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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 02, 1964

NOTE ABOUT A CONVERSATION WITH THE AMBASSADOR OF THE USSR, COMRADE MOSKOVSKY

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    North Korean Deputy Minister Ri Ju-yeon complains about worsening economic relations between North Korea and the Soviet Union, the GDR, and Czechoslovakia.
    "Note about a Conversation with the Ambassador of the USSR, Comrade Moskovsky," July 02, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BA, DY 30, IV A2/20/250. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111811
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SED Central Committee

Department of International Relations

SAPMO-BA, DY 30, IV A2/20/250

GDR Embassy in DPRK

A 38/805/219

Pyongyang, 2 July 1964

Confidential

Note about a Conversation with the Ambassador of the USSR, Comrade Moskovsky, on 27 June 1964

Comrade Moskovsky had invited the undersigned and the Acting Ambassador of Czechoslovakia, Comrade Schicha. He wanted to inform us about a talk he had with Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon], Deputy Prime Minister, member of the KWP politburo (since the 9th [Central Committee] Plenum held on 25 and 26 June 1964), and Minister of Foreign Trade.

Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] complained about the decrease in trade with the USSR. For example, the Soviet Union does not deliver the amount of cotton the DPRK requested and urgently needs. Also, the Soviet Union would only import small amounts of magnesia clinker although the DPRK has especially improved clinker production and increased its production. The reason behind these actions [according to Ri Ju-yeon {Ri Ju Yon}] is the Soviet transfer of differences in opinion of state-to-state relations and bilateral trade. Another example is that the Soviet Union does not accept finished products and machine tools. Like the GDR and Czechoslovakia, it only wants to have non-ferrous metals. Only barbarians act this way. The Soviet Union, GDR, and Czechoslovakia want the DPRK to singularly develop agriculture and mining.

Comrade Moskovsky adamantly rejected the charge the Soviet Union is transferring the differences in opinion to state-to-state relations. He told Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] to prove to him when the CPSU publicly polemicized against the policy of the KWP. In contrast, for over a year now, the KWP and the DPRK press has conducted anti-Soviet propaganda. Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] kept silent after these remarks. Comrade Moskovsky continued in his reply that the Soviet Union does not accept machine tools since machines from Soviet production have a higher quality standard. You also cannot make charges against the Soviet Union concerning clinker imports. The DPRK indeed increased clinker production to a higher level. However, this does not mandate the Soviet Union to buy the entire stock.

Then Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] raised the next charge that the Soviet Union is unwilling to deliver one Ilyushin IL-14 and one Ilyushin IL-18 to the DPRK. In contrast with capitalist countries, which grant multi-year long-term credits, the Soviet Union, the GDR, and Czechoslovakia just want to see the money, and everything must be paid right away. This is not a progressive way of dealing with others. Those three countries are affluent, developed industrial countries, but they do not want to provide assistance. Especially as far as the delivery of complete facilities is concerned, something has to change. Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] continued to accuse Comrade Moskovsky that he has been in the DPRK for two years, but he does not support the party and government of the DPRK. The DPRK is poor, and one has to help her. The DPRK wants to enter into the stage of communism together with the developed socialist countries.

My interrupting question, whether Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] is demanding credits, was negated by Comrade Moskovsky. The latter continued to tell Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] that he understands the problems of the DPRK, but he has to primarily represent the interests of his government [in Moscow]. Comrade Moskovsky suggested that we act as communists and meet on a higher level to discuss all issues concerning trade and credit. Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] replied: "At this point, this is impossible." Comrade Moskovsky: "Because the Chinese do not permit it." Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] did not respond to that, but he finally remarked, if the Soviet Union does not decide to improve the situation regarding trade and credit, we [DPRK] can no longer talk to her.

Note:

So much for the information by Comrade Moskovsky. In the ensuing discussion we all agreed that the DPRK has economic problems. Now it attempts to force further assistance from the Soviet Union by using pressure. Apparently trade with China and the capitalist countries does not yield expected results. The provocative remarks by Comrade Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] demonstrate, however, that the DPRK is unwilling to depart from the Chinese course.

[signed]

Becker

Ambassador

CC:

1x Central Committee, Department International Relations

1x 1st Extra-European Affairs Department (Foreign Ministry)

1x Embassy/Secretariat