the number of prisoners we took by several times.
One of the main reasons that brought such great losses to our army was that Cde. Kim Il Sung rejected the comments and wishes of Cde. Mao Zedong without taking the real conditions at the front into account. Judging from how easily and irresponsibly Cde. Kim Il Sung rejected the valuable comradely comments and wishes of authoritative fraternal parties and their outstanding leaders, one can understand why the repressed comrades criticized Kim Il Sung so courageously and openly.
All these issues take on special importance when we examine them from the principled positions of a defender of Leninist organizational principles and a supporter of expanding intra-party democracy.
It is for this reason that I think that all these issues take on political importance not only for the Korean Workers’ Party but also for the international worker’s movement. Can we allow a situation in our own party where party members pursue their own activity contrary to the truth and refuse to eliminate the serious shortcomings that exist in party work?
Those who violate Leninist principles of party work should be condemned both inside our party as well as in the international worker’s movement. By consistently upholding Leninist norms of party life, expanding intra-party democracy, steadfastly ensuring collective leadership in the party, and eliminating bureaucratism in the country, we [will be] in a position to correct all our mistakes and eliminate the shortcomings. Based on this, I think that the repressed comrades need to be supported.
I vigorously oppose the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung in order to support the main principles of party life, the collective nature of the leadership, and intra-party democracy.
I am confident that party members who oppose the cult of personality and bureaucratism will enjoy support and sympathy inside our party and the international worker’s movement. I submit my following suggestions for the consideration of the Central Committee:
Inasmuch as these questions of principle did not receive a proper resolution at the Central Committee Plenum that was held, I request that the Central Committee convey my written statement to the members and candidate members of the Central Committee.
In offering this suggestion, I am guided by the 3rd point of the 2nd section (subparagraphs b, c, and e) of our party statutes.
As regards myself, I am ready with all party responsibility to accept all critical comments addressed to me if there are any.