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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 11, 1965

INTRODUCTORY VISIT OF THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO NORTH KOREA, COMRADE GORCHAKOV, ON 10 JUNE 1965

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    East German Ambassador Brie reports about relations between North Korea and the Soviet Union regarding economic affairs and relations between North Korea and China. He also discusses relations between East Germany and North Korea, and gives a description of disputes between the East German and Chinese Ambassador.
    "Introductory Visit of the Soviet Ambassador to North Korea, Comrade Gorchakov, on 10 June 1965," June 11, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111820
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SED Central Committee

Department of International Relations

[archival signature missing]

GDR Embassy in DPRK

Pyongyang, 11 June 1965

Confidential

N o t e

about the Introductory Visit of the Soviet Ambassador, Comrade Gorchakov, on 10 June 1965

The Soviet ambassador provided the following information to me:

Just five days after he submitted his credentials to Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon] he was received by Kim Il Sung. He handed a personal letter by Comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin to Kim Il Sung. This letter was drafted in a very friendly tone. The letter lauds the DPRK's policy; the Soviet Union assured the DPRK its support for the expulsion of the United States from South Korea, for the improvement of its defense capabilities, and for the further development of relations between both countries (the Soviet ambassador indeed used the term “expulsion”).

According to the opinion of the Soviet ambassador, Kim Il Sung was apparently very positively touched by this letter. He asked for a literal translation in the presence of the Soviet ambassador. Then he expressed the following: After the [CPSU 1964] October Plenum and the visit by Comrade Kosygin [to the DPRK], relations between DPRK and Soviet Union went along very well. He is very pleased with the results from the visit of the [DPRK] military delegation [to the USSR] and the aid promised to strengthen DPRK defense capabilities. In light of the increased aggression by the US imperialists in Vietnam and the aggravation of the situation in South Korea the strengthening of DPRK defense capabilities is of great importance. The DPRK rates very highly the support provided by the Soviet Union to Vietnam and other peoples, among others Indonesia and Algeria, in their struggle against imperialism. His talk in Jakarta with [DRV Prime Minister] Pham Van Dong, who told him the Soviet Union provides more assistance to Vietnam than the PR China, has confirmed him in this impression.

Regarding the domestic situation, Kim Il Sung explained the fulfillment of goals from the Seven-Year-Plan is delayed by about half a year. Thus the DPRK is currently making intense efforts to accelerate its economic build-up. For 1965 the DPRK wants to increase industrial production by about 19 to 20 percent compared to 1964. Initially the workers of the DPRK had planned for themselves higher goals in 1965, but the government decided to opt for the middle ground between the originally lower goals and proposals of the workers as the final planning goal.

Then Kim Il Sung returned to the issue of the need for unity between all socialist countries for the struggle against US imperialism. There he stated the following: If the 13 socialist countries stick firmly together, then this a fist able to defeat imperialism. However, if this fist has one sick finger, it will be weakened (apparently this was directed against relations with Yugoslavia).

The Soviet ambassador inquired about the chance for sending a DPRK party and government delegation to the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung replied the Soviet comrades must understand that negotiations on this level are currently impossible due to the existing differences in opinion between the PR China and the Soviet Union. However, the DPRK is ready for other encounters and meetings below such an official character.

Furthermore, the Soviet ambassador informed me that the DPRK is eager to increase its foreign trade volume with the Soviet Union, in part through higher exports of traditional goods but also through increased export of steel. Thus the DPRK offered additional 1,000 tons of tool steels of which the Soviet Union, however, will take only 500 tons (issues of assortment and quality).

After his return from the GDR, Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] had two conversations with the Soviet Minister of Foreign Trade. Without actually mentioning the term “credit”, Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon] basically expressed in those conversations the desire for further credits from the Soviet Union. He is also said to have hinted that GDR offers for export of machines and facilities are cheaper than those by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet ambassador expressed the opinion the DPRK may be also be interested in expanding its trade with capitalist countries, but its options are very limited. Those efforts are apparent in the preferential treatment for West German specialists, currently active [in the DPRK] in cooperation with Romania, in contrast to their Soviet counterparts: Accommodation in the residence for employees of foreign embassies and payment of a salary in convertible currency over the amount of 1,500 USD a month (in our opinion this is just a nominal value since services are deducted from this amount).

Scheduling a conversation [of Gorchakov] with the doyen of the diplomatic corps, the Chinese ambassador, proved to be complicated. He first rejected two proposed dates. The content of the conversation was very provocative from the beginning. The Chinese ambassador opened the talk with the accusation, the Soviet Union's policy of peaceful coexistence is a policy of unprincipled cooperation with the United States. After the Soviet ambassador responded to this issue, the Chinese ambassador moved the conversation immediately to Vietnam. He accused the Soviet Union to delay, respectively prevent, deliveries of arms to Vietnam through artificially created obstacles. It was unclear, according to the Soviet ambassadors opinion, whether the Chinese ambassador made his accusations in order to be provocative, or whether he was not informed about the agreement already reached between the Soviet Union and China concerning arms transports by air. The Chinese ambassador namely raised the question why the Soviet Union is against arms transports on land and sea routes.

In the context of our exchange of opinions about the Romanian ambassador in Pyongyang, the Soviet ambassador thought there are certain indications for an improvement of relations between the Soviet Union and Romania. It is also interesting for us here in the DPRK [according to Gorchakov] that after the visit of [Romanian Vice Premier Emil] Bodnaras, the brother of the Romanian ambassador here, to the Soviet Union the relationship of the Romanian embassy in Moscow with the Soviet comrades and also the other socialist embassies has changed. [Gorchakov] used the expression that some Soviet comrades and also ambassadors from socialist states voiced the opinion “the Romanian embassy has returned to life.” He added, however, his reservations because one has to wait for results of the upcoming [Romanian] party congress.

After an Indonesian reception I [Brie] accidentally witnessed how the Soviet ambassador tried to pressure the Albanian ambassador to receive him for an introductory visit. The Albanian ambassador did not react to that. This is a change in behavior given what is customary here. When I paid an introductory visit to the Albanian ambassador, it was received with great discomfort e.g. by the Czechoslovak ambassador.

Note: The talk [with Gorchakov] was held in a very good and trusting atmosphere. The ambassador repeatedly referred to his time at the [Soviet] embassy in Berlin. He spoke in very glowing terms about the development of the GDR, its growing international authority, and our economic successes.

[signed]

Brie

Ambassador

CC:

1x Central Committee, Department International Relations

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

1x Embassy/Secretariate