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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 26, 1963

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

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    A report by Hungarian Ambassador in North Korea on two meetings between the Romanian Ambassador and Kim Il Sung in which the two discussed bilateral relations, trade, geological surveys in North Korea, and North Korea's relations with China and the Soviet Union.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," August 26, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 5. doboz, 5/bc, 0034/RT/1963. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112775
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During the visit I paid to the Soviet Ambassador on 24 August, I was informed of the following:

A few days after Comrade Moskovsky returned from holiday, Romanian Ambassador M. Bodnãra called on him and informed him about the following issues, which are of some interest.

To begin with, the Romanian Ambassador emphasized how impatiently he had been waiting for his [Moskovsky's] return, because he wanted to inform Comrade Moskovsky of the events that had taken place in his absence before he [Bodnãra] would go on holiday (he will leave for Bucharest on 28th August). For in the last one and a half months, Bodnaras was received twice by Kim Il Sung, and they discussed the widening of Romanian-Korean relations and issues of party politics.

At the first meeting Kim Il Sung, giving [Bodnãra] a very warm welcome, asked the Ambassador to ensure that the Korean government delegation, which had left for Romania in order to discuss economic issues, be received at an appropriately high level. Among the members of the delegation there were two high-ranking party functionaries, Kim Il Sung said; thus, it would be possible even for leading Romanian party functionaries to negotiate with the delegation. Bodnaras promised to convey all this to the higher organs.

The second meeting took place at Kim Il Sung's invitation, and it lasted for not less than four hours. Among others, Kim Il Sung told Bodnãra that the relations between their countries were developing in a pleasing way, and they [the North Koreans] were seriously determined to widen these relations even further, in a multilateral form. They intended to increase the volume of trade between the two countries approx. ten times [emphasis in the original] as early as next year or the year after that. Romania has a developed manufacturing industry, and they (the Koreans) have also developed that branch of industry. In Kim Il Sung's view, a close cooperation should be established between the engineering industries of the two countries. It would be necessary for them primarily for two reasons: First, with Romanian assistance they could get new machines produced in the Soviet Union and the European socialist countries. Second, it is to be expected that as a consequence of the disagreements between the CPSU and the CCP, the Soviet Union will reduce the amount of machinery exported to the DPRK. In case of such cooperation, the Romanian comrades would make good the losses they may suffer as a result of these reductions.

Kim Il Sung also said that Soviet geologists had been searching for oil in the DPRK for a rather long time, but, unfortunately, they did not find oil. They [the North Koreans] are of the opinion that the Soviet geologists intentionally searched for oil in places where indeed no oil was to be found, and, thus, it was not accidental that the large-scale search for oil ended unsuccessfully. Now they ask for Romanian geologists for this purpose, and he assures the Romanian Ambassador that the Romanian geologists arriving here will get every possible assistance from the Korean authorities. Hopefully, their efforts will be more successful than those of the Soviet geologists.

In Kim Il Sung's view, at present Comrade Gheorghiu-Dej is the sole party and state leader in Europe that he (Kim Il Sung) can negotiate with as an equal partner. Therefore, he holds him and the other leaders of the Romanian party in great esteem.

Ambassador Bodnãra told Comrade Moskovsky that in the course of their conversation, Kim Il Sung had criticized the Chinese leaders for the extremist tone they used in attacking the CPSU. As noted by the Romanian Ambassador, Kim Il Sung did not agree with the line of the CPSU either. The worsening of relations between the KWP and the CPSU began as early as 1956, with Mikoyan's visit to Korea. Mikoyan's role in the intra-party factional struggles had a negative impact on their relations with the Soviet leaders. Nevertheless, they had the factionalist Ch'oe Ch'ang-ik sentenced and executed; they may have acted otherwise if they had had the present perspective, Kim Il Sung said. In the opinion of Romanian Ambassador Bodnaras, Kim Il Sung is a clever man, he pursues a sensible foreign and domestic policy, and he personally agrees with this policy.

Then the Romanian Ambassador explained to Comrade Moskovsky the standpoint of their party. They disapprove of the policies of the Chinese leaders, but they do not follow the CPSU as closely as the Czechoslovaks do. Under the guidance of the Romanian Workers' Party, they also build socialism in Romania, for there is no other way and it cannot be otherwise, but they want to do it in their own special way. Making use of the advantages of their country, in a certain sense they want to reach socialism according to their own ideas.

Finally, Bodnãra emphasized to Comrade Moskovsky that he still had a lot to say, but because of the lack of time, he could not go on now. He came to an agreement with Comrade Moskovsky to meet with him again on 27 August, when he would speak more about his negotiations with Kim Il Sung.

In the opinion of Comrade Moskovsky, it is perfectly plain that Bodnãra never participated in the party movement, his familiarity with Marxist-Leninist theoretical issues is extremely weak, [the following part of the sentence crossed out in the original document] but he is a good hunter and angler. Comrade Moskovsky is of the opinion that one should look after the Romanian Ambassador. We must attempt to speak with him several times so as to steer him in the right direction.

József Kovács
(Ambassador)