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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 09, 1957

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 9 APRIL 1957

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    During his conversation with Puzanov, Kim Il Sung discusses the five-year plan to develop the DPRK's economy, the KWP's efforts to improve the standard of living for the North Korean people, factionalism and the eventual consolidation of KWP members under the official party line, Stalin's cult of personality, and problems in the North Korean judiciary.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 9 April 1957," April 09, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 13, P. 72, Delo 5, Listy 1-15. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115599
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SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK TOP SECRET

Nº 35 Copy Nº 2

[USSR MFA Stamp:

Far East Department

Secret

Incoming Nº 01132

3 May 1957]

The Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A. M. PUZANOV

for the period 5 to 12 April 1957

AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 13, P. 72, Delo 5

Pyongyang

[…]

9 April 1957.

A conversation was held with Kim Il Sung which lasted three and a half hours. He described several issues of the economic situation in the country, the main points of the new five-year plan, and the internal Party situation in the KWP.

CONCERNING THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN. The three-year plan for the revival and development of the DPRK economy for 1954 through 1956 has been successfully accomplished. Already having experience in drawing up annual plans and three-year plans, it was decided to draw up a five-year plan for the development of the DPRK economy for 1957 through 1961. The main target figures have already been examined and issued to the ministries and local authorities [na mesta]. It is assumed that the work to draw up the five-year plan will be completed in May or June, after which a draft of the plan will be sent to the Chinese friends in order to consult with them and coordinate mutual obligations. Then the Gosplan chairman will be sent to Moscow unofficially in order to receive consultation and advice about the plan and to solve the necessary problems.

THE KWP CC CONSIDERS THE MAIN TASK OF THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO BE MEETING THE DPRK POPULATION'S NEEDS IN FOOD, HOUSING, AND CLOTHING.

In solving the food issue the main attention was concentrated on the development and recovery of agriculture. Last year we gathered a record [harvest] for the DPRK, also counting the pre-war years; the gross grain harvest was more than 2,800,000 tons.

In connection with this Kim Il Sung said that previously, of the one million peasant farms in the DPRK, 36% of the farms did not have enough grain for five or six months ; 30% did not have surplus grain and only met their own needs, and only the remaining 34% of the farms provided a marketable surplus of grain. At the present time only 10% of the farms do not have their own their own grain for two or three months. The remaining farms fully meet their needs and provide a marketable surplus of grain. Last year members of agricultural cooperatives received an average of 1.6 tons of grain and 9,600 won of money for each farm.

The KWP CC and government approved a plan which provided for the gathering of a harvest of 2,800,000 tons in 1957 before the results of the gross grain harvest for 1956 were totaled. After calculating an additional task of 50,000 tons was given. The planned tasks were discussed at the grass roots, in cooperatives, districts, and provinces. Cooperative members took additional commitments upon themselves and decided to bring the gross grain harvest to 3,400,000 tons.

Kim Il Sung expressed the KWP CC and DPRK government's confidence that the country was capable of a gross grain harvest of more than 3 million tons in the current year. He said that this confidence was supported by the following reasons:

at the present time agricultural cooperatives unite more than 81% of peasant farms. With cooperatives it is easier for us to introduce the achievements of science and best practices into agriculture. At this point Kim Il Sung shared his observations during a trip to the province of South Hamgyeong, where he was in several cooperatives which reaped large harvests, skillfully employing science with the aid of combined [sovmeshchennyy] sowing. He named such cases when with one jeongbo of combined sowing there were yields of 60 centners of corn, 15 centners of legumes, 150 centners of potatoes, and 200 centners of Korean cabbage. At the instruction of the CC this experience is being widely covered in the press right now and recommended for introduction; much work is being done this year to cultivate seedlings of rice by a cold procedure. Experiments conducted beginning in 1948 showed that with such a procedure for cultivating seedlings there is a possibility of planting rice 20-30 days earlier, that is, to end no later than 1-10 June, and this allows a rice harvest to be obtained with 10-20 centners more per jeongbo. It is planned to engage no less than 10% of the planted areas of rice seedlings sown with such a procedure; in the current year agricultural cooperatives have their own seeds, and are better supplied with draft animals. It is planned to give agriculture up to 250,000 tons of mineral fertilizer against 180,000 given last year.

More attention is being paid to the construction of irrigation systems in order to get a steady rice harvest. At the present time DPRK agriculture has irrigations systems which guarantee a harvest for an area of 400-420,000 jeongbo regardless of natural precipitation, but the area of irrigated land which depends on precipitation to a considerable degree is 60-80,000 jeongbo. In the near future irrigation systems will also be rebuilt on that land and the construction of new irrigation systems will also be conducted. A task has been assigned to get 40 centners of rice [per jeongbo] of irrigated land. Thus we will get up to 2-2,500,000 tons of rice a year from land requiring irrigation.

Much work has been done to introduce corn. In the past year the planted area for corn was 600,000 jeongbo. To a considerable degree this helped gather a large grain harvest in the past year. It is planned to plant 700,000 jeongbo of corn in 1957. It is expected to get a harvest of 20 centners of grain maize. Last year it was possible to introduce silage in agricultural cooperatives. One thousand eight hundred tons were ensiled. Very little meat was produced and it was provided primarily for the needs of the army and a small part of the urban population. The task to increase the production of meat will be done somewhat later, when there will be sufficient grain, in order to bring the meat consumption up to 10 kg per capita. Meat is being replaced to a considerable degree by fish at the present time. In the current year the fishing plan was set at 3,800,000 centners, but considering counter obligations, 4 million centners, which is about 40 kilograms per capita. Three thousand three hundred and twenty centners of fish were caught in 1956.

The supply of the population with clothing. We will expand the planting of cotton and develop the production of synthetic fiber. It is planned to plant up to 20,000 jeongbo of cotton in the current year and to bring the planting of cotton up to 50,000 jeongbo by the end of the five-year plan, which will provide the ability to get up to 20,000 tons of raw cotton (the planting is being done in non-irrigated land).

Along with the expansion of cotton planting and an increase in the processing of cotton fiber with an enterprise built with Soviet aid, measures have been developed to produce synthetic fiber for which a contract has been concluded with the GDR to supply the necessary equipment in the first half of 1958.

It is expected that all fibers up to 200 million meters will be developed by the end of the five-year plan, which is up to 20 meters per capita against 8.4 meters in 1956.

In the field of industry the main attention is being concentrated on the fastest possible restoration and construction of the Heungnam Chemical Works to produce mineral fertilizer. A task has been assigned to finish work in the current year to restore the production of nitrogen fertilizer up to 400,000 tons a year in terms of ammonium sulfate.

I informed Kim Il Sung that the USSR Council of Ministers had adopted a decree about helping the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea expand production of nitrogen fertilizer at the Heungnam Chemical Works.

Kim Il Sung thanked the Soviet government for the display of concern and added that they have been awaiting this decision with impatience. Kim Il Sung visited this works not long ago. The management of the works addressed a request to him to help with an additional assignment of up to 1000 people for construction and to take steps to accelerate the delivery of equipment from the Soviet Union.

Provision is being made to organize the production of phosphorus fertilizer within the range of 140,000 -160,000 tons, and also of lime for liming acidic soil, and to produce a total of up to 500,000 tons of mineral fertilizer in 1959.

The solution of the problem of providing the population with housing, says Kim Il Sung, is a difficult and long-term problem. The DPRK has a very small amount of construction material. Therefore we see the main problem as putting the Madon cement plant being built with the aid of the Soviet Union and an annual production of 400,000 tons, into operation more quickly, and to bring the production of cement in the country to 2,500,000 tons. This will provide an opportunity to allocate the necessary quantity of cement for the construction of enterprises, housing, and concrete roads. In addition, it will provide an opportunity to sell cement to the Soviet Union and other interested countries.

Kim Il Sung reported that in just the current year the industrial plan for the first quarter was overfulfilled for the first time and that the workers are displaying great initiative in searching for internal reserves and possibilities to overfulfill the plan. He cited the following case.

During discussion of the 1957 plan the Ministry of the Metallurgical Industry proposed establishing a plan to smelt 190,000 tons of iron. In the KWP Presidium it was proposed to increase [this] to 230,000 tons. However, the Ministry did not agree with this, considering that such a plan was too high. Then it was decided to process up to 250,000 tons of iron, but the workers accepted commitments to give an additional 20,000 tons of iron to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution, a total of 270,000 tons.

In connection with such commitments to smelt iron the DPRK government also turned to the Soviet Union for help with an additional allocation of 30,000 tons of coke. The DPRK government, said Kim Il Sung, is very grateful to the Soviet government for granting this request.

THE SITUATION IN THE KWP.

Kim Il Sung declared that the KWP CC now has sufficient material demonstrating that the group of senior officials and CC members headed by Choe Chang-ik were preparing last year to overthrow the KWP leadership and DPRK government and become the head of the Party and government himself. When we returned from a visit from the countries of people's democracy and found out about the anti-Party, factional activity of this group we began to prepare for a CC plenum. The CC Presidium decided to patiently listen to all statements and deal with them accordingly. However, although we planned all this correctly, it did not turn out that way. When one of the factionalists spoke at the plenum (evidently Kim Il Sung had in mind Yun Gong-heum's speech) he stooped to fierce attacks on the leadership and spoke of it like Syngman Rhee writes. Presidium members were indignant at such a speech and we Presidium members also succumbed and, instead of patiently hearing [them] out as planned, decided to expel the factionalists from the CC and the Party. Of course, we exhibited haste. Therefore, at the instruction of the CPSU CC and CPC CC Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai arrived to put things right. At the September CC plenum we corrected the decision of the August CC plenum. Some comrades were restored to Party membership and some to CC membership but were removed from leadership posts. We extensively explained the decisions of the August and September plenums to all Party members in primary Party organizations. Party members supported the CC decisions.

Kim Il Sung said that the KWP CC is receiving many letters from Party members with demands to expel all members of the anti-Party group from the Party. We are waging a struggle with this anti-Party group but we are not expelling them from the Party. We do not have materials which say that any of the members of the anti-Party group were connected with enemies of the motherland.

Now we are convinced that we have acted correctly in having exposed this anti-Party group in a timely fashion before the events in Poland and Hungary. Kim Il Sung continued, I should say that a quite difficult and unique situation had developed in the country by the time of the Hungarian events:

from the south the South Koreans had stepped up the infiltration of spies and saboteurs and the throwing of leaflets;

inside the country former landowners and kulaks had begun to rear [their] heads; at this point Kim Il Sung reported that land had been taken away from 40,000 Korean landowners;

a factionalist anti-Party group was operating inside the Party.

Kim Il Sung draws the conclusion that if the KWP CC had not unmasked this anti-Party group by the time of the Hungarian events it was not precluded that we could have had some complications.

Many of our comrades have familiarized themselves with Tito's speech in Pula published in Chinese newspapers and voices have begun to be heard, it is true that they are few, to act as Tito advises. The CC Presidium discussed all these events and the situation in the country in detail and considered it necessary to address a letter to Party members. In this letter the CC called upon all Party members to rally more closely around the KWP CC, around the Soviet Union, and support all measures pursued by the Soviet government with regard to the counterrevolutionary actions in Hungary. This played a positive role. Party members are actively supporting all the measures of the CPSU CC and Soviet government.

There are no anti-Soviet sentiments among our people, said Kim Il Sung, with the exception of individuals from among those who not only speak against the Soviet Union but also against the socialist system in the DPRK. Our people regard the Soviet Union with great respect and are grateful to it for the selfless aid given them.

The elections to local governing bodies, which were successfully held in December of last year, serve as an indicator of the fact that we have successfully coped with and avoided any complications during the events in Hungary.

Speaking of the situation in the CC Presidium, Kim Il Sung said that Kim Du-bong (Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly) vacillated during the August events Presidium member and supported the participants of the anti-Party group on a number of issues. We patiently explained the mistaken nature of such a position to him. Now he has understood and has published an article in the press in which he sharply criticized the incorrect anti-Party actions of the factionalists. Now we work together in the Presidium in a friendly manner. Kim Il Sung said, I thought over how to raise the authority of the Presidium members and came to the conclusion that Presidium members need to go to the local level more often and explain Party and government policy to the workers, peasants, and intellectuals, consult with them, and hear out their comments and suggestions. We are doing this and this will bring us good results.

We think that our Party is now united and that Party members support the CC.

We are also taking steps to increase work both at the ideological front and primarily among intellectuals and students. We are building up a united front, strengthening work with the Democratic Party and the Chondoist Party. True, noted Kim Il Sung, the Democratic Party has only tens of thousands of party members left instead of hundreds of thousands and the Chondoist, only hundreds.

This year, we decided to hold elections to the Supreme People's Assembly in August, before the start of the harvest.

CONCERNING THE CULT OF PERSONALITY. We conveyed to all Party members the decisions of the 20th CPSU Congress about the cult of the personality of Cde. Stalin and its harmful consequences. But we did not broadly convey the same to the entire Korean people. We were afraid to do this because our people's love for the Soviet Union is inseparably connected with the name of Stalin.

Speaking of what work the KWP is pursuing to fight the cult of personality, Kim Il Sung said: we are young and are insufficiently experienced leaders. We have been trying and are trying to naturally adapt the experience and learn from the CPSU. With respect to personality, [we] have begun sing praises in the press, in literature, many have started to shout "hurrah!" (Kim Il Sung did not name who he personally had in mind, but I understood that he was speaking of himself). We also decided to correct all this, and have corrected and are correcting [it]. But we have pursued this work taking into account the situation in the country without any broad publicity, without haste. Right now we're considering this stage to be over.

Kim Il Sung also reported that, while on his recent visit to the grass roots, he uncovered incorrect actions by courts, judicial bodies, and the procuracy. Kim Il Sung said the problem is that, in taking the decisions of the 20th CPSU Congress into account, we have also decided to reinforce our own legality and investigate, and those who were incorrectly [convicted] or were convicted of minor offenses are to be released from places of confinement. It turned out that when pursuing this work the Supreme Court, the judicial bodies, and procuracy had made very grave mistakes: they had set free outright enemies, organizers of uprisings, and similar people. It is true that there are few of them and several of them have again been returned to places of confinement. It turned out during an inspection that people we did not want who had served in the Japanese police had climbed to leading posts in the Supreme Court, but who had concealed this in their autobiographies. They had submitted suggestions to release these people from confinement. Other members of the Supreme Court of worker origin objected but however [no one] listened to them. The CC Presidium is correcting this and will discuss this issue in the near future at its meeting and will issue an appropriate decree.

At the end of the conversation I passed Kim Il Sung that the CPSU CC is inviting KWP and DPRK government officials to the USSR for rest in 1957 as well as leading figures of the democratic Parties.

Kim Il Sung warmly thanked the CPSU CC for the invitation and said that they would submit a list of people whom it is desirable to send to the USSR for rest.

Nam Il was present at the conversation.

[…]

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK

/signature/ (A. Puzanov)

Five copies

Gromyko

Fedorenko

Kurdyukov

Solodovnik

file

1957

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