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Digital Archive International History Declassified

December 22, 1946

REPORT FOR COMRADE ROMANENKO ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN KOREA

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    "Report for Comrade Romanenko on the Political Situation in Korea," December 22, 1946, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AGShVS RF, f. 172, op. 614631, d. 17a, ll. 146-154. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114895
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[handwritten at the top: "Copy delivered to Cde.

Romanenko personally on 23.12.1946”]

TO CDE. ROMANENKO

Pass the following recommendations to our friends about the attitude of the Democratic National Front toward the proposed elections of local government bodies in South Korea.

1. Strengthen the National Democratic Front inasmuch as in recent months it has been weakened by the terror of the American military administration and the opportunistic splitting activity of the opposition elements of leftist parties.

First of all, it is necessary to strengthen the leadership of the Democratic National Front. Put the D. N. F. chairmen in [their] place. Work out a clear tactical line of behavior. Knock together all leftist parties and public organizations around the D.N.F. leadership and guide them so that they work actively and unanimously, and adhere to a common tactical line. Use all possible means and means of political influence on the broad popular masses with the goal of exposing the reactionary machinations of the American military administration and the leadership of the right-wing parties and with the purpose of attracting the broad masses to their side and creating the conviction among them that a powerful organizing force in the person of the Democratic National Front is leading their struggle.

2. The Democratic National Front is to advance a program declaration [programmnaya deklaratsiya] on the issue of elections to local government bodies. State the following in the declaration:

I. Express its satisfaction about the desire of the American military administration to hand over power at the local level to elected people’s bodies and express its hope that inasmuch as the American military administration has decided to hand over power to the people at the local level then it is listening closely and sensitively to the wishes and demands of the Korean people.

Discredit the system of the proposed local self-government consisting of a governor and councils under them. Point out that such a system existed under the Japanese and was deeply hated by the Korean people. The Korean people unanimously desire that all government authority be transferred to local [na mestakh] People's Committees elected on the basis of universal, equal, and direct elections with a secret ballot.

Point out that the People's Committees arose in South Korea immediately after the liberation of Korea from the Japanese, even before the American troops arrived in South Korea. Point out that the People's Committees are not an informal form of government or one introduced from outside but that they arose as a result of the creation of the masses themselves and that they have a deeply popular nature, and therefore they are the most acceptable and proper form of government in a democratic Korea. Point out that the Korean people are striving to make their country a People's Republic in which authority should belong to the People's Committees from top to bottom. This is why the Korean people created their People's Committees everywhere immediately after Korea's liberation from the Japanese and formed their own Government of the People's Republic on 6 September 1945.

     Therefore the D.N.F., expressing the democratic aspirations and wishes of the Korean people, have repeatedly declared in their platform, statements, appeals, and slogans the need to hand over all power to People's Committees elected by the people and now once again reiterates its demand.

2. A small group of Korean reactionaries, among whom a considerable number are pro-Japanese elements who previously actively collaborated with the Japanese and helped the Japanese oppress and rob the Korean people, oppose a transfer of power to People's Committees and the formation of a government of the Korean Republic in Korea.

Pro-Japanese elements and incorrigible Korean reactionaries, trying to paper over and conceal their crimes against the Korean people, are trying to suck up to and curry favor with the American military command, and are trying to work their way into their trust, and toward these ends they slander leftist parties and public organizations, manual laborers, white-collar workers, and intellectuals with all sorts of tales. These enemies of the Korean people are trying in every way to get the American military command to quarrel with democratic leftist parties and public organizations, but they themselves are trying to gain power at any price in order to oppress and exploit the Korean people as before, as under the Japanese.

Deceiving the people and covering themselves with the false slogan of struggling against a trusteeship, these enemies of democratic Korea oppose the Moscow decision about Korea since this decision is directed against the pro-Japanese reactionary elements hostile to the people and is in complete accord with the interests of the Korean people inasmuch as its provides for the rapid elimination of the disastrous consequences of the long Japanese domination of Korea, the creation of a democratic Korean government, guarantees the complete independent statehood of Korea, and provides friendly aid to the Korean people from the four great democratic powers.

Reactionary and pro-Japanese elements have wrecked the work of the Joint Soviet-American Commission with their provocative statements against the Moscow decision and thus postponed the moment of Korean unification and the creation of a Korean democratic government.

Now they want to lay the blame on others for wrecking the work of the Joint Soviet-American Commission.

The American military command has no reason to support and trust these reactionary anti-people elements and not to trust and support the many millions of Korean people whose patriotic desires, ambitions, and aspirations are expressed by the D.N.F. The American military command and Military Administration would have considerably greater authority and respect among the people and would solve the problems with which they are faced considerably faster [inserted by hand: by listening to the voice of the D.N.F. and] if in their work they relied on democratic parties and the public organizations in the D.N.F. which express the will of the absolute majority of the Korean people.

3. In the name of the Korean people the D.N.F. declares that it is ready to act in close cooperation with the American military administration in holding national [narodnye] democratic elections to the local government bodies of South Korea, the People's Committees.

Local government bodies - People's Committees - should be elected on the basis of universal, equal, and direct elections with a secret ballot.

All citizens of South Korea who have reached the age of 20 should enjoy voting rights regardless of their [Translator's note: two words are crossed out there, the second of which is prinadlezhnosti ("affiliation"); the first may be natsional'noy ("ethnic")] faith, residential status [osedlost'], educational qualifications, social origin, and property holdings with the exception of the mentally ill and national traitors - pro-Japanese elements who actively collaborated with the Japanese and helped the Japanese oppress the Korean people.

Women should enjoy the right to vote and be elected on an equal basis with men.

4. The organization and holding of elections to local government bodies should be entrusted to a Central Election Commission which should be formed of representatives of all political parties and public organizations. The Central Election Commission should develop detailed regulations about the elections.

5. The nomination of candidates as deputies of local government bodies is to be conducted by electoral districts.

The right to nominate candidates to local government bodies should be granted to all political parties and public organizations in existence in South Korea without exception, and also to meetings of manual laborers, peasants, white-collar workers, intellectuals, landowners, merchants, and entrepreneurs.

6. All political parties and public organizations are to be granted  complete freedom to campaign [agitatsiya] for their nominated candidates. All political parties and public organizations are to immediately be granted equal [typed above the line as an insertion and crossed out later in the list: freedom of speech], press, assembly and meeting, street parades, and demonstrations for this purpose.

7. Democratic patriots who were repressed for participating in strikes and popular disturbances caused by the serious economic situation or [which were] provoked by the police or bureaucrats, and all those imprisoned for participation in the left-wing democratic movement are to be immediately released from prison and given an opportunity to participate in the elections.

8. Provincial, Regional, and District Election Commissions of representatives of political parties, public organizations, enterprises, institutions, and villages are to be created to hold elections in the provinces and electoral districts.

9. The elected local government bodies - People's Committees - should have all local authority. Deputies of People's Committees should enjoy a deputy's immunity and bear responsibility to higher People's Committees and to their voters for their work.

10. Lower People's Committees should be subordinate to higher ones. Until a Provisional Democratic Government of Korea is formed on the basis of the Moscow decision, Provincial People's Committees should be subordinate to the American Military Administration or the Central Election Commission, which should be temporarily entrusted with the responsibilities of central administration of South Korea.

The D.N.F. cannot recognize the so-called Legislative Body of South Korea since the left-wing democratic parties are not represented in it and it is not recognized by a majority of the people.

Elected provincial, urban, and rural district People's Committees should immediately begin to carry out democratic reforms in South Korea under the supervision of the American Military Administration (land reform - the free transfer of land to peasants; the nationalization of the former Japanese industry, transportation, communications, and banks; a labor law for manual laborers and white-collar workers; a law safeguarding the right to private property and rewarding the personal initiative of Koreans in the development of Korean industry and commerce; etc.)

3. It is necessary that all political parties and organizations in the D.N.F. begin large-scale work among the masses to explain this D.N.F. declaration.

It is necessary to get moderate political parties and organizations not in the D.N.F. to support and approve the D.N.F. declaration.

4. In the event that the American military command makes important concessions in the creation of local government bodies the D.N.F. for its part should make some minor [neprintsipial'nye] concessions and take part in the elections.

In this event it will be necessary at any cost have no less than 50% of the representatives in the Central, provincial, and district election commissions to be from the DNF.

It will be necessary to use the experience of holding elections to People's Committees in North Korea in the organization of the elections.

Candidates members of People's Committees from the D.N.F. should be the only ones from all the political parties and public organizations in the D.N.F. The D.N.F. should offer their own candidates in all electoral districts.

5. D.N.F. tactics should change depending on the behavior of the American military command and the right-wing parties.

6. Demand that the elections be financed by the military administration's budget.

SHTYKOV

22.12.46

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