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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 16, 1957

NOTES FROM A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE 1ST SECRETARY OF THE PRL EMBASSY IN THE DPRK WITH COMR. BOTSIN, THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE ECONOMIC OFFICE AT THE EMBASSY OF THE USSR

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    The document features a conversation between Brzezinski Henryk and comrade Botsin regarding the economic situation in the DPRK for the 4th quarter of 1957. Comr. Botsin states that the basic problem of the Korean economy is a shortage of cotton, iron rod, and coking coal. He provides details regarding assistance from the Soviet Union.
    "Notes from a Conversation between the 1st Secretary of the PRL Embassy in the DPRK with Comr. Botsin, the Deputy Director of the Economic Office at the Embassy of the USSR," November 16, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive. Obtained for NKIDP by Jakub Poprocki and translated for NKIDP by Maya Latynski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111725
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111725

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Embassy of the Pyongyang, 16.XI.1957

People’s Republic of Poland

in Pyongyang [trans. note:  tilted stamp]

No. 980/165/2421/57/tjn. [trans. note:  most likely short for tajne, secret]

N o t e

From a conversation with the deputy director of the economic office at the Emb[assy] of the USSR comr. Botsin [sp.?] on 16.XI.1957

The conversation aimed to gain economic information about the DPRK for the 4th qu[arter] of 1957.

On the question of the 5-year plan Botsin stated that China recommended an increase in investment in agriculture, pay keener attention to the development of agriculture and above all an expansion of the irrigation system.  China recommended creating a state monopoly in the acquisition of agricultural products.  This matter has already been implemented.

In Botsin’s opinion, three weak points are clearly emerging in the DPRK’s economy:  1. a shortage of cotton, 2. a shortage of pig iron and iron rod, 3. a shortage of coking coal.

The Korean industry, Botsin claimed, has so far been working without the scientific examination of reserves of its natural assets.  None of the branches of industry has data for what period it is protected by domestic reserves.  Soviet geologists have examined and created appropriate maps covering 15,000 km sq.  Presently negotiations are underway for 20 Soviet geologists to continue further research in the next two years.

The Soviet Union is to deliver to the DPRK and assemble the complete equipment for a rolling mill.  This investment will safeguard the DPRK’s economy, its construction [industry] with a sufficient amount of construction iron rod.

The government of the DPRK intends to raise expenditures for construction from the state budget from 22% to 27%.

The Soviet Union, on the basis of a request from the Korean government, will build a penicillin factory in Korea.

During our conversation we agreed that I will send concrete questions regarding statistical data for the 3rd quarter of 1957.  Botsin stressed that production data in the DPRK vary a lot.  The Embassy of the USSR relies on data from the DPRK Statistical Office.

Made 3 cop[ies]

2 cop[ies] MSZ [trans. note:  Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych—Ministry of Foreign Affairs] Dep. V

1 cop[y] a/a

Brzezinski Henryk

[trans. note:  followed by signature]

1st Secretary of the P[olska] Rzeczpospolita] L[udowa— People’s Republic of Poland] Embassy in the DPRK