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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 10, 1964

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

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    A report on a meeting between Nikita Khrushchev and the North Korean ambassador in which the two discussed the situation in South Korea.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," March 10, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 5. doboz, 5/bc, 003819/RT/1964. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112791
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As was also disclosed in the Soviet press, in early February Comrade Khrushchev received the Korean Ambassador, who was about to leave Moscow. Comrade Moskovsky said the following about the meeting:

Comrade Khrushchev asked the Ambassador about last year's harvest in Korea and their achievements in the field of raising rice yields. Without thinking, the Ambassador stated that last year they had harvested on average 50 quintals of rice per hectare (whereas it is known that at the 1963 CC plenum, Kim Il Sung spoke about a rice harvest of 3.6 metric tons [per hectare]). Thereupon Comrade Khrushchev noted that in Kazakhstan, they [the Soviets] also had a kolkhoz where 55 quintals of rice per hectare had been harvested, and they achieved 45 quintals in the Ukraine. Otherwise, in the Soviet Union there was a law that stipulated that if a kolkhoz overfulfilled its plan in rice production, it could dispose freely of the grain produced in excess of the planned amount, it could make use of it as it wished.

The Soviet people followed with great attention the South Vietnamese people, who fought for their freedom and waged a war against the American troops and the army of the US satellite South Vietnamese government, Comrade Khrushchev said. Why is there such a great silence in South Korea at the same time? Do the South Korean people perhaps expect democratic steps from the government, or have they already gotten tired of the struggle? Is the dictatorship of Park Chung Hee perhaps so severe that the masses are incapable of putting up any resistance?

The Ambassador told Comrade Khrushchev that at present, there were 6 million unemployed peasants in South Korea. Nonetheless, the organization of a resistance movement meets with difficulties, because there is no revolutionary party, or any leaders capable of organizing such a party, in the country.

Comrade Khrushchev: But Kim Il Sung told us there was a strong resistance movement in South Korea. Otherwise, it is precisely the difficult economic situation that makes the organization of such a movement possible.

Ambassador: The American imperialists station large troop contingents in South Korea, and these are equipped with modern armaments, they even possess atomic weapons. Evidently they frighten the people in this way.

Comrade Khrushchev: To begin with, there are no atomic weapons in South Korea. At that time, the Americans took atomic weapons to West Germany. Secondly, let us suppose that there were such weapons in the country [South Korea], this still would not account for why there is not any resistance movement. Atomic weapons are unusable in direct fighting, because the explosions and the subsequent radioactive pollution would cause damage to one's own troops as well. For that very reason, both the Soviet Union and America have phased out atomic weapons as a service. As you can see, you are misinformed about the equipment of the American troops stationed in South Korea. Now it is the missiles installed outside of the enemy countries that are the most suitable for carrying atomic and hydrogen bombs, these are developed by the Americans and the Soviet Union too. I can assure you, Comrade Khrushchev went on, that if the North attacked South Korea again, it is more than probable that the Americans would put into action nuclear weapons too. The Ambassador did not object to the term “attacked again”.

Concerning the rest of the conversation, Comrade Moskovsky said just that the Soviet Prime Minister had commented on the fact that it has recently happened frequently that anti-Soviet writings and articles were published in the Korean press, and the Soviet people rightly found that injurious. He asked the Ambassador about the reason for that. In the Soviet Union, no anti-Korean material is published in the newspapers and magazines. Of course, the Ambassador could not give any concrete answer to that.

József Kovács
(Ambassador)