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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 27, 1950

TELEGRAM FROM MATVEYEV (RAZUVAYEV V.N.) TO STALIN

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    Matveyev describes the state of the Korean People’s Army, particularly the severe status of troops in Seoul and Busan after having encountered American air and ground forces. Matveyev also reports on a meeting between several Soviet and Korean foreign ministers in which Kim Il Sung assumed the tasks of both Supreme Commander-in-Chief and Defense Minister and ordered the deployment of troops northward. Matveyev also outlines the steps he plans to take as a Soviet envoy in aiding the desperate Korean army.
    "Telegram from Matveyev (Razuvayev V.N.) to Stalin," September 27, 1950, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, APRF, fond 3, opis 65, delo 827, listy 103-106. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112687
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112687

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CIPHERED TELEGRAM # 600262/sh

From Pyongyang Sent on 26.9.50 at 8:101 a.m., by wire
Received in Moscow on 27.9.50 at 20:55 p.m.
Arrived in the 8th MDGS2 on 27.9.50 at 21:10 p.m.
Deciphered by Morozov on 27.9.50 at 23:50 p.m.
Number of copies made - 10
Distribution List:
Stalin - 2,Molotov - 1, Malenkov -1,
Beria -1, Mikoyan - 1, Kaganovich - 1,
Bulganin - 1, Vasilevsky - 1, 8th MDGS file - 1.

TO COMRADE FYN SI [STALIN]

Having familiarized myself with the predicament of the KPA, I report:


The situation of the People's Army troops on the Western (Seoul) and South-eastern (Busan [Pusan]) fronts is severe.


Seeking to encircle and destroy the main forces of the People's Army, it is in the general direction of Chungju that the U.S. troops have concentrated the major efforts of the assault group which had landed in the area of Chemulpo [Incheon], as well as of the troops that had launched an offensive from the area to the North and Northwest of Daegu [Taegu].


Using the support of the air force which has dominated the air space without hindrance and caused aircraft-fright [aviaboiazn'] both among the ranks within the People's Army and in the rear areas, the U.S. troops have managed to move from Suwon eastward and southeastward for 25 to 30 kilometers and some of their troops took over Sangju and Andong to the north and northwest of Daegu.


According to the information which still needs to be verified, some tank units of the enemy's Seoul group continue to advance toward Chungju, which creates the danger of encirclement of the First Army Group of the KPA.


The People's Army troops, suffering heavy losses, mainly from the enemy's airforce, having lost almost all their tanks and much artillery, are engaged in difficult battles to hold their positions. The troops lack ammunition and fuel the delivery of which has been virtually halted. The accounting for the available weapons and ammunition is organized unsatisfactorily. The top-down command and control system is set up poorly. The wire and radio communications work intermittently because of the interruptions inflicted by the enemy's air raids and due to the lack of qualified radio operators and the lack of fuel for radio station generators correspondingly. Courier mail is almost nonexistent.


The predicament of the KPA troops, in particular on the Southeastern front, remains unclear.
Upon our recommendation, on the night of 26.9.50 [26 September 1950], some Korean communications officers were dispatched to the Front Command and the Seoul group in order to collect information on the troops' situation.


On 25.9.50, at 19:00 pm, local time, Kim Il Sung's order was forwarded to the troops, according to which the Seoul grouping and the Second Army Group operating in the northern part of the southeastern front were told to go on the defensive and hold up the enemy by any means.


The troops of the Second Army Group operating in the central and southern parts of the southeastern front were ordered to begin general retreat northwestward with the aim of getting to the area of Chuncheon [Chunchon], Jecheon [Chechon], Wonju for further leveling off the front line approximately following the line Seoul, Yeosu [Yosu], Chungju,
Naju, Uljin.


On 26.9.50, KIM IL SUNG received our group.


The meeting was also attended by Foreign Minister PAK HEON-YEONG [Pak Hon Yong] and Comrade SHTYKOV.


As a result of our conversation, KIM IL SUNG decided to combine the duties of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief and Defense Minister in his hands, to set up a Staff Office for the Supreme Commander-in-Chief for the command and control over troops, and to pay serious attention to the work of the rear.


At present, they have begun to form only six infantry divisions in the northern part of Korea, whereas the current military situation has made impossible the formation of nine infantry divisions manned with the Southerners.


KIM IL SUNG issued a directive to take immediate steps aimed at withdrawing the remaining KPA troops from South Korea so that to use it to form new divisions in North Korea and deny this opportunity to the South.


In connection with the fact that the Chinese railroads are overloaded transporting supplies to Korea, it is desirable that the armaments designated for use by the six divisions which are being newly formed be shipped first, and only then should the ammunition be delivered.


After our conversation with KIM IL SUNG we got down to work in order to assist in:


- organizing good command and control over troops;

- rearranging the system of troop supplies, shipments, and transport services;
- preparing defensive fortifications.


The People's Army is experiencing a dire shortage of drivers. The 3,400 trucks which are to arrive soon have no drivers at all. It may be expedient to propose to Kim Il Sung that he ask the Chinese friends to dispatch not less than 1,500 drivers to Korea, may it not?


MATVEYEV [RAZUVAYEV V.N.]

# 1298/sh
09/27/50
12:35pm, Pyongyang time
Typed by Budanova on 28.9.50 at 0:15 a.m.