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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 30, 1950

TELEGRAM FROM SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN PYONGYANG, REPORT ON A MEETING BETWEEN SHTYKOV AND KIM IL SUNG

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    Terenti Shtykov reports on Kim Il Sung's military planning for an invasion of South Korea and signals Soviet approval for the invasion.
    "Telegram from Soviet Ambassador in Pyongyang, Report on a Meeting between Shtykov and Kim Il Sung," May 30, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Volkogonov Collections, Library of Congress; Archive of the President of the Russian Federation (APRF). Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114908
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[handwritten]: 30 May 1950

Cable

Strictly Secret

reproduction prohibited

Copy Nº 1: distribution list

Copy Nº 2: Stalin

Copy Nº 3: Stalin

Copy Nº 4: Molotov

Copy Nº 5: Malenkov Copy Nº 12:

Copy Nº 6: Beria

Copy Nº 7: Mikoyan

Copy Nº 8: Kaganovich

Copy Nº 9: Bulganin

Copy Nº 10: Vyshinsky

Copy Nº 11: Gromyko

Copy Nº 12: Copy

From PYONGYANG          Nº 16030  1340            30 May 1950

16033 16044

Special. Nº Nº 408-410

  SPECIAL

FLASH

To VYSHINSKY (for the Politburo [instantsiya]).

I met with Kim Il Sung, at his request, on 29 May. At the beginning of the conversation, Kim Il Sung reported that the weapons and ammunition, which he had requested during [his] stay in Moscow, had mainly already arrived. The weapons had been transported to the newly formed divisions, and the delivery of weapons to the soldiers would be completed by 1 June. He then reported that he had gone to the new divisions and familiarized himself with the progress of military training and thinks that the divisions will be combat-ready by the end of June.

Kim Il Sung reported that, at his order, the chief of the general staff had finished the drafting of a decision in principle for an attack [nastuplenie]. The chief of the general staff reported the plan to him together with Soviet General Vasil'yev. He approved the decision, which had been made and the choice of the main blow during the attack. He asked me to meet with him, the chief of the general staff, and Soviet General Vasil'yev in order to look over this decision together. I declined such a joint meeting, referring to the fact that I would be familiarized with the decision by General Vasil'yev.

Kim Il Sung then reported that they are finishing organizational issues in the army by 1 June. The navy is somewhat behind as a consequence of the fact that they had still not received one trawler and one large subchaser [okhotnik] from the USSR [Translator's note: "one trawler" and "one large subchaser" are circled]. The crews for these ships have been chosen, but they are not being trained inasmuch as these ships are not available. He asked me to take appropriate measures to speed up the arrival of the ships. I replied that according to the information available to me the ships would be delivered to Korea at the beginning of June. Kim Il Sung then explained that their infantry troops were ready to conduct combat operations. Of the 10 infantry divisions, seven were already completely ready to conduct offensive operations. The tank brigade and the motorcycle regiment are also ready. Three new rifle divisions finish training in June. This suits them since they are designated for the second echelon.

[Translator's note: there is a handwritten comment in the left margin next to the above paragraph which is partly off the reproduced page and with a line drawn to lines 3-5 of the text: "…mark…that…; still…to give…"]

He then explained that the southerners do not have complete information about the People's Army and its combat readiness. However, they are undertaking a series of steps right now to strengthen their army, although there are no large changes in the South Korean army. Taking into consideration that the People's Army is prepared to conduct combat operations, he would like to begin military operations against the South at the end of June. It is disadvantageous for the northerners to put off the start of combat operations further for two reasons. First, the southerners might discover their intentions and take steps to strengthen their army. Second, there might be heavy rains in July and then the attack would have to be put off until September, and this is extremely undesirable. Kim Il sung then explained that, according to a report of the chief of the general staff, they would need 16 days to concentrate the troops. Accordingly, they should begin to move the troops to the concentration area between 8 and 10 June. Kim Il Sung explained that this issue had still not been put to the members of the Party political council for discussion, and it was planned to raise this in the next few days, depending on the time for the start of operations. I avoided a direct answer to his question about the time to begin combat operations, referring to the fact that this is a serious issue and that he should consult with the military as to how much time they need to prepare the troops and with the political council, and then make a final decision.

Note:

After the conversation with Kim Il Sung about these issues I called in advisers Generals Vasil'yev and Postnikov in order to find out their opinion about the degree of readiness of the troops and the reality of the time to begin combat operations at the end of June. Generals Vasil'yev and Postnikov think that much time will be needed to concentrate the troops and for a detailed working out of the operation with the commanders of divisions and regiments, and consequently, it would be advisable to begin the operation in July. However, taking into consideration that there are heavy rains in July and that having detected preparations for combat operations, the southerners would begin to strengthen their army, they are inclined to [the view] that the preparations of the troops of the People's Army might be concluded and the operation begun at the end of June.

My opinion.

Inasmuch as Kim Il Sung is disposed to begin the operation at the end of June and that the preparation of the troops might be concluded by this time, we might accordingly agree with this time. Kim Il Sung then reported that they and Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong] discussed a plan of political measures, which envisions that a peaceful unification of the country is offered to the southerners. In the beginning, they were thinking of acting in the name of the Fatherland Front and then in the name of the government. He asked me to receive Pak Heon-yeong and help him draw up these documents. I agreed.

At the end of the conversation, Kim Il Sung addressed a request to take appropriate steps to speed up the delivery of the medicines ordered for the trade mission but not yet received and for delivery of 10-15,000 tons of oil in June and July. Kim Il Sung stressed that they had a serious situation with gasoline. I promised to take appropriate steps.

[Handwritten note in the Technical ?estimate? What else [[one word off the page]]"]

I support Kim Il Sung's request for medicines, and they also have a great need for gasoline.

I request urgent instructions [be given] regarding the issues that were touched on.

12 copies yan. [SIC] 30 May 1950 SHTYKOV

Printed 30 May 20_20

Distributed

Issued by Rekunov

[Handwritten]: "In reply to your Nº. The Politburo [approved]… your proposals. The receipt of medicines and oil will be accelerated. ?Vyshinsky?"

[In the lower left-hand corner underneath some illegible marks]: "Here is Stalin's approval"