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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 01, 1947


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

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    Shtykov informs Ignatev of South Korea's current inability to pay its debt for electricity to North Korea.
    "Letter to General-Lieutenant Hodge on Northern Korea Providing Electricity to Southern Korea," January 01, 1947, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsAMO, Fond not listed, Opis 480c, Delo 25, listi 22-23. Obtained by Kim Dong-gil and translated by Aleksandr Gorokhov and James Person.
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[handwritten] To Colonel-General c. Shtykov

From Colonel Ignatev

To the Commander of American Forces


__________ South Korea


[seal of Shtykov]    General-Lieutenant Hodge

Dear General!

The Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea informs you of the debt of South Korea for electricity, received from North Korean power plants following the capitulation of Japan.

For the period from 15 August 1945 to the 1st of January 1947 South Korea received from North Korea 604,224,088 kilowatt-hours of electricity. At the rate from the 1st of July 1945, established by the company Joseon  Denki Kabushiki Kaisha [The Joseon  Electricity Joint Stock Company] in the telegraph order No 1170 from 2 July 1945, the cost of this electricity, converted to American dollars according to the exchange rate from 1 July 1945, is $4,240,261.51.

At present, South Korea does not make any payments for the provided electricity.

This arrangement has lead to the economic downfall of North Korean power stations.

Due to the balance deficit, major repairs and equipment maintenance is not taking place, and there are great delays in the salary of the maintenance personnel.

If you are interested that South Korea continues to receive the regular, uninterrupted supply of electricity from North Korean power stations, please be so kind as to assist in providing compensation for the provided bill by February 10, 1947 and that timely payment is made on a monthly basis for future bills which will follow here forth.

If for one reason or another South Korea has difficulty making payments in American dollars, we are prepared to accept payment in the form of goods shipped from South Korea to North Korea. We will accept material and equipment necessary for the function of power plants, in particular: transformers, electric motors and lights, wire, insulation materials as well as rice, for the power plant employees.   

I find it necessary to warn you that according to the transformer substation in Haeju, the maximum capacity of electricity that can be sent to Seoul is set at 50,000 kW.

In case the maximum capacity will be exceeded, the line running to Seoul will be shut off at the Haeju substation in order to prevent a system malfunction.

I ask you, comrade general, to inform us of your efforts to resolve this electric bill by means of a letter addressed to the Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea.

In the event that the matter of the bill will not be resolved in the appointed time period, to our deepest regret, we will be forced to discontinue the supply of electricity to South Korea as of 24:00 February 15, 1947.

Chairman of the Provisional People’s

Committee of North Korea

(Kim Il Sung)