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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1958

REPORTS ON THE DPRK AMBASSADOR'S VISITS TO PRAGUE AT THE FOREIGN MINISTRY

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

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    A compilation of reports on the DPRK's efforts to gain support from other countries at the United Nations, among other issues.
    "Reports on the DPRK Ambassador's Visits to Prague at the Foreign Ministry," 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archives, Prague, File A, Novotny, foreign affairs, KPDR, sign, 53-60. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114970
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    http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114970

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Record of a visit of the Korean Chargé d’Affaires with c. Zachystal on 15th September 1958.

At his own request, the Chargé d’Affaires of the DPRK Embassy visited me on 15th September 1958.

Following the initial phrases, c. Se Yn Dek [sic] continued with the 13th UN GA and said that the Korean government has conveyed to the CSR government its position on the Korean issue that would be discussed at the GA. On orders from his Ministry, he would like to add some other points:

  1. He kindly asks that when the Korean issue is discussed at the UN GA, the Czechoslovak delegation request most decisively a definitive withdrawal of American troops from South Korea.
  2. He kindly asks that the CSR delegation request a DPRK representative be invited to the discussion about the Korean issue.
  3. He kindly asks that our delegation try to achieve a “yes” vote with those neutral states of South East Asia and perhaps also of Europe who in previous years abstained, and at least an abstention with those that until now voted “no”.

C. Se Yn Dek then discussed with me the best way for him to initiate conversations about the Korean issue with members of the Prague diplomatic corps who belong to the Bandung (Conference) countries. I also promised that our officials would engage diplomats from South East Asia and Near and Middle East in conversations about this matter at every convenient opportunity.

In conclusion c. Se Yn Dek asked that our diplomats in some countries also engage in this matter; they would provide necessary materials for that purpose.

I agreed to his request and asked him to send the pertaining materials.

Record of a visit of the DPRK Chargé d’Affaires c. Se Yn Dek with c. Zachystal

At his own telephone request, c. Se Yn Dek, the Chargé d’Affaires of the DPRK Embassy, visited me on 17th September 1958.

He continued with his conversation from 15th September and said that he discussed the Korean problem with the Japanese Ambassador and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Indonesian Republic’s Embassy, and they promised him that they would inform their governments and recommend that their delegations act at the UN GA in favor of the DPRK. In this regard he then requested that at the UN GA, our delegation tries to achieve, with the help of some countries of the Afro-Asian Group, a proposal at preliminary consultations of this group calling on the Afro-Asian countries to support in unity the DPRK position when the Korean issue is discussed. He expressed an opinion, according to the recommendation of the Yemeni Ambassador in Prague Mr. Taleb, that a representative of one of the Asian countries should introduce in the Afro-Asian Group this question of support for the DPRK.

He further asked that in case the Korean issue is not included in the program for the 13th UN GA, the Czechoslovak delegation try to arrange that Afro-Asian countries propose adding the issue to the program.

I pointed out that the Korean issue is included in the preliminary program for the 13th UN GA, and that it is unlikely the issue would not be discussed, and I assured him that his requests would be conveyed to our delegation to the UN GA.

To do:

(MO?) will ensure that requests of c. Se Yn Dek are conveyed to the Czechoslovak delegation to the UN GA.

In Prague, on 18th September 1958

Recorded:  Dr. Zachystal

R e c o r d

of the conversation of c. Deputy Minister Hájek with the DPRK Ambassador c. Tjan Ik Chvan

At his own request, the Korean Ambassador c. Tjan Ik Chvan [sic] visited the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs c. Hájek on 6th July 1959 and requested some information regarding the 14th Session of the UN GA. The Deputy Head of the International Department c. Klusák was present at the conversation.

  1. C. Tjan Ik Chvan asked whether the MFA knew where and when the pre-consultation of allies would take place before the 14th UN GA. The Ambassador was told that so far, the allies did not concretely discuss the time and location of the pre-consultation. Only a general agreement was reached that the pre-consultation should take place, as it was again stated at the recent consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw.
  2. The Ambassador also asked whether the Embassy could receive the UN Secretariat’s Report on the Korean issue. C. Hájek in response informed that the Secretariat had not distributed the report yet. As soon as the MIA would receive it, they would deliver it to Korean comrades.
  3. Finally c. Ambassador requested to find out through or Embassies what the position on the Korean issue and on the DPRK was of those countries that at the last UN GA supported the Indian proposal of a resolution to invite representatives of the both Koreas to discussions about the Korean issue, or of those countries that abstained from voting on this issue, and also of those that abstained from voting on the American proposal of a resolution on the merit of the issue. The DPRK MFA does not have its own capability to find out directly about the development of positions of these countries during this year, and therefore it is asking for help. C. Hájek promised that we would carry out the requested probe through our Embassies and would report the results immediately.

In the following friendly conversation, the Korean Ambassador informed me that negotiations of the Korean Red Cross with the Japanese delegation in Geneva about repatriation of Koreans from Japan … (text missing)

R e c o r d

Of a visit of the Korean Ambassador comrade Tjan Ik Chvan with comrade Minister David on 25th May 1960.

At his own request, the Korean Ambassador c. Tjan Ik Chvan visited me on 25th May this year and informed me about the current situation in Korea. In conclusion he asked me for support of their request of shipment of radio broadcasting equipment and of equipment for increasing the production of textile industry in the DPRK. I promised comrade Ambassador that I would inform our comrades about these wishes, and I also asked whether I could receive information about the situation in Korea in writing in order to inform our comrades better, which was done the following day, and the report is attached to this record.

Towards the end of the visit, I informed comrade Ambassador about several pieces of news on Korea that we received from our Embassy in Tokyo, and I thanked him for expressed sympathy with the (mining) disaster in the Ostrava-Karviná District.

In Prague on 30th May 1960.

Goals for the Period of Consolidation of the National Economy

1st goal:

Disproportion between industry and agriculture developed in our country as well. Grain harvest decreased from 3.7 million tons in 1958 to 3.4 million tons in 1959. The root cause is decrease of grain cultivation area as a consequence of increase of cultivation area for industrial crops, and lack of manpower in villages.

Granted, the average arable area per one agricultural worker is smaller in our country than in other countries. The monoculture we grow requires many workers. Also, our need for labor is even higher due to insufficient mechanization. Mechanization of agriculture is thus becoming an urgent problem for us.

The approach to mechanization in agriculture: We start in the lowlands and gradually move up to the mountainous areas; we combine machines powered by motors with machines pulled by animals. We project use of 25,000 to 30,000 tractors.

Within two years, from this year through the next year, we expect to mechanize namely the provinces of Pyongyang and Hwanghaenam-do (?). We plan on delivering about 5,000 tractors to these provinces.

2nd goal:

The second goal is implementation of measures for improvement of peoples’ life. It is especially necessary to concentrate on increasing production of grain and vegetables, and on significantly increasing production of consumer goods for the masses. We are planning 150,000 tons of meat, … (one page of text missing)

The situation in South Korea.

The situation in South Korea has recently been developing in our favor.

A popular uprising in South Korea is not a coincidence. It is a consequence of colonial and aggressive policies of American imperialists, and of fascist and terrorist dominance of the Jiang Jieshi’s clique over 15 years. It is a flare up of discontent and outrage of the south Korean people who cannot take anymore the 15-year rule of American imperialists and the Jiang Jieshi’s clique.

South Korea was transformed into a living hell. National economy and agriculture are destroyed to the extreme, and the standard of living is low beyond description.

Industry:

If 100 represents number of industrial companies in South Korea from 1943, 90% of which are mid size and small companies, then this number decreased to 56% in 1958. More than 4,000 companies went bankrupt during the rule of American imperialists and the Jiang Jieshi’s clique.

Industrial production is barely equal to half of production before the liberation.

Agriculture

Arable area decreased by 600,000 tenbo (i.e. 20% … page of text missing)

Peasants must pay more than 40 kinds of various taxes. These taxes and costs of artificial fertilizers amount to 4/5 of the whole crop yield. Every year, as soon as from spring, more than 80% agricultural households go hungry. 3,500,000 peasants don’t have food. The total debt of South Korean farmers is on average 70,000 won per a household. Farmers are left without food right after the harvest.

Food prices are rising steeply. If 100 represents prices in 1947, then prices increased by 22.143% by June 1959.

There is no political freedom. Just during 1959, 247,000 innocent persons were arrested and imprisoned.

According to the “new law on security of the state”, a news outlet of the Democratic Party “Kyongsang Sinmun” was shut down. People are dying of starvation, cold, by bullets of American imperialists, and under their cars. There are numerous cases of suicides due to unbearable suffering. Korean people are in an unbearable situation. That is why the fight of the South Korean people is a fight for survival and for democracy.

  

Characteristics of the fight:

The uprising of the Korean people does not have the characteristics of a class struggle yet. Many South Korean citizens believe that their democratic demands will be met once new democratic politicians come to power after the fall of the dictator Jiang Jieshi. The uprising of the Korean people is a broad democratic movement for democratic freedom.

(page of text missing)

There are signs that anti-populism and fraudulent maneuvering of the Cho Djong’s [sic] “transitional” government that is not able to solve demands of South Korean people, rise of class struggle awareness of people who will not be fooled by this fraud - simply put, antagonism between interests of the ruling power groups and the struggling people will only keep growing deeper during political events that are bound to happen in South Korea. (These are: change of Constitution, purpose of which is creation of the position of a Prime Minister, dissolution of the Parliament, new elections as well as elections of a President and Vice President.)

That is why we can expect the fight of South Korean people to continue.

According to indications from the last few days, Cho Djong [sic]’s “transitional government”, the both conservative power centers, “the Liberal and Democratic Parties”, and the “Marshal Law Command” are trying, by mutual merger under direct control of American imperialists, to find the way out of the current situation that has turned to their disadvantage, and to maintain their rule even after the “elections” that are to be held.

On the other hand, numerous small parties whose activity was limited or banned in the past due to the brutal repression of the Jiang Jieshi ‘s clique, are trying to coalesce, and under the slogan of  “reforms”, they want to face the conservative forces and expand their influence.

Of course, American imperialists support the conservative force. …. (page of text missing)

We further insist on:

  1. Calling a joint session of various political parties and public organizations of the South and North for the purpose of discussing measures towards resolving the current situation in South Korea, and towards creation of a unified government of Korea;
  2. Immediate introduction of free movement and correspondence between the South and North;
  3. Creation of a joint economic commission for the purpose of stabilizing the devastated South Korean economy.

We have not changed our position on peaceful unification of the South and North Koreas. Our position is based on holding all-Korean democratic elections without outside interference, after withdrawal of American troops.

Prognosis

We consider two scenarios:

First scenario:

Just as before, a stubborn … (text missing) … power group, represented by farm owners and perfidious …. (text missing) ….. would usurp power and would continue in fascist and … text missing) … of Jiang Jieshi.

(page of text missing) … (withdrawal) of troops from South Korea and also introduce the party’s influence among South Korean working class, facilitate leadership of the working class, strengthen the alliance of workers and peasants and unify people of all classes around this alliance, increase their class awareness and inspire them to fight against imperialism and feudalism.

The most important for this endeavor is further acceleration of socialism build-up in the northern part of the Republic.

The important factor in the flare up of the recent popular uprising in South Korea was the example of successes achieved in socialist build up and in improvement of standard of living in the northern part of the Republic, influencing people of South Korea.

We think we will be able to achieve at least travel and correspondence between the South and the North, if the struggle of South Korean people intensifies even more.

It is necessary to further increase the pace of socialist build up in the Northern part of the Republic in order for us to be able to inspire the fight of South Korean people even more and to influence it to the point when crucial changes can happen in South Korea that would allow travel between the South and the North.

Our party considers all this as measures for accelerating the Korean revolution.

Of course, our current standard of living is obviously higher than that of South Korean people. However, all that is still not satisfactory. For instance, we produced 150,000,000 meters of fabrics. Even though that is 15 meters per ….. (text missing)

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R e c o r d

Of a visit of the DPRK Ambassador c. Tjan Ik Chvan with c. a Novotný in the Prague Castle on 19th April 1961

Comrade Tjan Ik Chvan conveys greetings from comrade Kim Il-sung to comrade Novotný. He recently returned from a short stay in his country and he would like to give information about the situation in Korea.

A 5-year plan was completed in the DPRK in 1960, which is one year earlier. The year 1960 was dedicated to an intensive effort to solve problems in agriculture. The party focused all attention to agriculture because many mistakes were made in that area in previous years, on top of poor harvest in 1959. During 1960, many leading comrades were working for some time directly in villages and were helping on site to solve shortcomings in agriculture.

These shortcomings were caused by ignoring specific conditions and by planning agricultural production bureaucratically, from an office. Beside that, agricultural production was planned too broadly while especially production of “grain” (wheat, corn and especially rice that comprises 50% of the overall production of “grain“) was neglected. Land was also poorly utilized. One of the basic shortcomings was violation of the principle of economic incentives.

Having analyzed these shortcomings, the Party focused its efforts on elimination of these problems in 1960. Even though the situation in 1960 improved and yields increased, we have to say that they are still low. That is why the Party continues paying close attention to agricultural issues because growth of agricultural production is the prerequisite for further increase of the standard of living.

The Ambassador then characterized the political situation in South Korea as quite good. He informs about proposals for unification of Korea the DPRK government submitted last year.  … (page of text missing) ….

Given these tendencies that appear at the other side, American policy is running more and more into resistance and disapproval.

The KWP CC line now says it is necessary to show that the country can be built up and developed without American help, independently, by its own efforts.  Example of that should be the DPRK.

To comrade Novotný’s question he then replies that the peasant movement is also weak. Peasants were deceived by the land reform that was carried out to the disadvantage of small farmers. As a consequence of that, many farmers left villages for cities where they swelled the numbers of unemployed. There are as much as 6,000,000 unemployed in South Korea now. Many unemployed are dying of hunger or by suicide.

The KWP is now aiming its efforts in two directions:  First of all, to set the correct approach to fight against the ruling circles in South Korea, and then to strengthen the DPRK.

The 7-year plan is the vehicle for achieving the second objective. The main motive of the 7-year plan is to develop the light industry on the basis of the heavy industry.

The March session of the KWP CC issued a directive to increase industrial output and to develop individual local industries on the basis of local natural resources, and to strengthen these industries further. A directive was also issued for promotion of homegrown industries.

It is possible, albeit with difficulties, to build up the light industry. The problem, though, is procurement of some production equipment and some materials. Construction, for instance, deals with shortages of iron. It is becoming apparent that it is necessary to use wood much more efficiently. It is necessary to stabilize conditions in construction and to solve the issue of production of construction materials. In 1956 for instance, 22 kg of iron was used for a cubic meter of walls. The current regulation calls for using 0.9 kg of iron for a cubic meter of walls.

An instruction was issued to establish permanent construction brigades in villages, which would build houses and other buildings from local resources for cooperatives and their members.

(page of text missing)

Comrade Novotný explains why it was necessary to postpone talks to the second half of the year. He says that because the Peoples Republic of China cancelled number of orders in 1960, we got into a very precarious situation that is forcing us to review our 3rd 5-year plan and to modify its proportions to fit this new situation. He says that the PRC also cancelled orders for some pieces of equipment that were already in production or even partially delivered, partially on their way to China or partially in production in our country. That created for us by the end of 1960 and in the beginning of this year a very difficult situation that we have to solve. It is not an easy matter, though. Let’s not forget that in 1960, it was not only the People’s Republic of China who cancelled number of orders and shipments, but also some other countries. Cancelled orders and shipments represent in all more than a billion rubles. Czechoslovakia is a small country where, despite its advanced economy, missing billion rubles creates very serious problems.

At the same time, we in some cases have to fulfill our obligations especially with regard to political aspects of our relations with some friendly countries. As an example, comrade Novotný mentions the German Democratic Republic where we have to fulfill our commitments and practically finance our aid to the German Democratic Republic because it is politically unacceptable to allow economic paralysis in the GDR, closing of factories, and so on.

Comrade Novotný emphasizes that we in no way are avoiding negotiations with the Korean side. We count on it. However, due to the above mentioned, we first have to sort things out and make order.

We know that the path to socialism is not a walk through a rose garden. It is necessary to solve number of difficult problems along the way. It is true, though, that for instance Chine caused a difficult situation for us. To wit, we never needed grain from the capitalist market. However, we have to buy grain in Canada this year.

(page of text missing)

… are too expensive for our economy due to long distance transportation. However, a trilateral agreement would lower transportation costs by exchanging goods more efficiently while accommodating all involved parties. During the last visit in Moscow, comrade Khrushchev basically agreed with this idea.

Comrade Novotný says this is also a platform for development of economic cooperation. As an example he mentions a similar trilateral agreement among us, the Soviet Union and Finland.

He asks comrade Ambassador to convey this concept to the leading comrades at home so that they can discuss it, take a position on it, and be ready to talk about it at consultations of governmental delegations.

Comrade Ambassador then informs about the situation during talks about the Korean issue at the UN, and emphasizes that the DPRK delegation will take part in the UN talks but without any preconditions, and will press especially for the principle of withdrawal of American troops, and also the principle that only Koreans must solve the Korean problem.

It is stated in their discussion on Korean issue deliberations at the UN that the active participation of Japanese is probably the result of Japanese agreement with the USA who do not want to be openly involved any more, and they therefore left it to Japanese to play this role.

On comrade Ambassador’s inquiry, Comrade Novotný then informs about the latest development in Cuba and about President Kennedy’s reply to the letter of comrade Khrushchev.

Comrade Novotný then concludes the conversation with a request to convey his greetings to comrade Kim Il-sung and other KWP Politburo members. He states again that we expect to talk about … (remaining text missing)