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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 30, 1953

REPORT NO. 2 OF THE EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF KOREA FOR THE PERIOD OF 1 MARCH 1953 TO 30 APRIL 1953

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

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    The Polish Embassy addresses North Korea's reactions toward Stalin's death, its domestic policies in line with the recommendations of the 5th Plenum of the KWP CC, and its stance towards the truce talks.
    "Report No. 2 of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland in the Democratic Republic of Korea for the Period of 1 March 1953 to 30 April 1953 ," April 30, 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. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114950
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Embassy

of the Polish Republic

in Korea

REPORT No. 2

of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland

in the Democratic Republic of Korea

for the period of 1 March 1953 to 30 April 1953

Report No. 2

of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland

in the Democratic Republic of Korea

for the period of 1 March 1953 to 30 April 1953

1. Mourning in the DPRK after the death of Comrade J.V. STALIN.

The news about the death of Comrade Joseph Stalin put the entire nation of the DPRK, which lost its great defender and friend, in deep mourning.

On the day of Comrade Stalin’s death, the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK issued an extraordinary resolution in which it announced a period of mourning in the whole Country until the day of the funeral. As a result of this resolution, state flags of the DPRK, with a black ribbon attached to them, were displayed on all state buildings. Mourning rallies were conducted in all institutions, production plants, villages, schools and military units of the Korean People’s Army. In the cities of Pyongyang, Wonsan, Cheongjin, Sinuiju, Nampo, Hamheung, Nange and Haeju, cannon salvos were fired on the day of Comrade Stalin’s funeral.

On 8 March of this year, Comr. Kim Il Sung, members of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party and members of the DPRK government expressed their condolences to the Ambassador of the USSR to the DPRK.

Throughout the whole period of mourning, numerous delegations of party, state-organization, army, worker and peasant activists visited the Embassy of the Soviet Union in order to express their deep pain caused by the death of the Genius Teacher and Great Leader of the progressive humanity of the world, Comrade Joseph Stalin. Representatives of diplomatic missions of the countries of people’s democracy accredited to the DPRK also delivered their condolences, including the employees of the Embassy of the PRL [Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa—People’s Republic of Poland] in the DPRK.

On 9 March, a central mourning rally took place in the hall of the underground Moranbong theater in Pyongyang, at which members of the CC KWP led by Comr. Kim Il Sung, members of the Presidium of the Supreme National Assembly [sic], members of the government, representatives of the army, diplomatic corps and large numbers of the capital’s population said good-bye to Great Stalin.

In this period, in all the towns and villages of the DPRK, mourning rallies attended by countless numbers of people took place. Workers and peasants took oaths that they would increase their efforts to work even more productively and in this way to contribute to the victory of the DPRK in Her righteous struggle against the imperialistic interveners and the despised regime of Syngman Rhee.

At the news of Comrade Stalin’s death, great mourning touched the soldiers of the Korean Peoples’ Army and the units of the Chinese People’s Volunteers. On 9 March of this year, in all the units of the Korean People’s Army and units of the Chinese People’s Volunteers, mourning rallies took place, at which the soldiers, bidding farewell to Comrade Stalin, took simple soldier’s oaths of loyalty to the Fatherland and pledged to fight the enemy until the last drops of their blood.

Confronting this great loss that progressive humanity has suffered, the Korean nation pledged to work even better, to gather more closely around its people’s-democratic government and its Chairman, Comr. Kim Il Sung.

From the day of the death of Comrade Stalin until the present moment, in all towns, villages, production plants, schools and military units of the Korean People’s Army, party members and non-party people are studying materials and documents devoted to the death of Comrade Stalin.

The memory of Stalin will never be extinguished in the hearts of the Korean nation, just as it will not be extinguished in the hearts of all the progressive people in the entire world. The Korean nation, led by its Party [two illegible words] and its Chairman Kim Il Sung, will faithfully guard the recommendations of the Great Leader.

II. Polish-Korean Relations.

1. [Polish Red Cross hospital being set up, Poland equipped a factory, gifts from the Polish nation]

2. [Invitation of KPA’s dance troupe to Poland, books about Poland being translated, Polish embassy is well equipped with propaganda materials, news about Poland on Korean radio]

III. Internal situation in the DPRK

1. About the activities of the Korean Workers’ Party.

In the reporting period, the Korean Workers’ Party continues to conduct the struggle to realize the resolutions of the V Plenum of the CC KWP in all areas of political and economic life of the DPRK.

Party meetings, at which the resolutions are being conveyed to the mass of party members, continue taking place throughout the country. The party’s main task in the current phase is the struggle to strengthen work discipline and thrift in the production of raw materials and financial resources, as well as the mobilization of all the forces and material resources to speed up the spring work in the fields.

The party meetings at which the resolutions of the V Plenum are being conveyed have demonstrated that party members have high political consciousness and that the overwhelming majority of party members have decisive will to fight against all the deviations and the mistakes stemming from these deviations.

The meetings at which the recommendations of the V plenum were discussed enjoyed a high participation, which went as high as 90% of the party members and candidates, and over 40% of the assembled, mainly workers and peasants, spoke up in the discussions. The party meetings devoted to the V Plenum contributed to raising the political consciousness and militarization of the party members and to strengthening Her inner unity.

As a result of the realization of the resolutions of the V Plenum of the CC KWP, for unknown reasons, Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong] was dismissed from the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs which he had occupied and Minister of Foreign Trade [Cha Su-i] was dismissed from his position. In accordance with a resolution of the Supreme People’s Assembly, on 23 April of this year, former head of the Cadre Department of the CC KWP Comr. Jin Pan-su [Jin Pan Su] was named the Minister of Foreign Trade of the DPRK.

Head of the III Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gu Jae-su [Ku Jae Su] was dismissed from the position he occupied for deviations from the party line and mistakes made in professional work, and for hostile anti-national activities,  Ri Seung-yeop [Ri Sung Yop] was dismissed from the post of secretary of the CC KWP, as he is suspected of sabotage-espionage activity on behalf of American imperialism.

One of the recommendations of the V Plenum is the fight to raise the level of party training. Because of this, on 17 [?] February of this year, a plenary session of the City Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party in Pyongyang took place, at which the achievements and mistakes in party training were subjected to a critical analysis.

The program of party training developed by the CC KWP includes the following issues:

a) Stalin: the economic problems of socialism in the USSR.

b) Documents from the XIX Congress of the CPSU.

c) Documents from the V Plenum of the CC KWP.

The Plenum of the City Committee of the KWP in Pyongyang showed that in many party organizations, the issue of party training was approached formally, while in others party training was not implemented according to the program, but most frequent were the cases of lack of proper [supervision?] over party training by higher party authorities. Because of this situation, the KWP Committee of Pyongyang delegated 291 activists to party work in the area of party training.

The struggle to raise the level of party training and make it more efficient is taking place in all the party committees throughout the country. In this reporting period, meetings of party committees on all levels took place and were devoted to the issue of party training, at which through critique and auto-critique the shortcomings and mistakes that had been noticed were eliminated.

The implementation of the recommendations of the V Plenum continues and encompasses increasingly new segments of political and economic life of the DPRK.

2. The struggle for the further strengthening of the people’s-democratic government in the DPRK.

The DPRK Party and Government are conducting a fight to make the work of the rural People’s Committees (the equivalent of our national councils) more efficient, since their work leaves much to be desired.

Because of this, on 18 February of this year, the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK issued a resolution about making the work of the rural people’s committees more efficient. The resolution points to the necessity of increasing the role of the rural people’s committees on a base of successfully restructuring the local government organs with the participation of the broad masses of the society. Further, the resolution demonstrated that the people’s committees as basic organs of the people’s government should know the conditions of the population’s economic situation and its distribution. The employees of the people’s committees should become acquainted with the economic situation of the countryside, learn to find the appropriate roads and methods of developing the economy of those villages, so as to contribute to raising the material and cultural levels of the life of the inhabitants of the countryside. The people’s committee should be a factor in mobilizing and gathering the peasants around their production tasks. It should aim in its work to eliminate fallow land, to raise the productivity per ha. by popularizing modern methods of soil cultivation.

The rural people’s committee should pay much attention to improving the economic situation of the fishing villages, by organizing fishermen’s work communities, which would make it possible to use fishing equipment better.

The resolution points to the need to raise cultural work in the countryside, it recommends the proper use and direction of institutions that exist in the countryside, which should occupy themselves with these issues.

The rural people’s committee must realize the legally guaranteed assistance to the families of the fallen, invalids and those whose family members are at the front. Apart from this, it should care to implement demonstrating assistance to the front.

The people’s committee can fulfill its tasks only then when it strengthens its ties with the masses and rids itself of the bureaucratic style of work. If it delves into the troubles of its terrain and tries to eliminate them. A deep study of Marxism, Leninism and Stalin’s teachings and the broad implementation of the weapons of criticism and auto-criticism are a basic condition of fulfilling these tasks.

In connection to implementing the recommendations of the V Plenum regarding making the work of the organs of state government and economic organs more efficient, concerned with forming stronger ties between the power apparatus and the masses, the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK issued a resolution about examining requests and complaints from the population on time and precisely. The resolution, in essence, says that in order to strengthen the existing ties to the masses, to closely and on time examine the population’s requests and complaints and in order to further strengthen the activity of the broad masses, the Cabinet of Ministers is assigning the top employees of the government and of finances the task of thoroughly studying Comr. Kim Il Sung’s speech at the V Plenum of the CC KWP about the fight against bureaucratism and listening carefully to the voice of the broad masses. Because of this resolution, it recommends that directors of departments and chairmen of provincial, regional and city peoples’ committees pay attention that the organs they supervise not burden the population with illegal taxes and not conduct mobilization of the work force beyond real state needs. This is a question of mobilizing the work force for public work.

The resolution grants the citizens the right to submit demands to individual organs of power, work teams and employees of institutions that will restore the rights they are owed and to compensate for losses in cases of illegal violations of their interests or rights. Citizens have the right to criticize the work of individual organs of the government and to submit proposals to make the work of these organs more efficient. Citizens have the right to submit complaints and grievances in cases of the violation of rights and interests of third parties, although their personal interests have not been violated by this conduct.

In order to make it possible to submit complaints and grievances, the resolution recommends setting proper days and hours during which they can be submitted. In the central organs of power, this should take place 1 day per week, in provincial, regional and city people’s committee organs a few days per week should be set. In institutions, complaints and grievances should be accepted daily.

Complaints and grievances should be examined carefully by the responsible worker of the institution to which they came in, immediately after being delivered. In case it is necessary to acquire additional data, the persons submitting the complaint or request should be summoned.

The resolution also regulates the deadlines for examining complaints and grievances submitted by citizens. Central institutions (Departments) should give a response within 40 days, provincial people’s committees within 30 days, Regional and city people’s committees within 20 days and village people’s committees and work places within 10 days. As for requests and complaints coming from military person, they should be examined within 1/3 less time.

The responsible employees of the institutions to which requests and complaints have come in, are obliged to notify the interested parties about the way in which the issue will be addressed. Some requests and complaints and responses to them may not be published in the press.

In case of the issue is unsatisfactorily addressed by lower-level authorities, the interested parties have the right to appeal to a higher authority.

The decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on the issue of examining complaints and grievances coming from the population was received with deep satisfaction by the working masses of the DPRK. The DPRK’s working masses can see the deep concern of the party and the government about improving their material situation and concern over making the work of the organs of the people’s government more efficient.

3. The agricultural situation.

a) Agriculture

The party and government are devoting much attention to the preparations for spring work in agriculture. The issues of fully conducting the spring sowing and eliminating fallow land is the main task facing the DPRK’s farming at this moment. A meeting between comr. Kim Il Sung and leading peasants of North Pyongyang prov[ince] was an expression of the party’s concern about the efficient handling of spring sowing. In his conversation with the peasants, Comr. Kim Il Sung pointed out the main task facing farming in the spring period. It is the struggle to broaden agricultural production in the area of introducing new agricultural cultures and the struggle to increase the productivity of agricultural production per hectare. In order to fulfill this task, one must first of all carefully work the soil, apply fertilizers, which were prepared during the winter, and use selective seeds for sowing; second, one must popularize the methods of cultivation used by leading peasants, who have already obtained large crops, so that all the villages in the country can obtain bigger crops this year already. The issue of shortages of tractive force should be resolved by making the work of self-help groups more efficient, tilling the soil on time and the preparatory work for spring sowing should be started earlier than usual this year. Comr. Kim Il Sung called on the People’s Committees to conduct mobilization of the work force with the goal of assisting the peasantry, he pointed to the need to develop patriotic competition to raise the amount of crops on a broad scale. In this phase of competition, the goal is to complete spring sowing as quickly as possible. Comr. Kim Il Sung’s meeting with the leading peasants of North Pyongyang province was discussed widely among the DPRK’s peasants, who decided to fulfill their leader’s recommendations.

The press reported on 6.IV of this year that Kim Il Sung has written a letter to the peasant leaders, who last year had given grains to the military at the front. This letter states that last year over 334 peasants gave the army 36,460 kgs. of grains.

In response to the recommendations of the V Plenum of the CC KWP and Kim Il Sung’s recommendations made at the March meeting with the peasant leaders of North Pyongyang prov[ince] and to celebrate the 1 May holiday, the Korean peasants have been engaged in competition to finish the spring sowing quickly. Because of favorable atmospheric conditions, already on 10 March of this year the peasants of the southern regions of the DPRK have begun to sow spring barley. According to the press, by 10 April, all the provinces of the DPRK had sown 103.2% more arable land than last year. In South Hamgyeong province, the area of sown land is 307% greater than last year, North Pyongyang prov[ince] 127%, the Pyongyang area 117.3% and Jagang province 111.6%. The provinces that lie directly at the front line also have had major achievements with the spring sowing. For example, in North Hamgyeong prov[ince] spring sowing was completed 10 days earlier than last year. In the most endangered front-line province of Gangwon, by 14.IV 150% more land had been sown than in the previous year, and 49.9% of the planned sowing was done. The peasants of the Geseong region had finished their spring sowing and potato planting by 12.IV. The big achievements in the spring work in the fields are the result of the DPRK peasants’ deep patriotism and the efficient activities of the self-help groups. As a result of the implementation of the resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers about assistance to the poor peasants and fishermen, one may notice the active help given by the wealthier peasants to the Government and party. In Jagang province, for example, the poor peasants are receiving help from the middle ones not only in the form of tractive force but also in seeds.

The government and the party are devoting much attention to the issues of draft cattle and swine husbandry. One of the recommendations of the V party Plenum is the fight to raise cattle husbandry to a higher level by applying modern methods. The DPRK’s husbandry has suffered especially much as a result of the war and the temporary occupation of some of the DPRK by the American and Syngman Rhee intervention force. Because of this situation, the party and government have set the task for the peasantry to heal these losses as quickly as possible by conducting rational husbandry. The Mongolian People’s Republic has given the DPRK much assistance in this area, donating a large number of cattle to Korea. In order to fulfill these tasks, a council of activists of the state grain farms and state livestock farms took place from 23 to 28 February of this year. Taking part in the meeting was V[ice]-Premier Heo Ga- [Ho Ka I], the Minister of Agriculture, the head of the propaganda department and head of the agricultural department of the CC KWP. Those gathered analyzed the achievements of state grain farms and state livestock farms. In 1952 the area of arable land in state farms grew by 195% compared to 1951. Harvests grew by 674%, milk cows by 109.7%, rams by 128%, hogs by 2,156%. Some of the larger state farms were mechanized. These achievements were made possible by the assistance from the countries of people’s democracy, and especially the USSR and the PRC. Next to the achievements in the work of the state farms, there are also shortcomings. The leadership apparatus of these farms has been taking insufficient advantage of the modern machinery. The meeting stressed the fact of the unprofitability of some state farms and the insufficient supplies of grains, meat and dairy products to the army and the population in proportion to their capacity. The discussion indicated that these shortcomings could be removed by applying to a higher degree than has been done so far of modern methods of cultivating the land and animal husbandry, greater use of machinery, placing the competitiveness of work on a higher level and a more daring cultivation of agricultural cultures that are little known in the DPRK. The learning of the Soviet revolutionary science of cultivation of soil and cattle husbandry, the fight for the proper positioning of people, the elimination of fallow land and material and financial economies are the preconditions for fulfilling these tasks.

In summarizing the discussions, V[ice]-Premier Heo Ga-i stressed the huge political and economic importance of this council and its outcomes for further increasing the role of state farms in the conditions of war, and he added that this year’s achievements of these farms are opening up perspectives for their further development.

In connection to the strong movement of competition to raise the quantities in agricultural production, which has encompassed the majority of peasants in the DPRK, in recognizing the importance of this movement, the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK issued a resolution on 14 April of this year to reward the regions and villages that attain leading places in this competition. This resolution anticipates prizes on national, province-level and district-level scales. Each award has three degrees. For more information on this subject, see the appendix to this report.

b) Industry.

The DPRK’s working class is getting ready to celebrate the international holiday of the working masses, 1st of May. In all factories, a competition began on April 1 under the motto of the struggle to raise the quantity and quality of production and to save raw materials, with which the DPRK working class desires to celebrate its holiday. In connection to the mass movement of competition in the factories and state institutions, the party and the government are conducting a decisive struggle to increase the discipline of work, which is the basic condition for the successful execution of the production commitments. In many factories, the workers are entering a competition to eliminate absenteeism and shirking. In this reporting period, general meetings of employees took place, in which all those who disobey the work discipline are being subjected to criticism. Apart from this, party bodies and administrative organs are conducting a broad political-consciousness-raising action, whose goal is to create the awareness among the workers that work discipline is an indispensable precondition for achievements in production. With this in mind, once a week, every factory hosts political chats on this topic. According to the press, the struggle to fortify discipline has already had some achievements. In many work places, the percentage of absenteeism has dropped from 7% to 1.6% in a monthly relationship [?]. This is an expression of the deepening political consciousness of the working class of the DPRK, which knows that the victory of the Korean nation in the war against the American interveners and the Syngman Rhee clique depends to a large degree on its achievements in production.

The cooperative production enterprises, which until recently were exploited by profiteering elements, are playing an important role in the DPRK’s economic life. The DPRK’s party and government are striving to raise the economic importance of the cooperative production enterprises by tearing them out from under the influence of the profiteers and usurers. This will be possible if the state gives the cooperatives plentiful assistance to strengthen their material base, introduces rational production, gathers a larger number of small producers in them and surrounds them with greater protection. In the conditions of war, during which the great majority of the large factories of the consumer industry was destroyed, elevating the economic role of these cooperatives will contribute to strengthening the economic power of the DPRK, which will facilitate supplying the front and the population with necessary products. Because of this, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a decision to strengthen the economic role of the cooperative production enterprises. This decision states that the state will not limit the free management of their production in order to assist these cooperatives. It will not limit the free setting of prices for the products these cooperatives manufacture, with the exception of orders from the state and cooperative organizations and of those products that are of great importance to the state. The state planning commission will assure the distribution of products being produced by the cooperatives. The state will grant financial and material help to the cooperative production enterprises organized by the families of those who are on the front, the families of war invalids, working women or auxiliary cooperative production enterprises in the countryside. A share of these funds will be designated for production activities and the rest for the partial elimination of the destruction caused by war. The state will lower the sales tax from 50% to 30% of its full level for newly created cooperatives for a period of 6 months or a year from the moment they begin their production activity. After this period, the state will release these cooperatives from yet another part of this tax.

Cooperative production enterprises led by war invalids are allowed to hire skilled technical workers to comprise up to 20% of their staff. Aiming to raise the standard of living of workers in the cooperative production enterprises, the government decision anticipates creating a premium fund made up of a part of the production from the state’s raw materials, to be distributed to enterprises that have met their obligations vis-à-vis the state. The state planning commission will set the size and prices of production of the products ordered by the state and by cooperative organizations. In cases where the producer asks for a change in the prices of the goods because of a change in the conditions of production, the state planning commission should consider the request within 5 days.  The decision directs the Central Committee of Cooperative Production Enterprises to organize the exploitation of local sources of the raw material on which the production by the cooperative enterprises is based.

In this reporting period, a review of the qualifications of the cadres of the middle and upper technical supervisory levels in industry, agriculture and forestry is being conducted in the DPRK. The intention of the review is to distribute and properly use the technical cadres and to train those who do not possess full professional qualifications. With this in mind, examination boards have been created in ministries and provincial people’s committees, before which those who do not possess documents to confirm their qualifications are examined. The procedures for ascertaining technical qualifications of the middle and upper levels of the technical apparatus and for conducting the examinations have been set according to a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers.

c) Trade.

One of the recommendations issued by the C Plenum of the CC KWP was to make the work of the state and cooperative trade, which is playing a growing role in the DPRK, more efficient. State and cooperative trade has major achievements. The working capital of the units of state and cooperative trade is growing every year. In 1947, this capital increased 9 times compared to 1946, in 1949 it increased 22 times and, in 1950, 17 times compared to 1946, even though in the second half of 1950 state and cooperative trade was already working in the period of war. The percentage data of this trade’s share in the overall working capital of trade in the DPRK also illustrate the growth of state and cooperative trade. While, in 1947, 84.5% was private trade and only 15.5% was state and cooperative trade, in 1949 the sector of socialized trade rose to 53%. On the basis of these data, one can observe a gradual displacement of private trade by socialized trade. Thanks to the party’s correct policies in the sphere of sales, DPRK’s socialized trade contributed significantly in the area of basic necessity supplies to the working masses and, during the war, to the work of efficiently supplying the front.

Despite the difficult working conditions caused by the lengthy and difficult war, thanks to the selflessness of the employees of socialized trade, this trade has had major achievements. The overall amount of working capital of socialized trade was 213.3% higher in 1952 than in 1951. These achievements were possible only because of the steady aid from the countries of people’s democracy led by the Soviet Union.

Next to its achievements, the socialized trade also has shortcomings and inefficiencies. One of the shortcomings in the work of socialized trade is some workers’ inability to understand a basic task that trade faces, which consists of efficiently distributing merchandise and meeting the wishes of the consumer. There have also been cases of retail outlets of socialized trade, which in their push to increase their turnover sold some deficient goods to profiteers, as a result of which there was a lack of these goods in the state and cooperative outlets, while they could be found on the black market.

Socialized trade was unable fully to play the role of middleman in sales between the city and the countryside, as a result of which peasants became the victims of profiteers. The leadership organs of socialized trade developed their outlets in the countryside insufficiently. Evidence of this is provided by the fact that socialized trade serviced 80% of the population of the DPRK in 1952, only 52% of that population were peasants, even though the DPRK is a country with an overwhelming majority of rural dwellers.

In order to implement the recommendations of the V Plenum of the CC KWP regarding improving the efficiency of the work of socialized trade, from 7 to 10 April of this year an all-Korean council of activists of state and cooperative trade outlets was held, at which the work of socialized trade was subjected to analysis and critique. According to the press, employees of socialized trade are successfully implementing the recommendations of the V Plenum and of the All-Korean council of activists.

Recently, the employees of socialized trade outlets joined in the May 1 competition under the motto of starting mobile sales outlets. The particular development of this type of outlet can be observed in villages. This is related to the greater possibility of reaching the furthest corners of the country. For example, in North Hamgyeong province, this year over 150 such outlets have been launched, in North Pyongyang province 460 of them have been organized and in the vicinity of Pyongyang, within 30 to 40 km., outlets of socialized trade are organizing the sale of wares as ordered by consumers.

These facts indicate that state and cooperative trade, thanks to the constant concern of the party and government, has entered the proper road of development and is increasingly becoming a factor that deepens the economic ties between the city and the countryside, displacing more and more private trade and profiteering from trade turnover.

d) Health care.

The bacteriological war being fought on the territory of the DPRK by the criminal American imperialism is creating a particular danger of spreading epidemic diseases in the period of spring and summer. The government and the party are mobilizing all forces to permit detected air drops of bacteria to be liquidated immediately, and they also protect the population from epidemic diseases by broadly implementing preventive vaccinations and frequent disinfections of the sources from which these diseases spread. In order to make the fight against epidemic diseases more efficient, the Cabinet of Ministers issued a special decision on 27.I of this year, which contains the guidelines for this struggle. In view of the fact that in the period of winter, the phenomenon of many people disregarding regulations about the fight against epidemic diseases, the decision instructs the chairman of the special state commission for fighting epidemic diseases and the chairman of the provincial sections of this committee to conduct a broad propaganda action with the goal of explaining to the population the threat of the spread of epidemic diseases and of demonstrating to the population what steps need to be undertaken in order to stamp out infectious diseases before they spread. The decision recommends that the Minister of Health conduct preventive vaccinations of the population by the end of March of this year and also organize the efficient diagnosis and isolation of the contagiously ill. The staff of the health service has launched a competition to celebrate May 1 under the motto of quickly implementing this decision. Throughout the country, employees of the health service are organizing chats and lectures about the significance and the methods of fighting epidemic diseases. They are organizing preventive vaccinations of the population and of domestic animals, organizing days of cleanliness and stamping out rats, mice, mosquitoes, lice etc. The employees of the branch of the health service of the People’s Committee of Gangwon Province have had major achievements in this struggle, since in March of this year they conducted a sanitary-hygienic inspection of 1,670 locations and organized 547 disinfection chambers and 226 bath houses.

The resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers about free-of-charge medicine are being realized in all corners of the DPRK. As of 1 January, free-of-charge health care is being made available in state hospitals and health care centers.

The working masses of the DPRK accepted this decision and its implementation with deep satisfaction and gratitude, viewing them as an expression of the state’s constant concern for raising the state of the population’s health. (For data regarding the health care system, and especially the anti-epidemiological system in the DPRK, see the annex to this report.)

e) Social insurance

Social insurance in the DPRK is guaranteed by the Constitution adopted in 1949 by the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK. Chapter II art. 17 of the Constitution states: “Citizens have a right to material security in old age, in case of illness or loss of the ability to work, as long as they have the right to social insurance. The law guarantees them health and material care through the development of social insurance realized by the state.”

The war and the harsh losses are making it impossible for the DPRK government to put these principles into practice in full. Nonetheless, to a small degree of course, DPRK citizens take advantage of these rights even in the conditions of war. The decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of the DPRK regarding social insurance for distinguished activists and their families is proof of this. The decision in principle states: “To offer help to activists distinguished in the fight to liberate the Fatherland and in democratic construction, who lost the ability to earn a living though illness, injury or old age, or in the case of the death of the above, to their families, the Cabinet of Ministers instructs the Ministry of Labor to pay out regular subsidies.” The level of the subsidy may not go over 6,000 won and may not be smaller than 1,000 won monthly. The decision establishes the payment of a subsidy for life to the wife of a distinguished activist, and to children until they reach the independent ability to make money. In case of the death of a distinguished activist, it is recommended that his family be paid a one-time subsidy of 50,000 won to organize his burial. Those who lost the ability to make a living should receive subsidies, food allotments and necessities in the same amount as what they were entitled to when they were active in their career, for a period of three years, in the event that his ability to work is not restored at an earlier date. These decisions guarantee the same entitlements to the families that lose their breadwinner. This period may be extended if in those three years the family of the distinguished activist, in accordance with the decision of the appropriate authorities, is unable to support itself independently.

The Cabinet of Ministers instructs the five-person Commission headed by the V[ice]-Minister of labor to execute this decision. The outcomes of the implementation of this decision have not yet been published.

IV. The DPRK’s foreign policy.

In the past reporting period, the foreign policy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to walk the line of strengthening the friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China and the countries of people’s democracy and was directed against imperialistic aggressors and the treacherous Syngman Rhee clique, striving to attain a resolution of the Korean war peacefully, using the truce negotiations in Panmunjeom. The recent announcement by the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on the basis of which talks began again after a long interruption, about signing a truce in Korea, is an expression of the DPRK’s peaceful policies.

1. Exchange of ill and wounded prisoners-of-war.

On March 28, Marshal Kim Il Sung and Peng Dehuai sent a letter to the commander of the so-called UN armies, in which they declared that in response to his proposal of 22 February of this year, the Korean-Chinese side agrees to the repatriation of the wounded and sick prisoners-of-war of both sides, stressing that this issue would have been resolved sooner, in accordance with the previously reached agreement, were it not for the interruption of truce talks. At the same time, the Korean-Chinese side expressed the hope in this letter that the positive consideration of the issue of repatriating the wounded and ill prisoners-of-war should lead to the complete sorting out/regulating of the problem of prisoners-of-war, therefore to the signing of a truce.

In accordance with the above-mentioned suggestions, contained in the letter from Marshal Kim Il Sung and Peng Dehuai, liaison officers of both sides met in Panmunjeom, and on 11.IV of this year an agreement was signed on the issue of repatriating the wounded and ill prisoners-of-war. On the basis of this agreement, the initial numbers of wounded and ill prisoners-of-war to be included in this exchange were as follows: the American side was to hand over ca. 5,800 prisoners, including ca. 5,100 soldiers of the Korean People’s Army and ca. 700 Chinese people’s volunteers, while the Korean side ca. 600 prisoners-of-war, including ca. 450 Syngman Rhee-ites and ca. 150 of other nationalities. An agreement was also reached regarding the organizational details of the exchange, including the decision that the Korean-Chinese side will daily repatriate ca. 100 wounded and ill prisoners, while the American side ca. 500 daily.

On 20 April, the repatriation of the ill and wounded prisoners-of-war began, and the flow of the repatriations so far indicates that it may end well. The Americans are, however, attempting to malign our side, faulting it for allegedly treating the prisoners-of-war cruelly, but as we know from press and radio reports, their action has completely failed. On the contrary, during the exchange the prisoners, as they were saying good-bye to the medical personnel from our side escorting them, thanked them for the good treatment and they repeat this after returning to their side. The result of this was the isolation of former prisoners-of-war, not allowing talks with correspondents and even, according to western agencies, it was necessary to send the prisoners for “ideological retraining” because they “were infected with communist propaganda” in prison.

On 23.IV our side let the other side know that a certain number of wounded and ill prisoners-of-war, who are located in field hospitals near the border and also those who are captured during the period of the exchange, were being additionally repatriated. In response, the American side also committed to repatriate an additional number of ill and wounded prisoners-of-war.

On 26.IV our side completed the repatriation of the ill and wounded prisoners-of-war. Overall, 684 prisoners were exchanged, including: 471 South Koreans, 149 Americans, 32 Englishmen, 15 Turks, 6 Colombians, 5 Australians, 2 Canadians, 1 South African, 1 Dutchman, 1 Filipino and 1 Greek.

The repatriation of our side’s ill and wounded prisoners is continuing, without any particular obstacles.

2. The freeing and sending back to the Fatherland of persons interned in North Korea.

Further evidence of the DPRK government’s desire to regulate the Korean problem peacefully was the freeing and sending back to the Fatherland, at the request of the English, French and American governments, of 7 English citizens, 14 French citizens and 7 American citizens interned in North Korea, who were handed over to the DPRK government with the Soviet Union as the intermediary. All the internees, in the course of being handed over in Antung to representatives of the Soviet Union, expressed their gratitude to the Korean side for treating them well during the time that they were in the territory of the DPRK.

3. Truce talks in Panmunjeom.

The statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Zhou Enlai and Marshal Kim Il Sung, which was fully supported by the Soviet government in an announcement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR comr. Molotov, which aimed to regulate the Korean problem peacefully, forced the American interveners to continue the truce talks they had interrupted. After the successful resolution of the question of repatriating the ill and wounded prisoners-of-war, the liaison officers of both sides agreed on a date for the meeting of delegations for talks about signing a truce in Korea. The first plenary session of the two delegations took place on 26 April. At this session, the Chairman of the Korean-Chinese delegation, Gen. Nam Il  presented a plan for solving the problem of repatriating prisoners-of-war made up of 6 points in which, giving precise dates, he proposes repatriating all prisoners-of-war who are demanding it and passing prisoners who do not want to go back to a neutral country. Further, Gen. Nam Il  suggested that within 6 months the sides to whom the prisoners-of-war belong go to the given neutral country with the goal of conducting consciousness-raising work among the prisoners, and then the neutral state will conduct the repatriation to the Fatherland without any obstacles of those prisoners who demonstrate the desire to return, and if after the given 6 months pass and after the consciousness-raising work on the territory of the neutral state, any prisoners are still left who do not want to return to their country, their fate should be discussed by consultation at a political conference, whose organization is anticipated in Article 60 pt. 4 of the truce agreement.

In the further course of the truce talks, the Korean-Chinese side rejected the proposal of the American side about designating Switzerland as a neutral country “because of its big traditions that Switzerland has in these issues.” Discussions about appointing a neutral country are continuing.

The resumption of negotiations about a truce was greeted with great hope by the people of the DPRK, but their dragging out is not giving hope for the quick signing of a truce. The American side has so far shown no positive initiative, constantly threatening to break off the talks again and screaming about “resolving the Korean problem by force.”

Still, the position of our side and the pressure from the public opinion of the whole world, demanding a cessation of the Korean war, should force the aggressors to sign a truce in Korea.

V. Situation of the Embassy.

[Military attache’s jeep broken down, when staff need to travel increasingly, so a replacement is urgent.]

E. Cerekwicki

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Charge d’Affaires a.i.

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