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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 12, 1957


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    During the dinner at Czech embassy, Behrens spoke about the situation in FRG. Other topics included Korean students in Poland and GDR, and the situation in South Korea.
    "Note about a Conversation with the 2nd Secretary of the Polish Embassy, Comrade Juswiak, and the Attache of the Polish Embassy, Ivankov, on 2 November 1957 ," November 12, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BA. Translated for NKIDP by Bernd Schaefer.
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SAPMO-BA, Berlin

[ no archival signature ]

GDR Embassy to the DPRK

Pyongyang, 12 November 1957


about a Conversation with the 2nd Secretary of the Polish Embassy, Comrade Juswiak,

and the Attache of the Polish Embassy, Ivankov, on 2 November 1957

Comrade Juswiak had invited Comrade Gräbner and his wife, as well as Comrade Zielke, to a dinner at the embassy. The invitation apparently served the purpose of getting to know each other better and start a friendly relationship in the interest of good cooperation for the future. The Polish comrades had put major efforts into the invitation. Initially they avoided all political subjects. We talked about hunting and dishes et cetera, until we finally arrived nonetheless at same political issues during the course of conversation. The Polish friends asked about our opinion on the election results in West Germany. We reiterated in essence what our press had said about these elections: the great terror inflicted on the German working class. Especially we emphasized the threat for peace in Europe emanating from the re-election of Adenauer and the party of West German monopolists. Subsequently we talked about the defeats West German imperialism suffered quite recently, like the successful banknote exchange in the GDR and the recognition of the GDR by the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia. We were able to note how the Polish comrades followed our statements very attentively and fully supported our opinions on all those issues.

Then Comrade Juswiak turned the conversation on ways of living in Korea and certain related questions. In this context we directed the conversation towards an issue we were interested in: We wanted to know more about the reception of Korean students at home after their return from studies abroad. Here Comrade Juswiak made some very interesting remarks. He noted that Korean students in Poland, who he numbered to be more than 1,000, are receiving preferential financial and material treatment compared to Polish students. Conditions of living for students in Poland are incomparably better than here in Korea. Instead of educating the Korean students in Poland in this sense to prepare them for their return home and back to the Korean standard of living, the Korean embassy in Warsaw did not care about the education of those students. When some problems occurred in Poland after the 8th Plenum [of the PUWP], those students were not [ideologically] firm. This became clear when, after the return to their home country, those students were interned by the Korean government in a guarded camp. Following our query whether we understood correctly that those students are in an internment camp, Comrade Juswiak reiterated the students were brought to a camp guarded by soldiers. Material possessions they brought back from Poland, like clothes and personal equipment, were not taken away from them.

Since the arrival of the students, the Polish embassy attempts to get in contact with them. It wants to know about the impacts of their studies in Poland, the experiences made, and what can be improved. Unfortunately it was so for impossible to obtain permission from the Korean authorities to establish contacts with the students. Asked about the causes for this entire development, Comrade Juswiak said, in his opinion, the Korean party is underestimating issues related to Korean students studying abroad. Only since the events in Hungary they have begun to deal seriously with the question of educating their citizens studying abroad. Asked in return about the situation in the GDR, Comrade Gräbner explained that in Berlin as well there are problems in cooperating with the Korean embassy pertaining to education of the students. No information was given [by Gräbner] on the Korean citizens who had fled from the GDR [to West Germany].

Then Comrade Gräbner asked Comrade Juswiak about the current legal agreements for the stay of Korean students in Poland. The following response was given here: Until 1956 the invitations to Korean students to come to Poland were issued on the basis of solidarity aid. The students could study completely for free. In 1956 a Culture Agreement was signed [between Poland and the DPRK] which contained the provision that stays and studies of Korean citizens in Poland will have to be ruled in detail by an additional agreement or protocol. Until today this agreement stands out, since it is considered to be a difficult and sensitive field. From that we [East Germans] concluded the Polish friends share the same problem as we have here. They are also working on it and, like us, they have not made any progress. As Comrade Juswiak told us, free invitations to Korean students were definitely stopped since 1956. That year the last students were invited to Poland for studies on the basis of solidarity aid.

The student issue was the most important result from this conversation. Finally, Comrade Juswiak asked about our information about South Korea. We replied we are relying here on the DPRK press and do not have any additional sources of information. Then Comrade Juswiak informed that the Polish embassy in Pyongyang regularly receives an South Korean newspaper in English via mail from the Polish embassy in Beijing. This newspaper is ordered from Beijing and then delivered from Beijing to Pyongyang.


We should find out what kind of newspaper he was referring to, so we can also consider the option of ordering it for the GDR embassy in Pyongyang and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Berlin. According to Comrade Juswiak, it is a semi-official organ with a lot of statistical material.

Furthermore, Comrade Juswiak mentioned an upcoming Korean writers’ congress in spring of 1958. He suggested the diplomatic corps should work towards achieving permission for the participation of cultural attaches from the embassies in this congress.

The entire conversation took place in a very amicable and open atmosphere.


[signed] Gräbner

[signed] Zielke