Search in
ADD SEARCH FILTER CANCEL SEARCH FILTER

Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 02, 1960

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

CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
  • Citation

    get citation

    Károly Práth reports on North Korea's Seven-Year Plan, the difference in ideological views between the Chinese and Soviets, and Korea's relations with those two countries.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," July 02, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 8. doboz, 5/f, 0029/RT/1960. Translated by József Litkei. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113407
  • share document

    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113407

VIEW DOCUMENT IN

English HTML

On the morning of 1 July, Czechoslovak Ambassador Kohousek invited me for a friendly conversation during which we exchanged views on several issues concerning the DPRK's foreign and domestic policies and the general line of policy of the fraternal countries in the Far East.

On my part, I informed the Comrade Ambassador of the DPRK's Seven-year Plan and certain economic issues related to the June visit of Comrade Kim Il Sung in Moscow (see my other related reports). Concerning the latter issue, the Ambassador confidentially told me that according to the information received from Soviet Ambassador Puzanov, Comrade Khrushchev is going to visit Korea around 8-10 September. Concerning the Seven-year Plan, he referred to Comrade Kim Il Sung and informed me that the objectives of that plan will naturally be higher than that of the five year plan in order to achieve greater effect among the South Korean masses.

During the informal and friendly conversation that lasted for several hours, the Ambassador expressed the following:

Lately, there has been a certain palpable hidden difference between the views of the Chinese and the Soviet comrades, especially concerning the interpretation of the slogan of peaceful coexistence and the issue of people's communes. To his knowledge, in the past the CC of the Chinese Communist Party had already pointed out some excesses and deficiencies in relation to the organization of communes. Despite this—according to the information he received—there has been no change in the question of the communes and, for example, the principle of egalitarianism still prevails in the system of distribution practiced in the communes. According to the opinion of Comrade Kohousek, the idea of peaceful coexistence is somewhat unpopular among the people's democracies of the Far East, and this idea indeed has a real basis. After all, this principle means peaceful coexistence with US imperialism, which for any Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese is at least difficult to understand, given that for them the US represents their fiercest national enemy, which they are not willing to tolerate in either Taiwan or South Korea, etc. (I would like to mention that to our knowledge, when the Korean party education comes to dealing with the material of the 20th and 21st [CPSU] Congress, the question of the two systems' peaceful coexistence is, so to say, hardly dealt with.) In addition to this, both China and Korea are so much occupied with their “own” international issues (Taiwan and South Korea, respectively), that it is difficult and awkward for them to accept the German question as the central problem of international life. In order to demonstrate this, Comrade Kohousek referred to the behavior of the Chinese at the June session of the Supreme Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions in Beijing and to the articles published in China for the 90th anniversary of Lenin's birth. He [Kohousek] also mentioned that in the speech of the Chinese Ambassador doyen in Pyongyang, given on the occasion of the New Year's reception, he did not even mention the slogan of peaceful coexistence and—contrary to custom—did not send his draft speech in advance to the ambassadors.

This [attitude] in the DPRK was evident at several occasions during the last year, most strikingly in the appeal of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly last autumn and in the letter addressing the parliaments of the world, in which they presented the Korean question as the most burning international problem. In the last months, according to the opinion of Comrade Kohousek, the Korean comrades became more reserved concerning this issue.

According to his observations, China's influence in the DPRK has increased significantly during the last year—especially after Comrade Khrushchev's visit to Korea was again canceled. (In the course of the conversation, Comrade Kohousek disapprovingly alluded several times to the Chinese Ambassador to Pyongyang, who uses his position as doyen to his own benefit in a very skillful way, and tries his best to please the Korean comrades.)

Comrade Kohousek nevertheless emphasized that in spite of China's great influence in Korea, the Korean comrades have never tried to copy the Chinese experiences. He referred to the example of communes, which, according to his knowledge, were the subjects of experiments but in the end the idea of their introduction to Korea was firmly rejected. Moreover, recently the Korean comrades have emphatically urged that the income distribution in agriculture be based on the quantity and quality of the work performed.

Concerning other political issues, it is undeniable that the Korean comrades are committing some mistakes along the way. We both agreed, for example, that the evaluations made during the South Korean events had some weak sides (see my report No. 77). Despite this, the practical steps taken by the Workers' Party and the government were correct. The pursuit of autarky is still strong. Comrade Kohousek pointed out that in his view the Chinese influence is decreasing (understanding by this the above-mentioned political issues), and the Korean comrades stress more often and with more emphasis the peaceful [emphasis in the original] unification of the country, and there are signs that they no longer seek to place the Korean question a the forefront of international relations.

I informed Comrade Kohousek of my conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister Yu Chang-sik concerning the visit of Kim Il Sung in Moscow (see my report No. 90). In the opinion of the Comrade Ambassador, it was not without reason for Comrade Yu Chang-sik to emphasize the complete agreement of views between the Soviet and Korean parties, since in his [Kohousek's] opinion the main focus of the negotiations was after all not so much on economic but political questions, and the deputy foreign minister presumably alluded to this. According to the Czechoslovak Deputy Foreign Minister, it cannot be ruled out that Kim Il Sung also visited China prior to his visit to Moscow, but he does not have any data concerning this. He stressed, however, that in his views the Moscow talks meant a turning point in the political and party life of the DPRK. The agreement of views emphasized by the Foreign Minister means that in domestic and foreign political questions, the DPRK completely shares the position of the Soviet Union.

Károly Práth
Ambassador