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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 13, 1967

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION IN THE DPRK

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    The East Germany Embassy reports that "relations between DPRK and PRC are also tense and a source of concern for the Korean comrades."
    "50th Anniversary of the October Revolution in the DPRK," November 13, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, C 146/75. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116659
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GDR Embassy to the DPRK

Pyongyang, 13 November 1967

Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Head of Far Eastern Department

Comrade Kurt Schneidewind

  1. B e r l i n

Marx-Engels-Platz 2

Dear Comrade Schneidewind!

Due to the Ambassador’s extended absence and the fact that he just returned to Pyongyang a few days ago, [Ambassador] Comrade Brie asked me to write the monthly information letter to you.

The most important question over recent weeks here were the festivities in the context of the 50th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution. We have already informed you about many details like exhibits and invited delegations and so on. Therefore today we will attempt to provide a first overview and summary. We will only refer to individual events and similar things when they made relevant contributions to the overall character of how to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution in the DPRK.

In general we must say that preparations for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution started in the DPRK later as in the all the other socialist countries, as far as we know about this from the Soviet and GDR press. The overall atmosphere of all the events in the DPRK was quite reserved. Here are some examples:

[ …]

As far as the sending of delegations to Moscow is concerned, so have we already given extensive information earlier. The question to send a party and government delegation, in particular the question who is going to lead it, was discussed twice in the KWP politburo. Foreign Minister Pak Seong-cheol [Pak Song-chol] explained to the Soviet Ambassador the politburo’s decision not to commission Kim Il Sung with leading the delegation, as he is not in good health and has a lot of work to do. When the Soviet Ambassador informed Kim Il Sung in person about the festivities in Moscow and the foreign delegations present there, Kim Il Sung stated in this personal conversation that he cannot travel to the USSR for the following reasons according to a decision of the KWP politburo:

  1. The situation at the DMZ is very tense, and in many respects it reminds to the situation in summer of 1950. He does not assume something very serious to happen, yet he thinks he can therefore not travel to Moscow. 
  1. Relations between DPRK and PRC are also tense and a source of concern for the Korean comrades. China tries to exert pressure on the DPRK. For instance, recently a Korean train was halted for several days at the border since the driver refused to accept a Mao badge. Kim Il Sung furthermore stated to the Soviet Ambassador that the DPRK has a long border with China and everything conceivable can happen. Also Kim Il Sung mentioned that he has a lot of work with the elections scheduled for the end of November. 

[…]

[more concrete evidence on North Korean indifference about, and negligence of, the historical importance of the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution; also GDR Embassy business and personnel matters]

With Socialist Greetings,

Jarck

1st Secretary