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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 15, 1973

TELEGRAM FROM PYONGYANG TO BUCHAREST, SECRET, NO. 061.465, URGENT

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

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    The document describes several gatherings of Korean People's Army corps in Pyongyang where military leaders presented a report underlying the necessity of increasing the level of technical and combat preparedness of the army. The author observes how the rhetoric of driving out "American imperialists" and unifying the peninsula had reappeared in North Korea.
    "Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, SECRET, No. 061.465, Urgent," November 15, 1973, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archives, Matter 210, 1973, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Secret, 1st Division, MFA, Folder no. 1496, Regarding the Internal Situation in the DPRK (Political, Economic, Social, Cultural Matters. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114077
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To the First Division, MFA

Between 8 and 13 October, several gatherings organized as military training comprising all military corps took place in Pyongyang and reunited all the commanders and political instructors from the Korean People’s Army. At the end, with the participation of Comrade Kim Il Sung and other cadres from the high echelons of the DPRK party and state leadership a general gathering took place, with more than 20,000 participants, where O Jin-u [O Jin U], the chief of the Army staff presented a report on the state of political and military readiness in the current circumstances, discussing the immediate responsibilities of the Army. The General Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party also spoke at this meeting.

The briefs released to the press after the event indicate that the speakers unanimously underlined the necessity to continuously strengthen the political-revolutionary activity, to increase the level of technical and combat preparedness of the army.

Special emphasis was put on the learning of modern combat techniques by the entire army, on “the transformation of the entire army into an army of military cadres.”

After a prolonged absence, the idea that “under the leadership of Comrade Kim Il Sung, during our lifetime, we must chase away the American imperialists and achieve the reunification of the country” reemerged. The news discussing this gathering underlines that all speakers underscored their indignation that “the American imperialists and their fascist puppets in South Korea, under the guise of wanting to continue the dialogue, are preparing another war against the North.”

From Aurelian Lazar’s discussions with A. Putinet and I. Taraba, the charges d’affaires ad interim from the USSR and from Hungary, respectively, it could be gathered that this gathering of military cadres was necessary because certain fiery elements within the ranks of the DPRK army appeared, who treated the situation in South Korea and the existing international circumstances superficially, and therefore believed that the current conditions were favorable to forcibly reuniting the country.

Our sources tell us that this issue was the object of ample debates at the recent plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party in September, where only through the energetic intervention of Comrade Kim Il Sung the force of this current of thought could be countered, which made it possible to continue on the same rational line of solving the Korean problem through peaceful political means.

We will follow the events closely and inform you on the commentaries made about this gathering accordingly.

Signed: Dumitru Popa