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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 07, 1964

REPORT ON A MEETING BETWEEN ENVER HOXHA AND LI BYEONGCHAN

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

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    Enver Hoxha exchanges greetings with the delegation from the DPRK and discusses the strides that both countries have made in agriculture. They criticize the foreign and domestic policies of Khrushchev, which resulted in concessions to the West and decreased agricultural productivity. Both sides congratulate one another for standing up to Soviet "revisionism" and talk about the positive exchanges and cooperation with China.
    "Report on a Meeting between Enver Hoxha and Li Byeongchan," May 07, 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AQPPSH, MPP Korese, D 3, V. 1964. Translated for NKIDP by Enkel Daljani. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114428
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ON THE MEETING OF COMRADE ENVER HOXHA, FIRST SECRETARY OF THE ALBANIAN LABOR PARTY CC WITH THE DELEGATION OF THE FEDERATION OF PROFESSIONAL UNIONS OF KOREA.

(On May 7, 1964, before noon, Comrade Enver Hoxha, First Secretary of the ALP CC received at the offices of the CC of the party, the delegation of the FPU of Korea, led by Comrade Li Byeongchan, Chairman of the CC of the Professional Union of the workers of machinery building industries, who took part in the celebration of May 1st, invited by the Central Council of the Professional Unions of Albania.

The delegation was accompanied by the Ambassador Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the People’s Republic of Albania, An Yong.

In the reception, the Member of the Political Bureau of the ALP CC and President of the Professional Unions of Albania, Comrade [Member of the Political Bureau of the ALP CC and President of the Central Council of the Professional Unions of Albania] Gogo Nushi also took part.

The translation was conducted into Korean by the translator of the embassy of the DPR of Korea.)

Comrade Enver Hoxha: How are you, Comrade Ambassador? How are you, comrades of the professional unions? (“Very well, thank you,” answered the Korean comrades.)

We are very happy that the comrades of the professional unions and Comrade Kim Il Sung sent you here, to small Albania, to take part in the celebrations for May 1st.

During these past few days you had the chance to see a bit of Albania.

Comrade Li Byeongchan: During the past few days we had the chance to visit several cities. We also had meetings with the Albanian people and many Albanian communists.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: You come to Albania for the first time. I have also been only once in Korea. When we set up a good travel line, we will be able to come and go more often at each other’s countries.

Our people and party have a great love for the Korean people, your heroic party, and for Comrade [General Secretary of the Korean Worker’s Party (KWP)] Kim Il Sung.

I have the best impressions from Korea. Your country has made a very good impression on me, because when you get to see something with your own eyes, it is better than reading a hundred reports on it. We see and talk to comrade ambassador very often, but it is different when you actually get to see something. Now, since we follow with the greatest care the successes of the Korean comrades and also get a picture of things from the comrades that visit Korea, I imagine that greater successes must have been achieved there since the time I visited the country.

We have read the directives of Comrade Kim Il Sung on the issues of agriculture. They are very good. The issue of the further progress and development of agriculture has been laid out correctly. In those directives there are many points that are useful to us, that open perspectives, and assist us in our work. In these directives one can see the high importance that the Korean Workers’ Party places on the development of agriculture.

According to our point of view it must be stressed that in the area of the development of the economy and especially the agriculture when compared to socialist countries, such as our own or Vietnam—but excluding here the countries of popular democracies in Europe, where the revisionists are in power and who are heading for failure—the DPR of Korea has progressed very far. If I am not mistaken, Korea has been able to produce 4 quintals of grains per capita, while we are still very far from such a goal, though we are making good progress. We are very happy that the DPR of Korea, even after the great war and destruction it suffered, has achieved such great successes.

Ambassador An Yong: Albania has also brilliant perspectives for the development of agriculture.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is so. At the time we were in Korea, we noticed that a lot of attention was paid to the agriculture issues and the great investments that were put into irrigation, the increase of chemical fertilizer use, etc. made a great deal of impression on us.

Ambassador An Yong: The use of chemical fertilizers is of great importance. Our land, since it has been in use for thousands of years, is much oxidized so it is necessary to use chemical fertilizers.  

Comrade Enver Hoxha: You are also well ahead in both the industry and the field of defense. I spoke to the head of the military delegation that came not long ago from Korea. Our military people came back very content from the warm reception they were given by their Korean colleagues. We had no doubt about that because our Korean comrades are our most faithful. They were also very impressed by the strength of the Korean army, its education and armaments, and the defense systems of the country.

Ambassador An Yong: Since we are at the forefront of our common enemy, this is very necessary.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is so, but you still have one side of your country secured by the sister People’s Republic of China, while we are surrounded from all sides here. While you have had to make your defenses in a straight line, in front of the 38th parallel and on the coast, we must build ours as a circle all around us. Why we need you as friends, Korean comrades?

You were victorious against American imperialism and the other imperialists because your course is correct. Our country, Albania, is surrounded on all sides by dangerous enemies, but she still resists, builds socialism, and achieves successes because her course if correct. Why do our people love your people, the Korean Workers’ Party and Comrade Kim Il Sung so much? Because today you still follow a correct Marxist-Leninist  course, which embodies to the letter the desires and aspirations of your people and which conforms completely to Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian internationalism, against N. Khrushchev and the other revisionists; because at the lead of your party and people stands our comrade Kim Il Sung. The plots that N. Khrushchev tried to pull on you, he also tried here, but we are now rid of him.

Ambassador An Yong: Have you read the full text of the theses of Comrade Kim Il Sung?

Comrade Enver Hoxha: No, I have not read the full text of his theses, but only a summary of them. If I am not mistaken, these comprise 20-22 pages.  

Ambassador An Yong: When we get the full text, we will make sure to send it to you.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: We thank you very much. The comrades of the agriculture and those of the CC have received such materials because they do not deal only with agricultural issues, but also with organizational issues that have to do with the concrete and closer management of agriculture. We have been preoccupied with such matters. We will continue to take measures that generally follow that line. Once we have the full report, we will be able to see how in your country, under the direction of the CC, special courses of action have been set for the regions in matters of agriculture. If I am not mistaken, in the theses of Comrade Kim Il Sung it is mentioned how special regional councils have been created for the management of agricultural issues. You do not have a Ministry of Agriculture, but only a Committee. The approach of committees for agriculture is an interesting one. If we had the full report, we could study this issue closely. Later we may even send an agricultural delegation to Korea in order to see this issue from close by.

Ambassador An Yong: We will immediately send over all material we receive on this matter.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: We thank you very much. The fact that in the PR of China, after the weather difficulties were overcome, agriculture is progressing well is of high importance to us and the entire international communism. Today we received a telegram by our ambassador to the PR of China where he talks about the visits he has gone to along with the ambassadors of other countries. He writes how the market is everywhere full of foodstuffs; in Beijing there’s plenty of meat, eggs, vegetables, and many other items, while the cities of Sichuan and Hubei not only have plenty of meat, eggs, vegetables, and fruits, but the prices have been decreased by 30%. This is a great success.

Ambassador An Yong: The Chinese comrades have now solved the agricultural problem. This is a great success.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: It is a great fortune for the entire international communism that we have the CP of China, which follows a correct Marxist-Leninist  line. China has become today the banner of the entire international communism, like the Mount Olympus in Ancient Greece, and it is for this reason that the enemies try to strike it in the head.

Ambassador An Yong: For as long as we remain Marxist-Leninist s, this role cannot be denied to China. Not the revisionists are trying to isolate China, but every attempt they make in this direction will fail. The socialist camp cannot continue to exist without the PR of China.  

On the chaotic situation that is been going on in the international communist movement we have published an article where we speak about the failure of the plot by the revisionists for the division of the socialist camp. Until now the revisionists have said nothing about this fact, while the Albanian Telegraphic Agency has published it in its news bulletin.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: The revisionists have nothing to say about this. Your party’s stance is fully Marxist-Leninist. Should N. Khrushchev dare and say something against the Korean Workers’ Party, it will be catastrophic for him, because he will also have to openly face your cannons. Now N. Khrushchev does not say anything, because he wants to make it look like the Korean Workers’ Party is not in solidarity with China, but those that have read your article understand that all those that are said there about the revisionists are directed at N. Khrushchev and his group.

N. Khrushchev and his followers are determined enemies. They all organize the activity against Marxism-Leninism, and against China, Korea, and Albania with all their might. While doing this they progress in the setting of alliances with the American imperialism. At a governmental level, the revisionists will set economic, political, and military alliances with the imperialists, but they will never be successful. Every step they take in this course will be disastrous for them, whether in the economic, ideological, or economic fields. They will face disasters on all sides.

They make great efforts to take over the organizations of professional unions. They also won Louis Sayan to their side. In all the international conferences we keep the same position with the Chinese and Korean comrades.

Ambassador An Yong: As we also said before, our victory is certain.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Look at our economic successes! We were very happy to see in the theses laid by Comrade Kim Il Sung that you have been able to create such reserves that they allow you to not only move to the area of building homes for the cooperativists in the villages, but to also have the government pay for the homes that the villagers have built on their own. This is a great achievement that has to do with the elimination of the differences between the city and the village. When you start your quarrel with N. Khrushchev, he will accuse you about your Great Leap and will say that what you are doing in Korea is not correct, because he wants you to stop and take steps backward. N. Khrushchev has been dealt colossal failures in agriculture. He is trying to change the soviet agriculture into a capitalist one and to create a polarization of the peasantry; in other words, the rich peasantry, the peasant bourgeoisie comprised of the leaders of the kolkhozes and the sovkhozes on the one side, and the poor peasantry on the other. He wants to bring back that polarization the great Lenin liquidated.

Ambassador An Yong: Last year, in all the countries where the revisionist leadership is in power, there was a decrease in agricultural production.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Have you heard about the May 1st demonstrations that took place in Czechoslovakia?

Ambassador An Yong: Yes, I have heard about them.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: According to the information we have received, there have also been arrests there. Such crises are happening everywhere in the revisionist countries—Poland, Bulgaria, etc. These crises are of ideological, political, and economic nature. A rose that loses its petals, at the end will only be left with thorns.

Johnson again today declared that he will continue the economic blockade and the aerial spying over Cuba. From this we may draw the certain conclusion that N. Khrushchev has made concessions to the American imperialists. During the Caribbean [Missile] Crisis, the imperialists must have gotten hold of such a document from N. Khrushchev, that we may never know its importance. There he must have made the concessions on Cuba. Why do we say such a thing? How do we arrive at such a conclusion? Because the American imperialists have been able to wrestle very favorable positions from N. Khrushchev and by not wanting to cause him trouble at the moment, they do not reveal this document, but talk and talk to exert more pressure into him. This declaration by Johnson comes after the recent declaration by N. Khrushchev. On the other hand, today McNamara declared that he is going to Bonn, and that the Americans and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany are in full agreement that they must take new steps toward the improvement of relations and the strengthening of the friendship with the Soviet Union. In other words, N. Khrushchev is hatching plans in Europe for the sale of Democratic Germany.

These are renowned traitors and their people should hang them from the telephone poles. This day will come if not sooner, later.

Ambassador An Yong: The more crimes they commit, the more their true faces are unmasked.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: What does the weather look like for the agriculture this year in Korea?

Ambassador An Yong: We have had a lot of rain so far, but it now seems that we will have good production.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: We can also forecast a good year. The spring toiling has gone well and these days we may even finish cotton planting. We finished with the beet planting, the tobacco is progressing well, the corn planting is at a good level, and the wheat is also doing well.

We have now undertaken a study on the development of agriculture in hilly and mountainous areas. Toward this goal, we have created specialist teams for every region and at the end of the year, this study will be presented to the Plenum of the CC along with the measures that we should take for the increase of areas that can be irrigated, for the investments that must be done in the enlargement and systemization of the pasture lands, the creation of water wells for the animals, and the further development of hilly and mountainous lands.

Our constructions are going very well. The Chinese comrades are extraordinarily punctilious whether in the preparation and delivery of projects, or in the delivery of materials. So we have no problems from their side. If we have any problems, this may only come from our side.  

Ambassador An Yong: Taking into account the favorable weather and the good work that your people are doing, we may say that this year you will have plentiful production. The important point here is the issue of bread.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Yes, this is a primary issue. The Chinese comrades have helped us immensely in agriculture and the chemical fertilizer factory because we have no such fertilizer. When the construction of the chemical fertilizer factory ends in 1967, then we will have made a great step forward in the area of agriculture.  

But we have also been heavily damaged by the soviet, especially in the last few years. When we severed relations with the soviets, our CC decided to review all the geological studies done by the soviet teams that had visited our country. So we had to go back to all the mineral research places where the soviet specialists had previously worked. For this we had to spend 700 to 800 million leks. In the study reports that the soviet specialists had submitted, it was said that in this place or that there was nothing of value, but now that our own specialists have gone to the same places where the soviets were working, they have discovered copper, chromium, and many other minerals. This means that the soviet specialists had received directives from N. Khrushchev to conduct the research, to discover the minerals, and to not say a word about it to the Albanians, but only notify Moscow. They did this so that when the day came, they would exert economic pressure on us, hatch plots against the Albanian leadership, bring Liri Belishova to power, and whenever the soviets would come to colonize us, they could extract all these minerals and say that the Albanian leadership is “dogmatic,” “anti-Marxist,” and “anti-Albanian,” so it was a good thing we came. This is how lowly they are.  

Ambassador An Yong: Their imperialist intentions are also apparent in Romania. It seems that the Romanians will have trouble in the Economic Council now that Albania has been expelled. It is possible that they would be fighting alongside Albania, but now it will be difficult for them.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Yes, it will be hard for them if they do not fight like China, Korea, and Albania do.

Let us raise this toast for the brotherhood of our peoples, for the health of our Comrade Kim Il Sung, for your health, dear comrades!..

Why don’t you stay a while longer in Albania? We will not give you a return visa and will hold you here.

Comrade Li Byeongchan: We have been here only a few days, but we have seen many things during this time. We have had meetings with comrades of the professional unions and with workers. Wherever we went we saw how the Albanian people fight against the blockade by the imperialists and the revisionists. We think that in this area you are achieving miraculous successes by building factories and new additions with your own forces, by producing spare parts, etc.

In the cities of Vlora and Stalin City, we met many workers with whom we had many conversations. In Vlora they told us how they had executed the plan for the first quarter of this year and had surpassed it by 112% and they also promised that they will accomplish the yearly plan by the day of the 20th anniversary of liberation. They have achieved good results not only in industry, but also in agriculture. In the agricultural cooperatives we noticed the correct course that is being followed for the production of grains in-country and how the peasant works well for the building of irrigation channels, to open new arable lands, and how everywhere they were opening holes for the planting of grapes and olive trees.

In Stalin City we saw how well they worked for the production of agricultural products and fruits. In Vlora we saw how they worked in the municipal sector. In that region the workers had promised to secure their bread in-region within 2-3 years.  

In all we saw, we noticed that the Albanian people will make it possible that within two to three years they will fulfill their own needs not only in industry, but also in agriculture.  

On the occasion of May 1st we saw that the Albanian people, united as a single body, is ready, under the leadership of the CC of the party, to fight for the construction of socialism, while holding the pickaxe in one hand, and the rifle in the other.

In Vlora we saw how they are working not only in the economy, but also in the military field. We became convinced that if the revisionists will try something against Albania, your people are ready to fight against them. We saw the sufficient political, military and ideological preparation needed to throw back under your leadership the imperialists and the revisionists. With these victories it has achieved, the Albanian people will be able to come out victorious in whichever situation it may face. We were immeasurably happy when we saw that the Albanian people have a healthy party and notable leaders.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: You work in Pyongyang? (“Yes,” answered the Chairman of the delegation of the FPU of Korea.) They tell me that Pyongyang has been beatified considerably. A lot of changes must have happened since the time I was there. Even at that time Pyongyang was very beautiful, and now, after 8 years, it must be even more beautiful.

Ambassador An Yong: You could not recognize Pyongyang. Every day there are new things being built there.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: You have a lot of experience in construction. The other cities have also been constructed beautifully for sure.  

Ambassador An Yong: In the villages the shacks are also being replaced by modern housing. Last year we built 202,000 modern homes and in two three years the shacks will disappear altogether.  

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Your people are hardworking people. I have seen this personally.  

Ambassador An Yong: As we intensify our agricultural production, we must build these even faster. Within two three years we will have decreased the difference between the village and the city.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: This is a great pleasure.

Ambassador An Yong: We will never decrease our enthusiasm.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: And do you know what N. Khrushchev will say? “‘The Great Leap,’ ‘the pickaxe in one hand, and the rifle in the other,’ what are these slogans? These are great mistakes.” This is what he will say.

Ambassador An Yong: He may call us nationalists and chauvinists, but we will continue to work as we wish.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: N. Khrushchev is a chauvinist, and not us.

Ambassador An Yong: The delegation of the professional unions of Korea got to see many new things and the great successes that have been achieved in all the areas of economy in your country during this visit. These successes are also in the favor of our country, of Vietnam, and the other countries.  

Comrade Enver Hoxha: The successes of each country are everyone else’s. Our joys, grief, and failures are mutual and we share them with each other.  

Ambassador An Yong: We are very happy to have been given the chance to have this meeting with you.

Comrade Enver Hoxha: Let us drink this toast to the health of our dear Comrade Kim Il Sung!... (“To your health,” answered the Korean comrades)

Make sure you send greetings to the comrades of the professional unions. Tell them that the ALP and the Albanian people are their friends until the end.

Comrade Li Byeongchan: It is a great honor for us to have visited Albania and to have had the chance to meet you.

(This was the end of the conversation. Then the guests took pictures together.)

Notes taken by stenograph.

Sadik Myftiu

[Signed]

[Seal]