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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 29, 1968

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    Hungarian Embassy reports on terms of a request from the DPRK to the GDR, asking the Germans for the mutual exchange of scientists, along with purchasing various tools and technologies. The GDR asks the DPRK to appeal to the Soviet Union before pursuing the agreement any further.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," February 29, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1968, 58. doboz, 5, 001871/1968. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110626
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Recently, the GDR chargé d'affaires ad interim in Pyongyang informed our embassy about the visit of a delegation of Korean nuclear experts to the GDR, which took place 4-12 December 1967, and about the discussions they had there.

[…]


The three-member Korean delegation was led by the vice-chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of the DPRK. The other members of the delegation were a departmental head of the Commission and the head of a major department of the Institute for Research on Atomic Energy. The host of the Korean delegation was the GDR State Planning Commission. During its stay there, the delegation visited several industrial plants, mines, institutes of higher education, and several research institutes related to the field [of nuclear science].


In the course of the final discussions between the hosts and the Korean delegation held on 12 December, the Korean side raised the following issues:

  • The DPRK would like to sign an agreement with the GDR in the field of nuclear research. The delegation inquires about the possibility of signing such an agreement and about the opinion of the GDR.
  • The DPRK would like to obtain equipment needed for the construction of a nuclear power plant from the German side.
  • It asks the GDR to share the experiences gained in the operation of nuclear reactors with it.
  • Purchase of equipment needed for producing radioactive isotopes from the GDR.
  • They ask for the sharing of the experiences that the Germans gained in the field of radiation protection.
  • They propose the mutual exchange of nuclear scientists.
  • In the field of nuclear research the Korean side is ready to send trainees to the GDR.
  • The DPRK would like to purchase the following from the GDR:
  • instruments measuring radioactive isotopes
  • measuring instruments used in nuclear physics
  • certain secret equipment used in nuclear research
  • microfilms or copies of articles that were published on nuclear research in Western scientific journals.

The German side gave the following reply to the proposals of the Korean delegation:

  • As far as possible, the GDR is ready to cooperate with the Korean side in the field proposed by the latter.
  • On the other hand, it is not in a position to make wide-ranging cooperation in every field of the peaceful utilization of atomic energy since the GDR also cooperates with several socialist countries, above all with the Soviet Union. Although the signing of a possible agreement seems realistic, they ask the Korean comrades to appeal simultaneously to the countries that cooperate with the GDR.
  • The German side acknowledges the verbal request of the Korean delegation, but only as information, for it asks [the North Koreans] to make their proposals on the government level in the form of a written request or to include the whole issue in the agreement on scientific and technical cooperation.
  • The German comrades strongly emphasized that the DPRK should appeal to the Soviet Union, because they [the East Germans] could enter into negotiations [with North Korea] only if the latter [the USSR] agrees with it. For instance, they can receive trainees only if the DPRK sends their scheme of work in advance. They [the East Germans] will decide on this basis whether it is possible to receive them.
  • The GDR is ready to send a delegation of experts to the DPRK or receive one from that country. They ask that in such cases, the delegations should be given authorization by their governments.

[…]


Korean delegations of nuclear experts had visited Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union for a similar purpose, the German chargé d'affaires ad interim said.


István Kádas
(ambassador)