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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1945

SOVIET REPORT ON COMMUNISTS IN KOREA, 1945

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

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    Soviet officers provide a sketch of the existing communist movement in northern and southern Korea in 1945 and suggest that Kim Il Sung should be a leading candidate to head the Korean government.
    "Soviet Report on Communists in Korea, 1945," 1945, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AGShVS RF. F. 172. OP 614631. D. 23 pp. 21-26. Translated by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114890
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TO VKP(b) CC SECRETARY Cde. MALENKOV

TO DEPUTY PEOPLES COMMISSAR OF DEFENSE

GENERAL OF THE ARMY Cde. BULGANIN

TO CHIEF OF THE MAIN POLITICAL DIRECTORATE

OF THE RED ARMY GENERAL-COLONEL Cde. SHIKIN

[Translator's note: there are some handwritten notes in Korean in three places in the document]

In addition to the report I submitted previously, I report:

There were more than 3,000 Communists in North Korea by 20 October. Party provincial committees have been registered in all five provinces and district committee [have been registered] in many districts.

An organization bureau of 14 people and a control commission of three people were elected to lead the Provincial Committees of North Korea at a meeting of Provincial Committee representatives, which was held with 65 senior communists participating.

Kim Yong-beom [Kim Yong Bom], Secretary of the South Pyeongan Provincial Committee, was chosen as First Secretary of the Organization Bureau and O Gi-seop [O Ki Sop], Secretary of the Hamqyeong [Kanko] Provincial Committee, was elected as Second Secretary.

The Organization Bureau is subordinate to the CC of the Korean Workers Party in Seoul headed by CC Secretary Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong].

The Korean Communist Party headed by CC Secretary Pak Heon-yeong is officially registered with the American Command along with the other parties of South Korea.

According to information of Pak Heon-yeong, there are more than 2,000 communists in South Korea, and six Provincial Committees have been formed.

It is planned to convene the first Congress of the Korean Communist Party in December 1945 at which a charter and manifesto of the Party will be adopted, a CC and other central organs of the Party will be elected, and a commission will be chosen to draft a Party platform.

The Communist Party is one of the most influential parties not only in North, but also in South Korea.

The following ought to be regarded as the shortcomings of the Korean Communist Party:

1. The lack of a clear and specific Party platform;

2. A shortage of trained senior Party cadre;

3. A mechanical copying of the tactics of the Bolshevik Party without taking into consideration the real situation, which developed in Korea immediately after the expulsion of the Japanese from Korea; the majority of communists were preparing to seize power and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in Korea.

Back at the end of August, the CC of the Communist Party headed by Pak Heon-yeong created a government mainly of communists, counting on the immediate withdrawal of American and Soviet forces from Korea.

4. The mistaken line of the Communists of North Korea led to the Communist Party, until recently, being the only legal party, and democratic groups went underground.

Many mistakes in the work of the Communist Party have been corrected by now.

[The following] are necessary to strengthen the Communist Party of Korea organizationally:

1. Strengthen the CC of the Communist Party with the most trained and tested communists of North Korea;

2. End the factional struggle in the Seoul Party organizations for which the factional group of Ri Yeong [Ri Yong], which calls itself the Communist Party, is to be put back at the disposal of the Organization Bureau of North Korea.

3. Send from Moscow political literature available in Korean and also published literature about the USSR and the work of the Communist Parties of foreign countries, especially those such as Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, and others.

Komsomol organizations have begun to be created in North and South Korea, which number up to 6,000 members, according to the information of the CC of the Party. An opinion has been formed in the CC of the Party and the Organization Bureau about the need to rename the Komsomol and Korean Democratic Union of Youth in order to embrace broad sections of Korean youth with their influence.

In North Korea, besides the Communist Party, a Democratic Party is at the stage of organizational registration. The party platform, charter, and a declaration were discussed at meetings of the Organization Bureau of this party from 19 to 21 October. The party platform is of a democratic nature. The party relies on broad sectors of the intelligentsia, petit and middle bourgeoisie, and clergy.

A woman's organization numbering, at the present time, more than 1,000 is at the stage of registration.

In South Korea, besides the Communist Party, the strongest party is the Democratic Party, which represents the interests of the big landowners and capitalists. The party numbers about 10,000 and is headed by Song Jin-u. The party openly engages in pro-imperialist and anti-Communist propaganda.

KIM IL SUNG, who was the commander of a Korean partisan detachment in Manchuria for 10 years and from 1941 to 1945 was commander of battalion 88 of the Special Brigade in the area of Khabarovsk, is in the city of Haeju. The name of KIM IL SUNG is known in broad sections of the Korean people. He is known as a fighter and hero of the Korean people against Japanese imperialism. The Korean people have created many legends about him, and he has indeed become a legendary hero of the Korean people. The Japanese used any means to catch KIM IL SUNG and offered a large sum of money for his head.

KIM IL SUNG is popular among all democratic sections of the population, especially among the peasants.

KIM IL SUNG is a suitable candidate in a future Korean government.

With the creation of a popular democratic front, KIM IL SUNG will be a suitable candidate to head it.

The Americans have brought in a well-known Korean émigré, SYNGMAN RHEE, from Hawaii as a counterbalance to KIM IL SUNG. On 20 October, a rally was organized in Seoul in honor of his arrival.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. The political activity of all sectors of the Korean population increased sharply after the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule.

2. The broad masses of the Korean people are anti-Japanese, for after liberation, they understood that they had been Japanese slaves for 35 years.

The might of the Red Army and the allies' armies demonstrated in victory over fascist Germany and imperialist Japan freed Koreans from fear of the Japanese and gave them confidence that the Japanese would never again be masters in Korea.

Hatred of Japanese is especially expressed in the open dissatisfaction of politicians against the Americans in the south in connection with the fact that the American command left a majority of Japanese in all the command positions in the economic and administrative life of South Korea.  

3. The broad masses of the Korean people have a friendly attitude toward the Soviet Union and are grateful to the Red Army and Cde. STALIN.

In the south of Korea, the working masses of the Korean population in the American occupation zone are dissatisfied with the Americans' indecisiveness with respect to purging the government apparatus of Japanese and pro-Japanese elements and are also dissatisfied with the [inserted by hand: meager] American democracy, which has been expressed in the strikes of tram and textile workers and the 18 October demonstration in Seoul with demands for real democracy, which took place in individual regions of the city in spite of a prohibition.

4. Japanese and pro-Japanese elements from the upper strata of the people have gone underground or have repainted themselves as democrats.

In the south of Korea, they have mainly grouped themselves into a so-called democratic party and are engaging in pro-American, anti-Communist, and anti-Soviet propaganda.

5. The Communist Party is the strongest and most influential party in both the North and South of Korea. However, in view of the fact that it was an illegal party in Korea under Japanese rule, by the time of Korea's liberation, the reestablished Communist organizations turned out to have neither the proper leaders nor a clear and specific platform. From the first days after liberation, the Communists of North Korea [several words crossed out] began to mechanically copy the Communist Party of Russia during the October Revolution and actually started to act like the government [gosudarstvennaya] party.

Until [5] October of this year, the communists of South Korea headed by Ri Yeong, Choe Ik-han [Choe Ik Han] , and Jeong Baek [Jong Baek] operated with such a leftist platform of an immediate move to a proletarian revolution.

The CC of the Communist Party of Korea headed by Pak Heon-yeong takes the only correct position, aiming at a bourgeois democratic nature of a revolution in Korea.

6. Recognize the CC of the Communist Party of Korea headed by Pak Heon-yeong as the only national organization to lead the communist organizations of all Korea. Help Pak Heon-yeong strengthen his staff with the most experienced and tested Party cadre.

Leave the location of the CC of the Communist Party of Korea in Seoul.

Put the group composed of Ri Yeong, Choe Ik-han, and Jeong Baek at the disposal of an organization committee [sic; not "bureau" as in preceding references] of the Communist Party of North Korea [inserted by hand: in order to end the factional struggle in Seoul].

7. Consider it correct to create an organization committee, which would be directly subordinate to the CC of the Communist Party, to lead the Communist organizations of North Korea.

Strengthen the Organization Committee and the Provincial committees of the Communist Party with experienced and tested communists.

8. Consider it correct to rename the Komsomol and the Korean Democratic Union of Youth, broadly embracing the leading elements of all sectors of democratically minded Korean youth.

9. Create a united bloc of democracy based on the Communist Party, the Democratic Party, the Democratic Union of Youth, the women's democratic organization, trade unions, and other anti-Japanese democratic organizations and place headed by Kim Il Sung, a national hero of Korea best-known and loved by all the people.

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