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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 07, 1973


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Romanian official in the US warns Bucharest that relaying the letter from the DPRK to US public officials in the manner requested by Pyongyang may damage Romanian relations with the US. The official recommends a more normal procedure recommended to him by US officials and suggests convincing the North Koreans to follow a different method of sending its message to US congress.
    "Telegram from Washington, DC, No.084.504, Urgent, SECRET," June 07, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, Matter 210, 1973, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Secret, MFA, Folder no. 1495. The Support Romania Granted the DPRK with Relaying a Message towards the USA (April 9th – June 28th 1973). Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe.
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To: Comrade Nicolae Ghenea,

Deputy Foreign Minister

With respect to your telegram no. 01/04493, dated June 3, 1973 concerning the relaying of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly letter to the Congress of the United States, [I would like to inform you about the following matters]:

  1. The declaration was not only published in newspapers but, at the time, also sent by letter to [various] members of the US Congress.

This course of action was publicly attacked in Congress, on the grounds that it is an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the US, to circumvent habitual communications channels between states and between parliaments.

  1. Aware of these reactions and keen to avoid such harmful reactions, which obstruct the purpose for which this declaration was sent, I held confidential and personal consultations with W[illiam] Hyland, one of [Henry] Kissinger’s advisors on relations with socialist countries as well as with John Armitage, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, so as to create the appropriate circumstances for relaying the message [from the DPRK].
  1. Hyland said that the Department of State would respond to the [North Korean] letter.

On June 6, 1973, on a personal note, Armitage told me that if the message were relayed to the Department of State, then they would be automatically sent to the President of the Senate (the US Vice-President) and to the Speaker of the House. Directly relaying the message to the two officials would be an abnormal procedure, especially given the record of the North Koreans in such matters.

Doing so may damage the favorable atmosphere dominating the US Congress with respect to Romania, exactly when maintaining such an atmosphere is more important than ever.

The US understands that it is in Romania’s interest to help the DPRK and therefore, as the representative of the Department of State, J. Armitage said he was ready to receive the aforementioned documents and to send them to the officials mentioned above.

Of course, he could not guarantee that Congress would give a positive answer or whether there would be an answer at all.

  1. Given the matters mentioned above, I judge it is better to accept the procedure suggested by Armitage and to obtain the agreement of the North Koreans on doing so.

My impression is that the very acceptance of the message and its relaying by the Department of State to the speakers of the Senate and of the House marks a significant progress compared to the initial American reaction regarding the release of the message in the written press.

Please send me your orders.

Signed: Corneliu Bogdan