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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 01, 1964

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

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    The Hungarian Ambassador to North Korea reports on persecution of individuals in North Korea, including intellectuals, former prisoners of war, merchants, and those who came from South Korea and/or Japan.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," June 01, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 13. doboz, 27/a, 004092/1964. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112792
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[…] A particularly conspicuous characteristic of the country's internal situation [emphasis in the original] is a general mistrust and suspicion, and an increasing “tension.” As I already indicated, the February plenum of the KWP CC [Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee] discussed—on the basis of a report prepared by its Vice-Chairman, Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol]—the question of “working with various strata of the population.” The press did not set forth the report or the resolution, but recently we chanced upon a secret party publication that outlined the issue discussed at the plenum. To our surprise (and to the amazement of the Soviet comrades), by the term “various strata of the population” they essentially mean the “untrustworthy” strata and elements. It is clear from the brochure that the plenum pointed out the following: in the DPRK, “the composition of the population is rather complicated,” and, therefore, “the work to be done with the various strata of the population is an important factor in the organizational policy [emphasis in the original] of our party.” (Pak Geum-cheol deals with organizational issues.) Although the report emphasizes the importance of educational and re-educational work, and of the method of persuasion, there is no doubt that it is, after all, a task of an organizational, rather than of a canvassing, nature. (According to unsubstantiated information, organized relocation on a large scale—carried out under the pretext of “reducing the population of the capital”—is to be expected.) It has come to light that in the 20th year of people's power, 10-12 years after the war, a substantial part of the population is categorized according to the following guidelines:

  1. The remaining family members of those who fled to the South in the course of the war;
  1. the former members of the counter-revolutionary detachments organized during the temporary occupation [of the DPRK], and their families;
  2. former [North Korean] prisoners-of-war, small and medium merchants, former clergymen, and their family members;
  3. those who moved from South Korea to the North, old intellectuals and their family members, and those who returned home from Japan.

The divided character of the country indeed justifies certain measures. Nevertheless, the suspicion toward the former prisoners-of-war and those who had voluntarily joined the People's Army during the temporary liberation of South Korea […] is incomprehensible. Although the report emphasizes that all these strata must be involved in the construction of socialism, it also points out that “they must be kept under surveillance in everyday life,” “one must keep an eye … particularly on their children,” […].

József Kovács
(Ambassador)