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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 02, 1963

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

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    A report on the treatment of Soviet women involved in mixed marriages with North Koreans and cases of North Korean students seeking political asylum at the Embassy of the Soviet Union.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," October 02, 1963, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 13. doboz, 30/b, 005273/1/1963. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112781
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As I already reported, the Korean organs frequently adopt an incomprehensible position on the question of so-called mixed marriages (expulsion of Korean husbands from the capital, restrictions on the movement of their wives, who are citizens of the Soviet Union or other fraternal countries, and so on). Recently the Soviet comrades experienced an even more offensive attitude on the part of the Koreans, about which Comrade Moskovsky told me the following:

Before the holiday of 9 September, one of the Soviet women, accompanied by two children, presented herself at the Soviet Embassy, her clothes torn and her body covered with bruises. The following had happened to her: two months earlier she had asked for permission to travel to Pyongyang from the countryside, for she wanted to leave for the Soviet Union for good. The provincial organs refused to fulfill her request. At first they refused her request without offering an explanation, then, before the holiday, they let the Soviet woman know that at the moment any travel to the capital was prohibited, neither Koreans nor foreigners were allowed to enter the capital during the preparations for the holiday of 9 September. However, the Soviet woman, a mother of two, was compelled to travel [to Pyongyang] due to her financial situation; therefore, she took a train to the center [Pyongyang] in defiance of the prohibition. Following that, the provincial police took her to task on the train, and after a short argument, they began to beat her. The woman lost consciousness because of the strong blows, to the extent that she had to be brought round with water. After she had regained consciousness, the persons assaulting her left, and the people traveling on the train took care of her two children. She arrived in Pyongyang under such circumstances. The Soviet Embassy took her statements down, and a medical report was written about the woman's injuries.

Another case: recently two Soviet women applying for repatriation came to them. These two women had been prevented from traveling to Pyongyang for four months, while they [the North Korean authorities] made countless attempts to talk them into renouncing their Soviet citizenship and not returning to the Soviet Union, [alleging that] there was starvation in that country, the situation was extremely bleak and it was going from bad to worse, and now there was a relapse into capitalism in the Soviet Union; they cast such aspersions on the Soviet Union. “You should understand,” the police explained to them, “that the situation will soon get much better here, Korea will unite in a short time, it will become a united and rich country, and the rapid improvement of living standards is to be expected.” “Do not forget,” the competent authorities went on, “that Korea is defended by […] China, which is at present the strongest state in the world.”

In recent months it happened four times, Comrade Moskovsky said, that Korean students asking for political asylum presented themselves at the Soviet Embassy. The Soviet comrades regularly order these “asylum-seekers” out of the Embassy, and in one case they even had to ask for the help of the police to this end. […] the police later informed the Embassy that the student in question was insane and a mental hospital kept a record of him. In order to avoid the repetition of the cases described above, Comrade Moskovsky lodged an official protest with the competent Korean authorities. He emphasized that these [cases] were nothing a but provocations committed against the Embassy […]. To this very day, he has not received a reply to his protest.

József Kovács
Ambassador