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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 04, 1977

REGARDING PRESIDENT TITO’S OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE DPRK

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang reports to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on President Tito's visit to North Korea. The correspondence also summarizes the conversation between Tito and Kim Il Sung regarding the international communist movement, the Korean issue, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
    "Regarding President Tito’s Official Visit to the DPRK," September 04, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Folder 929/1977, Issue 220/E: Bilateral relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and several socialist countries in Europe (the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the People’s Republic of Poland, the German Democratic Republic and the People’s Republic of Hungary), April – December 1977. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114857
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114857

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TELEGRAM 066718

To: the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to comrade Constantin Oancea and Ion Ciubotaru

From: the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang

Subject: Regarding President Tito’s official visit to the DPRK

Date: September 4, 1977

Classification: Secret

I. The [North] Korean party and state leadership paid exceptional attention to preparations for President Tito’s official visit to the DPRK.

In terms of the number of participants, decorations, the pompous presentation of the visited sites, and inhabitants–costumes, dancing, singing, flowers–it can be said that it has been an unprecedented reception in the DPRK.

Sources from the Yugoslav Embassy in Pyongyang informed us that an organization committee led by Kim Il Sung himself had been established in view of the preparations for the visit.

Numerous efforts have been undertaken so that Pyongyang appears as festive as possible–billboards, flower garlands, flags, illuminated slogans, refurbishment, etc. Approximately two weeks in advance, Korean party organizations discussed Yugoslavia, its internal and foreign policies, and President Tito’s personality.

Also unprecedented has been the number of participants–approximately 300,000 people at the reception, around 100,000 people at the organized meeting, and around 50,000 people at the artistic and sports event.

The exceptional efforts undertaken by the Korean leadership ensured the utmost success of the visit; it is estimated that a new record has been set in Pyongyang in the last 5 years.

According to sources from the Yugoslav Embassy, President Tito mentioned that, among all the 50 countries he has visited thus far, ‘the visit to the DPRK exceeded all expectations.’

II. Referring to discussions between President Josip Broz Tito and President Kim Il Sung on September 2nd, within a working meeting with Ambassador Dumitru Popa and Victor Nanu, Yugoslav Ambassador to Pyongyang Tode Vardjinsky recounts the following:  

During one of their first meetings, President Tito told President Kim Il Sung about his visit to the USSR. Among others, he noted that a series of issues regarding international communism and the workers’ movement have been discussed, including Eurocommunism and communist parties’ autonomy worldwide. Tito told L. I. Brezhnev that he does not want to defend Santiago Carrillo because of his various mistakes, but acknowledges that Carrillo is right in adopting an independent policy for the Spanish Communist Party given the specific conditions in Spain. The independent, autonomous activity of the Spanish Communist Party constitutes a mobilizing factor for the masses and for all progressive movements in Spain.

Acting otherwise means encouraging reactionary forces in their fight against communism.

Tito and Kim Il Sung concurred that there is no such thing as a European, African or Asian communism, but only historical and socio-economical differences between countries. The Yugoslav President further noted that there is no need for a leader or a center of the communist movement. As such, emphasized Tito, the SFRY sought to include in the final act of the 1976 Conference of Communist and Workers Parties of Europe in Berlin a provision for respecting the autonomy of each party.

The incident with Santiago Carrillo is an infringement of the final act of the Berlin Conference. Tito noted that the Soviets had made a big mistake in publishing the article against the Spanish Communist Party in Novoye Vremya. Although Brezhnev admitted to this mistake, he further mentioned that Carrillo was also wrong to publish a well-known anti-Soviet book. Novoye Vremya was compelled to counter respond and, as such, it became a dispute among journalists.

Referring to the situation in Africa, Tito mentioned that reactionary forces in the US, Latin America, Europe, England, France and the FGR are actively seeking to mobilize in order to overthrow progressive regimes in countries such as Libya, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, and to defeat democratic and progressive movements throughout Africa.

Reactionary forces are very well organized, having calculated strategies. Hostile reactions from certain countries, including some from the Non-Aligned Movement such as Egypt, Morocco, Zaire, are highly threatening both peace within the region and the unity of the Non-Aligned Movement. US retaliatory forces together with reactionary movements in Africa have orchestrated and managed to overthrow some progressive regimes. According to Tito, given the situation, it is our obligation to encourage and support all anti-imperialist and progressive movements throughout the world. Kim Il Sung fully agreed, further proposing to maintain a direct and permanent contact with all the states in order to explain the current global situation and to mobilize all the Non-Aligned countries so as to defend and strengthen the solidity of the movement.

The Yugoslav Ambassador noted that when Tito inquired about Kim Il Sung’s opinion on the People’s Republic of China, the Korean head of state avoided a direct answer, simply responding ‘You will go there and you will see.’

Referring to the situation in Asia, President Kim Il Sung mentioned that the Socialist Republics of Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea have become free countries, but suffer from a series of unsolved territorial and national issues, which reactionary forces are taking advantage of. A military conflict in Indochina is possible. Kim Il Sung recommended Tito to visit Kampuchea, Laos and Vietnam in order to discuss and resolve the major issues within these countries without external influence (Soviet and Chinese). Tito responded that he can make some suggestions without assuming a mediatory role.

Discussing the Korean issue, Kim Il Sung noted that the DPRK is willing to liaise with the US in order to discuss the problem on a general level, not in detail. The DPRK primarily wishes for American troop withdrawal from South Korea, guaranteeing it will not attack South Korea.

For the time being, the US administration does not wish to negotiate with the DPRK in the absence of South Korean delegates. Answering Tito’s question, Kim Il Sung noted that the DPRK does not wish to discuss the Korean issue with Japan, the USSR and China.

Acknowledging both North and South Korea’s interests in the matter, as well as the role of the United States, the DPRK is willing to discuss the Korean issue and negotiate with American and South Korean envoys, but not with representatives of the fascist leadership in Seoul until it has been replaced with a democratic government.

Regarding the Non-Aligned Movement, President Tito emphasized the need to strengthen the movement and adopt more flexible membership criteria. It is important to be aware of more unusual situations; why should countries like Romania or Sweden not enjoy full membership within the Non-Aligned Movement?

The Yugoslav Ambassador to Pyongyang recounted that prior to his visit to the USSR, President Tito received a letter from President Jimmy Carter, showing interest in the following visits to the USSR and China, and proposing that Tito discuss the real situation in Europe and the situation in Asia with Soviet leaders and Kim Il Sung, respectively.

Signed: D. Popa