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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 16, 1969

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN N.G. SUDARIKOV AND HEO DAM, THE LEADER OF THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF DPRK

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    Heo Dam reports on the DPRK's recent shootdown of an American plane which violated North Korean air space.
    "Record of Conversation between N.G. Sudarikov and Heo Dam, the leader of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of DPRK ," April 16, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI: fond 5, opis 61, delo 462, listy 71-74. Obtained by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134230
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[CPSU CC stamp:

Korea 19361

12 June 1969]

SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK

6 June 1969

143

Secret

Copy Nº 2

from the journal of

N. G. Sudarikov

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with HEO DAM [HO DAM], Deputy DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs

16 April 1969

(in the afternoon)

I visited Heo Dam [Ho Dam].

1. In accordance with instructions I reported that the proposal of the Korean side about timeframes for the visit to the DPRK of the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium (the second ten days of May 1969) is being accepted. Cde. N. V. Podgornyy will arrive in Pyongyang on the morning of 14 May. It is suggested that he spend five days in the DPRK and return home on the 19th of May.

I expressed a wish that we be informed of the draft program of Cde. N. V. Podgornyy’s visit to the DPRK beforehand, which would allow preparations for the visit to be better made.

I asked Heo Dam to consider the question of the content of a brief report for the press on the upcoming visit to the DPRK of the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium and the date of its publication.

I said that we will inform the Korean side of the people who will accompany Cde. N. V. Podgornyy somewhat later.

Heo Dam expressed gratitude for the important report, and said that all our wishes would be taken into consideration.

[There is a stamp at the bottom of the first page stating that “the material is informative and the CPSU CC Department has been familiarized with [it]. 26 June 1969. To the archives [[illegible signature]]. 26 June 1969”, some illegible handwritten signatures, and “Pozdnyak”].

2. In accordance with instructions I informed Heo Dam that the Soviet government welcomes the arrival in the Soviet Union of Cde. Pak Seong-cheol, member of the KWP CC Politburo, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, and DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs on an official visit in June of this year. The Soviet government will be glad to receive Cde. Pak Seong-cheol as a guest of the government.

I asked that Cde. Pak Seong-cheol, the KWP CC, and the DPRK government be informed of this. I said that we hope to hear the opinion of the Korean comrades about the timeframe of the visit of Cde. Pak Seong-cheol to the Soviet Union in a while.

Heo Dam promised to report about this message as requested [po naznacheniyu].

3. In the course of the subsequent conversation I asked Heo Dam to give a little more detail about what the TsTAK [Korean Central Telegraph Agency] sent about the recent incident with the American aircraft shot down by the DPRK air forces.

Heo Dam noted that this question requires big explanations. The TsTAK report clearly said that the reconnaissance aircraft, equipped with modern equipment and belonging to the aggressive forces of American imperialism, intruded into DPRK airspace while performing reconnaissance activity. DPRK aircraft took self-defense measures and shot down this aircraft; it was shot down with one round. The US imperialists are raising a big fuss around this question, calling this incident “an aerial Pueblo” or “Pueblo Nº 2”. Resorting to their favorite methods the American imperialists are striving to depict the matter as if the incident occurred in the airspace over the open sea. In reality the American aircraft intruded into DPRK airspace, conducted reconnaissance activity, and suffered a deserved punishment.

Heo Dam stressed, our government has repeatedly warned the US imperialists that aggressors who dare to infringe on our sovereignty will be vigorously halted. These are not empty words.

The US imperialists have been committing provocative acts against the DPRK in the region of the 38th Parallel increasingly often after the incident with the American reconnaissance ship Pueblo, and the scale of the provocations is increasing. This is demonstrated in particular by the fact that meetings of the Military Commission in Panmunjom are recently being often convened. We are closely following the actions of the enemy and increasing our vigilance.

In reply to our corresponding question, Heo Dam replied that the American aircraft was shot down by Korean aircraft over DPRK territory, but it fell into the sea. The aircraft was flying at a high altitude, and after it was hit it naturally tried to escape in the direction of the sea.

Foreign telegraph agencies report that the Americans are conducting searches for the remains of the aircraft. Assertions have appeared that the DPRK supposedly took seven crew members of the downed American aircraft prisoner. But, said Heo Dam, I don’t know about this. We also don’t know how many crew members there were in all. The Americans report that there were 31 people on board the aircraft. Thus, the Americans have switched to aerial reconnaissance after the failure with the Pueblo. They have not drawn the proper lessons from the incident with the Pueblo.

I asked whether the Korean comrades expect to take some steps in connection with this incident – to convene a meeting of the Military Armistice Commission in Korea, hold a press conference, etc.

Heo Dam replied that the Korean side has already demanded the convening of a meeting of the Military Commission on 18 April. The other side has not yet given a reply to this proposal. The Americans, the interlocutor noted, have committed a serious provocation, and we cannot be silent.

With respect to a press conference it has been said that it is not planned to hold one for now, but a press conference might be held if needed.

Heo Dam noted that there are reports of foreign agencies that the US Embassy in Moscow supposedly turned to the USSR MFA with a request to give assistance in searching for surviving crew members of the downed American aircraft. He said, I think that there is no point in us helping them in such unpleasant matters.

Noting that I do not have information about this question, I expressed the opinion that the Americans evidently will raise a big fuss around this incident. Foreign radio stations are reporting about a change in the state of combat readiness of US forces deployed in Japan and South Korea. Nixon will hold a conference with the people around him. He hasn’t made any final decision yet, and is awaiting additional information. Voices are being heard in South Korea demanding retaliation.

Heo Dam agreed that enemies want to provoke a new military hysteria. He said, we have given them what they deserve and do not fear their fuss. As Cde. Kim Il Sung pointed out, our country is completely ready to respond to retaliation with retaliation, and to total war with total war.

I asked Heo Dam to keep the Embassy informed of events, to inform us about measures of a political and diplomatic nature which the Korean side intends to undertake.

Heo Dam said that this will be done as necessary inasmuch as the Soviet Union is an ally of the DPRK. He noted, we also hope that the Soviet Union will inform us in the event of necessity.

Ri In-gyu, Chief of the 1st Department of the DPRK MFA, Kim Ha [sic], executive desk officer of the DPRK MFA, and Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in the DPRK A. D. Putivets were present at the conversation.

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK [signature]

(N. Sudarikov)

4-at

1 – to Cde. V. V. Kuznetsov

2 – to Cde. K. V. Rusakov

3 – to Cde. V. I. Likhachev

4 – to file

Nº 321

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