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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 27, 1962

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN NORTH KOREA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    A report by Hungarian Ambassador József Kovács on his meeting with Soviet Ambassador Moskovsky in which the two discussed the state of Soviet-North Korean relations.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," August 27, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 5. doboz, 5/bc, 0066/1962. Translated by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112773
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Comrade V.P. Moskovsky, the new Soviet Ambassador, paid me an introductory visit on 22 August, which I returned 2 days later. The subject of our two conversations was, above all, the development of Soviet-Korean relations […].

Before his departure for Korea, he was received by Comrade Khrushchev who gave him important guidelines concerning [Soviet] policies toward the KWP and the DPRK.

Comrade Khrushchev explained that, in his view, they had made a mistake when they applied mechanically [emphasis in the original] the criticism of Stalin's personality cult to the Korean Workers' Party. It was a well-known characteristic of Stalin's working method that he did not travel to the provinces, he visited neither factories nor co-ops, he ran the country locking himself up in the center, so he had no contact with the masses. For instance, at the time of the [Great] Patriotic War, he never visited the front to inquire into the situation on the spot, he always directed the military operations exclusively from the center.

This cannot be said of Kim Il Sung. The person in question regularly tours the country, inquires into the work of the factories and co-ops, and, thus, he has quite extensive contacts with the workers and the peasantry. Kim Il Sung has certain new conceptions, and these may be illuminating for us as well. For instance, he holds a CC meeting on the spot in the countryside if that facilitates better understanding of the question of the day. (Such a case was the CC session dealing with the development of fruit production held on 7 April 1961 in the district of Bukcheong.) For instance, said Comrade Khrushchev, one can approve of the resolution passed by the CC last November on the reorganization of industrial management, disregarding a few errors. The district directorates established for agricultural management also must be considered as positive.

It is also known, said Comrade Khrushchev, that in the policy of the KWP and the DPRK, one can usually observe a vacillation between the Soviet Union and China. If we do not strive to improve Soviet-Korean relations, these will obviously become weaker, and at the same time the Chinese connection will get stronger, we will make that possible for them, we will even push them directly toward China. Comrade Khrushchev instructed Comrade Moskovsky to do his best to improve relations between the CPSU CC and the KWP CC, and between the two governments.

At the same time, Comrade Khrushchev sent a message to Kim Il Sung through the Ambassador, in which he wanted to communicate that the CPSU CC and the Soviet government considered that Soviet-Korean relations were making good progress, they [the Soviets] were satisfied with it, and they saw no obstacle to the further improvement of relations, indeed they strove for it.

When Comrade Moskovsky delivered Comrade Khrushchev's message to Kim Il Sung, the latter cheered up and likewise stated that they were also satisfied with the development of relations between their respective countries, and he agreed with Comrade Khrushchev that they had to intensify their relations even further.

[…] Comrade Moskovsky told me the story of the proposal for a Korean visit by a Soviet party and government delegation headed by Comrade Khrushchev. […] When they [the Soviets] made this proposal, Kim Il Sung had not yet fully recovered from his nephrotomy. But it had been more than probable, said the Soviet Ambassador, that it was not because of his illness that they [the Koreans] kept delaying the answer, but because Comrade Khrushchev's visit to the Far East would have put China in an awkward position. Therefore, he went on, the reply was presumably delayed because they asked the Chinese about the issue. After 10 days of waiting, the Soviet comrades withdrew their proposal with the explanation that Comrade Khrushchev was about to make a tour in order to observe the defense system in the northern part of the country, and, thus, he would not have time to visit Korea this year. When the Ambassador paid Kim Il Sung an introductory visit, the latter apologized to him, saying that he had been ill that time and the Central Committee could not come to a decision quickly on this issue. At the same time he assured Comrade Moskovsky that since the physicians had already given him permission to work 4 hours per day and he did work, he would receive the visit of Comrade Khrushchev with pleasure this year or any time next year, whenever the Soviet government considered that appropriate.

In Comrade Moskovsky's view, Comrade Khrushchev's visit to Korea will take place in all probability in the coming year.

In the opinion of the new Ambassador, recently a certain improvement has become noticeable in Soviet-Korean relations. The staff of the Embassy and the military attaché are received by the Korean functionaries more promptly than before, and they are even allowed to inspect certain issues concerning the M[inistry] of D[efense] and the M[inistry] of I[nternal Affairs]. As mentioned above, Kim Il Sung received the message of Comrade Khrushchev with pleasure, he agreed with the idea of improving relations between the two countries. The Korean leaders also favorably received the Soviet supplies intended to serve the DPRK's defense needs, including submarines and facilities strengthening the defense of Pyongyang. Since his arrival (on 9th August) he has already met Kim Il Sung two times, the latter is very friendly to him, and he hopes he will also succeed in establishing a good personal relationship with him.

Of his predecessor, Comrade Puzanov, he said that during his five-year stay here, he [Puzanov] had had a very good relationship with Kim Il Sung for more than 3 years. However, for approximately 9 months before his departure no opportunity to meet the Prime Minister had been given to him, and Comrade Puzanov's farewell visit to Kim Il Sung lasted merely 10 minutes. They [the Soviets] themselves do not know it either, but presumably something was not right between his predecessor and Kim Il Sung. It was the impression of the organs at home that the good relationship established earlier between them had deteriorated, particularly in the last year.

József Kovács
Ambassador