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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 28, 1953


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

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    A wide range of topics are addressed, including the basic guidelines of the 5th Plenum of the KWP CC, education, espionage, culture, transportation, agriculture and the economic situation in ROK.
    "Report No. 1 of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for the Period of 1 January 1953 to 28 February 1953," February 28, 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polish Foreign Ministry Archive. Obtained for NKIDP by Jakub Poprocki and translated for NKIDP by Maya Latynski.
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of the Polish Republic

in Korea [letterhead]


Of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland

In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

For the period of 1 January 1953 to 28 February 1953

I. Polish-Korean relations.

[New Year’s telegrams exchanged, they show growing friendship; show of Polish films; radio programs from Poland; Korean art exhibition to be shown in Poland; too little information about lives of Korean children and students in Poland.]

II. Domestic situation in the DPRK.

1. Activities of the Korean Workers’ Party

As a result of the implementation of the directives of the V Plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ party contained in the speech made by Chairman of the party, Comr. Kim Il Sung, meetings of basic party organizations are taking place throughout the country, at which these directives are being relayed to the broad masses of party members.

The basic guidelines of the V Plenum of the CC KWP can be summarized in the following points:

a) The struggle for the further strengthening of the party through the qualitative growth of the party, using the method of ideological-political education of party members, and especially newly admitted ones.

b) Strengthening organizational-party work of the basic party organizations.

c) Struggle for the leading role of party members.

d) Struggle for raising party-ness among party members.

e) Struggle against liberalism, outdated sectarianism and all kinds of deviations from the party line.

f) Struggle against the bureaucratic work style of the party organizations and state organs.

g) The struggle for the broad application of critique and auto-critique, which are key factors in strengthening the party and giving it the fighting spirit.

h) Struggle for a tight link between the party and the masses.

At the meetings of the basic party organizations, under fire from critique and auto-critique, the party unearths exponents of these mistakes and deviations, unmasking them before the broad masses of party members.

As a result of the party meetings, the following people have been dismissed from positions they had occupied, for their anti-national and anti-party activities: V[ice]-minister of Culture and Propaganda Jo Il-myeong [Jo Il Myong] and V[ice]-minister of Foreign Affairs Ju Yeong-ha [Ju Yong Ha].

V[ice]-minister of Education Pak Heon-sik [Pak Hon Sik] was dismissed from his post for the mistakes he had committed in professional and party work.

The party has declared a decisive war on mistakes at work of some party organizations. The basic mistakes of some provincial, city and regional party organizations are non-planning of working competence in steering the work of activists, as a result of which the body of party activists does not grow; incomprehension of principles, especially in the area of political guidance of work of the local state administrative cells. The party is fighting with the phenomenon of bureaucratism, carelessness and dishonesty in the work of party organizations, which could be seen, for example, in the work of the City Committee of the KWP in Hamheung. The City Committee in Hamheung led to the outcome of committing several mistakes, to the downfall of political-party activity of the party organizations under it and to facts of abuse on the part of functionaries of economic organs. The general meeting of activists of this committee, as a result of critique and auto-critique, uncovered these facts and the proper consequences were imposed on the guilty. All the members of the committee were dismissed from their positions. In general, it is the party’s principal task, in the current phase, to fight to consolidate its ranks, and to strengthen the party’s unity, as the basic precondition of the DPRK’s victory in the struggle against the American-English interventionists and the treacherous Syngman Rhee clique.

2. The overall stabilization of the DPRK.

In this reporting period, a further process of stabilization of economic and political life in the DPRK could be observed. The resolutions of the V CC KWP Plenum and their implementation are contributing to the strengthening of the apparatus of people’s power. The authority of the party and government of the DPRK is being created by the uncovering of all mistakes in the work of the economic and administrative organs and by the example-setting punishment of those who committed them.

Despite the difficult and lengthy war, with the criminal methods being used by the enemy side, the Korean nation calmly and trustingly believes in its victory and is working to strengthen its people’s-democratic state and its successes. With the steady help from the Soviet Union and the countries of people’s democracy, in this reporting period the government of the DPRK had major achievements in developing the individual branches of political and economic life.

A) Education

The question of developing elementary, secondary and higher education is a source of constant concern for the government and the party. Despite the heavy destruction, which the barbarian bombing by the American air pilots is inflicting on education, the network of schools is increasingly broadening. It can easily be said that education in the DPRK, despite the conditions of war, is universal. In accordance with the party’s guidelines, a strong campaign in the direction of totally eliminating illiteracy is currently being waged. To achieve this goal, a large network of schools for adults is being organized. These schools are springing up mostly in the larger factories. For example, in the city of Cheongjin alone, there are over 40 schools for adults. The local democratic agitation centers are in charge of organizing the teaching of adults and taking care of schools. One of the recommendations of the V Plenum of the CC KWP is the struggle to improve teaching programs in the DPRK’s educational system, which do not meet the needs that the government and the party place before education.

With the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of 5 January 1953 in mind, the following academic institutions were reorganized: Institute of the Russian language in Pyongyang into the Institute of foreign languages; the State School of Music into the State Institute of Music; the State School of the Arts into the State Institute of the Arts. The period of study in all the schools mentioned above has been lengthened from 2 to 3 years.

More details about the DPRK educational system are provided in the annex to this report.

B) The development of culture.

A stormy growth of the national culture in the DPRK was observed in the period of seven years from the moment of liberation of Korea by the Red Army from the shackles of Japanese imprisonment. Folk music is developing quickly, many compositions based on folk motifs are being created (last year there were 388 [transl. note: very difficult to read: the number may actually be 588] such compositions), central theater, ballet ensembles and song and dance ensembles are being created, three symphony orchestras exist already, whose programs include new compositions. Song and dance ensembles are developing in provincial cities, and even in Korean villages. The above-mentioned data about the growth of DPRK’s culture apply to the period of the war. The party and the government are making efforts to draw out the beauty of Korean culture and its progressive traditions. Writers and poets also have major successes, as in their creations they express the heroism of the struggle and work of the Korean nation in its just war of liberation against the efforts of the imperialist interventionists and the Syngman Rhee regime to subjugate the Korean nation and to deprive it of its gains. Poetry is developing broadly among soldiers on the front. Recently, many promising poets have appeared in their ranks. Soldier-poets in their poems extol the Korean People’s Army soldiers’ heroism and service to the people’s cause.

Across Korea, the 29th anniversary of Lenin’s death was celebrated very solemnly. In Pyongyang, in all the provincial and regional towns, in the villages and in schools, lectures on the revolutionary activity of the Great teacher of progressive humanity, Comrade Lenin, are taking place. In connection to the Lenin days, the workers of many factories and institutions celebrated the memory of Great Lenin by setting production goals.

On 6 February of this year, the cinematography of the DPRK celebrated the 6th anniversary of its existence. The young Korean cinematography has had major achievements. In the past years, despite the difficult conditions of war, it produced 6 feature films, some of which were shown in Poland, 33 documentary films and 107 newsreels. The film production plan for 1953 envisages the Korean film production producing 5 feature films. These films are to connect to the best revolutionary traditions of the Korean nations. (For details, see note No. 2421/11/53/TJN of 24.II.1953.)

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK established a state bonus for the best literary or artistic creation. The decision plans to award three-degree bonuses. A I degree bonus will entail an amount of 40,000-60,000 won, II degree of 20,000-40,000 won, III degree of 10,000-20,000 won. Poems, prose, musical compositions, literature reviews, film scripts, paintings, sculptures, dance and others qualify to be rewarded with bonuses.

The Korean government has demonstrated much concern and recognition for the creators of progressive Korean culture, hence the decisions of the Supreme People’s Assembly in July of this year to establish the title of the DPRK People’s Artist. According the the Minju Choson newspaper, on 31.XII.1952, the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK awarded the title of People’s Artist of the DPRK to 10 outstanding artists.

But there are also shortcomings in the area of the correct development of culture in the DPRK. At the V Plenum of the CC KWP, Comr. Kim Il Sung spoke about a group of writers and artists who are still burdened with certain influences of bourgeois ideology, which are reflected in their creative work. Comr. Kim Il Sung called on the party to fight these deviations decisively, to fight for the right, revolutionary road of the development of culture in the DPRK, supported by the experiences of the leading culture of the Soviet Union.

C) Transportation.

The DPRK’s transportation system is currently facing great challenges. The first one concerns the efficient and systematic supplying of the front. The second is the indispensable supplying of food and raw materials for production in the rear. The long-lasting war has inflicted great harm on the DPRK’s transportation system, especially its railways. Station buildings have been completely destroyed, tracks and rail bridges have been seriously damaged. Road transportation has also suffered quite a lot. The damage to road surfaces is great, cars and repair stations have been damaged by the air force. Despite these difficult conditions of work, the DPRK transportation system has made great strides, but not as great as it should have been able to if it used all the forces and reserves present in it. Comr. Kim Il Sung showed at the V Plenum of the CC KWP that the main shortcoming of rail transport is the incompetent use of the already very small rolling stock. About 80% of cars run in one direction without freight, when large quantities of freight are waiting to be transported to various parts of the country. Comr. Kim Il Sung stressed that in this situation some regions of the country suffer shortages of articles, of which there is enough in other regions. In February of this year, a council of the workers of road transportation of the Korean People’s Army took place, at which drivers and mechanics, guided by the recommendations of the V Plenum, discussed the issues relating to making transportation more efficient. The basic issues of the transportation workers’ council were: the question of the technical performance of the vehicles, trips without breakdowns, economizing gasoline and fulfilling the transportation plan with a surplus. The party’s instructions for transportation have been the subject of discussions among the workers of the DPRK transportation system, and already now one can see a marked improvement in its work.

D) Industry.

The V Plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party is placing a very important task before DPRK’s industry. In examining the mistakes of some branches of industry, the party is conducting an urgent fight aimed at eliminating them, with the participation of the broadest masses of workers and the engineering-technical apparatus. In connection with this, councils of the activists of individual branches of industry, which were announced in December of last year, are being convened. From 20 to 23 January of this year, a council of the activists in heavy industry took place, at which the forms and methods of raising production, not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of quality, were discussed. Such councils of the industrial activists are also taking place in the industrial centers of provincial towns. As a result of these discussions, a concentration of the movement to raise the quantity and quality of production could be observed recently.

The DPRK’s party and government are demonstrating constant concern for the growth of industry. Evidence of this is the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers to grant short-term loans for the growth of state industry. This decision assigns the distribution of these loans to the Central Bank of North Korea, whose plan of distribution of these funds is subject to approval by the Cabinet of Ministers. This decision became effective on 1 January 1953. The results of this action have not yet been published.

E) Agriculture.

At the V Plenum of the CC KWP, the achievements of agriculture were summarized, stressing the great productivity of the production of the main agricultural crops.

The overall production of cereals surpassed the harvest of 1951 by 113%, which in numbers represents an increase in the harvest of 340,000 tons. Still, these achievements could be even greater.

Comr. Kim Il Sung, in his speech at the V Plenum, subjected the Ministry of Agriculture to a critique, pointing out its mistakes. The main mistake in the work of this ministry was leaving 70,000 jeongbo[tenbo] (1 tenbo = 0.9 ha.) of arable land fallow in 1952, and justifying this state of affairs with the difficulties stemming from the war. Too little attention was paid to the issue of assistance to the poor peasantry. The Plenum’s recommendations direct the attention of the peasant masses to the issue of the further increase of good harvests per hectare of crops such as barley, wheat, soy and vegetables.

Because of the approaching spring, preparing the farmers for spring work in the fields is a burning issue. As a result of the implementation of the recommendations of the party Plenum regarding agriculture, an All-Korean congress of leading peasants was organized in Pyongyang, whose sessions lasted from 5 to 8 January of this year. The congress set for itself the task of conveying the decisions of the Plenum to the broad masses of the peasantry and further to mobilize the peasants around executing the tasks of food and industrial raw material production, which are so important to the country. Further, it had the task of promoting the experiences of the leading peasants, with the goal of applying them in agriculture more broadly. The congress demonstrated that many peasants, thanks to their concentrated effort and concern for their production, have had significant individual achievements. For example, a peasant from the Dongju region of North Pyeongan province, Kim Dae-sik, harvested 19.8 tons of rice per hectare; Son Hwa-sil from Hoeyang, Gangwon province, harvested 9.2 tons of corn per hectare; Kim Chang-han from the Pungsan region of South Hamgyeong province harvested 72 tons of potatoes from 1 hectare; and female peasant Ha Jin-seon from Guseong region of North Pyeongan province harvested 10.7 tons of cotton per 1 hectare.  The congress adopted a resolution about intensifying efforts to further raise agricultural productivity and eliminate existing fallow land.

The resolutions of the congress were heard widely in the Korean countryside. Under its influence, the movement of competition between individual peasants and whole villages of the DPRK aimed at raising the productivity of agricultural production strengthened. Meetings of peasants in all the villages of the DPRK discuss the congress’ recommendations and they gain ardent support from the peasants.

The government and party are paying much attention to the issue of helping the poor peasants and fishermen, who are feeling the effects of the war most acutely. The DPRK Cabinet of Ministers’ decision of 18 February 1953 about improving the economic situation of the poor peasants and fishermen envisions granting them assistance in the following forms:

1. Selling fallow land in more favorable conditions;

2. Handing over for farming land that is not being cultivated by institutions and factories that own auxiliary farms;

3. Giving help in relocating to those peasants who receive land in other regions;

4. Making it possible for poor peasants to join self-help groups, which own tractive forces;

5. Giving reproductive horned livestock to them;

6. Granting loans to poor peasants to enable them to buy working cattle;

7. Making it possible for those peasants who cannot make a living from farming the land they own to get jobs in factories;

8. As for poor fishermen, the resolution recommends activating so-called fishermen’s communities and accepting those fishermen into the above communities.

The peasant bank, which was reorganized as a result of the critical assessment of its activity at the V Plenum, is charged with distributing financial assistance to the peasantry, first of all the poor peasantry, on behalf of the state. The peasant bank has already begun to grant short-term loans to the poorest peasants, the families of those who fell in the struggle for the independence of the fatherland, families of war invalids and those whose family members are at the front.

F) The struggle against espionage.

On 22 January 1953 the War Council of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea issued a decision to make the fight against spies and the work of the people’s self-defense units more efficient. The decision stresses that in the period when the American-English imperialists are massively dropping spies and saboteurs onto the territory of the DPRK, with the goal of gaining information that is important to the enemy, this fight is of great significance. In order to conduct an increasingly successful fight against espionage, it is indispensable to make the people’s self-defense units more massive. It is an important condition of the efficacy of this struggle to increase vigilance among the population, which should be expressed in terms of guarding secrets of top importance to the defense of the country. Further, the decision discusses acts of mercy toward the spies who willingly hand themselves over into the hands of security authorities or people’s self-defense units and express remorse for their activities to date. The decision foresees absolute and strict punishment of those who will again engage in spying for the enemy. It also envisages rewarding those who demonstrate special achievements in the fight against spies and saboteurs, as well as strict sentences for those who assist spies or hide them.

In the recent period, spies and saboteurs have been massively caught, and, what is important, not only by the people’s units of self-defense but by individual peasants, workers and even by school children. This phenomenon is the result of the broad political-propaganda action being conducted by the government and party, whose goal is to demonstrate the harm inflicted on the country by spies. In the month of February alone, 150 spies and saboteurs were caught.

Last year, 2,400 members of the people’s self-defense units were decorated with state orders and medals for outstanding services in the struggle against espionage, and diplomas of recognition were granted to 6,572.

The struggle against espionage can easily be described as a broad, patriotic, nation-wide movement.

G) V anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army.

On 8 February 1953, the whole Korean nation celebrated the 5th anniversary of the creation of the Korean People’s Army very solemnly, a creation that was a historical act in the life of the Korean nation. Since then, the DPRK has ceased being a defenseless country, which has been demonstrated especially in the period of the just war against the imperialist American-English interventionists and their Syngman Rhee-ite lackeys.

In the period of these 5 years, the Korean People’s Army has been covered in glory, having become stronger like never before, and it is being transformed into a modern army that, as it defends its country from enemies, is inflicting losses that grow every day.

The People’s Army’s political consciousness has grown significantly, especially in the period of the national-liberation war. The army’s high morale is based on the party-educational work inside the army, which is being conducted by the Korean Workers’ Party. This has enormous significance for achieving the final victory. In this period, the People’s Army’s fighting power has also grown, the experience of the commanders has increased in the difficult conditions of the war, as they conduct military operations, as they become familiar with the Stalinist science of war strategy and tactics and rely on the experiences of the heroic Soviet Army, especially in the period of the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War, as they have learned to win and to beat the enemy.

The numbers of the army have grown threefold during the national-liberation war, and the firepower of each infantry division has increased by 160% compared to 1951.

In his speech at the council of the top officers of the Korean People’s Army, Comr. Kim Il Sung placed the following task before the army in 1953 with the goal of firming up the readiness of the Korean People’s Army to conduct a long-lasting war and to fight on a broad scale:

1. To educate soldiers and officers in the spirit of the justice of our cause and to prepare them to conduct the stubborn, long-lasting war. The ideological-preparatory work should be conducted in such a way that, if the enemy wishes to perform a daring attack or he undertakes any sort of landing operation, it will not only to shatter the enemy but strike the death blow, and thereby accomplish a breakthrough in the course of the Korean war.

The educational and party-political work should be concentrated fully in the direction of strengthening discipline in the army and of the one-person command, to educate all soldiers and officers in the spirit of hatred toward the American armed interventionists and the treasonous Syngman Rhee-ite clique. Strictly to protect military secrets, combat talkativeness and take care of military equipment with care.

2. It is necessary to make the operational and tactical use of all types of arms and their interaction in battles more efficient. To strengthen our land and sea positions and to defend them steadfastly.

Not to allow the adversary to move forward and to land his troops on the shores. Incessantly increase the activeness of our armies in the defense and to exhaust the enemy’s forces, while destroying as much as possible of his live force and equipment.

To increase the accuracy of our anti-aircraft artillery fire.

3. As quickly as possible to raise the quality of our commanders’ and staffs’ tactical and strategic preparedness.

To improve all types of intelligence and to remember that without intelligence we cannot achieve accurate strikes at the enemy.

4. Incessantly to train all types of armies. Conduct more tactical exercises and military shooting. The exercises should be conducted on flat areas and in the forest, in conditions maximally similar to the real battle situations, and to conduct 40% of them at night.

5. To make the work of supplying the army more efficient and to appreciate the fact that the course of military operations depends on the supplying of units with ammunition and food at the right time.

The fulfillment of the recommendations from Comr. Kim Il Sung will undoubtedly contribute to the further strengthening of the Korean People’s Army and its preparedness to push back any sort of attack by the enemy and to inflict the final defeat on him.

Especially important was this year’s anniversary of the creation of the KPA. It is connected to the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly’s nomination, as an expression of the recognition of his great services lying in the work of strengthening and educating the Army, of the creator of this Army, Comrade Kim Il Sung as the Marshal of the DPRK. Comr. Kim Il Sung’s life has been inseparably connected with the wartime successes of the Korean People’s Army, hence the love of the Korean nation for the Army and her Commander, which could be seen in the thousands of letters and gifts sent to the soldiers at the front by the people on the occasion of the V anniversary of the KPA. Delegations of peasants and workers from the whole country travelled with greetings to the soldiers at the front. These included the Central People’s Delegation, composed of the Chairman of the CC Trade Unions, Minister of Health and Minister of Education, visited the soldiers at the front. The delegation brought 8,500 parcels with gifts and hundreds of letters from the people to the soldiers. Furthermore, on the occasion of the V Anniversary of the KPA, theater ensembles and song and dance ensembles visited the front.

On the basis of the facts given above, one can deduce that the DPRK’s political and economic life is stabilizing more and more. This gives a stimulus and encouragement to the Korean nation in its further fight for victory in the war of national liberation. The Korean nation knows that the issue of the country’s political and economic development rests in the strong hands of the party and government, that the toughened units of the Korean People’s Army, together with the Chinese People’s Volunteers, are standing up to defend the Fatherland, that it has growing help from the peace camp led by the Soviet Union in its struggle.

III. The military situation.

The approaching spring, according to American plans, is to be the right moment for launching a great, in their view, offensive against the Korean People’s Army and the units of the Chinese people’s volunteers. It aims to rupture the positional war, which has lasted nearly 2 years.

Among the aggressors, there do, however, exist serious doubts whether with the help of the offensive they will be able to gain anything other than losses. Hence a number of views on this issue, among which pessimistic opinions predominate. The statement by Gen. Robert Ickelbarker [sic], ex-commander of the USA’s armies in Japan, is characteristic. He believes that even after the gathering of all the armed forces of the USA in the Far East, there will be no possibility of breaking the Korean front.

According to the American radio, some of the American generals are aiming to launch their offensive and believe in its successes. It can be seen from this that there exist various tendencies in the military leadership of the USA. One can also observe a significant livening up among the aggressors. Visits to Korea took place recently by representatives of the USA general staff, Gen. Collins, the French Marshal Alfonse [sic] Juin, who was accompanied by the commander of the French expeditionary corps, Gen. Allard and the visit by Stevenson. These visits show that the aggressors are preparing for a spring offensive.

The Korean People’s Army and units of the Chinese People’s Volunteers may successfully push off the enemy’s attacks at any moment. Nonetheless, intensive preparations are being made in case of the announced offensive. The front line, and especially the coast, is being strengthened with artillery and tank units. The Korean comrades expect that in case of landings on the territory of the DPRK from the sea, the enemy may have some successes in the first days, but once they are on land, the enemy’s forces will be totally routed.

No nervousness can be observed in the DPRK, the Koreans are calmly making preparations to push off any attacks. For example, in late February, the Hungarian and Czech hospitals were evacuated to places located in the rear. Recently, the American air force intensified its air raids even more against the main communications routes, in this way intending to paralyze supplies to the front, but they did not succeed. Supplies to the front not only were not paralyzed but, on the contrary, strengthened.

The fighting spirit in the ranks of the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteers is growing every day. There are frequent examples of soldiers’ collective and individual heroism. According to the Main Command of the KPA, in February of this year, during one of the attacks by the Chinese people’s volunteers, one of the soldiers performed a heroic act by covering the enemy’s firing position with his body, thus making it possible for his unit to continue to attack.

In contrast to the spirit of heroism and sacrifice of the people’s units, dissatisfaction with the lengthening war is spreading in the enemy’s army. The army’s morale continues to disintegrate. The phenomenon of mass desertions by soldiers of the American army is evidence of this. According to UP on 8.I of this year, since the beginning of the American aggression against the DPRK, 46,000 infantrymen have deserted. Of this number, 35,000 were captured, while 11,000 escaped in unknown directions. Furthermore, 851 soldiers have deserted from the air force, 1,240 from the navy and 637 soldiers from the landing forces. Incidents of soldiers’ refusal to execute orders are also frequent. Thus, for example, 93 soldiers and 1 officer of the 65th regiment of the 3rd American division have refused to execute an order to attack one of the hills on the western front. As a result of this, the American command put the rebels before a military court.

The phenomenon of soldiers and officers of the Syngman Rhee army crossing over to the Korean People’s Army was the reason for the decision issued on 9.I of this year by the DPRK War Council about rewarding soldiers who, individually or collectively, cross over from the south to the north. This decision includes the following rights:

1. Granting of civil rights.

2. It envisages awarding state decorations to those who have performed such a heroic deed. It envisages paying out a money bonus to those who cross over to the side of the KPA with their weapons.

3. Those who want to fight against the American-English interventionists and the Syngman Rhee clique will be able to join the ranks of the KPA, have their military ranks recognized and, in cases of particular services, be promoted to a higher military rank.

4. Those who want to work are assured the appropriate work. It guarantees the giving of land to farmers and envisages assistance in farming it. Those who want to study have the right to choose a school, and the state will cover the cost of their studies.

In cases of soldiers and officers crossing over with their families, this decision guarantees the same rights to these families.

The above-mentioned rights also apply to former citizens of the DPRK.

The decision also guarantees even better treatment of soldiers and officers of the foreign aggressive armies who go over to the side of the KPA. This document is an expression of the strength of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea.

According to data from the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army, the aggressors’ losses in the month of January of this year are as follows:

Killed or wounded Americans 4,000

Englishmen    500

Turks            50

Others, including Syngman Rhee-ites 8,350

Total killed or wounded 12,900 enemy soldiers and officers.

The aggressors’ losses for the month of February of this year amount to 9,500 killed, wounded and captured, including 4,400 American soldiers and officers.

On 22 February of this year, the commander-in-chief of the so-called UN armies in Korea, Gen. Clark wrote a letter to Comr. Kim Il Sung and to the Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese People’s Army Units Peng De Huai proposing an exchange of prisoners-of-war being held by the two warring sides.

It is difficult to know what is the real meaning of this announcement. It is possible that it is one of the propaganda moves from the side of the Americans, who want to throw off responsibility for the talks they broke off in Panmunjom. So far, the Korean Side has not spoken up on this issue. It is to be expected that an answer will be given shortly.

IV. The situation in South Korea.

a) The economic situation of the Syngman Rhee’s regime is becoming increasingly desperate. According to one of the South Korean newspapers, the Syngman Rhee budget for 1953 is 7,327,400,000 won. Of this, 5,008,700,000 won is being appropriated for war purposes. The support of the so-called UN army costs the Syngman Rhee-ites 900,000,000 won. Thus, 92.7% of the budget is intended for the goal of conducting the war. Because of this enormous amount in the budget, the Syngman Rhee-ites intend to increase taxes by 218% compared to 1952. Burdening the people of South Korea with new taxes will further worsen the already catastrophic situation of the popular masses.

The inflation in South Korea, which has been advancing for seven years, forced the puppet government of Syngman Rhee on 15.II.1953 to implement a so-called monetary reform, which is allegedly supposed to put an end to the phenomenon of inflation. According to data from the Syngman Rhee-ite side, the total number of monetary units in circulation has grown from 2,600 million won (as of 15.VIII.1945) to 10 billion won (as of 14.II.1953). The new unit of money is called the “hwan” and is exchanged at 1 hwan to 100 won. As a result of this reform, instead of the stabilization of the currency, which was expected by the Syngman Rhee-ites, one can observed its ongoing drop.

The prices of basic food items grew over the 2 days since the reform more than threefold. Profiteering is growing. An inhabitant of South Korea is allowed to exchange only the small amount of 50,000 won, for which he can buy only 2.5 kgs. of rice. The remainder of the money has been deposited in banks. Following the monetary reform, shops were closed for several days. The people did not trust the new monetary unit, and products were rarely exchanged for the new money. The Syngman Rhee police forced merchants to open their shops and arrested every one who did not want to take the new currency.

The monetary reform was also calculated so that, as a result of it, the Syngman Rhee-ites would manage to force the group of young people who have been avoiding service in the South Korean army to serve. The Syngman Rhee-ite press, bragging, has been writing that this is an effective way to force this youth to come out of hiding because they would otherwise have no money to live on. When money is exchanged, a certificate from the police is demanded when money is exchanged. [sic]

The deepening economic chaos, approaching catastrophe, in the Syngman Rhee-ite regime, the even more tragic situation of the people of South Korea are the effect of the so-called monetary reform.

b) In connection with the steady attempts of the American imperialists to replace the American units at the front with Korean Syngman Rhee units, the Syngman Rhee regime has decided to broaden the age limits for recruitment. Before this decision, the duty to serve in the military encompassed men of 19 to 28 years, now it is from 17 to 32. The Syngman Rhee-ites, in accordance with their masters’ orders, thus want to strengthen the ranks of their army with thousands of young Korean men. According to the Seoul press, the commander-in-chief of the so-called UN troops, Gen. Clark, will be able to organize two more new Syngman Rhee-ite divisions. This way, the number of Syngman Rhee-ite armies will grow from 12 to 14 divisions.

The Syngman Rhee-ite soldiers have not received sufficient amounts of food for a long period of time. The food crisis in the army intensifies every day. As the Syngman Rhee-ite minister of defense admits, the soldiers receive food of a value that is barely one third of the necessary caloric amount. A result of this is the phenomenon of the total exhaustion of soldiers, of whom thousands are in bed in hospitals. New York Times writing about hunger in the Syngman Rhee-ite army, demands that Van Fleet pay greater attention to the issue of improving the food situation because this may lead to massive phenomena of tuberculosis and other diseases in the South Korean army. Hunger and the inhumane treatment of the soldiers of the Syngman Rhee army by the American mercenaries and Syngman Rhee’s officers is causing a constantly growing resistance on their part. In order to prevent this, the American commanders of the so-called UN army assign American instructors to the Syngman Rhee-ite units, whose task is to eliminate all signs of dissatisfaction and disobedience among the troops. The hatred toward American imperialism and the American mercenaries among the Syngman Rhee-ite soldiers is very strong. One of the soldiers who went over to the people’s side stated that many soldiers in the Syngman Rhee army, if they could, would turn their arms against the Americans [sic]. Currently, the phenomenon is observed of individual groups and individual soldiers of the Syngman Rhee-ite army crossing over to the KPA and Chinese people’s volunteers’ side. According to Rodong Sinmun of 26.II of this year, in the period of 1 to 13 February of this year, 51 Syngman Rhee-ite soldiers and officers went over to the people’s side. In a single day, 13.II of this year, 27 soldiers of the 6th, 12th and 15th Syngman Rhee-ite divisions went over to the people’s side with their full equipment.

These facts are evidence of the fact that only terror is maintaining the obedience of the soldiers and forcing them to fight against the DPRK.

c) The Syngman Rhee clique’s war policy, taking over the basic branches of economic life, robbing natural resources by the American imperialists in the disguise of so-called assistance to the South Korea has created incredibly difficult conditions of life for the people. The Syngman Rhee-ites, obeying the orders of the American imperialists, are closing down factories. Thus, for example, compared to 25 June 1952, the output of the textile industry, which is the most developed branch of production, dropped by 63%, the food industry by 70%. The situation of the metallurgical industry, whose production has dropped by 85%, is no better.

The treatment of South Korea as a colony by American imperialism, paralyzing the economic life increases to a great degree unemployment, hunger and destitution of the south’s working masses. In South Korea there is over 1 million unemployed, and the number of half-unemployed and war victims who receive no help is going up to 14 million, of whom 5 million are in camps, where unbearable living conditions dominate. The workers who work are receiving starvation wages. A worker’s earnings compared to June 1950 are 33.3%, while the prices of basic consumer goods have risen by 1.503% [sic]. Unemployment, hunger and destitution of the working masses of South Korea are the cause of the incessant worsening of the condition of the health of inhabitants, and especially of children, among whom large mortality rules. For example, of 1,000 children, 220 die. On the basis of a statement from the health ministry of South Korea, over 100,000 who are suffering from tuberculosis are deprived of health care and have no means of being treated.

The Koreans from the north, who have been kidnapped by the American and Syngman Rhee-ite armies to the south during the temporary occupation of a part of the DPRK, cross the front line risking their lives in order to return to the DPRK. They talk about American crimes that are being committed on the Korean nation. Among others, the Americans are forcing the North Koreans to work in American military intelligence, especially taking advantage of young people. They use these young people to create so-called defense units and drop members of these units onto the territory of the DPRK as spies. This activity has escalated the hatred of the Korean nation toward the imperialist interventionists and their Syngman Rhee-ite lackeys even more.

d) The struggle of the Korean nation against the Syngman Rhee-ite regime and its imperialistic patrons grows in strength daily. On 22 December 1952, a [missing word] of harbor workers in Pusan took place in protest against the murder of a harbor worker working on an American ship by an American mercenary. Over 1,000 workers took part in the strike.

People’s partisans are developing active activities in South Korea, inflicting serious losses on the enemy. Despite the police expeditions aimed against the partisans, which the Syngman Rhee-ites organize incessantly, their activity has not weakened. On 13 December 1952, partisans from Ri Hyeon-sang [Ri Hyon Sang]’s unit active in the region of the cities of Daegu– Geochang, with the active assistance of the people, shattered a column of vehicles of one of the American units. Partisan units on the island of Jeju are very active, inflicting large losses on the Syngman Rhee-ites there. On 22 December of last year, the partisans attacked a formation of Syngman Rhee-ite troops in the area of the city of Hampyeong, which was there with the goal of protecting transportation. The Syngman Rhee-ites are not managing to stamp out the partisan activities. Recently, the Syngman Rhee-ites positioned military units of 50 men each in every village in order to protect the areas threatened by partisan activity. They apply very tough repressions against peasants living in those areas. For example, they take all the food [sic] away from the peasants, leaving them nourishment for only 2 days. In this way, they want to paralyze the peasants’ aid to the partisans. These moves, like the terror being used against the civilian population, that actively support the partisans will not weaken the strength of the partisans in the south, nor their struggle against the hated Syngman Rhee regime and the American interventionists.

e) The Japanese reaction is to play a major role in American imperialism’s aggressive goals to subordinate the nations of Asia and to prolong the aggressive war against the DPRK. After gaining sad experiences in Korea, propagate the motto: “Asians against Asians,” they want to exploit Japanese, Kuomintang and South Korean armies as cannon fodder in their aggressive plans. In order to realize these goals, they need military alliances between these regimes. The main difficulty for American imperialism is putting together a military alliance between Syngman Rhee’s regime and the Japanese reaction. As we know, the overwhelming majority of Koreans, both in the south and in the DPRK, know perfectly well that Japanese imperialism is Korea’s deadly enemy. Creating such an alliance would be equivalent to a repeat occupation of South Korea by the Japanese. In fighting such an alliance, the working class of South Korea has a temporary ally in the national bourgeoisie, which grew up as a result of the lifting of the Japanese occupation and which will not agree to lose the positions it has gained for itself. In this situation, the Syngman Rhee-ites are caught between a rock and a hard place, on the one hand the pressure of the American imperialists to throw together this alliance, on the other hand the wild resistance of the popular masses. Syngman Rhee and his clique, which stems from the Korean bourgeoisie, would not really have anything against tying themselves to the Yoshida government by a military alliance, seeing in it a hope for remaining in power and the possibility of support in the fight against the DPRK. But opposition among the bourgeoisie and the strong resistance of the masses led by the working class are forcing Syngman Rhee to maneuver and to keep his real intentions to himself. The course of events shows that the American imperialists are intently trying to prevent the signing of a military alliance between Syngman Rhee and Yoshida. This is shown by the frequent visits by a variety of politicos from the USA, who come to Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. After their visits, one can see a livening up in the Syngman Rhee clique and the desire for the two regimes to come closer. For instance, on 1 February of this year, a Japanese government delegation came to Seoul and met with Syngman Rhee. According to Seoul radio, the meeting was useful and allegedly contributed to the removal of the contradictions that serve as obstacles to the reaching of an agreement between Japan and South Korea. Syngman Rhee also went to Tokyo. Before leaving for Japan, he declared at a press conference that his trip is only a personal visit and has nothing to do with the issue of rapprochement between South Korea and Japan. In this way he wanted to calm down the agitated public opinion.

The differences between Japan and South Korea are expressed in:

1. Disagreements related to the Japanese demands for the return of Japanese property in Korea, which was confiscated after Korea was liberated from the Japanese occupation. The Syngman Rhee regime does not want to agree to it because the Korean national bourgeoisie does not want to return it.

2. There are serious differences and arguments between the two regimes over the so-called fishing line in the Sea of Japan. The Syngman Rhee-ites have determined an area of fishing at 60 miles from their shores, not allowing the Japanese to fish there. The Japanese, on the other hand, do not want to recognize this since it works against their interests.

In the current situation, it seems unlikely that the Americans [sic] will be able to join South Korea and Japan with an alliance. If this were to happen, however, the Syngman Rhee regime will meet an even more ardent struggle of the Korean nation, which will lead to its inevitable downfall.

V. Internal Embassy matters.

[Personnel changes, Korean comrades think the staff is still too small; meetings with various ministry officials to bring the two countries closer; embassy is suffering shortages of Polish products]

E. Cerekwicki


Charge d’Affaires a.i.

of the Embassy of the PRL [People’s Republic of Poland] in the DPRK