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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 15, 1971

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE MONGOLIAN PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC AND THE HEAD OF DELEGATION OF KOREAN WORKER’S PARTY ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MONGOLIAN PEOPLE’S REVOLUTION

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

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    Officials of the Mongolian People's Republic and the Korean Worker's Party discuss their mutual support for the peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula, obstacles presented by the U.S. and Japan, and perspectives on the Sino-Soviet split.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between The First Secretary of the Mongolian People’s Republic and the Head of Delegation of Korean Worker’s Party on the 50th Anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution," July 15, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mongolian Foreign Ministry Archive, fond 3, dans 1, kh/n 122, khuu 1-14. Obtained and translated by Onon Perenlei and Sergey Radchenko. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115201
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The Record of Conversation between the First Secretary of the Mongolian People’s Republic and the head of delegation of Korean Worker’s Party on 14 July, 1971, the 50th anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution Content: On a Meeting Between cde. Yu. Tsedenval with the Head of a Korean Party-Government Delegation Jeong Jun-taek

On July 14, 1971 from 16:00 from 17:40 the First Secretary of the MPRP Central Committee, Chairman of the MPR Council of Ministers comrade Yu. Tsedenbal received a party-government delegation headed by the Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee Politburo member, deputy head of the DPRK Council of Ministers Jeong Jun-taek, at his wish, on the occasion of their participation in the 50th anniversary of the People’s Revolution. Participating in the meeting from our side were comrade D. Maidar, D. Molomjamts, D. Gombojav, B. Dugersuren, P. Shagdarsuren, L. Damdinjav (Transportation minister), D. Erdembileg (Deputy Foreign Minister).

The conversation was conducted in Mongolian and Korean.

At first, cde. Jeong Jun-taek, and then cde. Yu. Tsedenbal, introduced the people of their respective sides.

Jeong Jun-taek: We are happy to have had the occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution together with the Mongolian people. We are happy that comrade Yu. Tsedenbal and other leading comrades found the time to receive us despite being busy with their work.

Using this opportunity, I would like to pass warm greetings to Yu. Tsedenbal and J. Sambuu, and to other Politburo members, from Kim Il Sung.

When we went this way, cde. Kim Il Sung instructed me to invite Yu. Tsedenbal and J. Sambuu to come to Korea for vacation together with their families.

Yu. Tsedenbal: Thank you.

Jeong Jun-taek: We are very happy that the friendship and fraternal cooperation between the Korean and the Mongolian peoples is developing and strengthening.

In recent years, our party delegations and military delegations came to visit your country. Recently, we signed a trade treaty between the two states. This sort of exchange of delegations is significant for augmenting the two country’s friendship and cooperation, and we also think that mutual support and help becomes greater this way.

Our highest goal is the struggle of the Korean people against American imperialism, Japanese militarism and the Park Chung Hee regime. We are happy that the Mongolian people always support this struggle of ours. Especially, we know well that cde. Tsedenbal in his report to the 16th Congress of the MPRP specifically noted the important questions of establishing peace and security in Asia and the Far East, of withdrawing the American forces, and of peaceful, democratic unification of Korea, and supported the policy of our party and the government.

In particular, you have strongly supported us at international meetings and in international organizations. We are especially happy that your UN representative supports our policy and proposals on the Korean question, and we see it as very valuable. Our dear leader cde. Kim Il Sung instructs that for the unification of Korea it is first and foremost necessary for the South Korean people to pursue revolutionary struggle themselves.

Yu. Tsedenbal: We are happy that you have accepted our invitation and sent a party-government delegation to attend our celebration. I would like to express deep gratitude to cde. Kim Il Sung for congratulating us on the 50th anniversary, sending his warm greetings, and inviting me and cde. Sambuu together with our families to come for a vacation.

We strongly support the struggle of the Korean people to unify the motherland by peaceful, democratic means and for the liberation of South Korea. We will continue to support it in the future.

Jeong Jun-taek: We highly appreciate the help and the support of the Mongolian people.

The second factor of the unification of the motherland is to broadly pursue socialist construction in North Korea; thirdly, it is important to obtain support of the progressive humanity and of the fraternal peoples, as cde. Kim Il Sung had taught. Also, it is likewise important to obtain the support of other fraternal socialist countries. Therefore, we think that it is important to augment friendship and unity.

Before this, our delegation that participated in your party’s congress explained our country’s situation to you, cde. Tsedenbal. But I would like to talk about it briefly. The will towards, and the conscience of fervent construction of the Korean people are at a high level. This year we entered the work of implementation of the Six Year plan. We will have completed the plan for 1971 ahead of schedule.

With regard to Korea, the American imperialist and their running dogs the Japanese militarists are getting into a troublesome situation. You, cde. Tsedenbal and other comrades know that the American imperialists are negotiating to return the island of Okinawa to Japan. This in theory looks like the Americans are leaving Okinawa.

Yu. Tsedenbal: In reality, it seems that they are not leaving it.

Jeong Jun-taek: Even if they left it, the Japanese are trying to reoccupy it. And they concluded a so called “security treaty” between themselves.

Yu. Tsedenbal: The fact that the Americans are leaving Okinawa is a result of the demands of the Japanese people and the world public. I think in reality they are not leaving Okinawa.

Jeong Jun-taek: According to the Japanese Foreign Minister Nagashi, they are creating a thousand miles defense sphere that extends along the Tokyo-Okinawa axis. Korea falls under this limit.

Yu. Tsedenbal: How many Korean citizens are there in Japan? Many are workers, aren’t they?

Jeong Jun-taek: 600 thousand.

Yu. Tsedenbal: How many of them have returned?

Jeong Jun-taek: 8 thousand have returned.

Yu. Tsedenbal: Are there obstacles to their return?

Jeong Jun-taek: There are obstacles. For example, they try to go to South Korea, instead of North Korea. In general, most Koreans in Japan are of South Korean ancestry.

Yu. Tsedenbal: If you have a certain number of people there, it is useful for knowing the situation [in Japan] .

Jeong Jun-taek: Exactly. It is also useful for the political struggle. There is an organization called the General Union of Korean Citizens in Japan. There is a Korean institute in Tokyo. There are about 450 elementary and special secondary Korean schools across Japan.

Yu. Tsedenbal: How many American troops are there in South Korea? Are there many puppet troops?

Jeong Jun-taek: There used to be 65 thousand American troops, of which 25 have been withdrawn. There are about 40 thousand left now. There are 700 thousand of the puppet troops. Alongside, there are also 300 thousand armed policemen. People who have been discharged from the army or the police make up territorial protection units, two million people strong. They are not armed at the moment.

Yu. Tsedenbal: How many people live in South Korea from Korea’s 40 million people?

Jeong Jun-taek: 25 millions are officially in South Korea. By professional count, there are about 20 million. There are 15 million residents in North Korea.

Yu. Tsedenbal: Isn’t there a Communist party working in South Korea? How is its work underground?

Jeong Jun-taek: It’s well. There used to be a large party in South Korea. Some of its leaders became traitors.

The current party has put forward a communist program, there is a party. It is working with the goal of uniting Korea. But there are no conditions for much work. A member of this party, the mayor of Seoul, Kim Jong-te was arrested and executed.

D. Maidar: How is your trade with Japan?

Jeong Jun-taek: Although we have trade relations with Japan, we try to establish links with small and medium entrepreneurs, not just the monopolists.

Yu. Tsedenbal: What are you taking from Japan, and what are you exporting to Japan?

Jeong Jun-taek: What we take is not a lot. From the exports, the largest item is iron ore.

Yu. Tsedenbal: You have large iron ore deposits? What is their percentage?

Jeong Jun-taek: We have deposits. We get 10,000 tons out of one of the largest mines. The content is 28 percent, enriched by one third, it becomes 65 percent.

Yu. Tsedenbal: 28 percent is low. If it’s over 50 percent, it is good. You will spend a lot of money on enrichment.

Jeong Jun-taek: Nevertheless, we have a lot of iron ore.

Yu. Tsedenbal: What does South Korea have in economic terms?

Jeong Jun-taek: South Korea used to specialize in agriculture. But that was torn down; now they import grain. Some mines have stopped operation and closed down.

Yu. Tsedenbal: They have machine industry, don’t they?

Jeong Jun-taek: There are some industries. Although there is an auto factory, they import parts from overseas and only assemble them [in Korea].

D. Molomjamts: Are you self-sufficient in coke?

Jeong Jun-taek: Although there is anthracite in North Korea, there is no coke. We are conducting exploration. Therefore, we take coke from China and the USSR.

Yu. Tsedenbal: We know that Korea has good relations with the USSR. But what kind of relations do you have with China?

  

Jeong Jun-taek: Relations between China and us have begun to improve significantly along the political lines.

Yu. Tsedenbal: And in ideological terms…?

Jeong Jun-taek: There are differences in ideological terms.

Yu. Tsedenbal: On what questions, specifically?

Jeong Jun-taek: We wish to have solidarity with the USSR and other socialist countries. The Chinese comrades don’t wish this. On this point we have different opinions.

Yu. Tsedenbal: The Chinese radio is putting the USSR in the same place as the USA, calling it social-imperialism or fascism. What do you think of this, comrades?

Jeong Jun-taek: We don’t think so.

Yu. Tsedenbal: Are you telling them that it’s wrong?

Jeong Jun-taek: If the Chinese comrades listened to our words, they would have long stopped calling the USSR that. Although we don’t have full agreement with China in ideological terms, we wish to improve relations along political lines.

Yu. Tsedenbal: The Chinese are saying that we are against the Cultural Revolution. Our herders are abhorred when they hear this. If the USSR did not have nuclear weapons, America would have long destroyed Mongolia, China and Korea. When we say that to the Chinese comrades, they say, this is not so, this is wrong. Therefore, you (the Chinese comrades) call the USSR fascist. Isn’t it true that the USSR destroyed Hitlerite fascism? I asked them.

I ask you, as a comrade. Do you tell the Chinese that this is wrong?

Jeong Jun-taek: If they listened to our words, they would have long stopped saying this.

Yu. Tsedenbal: It doesn’t matter if they listen to your words or not. Just do you say or not?

Jeong Jun-taek: They know that Korea and the USSR have good relations.

Yu. Tsedenbal: The Soviet and Mongolian forces did a great deal in the task of China’s liberation. Many of our people died in that war. But the Chinese are saying we are fascists. It is said they destroyed a monument to our dead warriors. All of this doesn’t fit into one’s head. When they show such barbaric character, to remain silent means to approve.

Jeong Jun-taek: I don’t think that to remain silent is to approve.

Yu. Tsedenbal: We are just talking about ourselves.

Jeong Jun-taek: Among other comrades, no one thinks this way.

Yu. Tsedenbal: The Chinese think so. During the so called “cultural revolution,” they burned our Ambassador’s car.

Jeong Jun-taek: This is a temporary phenomenon.

Yu. Tsedenbal: If anyone calls Korea “fascist,” how will that sound to you?

Jeong Jun-taek: It was obvious during the cultural revolution that our relations with China were bad…

Yu. Tsedenval: I cut you off. Sorry. What do you, comrades, think of the so called Chinese “cultural revolution”?

Jeong Jun-taek: Although at that time there were things from the Chinese side that damaged [our] relations, we did not do things in response. We passed in silence inappropriate matters. This was because we placed normalization of relations at the forefront.  

Yu. Tsedenbal: Our state has 5 thousand land border with China. Because they resent that I and we did not follow China’s tune and disagreed [with them], they invite our people to “kick out our party and change the government.”

The imperialists headed by the USA divided Korea into two. They are the culprits. It is American imperialism that cast the 25 million South Korean people into lamentable misery. We think that the struggle of the Korean people against the American imperialists is an honest one, we support it, we instruct our permanent representative at the UN to support Korea. But we are being called “fascists.” By doing so, they are opposing the fact of our support for Korea. Then, if we do not to fall out of step with China, we must remain silent on the question of support for Korea, right[?]. But we will continue to support Korea.

Jeong Jun-taek: I said earlier, the Mongolian people under the leadership of the MPRP achieved great success in the last 50 years. I think that however anyone slanders it, or spreads whatever propaganda, it is without basis.

Did you know what the Chinese “Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily)” printed on the front page about Korea in the July 1 issue?

Yu. Tsedenbal: I didn’t.

Jeong Jun-taek: It said: “We will struggle together with Vietnam and Korea against the American imperialists,” and then below “we will struggle together with Albania with imperialism and social-imperialism.” Judging from this, they have established clear margins. Also, the first issue of this year of “Renmin Ribao” wrote like this, too. And “Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily)” is a party newspaper.

Yu. Tsedenbal: I would like to restate myself. We fully support Korea. We will continue to support it. We will support it on the international stage along the channels of international organizations. We are on the side of the Korean people.

The Chinese call us “fascists.” It is not that we are telling you to tell them “stop.” Whether you say so is your internal matter.

We speak against your enemy, the American imperialists. But the Chinese treat us in the same way as one would treat your enemy. One is surprised that the Korean comrades say nothing about China. I am talking about this in detail, as a comrade.

Jeong Jun-taek: We think that it is important, first and foremost, to improve political relations with China.

Yu. Tsedenbal: We are not at all thinking about aggravating the situation. We strive to improve the situation and [our] relations.

The Soviet army, the Soviet people did a great deal in the suppression of the Japanese militarists. We also contributed to this, even if a little. Our children shed their blood and lost their lives in the liberation of China; they saw the eternal reaches of the universe and fell into an everlasting sleep. It is only appropriate that their mothers, fathers, and relatives feel aversion at hearing that their children are “fascists.” This is really bad.

Jeong Jun-taek: We believe Mongolian-Chinese relations will improve.

Yu. Tsedenbal – Do understand. I am speaking from my heart. I spoke clearly to cde. Zhou Enlai. Zhou Enlai was pushing us to publish Albanian materials in full in our newspapers. I firmly refused. If I did so I would have unquestionably betrayed the people and Marxism-Leninism. Therefore I reminded him that “you entered the wrong road, and are doing a hopeless task.”

I know a few things. If it were not for the USSR’s help, the Chinese revolution could not have won.

We had weapons we had taken from the enemy. In a letter to Marshal Choibalsan cde. Zhu De requested to send weapons. We gave 10 thousand rifles to the Chinese people’s army. The person who went there and handed over these weapons is now our Minister of Defense, cde. Dorj. This has all now been thrown out, abandoned. Now, they say, we are becoming “fascists.”

Cde. Kim Il Sung’s struggle of fighting against Japan and liberating Korea made an important contribution to the sacred, honest struggle of the people. We value it highly.

Relations between our two countries have widened from year to year. We have wide relations in different spheres.

Finally, I would like to wish the Korean people prosperity and further development.

Jeong Jun-taek: With the traditional friendship between the peoples of our two countries we have supported and helped each other in the struggle of the people against Japan and America. During the war years of resisting America and saving the motherland, the Mongolian people and government provided material and moral aid and support, which the Korean people will never forget. Now relations are also good. I am firm in my conviction that they will strengthen in the future.

[…]

[continues for two more pages with a discussion of joint use of forestry resources – trans.]

July 15, 1971