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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 16, 1953

REPORT OF THE EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN KOREA

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

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    The Polish Embassy provides details the political and economic situation in the DPRK and China's economic assistance to North Korea.
    "Report of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland in Korea ," July 16, 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/114953
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114953

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Embassy Beijing, 16 July 1953

of the Polish Republic

in Korea BY MESSENGER [stamp]

[letterhead with eagle]

No 242/6/53Tjn [tajne—secret, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

added by hand] Independent Eastern Department

Head E. S?ucza?ski

I am enclosing a Report for the period of my work in Korea from 31 May to 21 June 1953, together with notes No. 2421/49/53/Tjn., No. 2421/44/53 Tjn., No. 2421/46/53 Tjn. and No. 2421/45/53 Tjn. (1 copy of each note).

Encl[osed] Report (6 copies) St. KIRYLUK

+ 4 notes AMBASSADOR OF THE PRL [People’s Republic of Poland] in the DPRK

SECRET!

Copy no. …

REPORT

of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of

Poland in Korea

(for the period of my work 31.V – 21.VI.1953)

7 copies made

[…]

I. An analysis of the political, economic and cultural relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the People’s Republic of Poland.

[Attitude of Party and Government leaders very friendly to Polish representative, shown by all the leaders who received him; they appreciate Polish assistance; friendship “vibrant, deep and full of significance”; Polish surgical-internal medicine hospital especially important because of growing diseases, especially tuberculosis; hospital employees working well; but some equipment is still needed, as are Polish political materials and newspapers.]

II. The political-economic situation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

During my stay in the DPRK, the key political issue focusing the attention of the Party, Government and Nation were the truce talks in Panmunjeom which were close to being completed.

Despite the many attempts at sabotage and blackmail by the American side, the will of the Korean-Chinese side to reach a truce forced the so-called Command of the UN Armed Forces to agree on a key issue, the repatriation of prisoners-of-war.

After discussing this point, an atmosphere of intensive preparations for the new situation in the newly changed conditions of action was dominant.

As nervousness grew in the Syngman Rhee clique, which sensed its inevitable defeat, in the DPRK one could observe a total equilibrium and intensified educational work to stress the fact again that now, just like three years ago, the Syngman Rhee clique, enveloped in aid from the American imperialists, was the source that unleashed the bloody war, and it holds total responsibility for its results and the misfortunes of the Korean Nation.

Three years of murderous war did not break the Korean nation physically or morally. The front was fixed and became a fortress that could not be taken, something the enemies stress with regret. Work in the rear, in the towns and villages, is planned and organized, despite continuous bombardments.

One can sense the strong, elastic leading hand of the Party and Government; one can feel, despite the very difficult conditions of war, that the nation has learned a lot under the leadership of the party, become accustomed to performing its functions, and at every work post, with devotion and model discipline, knowing that every person’s effort brings victory and peace closer.

The cadres of the party and state apparatus are a mature core today, which is ideologically strong, hardened in the battle against the invader and the internal enemy, capable of new, creative efforts in the conditions of building a thoroughly destroyed country.

It is a major victory for the Party in its liberation and social struggle that the anti-national, anti-people conspiracy of the imperialists’ lackeys, who have put down roots in the leading positions in the party and state apparatus and set for themselves the goal of overthrowing the People’s Government and transforming the DPRK into a meek servant of the dollar masters, has been uncovered and liquidated.

The former secretary of the Party’s Central Committee, Ri Seung-yeop [Ri Sung Yop], who headed the conspiracy against the People’s Government was being paid by the imperialist American intelligence, and he pulled several conscious and unconscious Party and Government activists into his dirty work.

The names being mentioned include the former vice-premier and minister of foreign affairs Pak Heon-yeong [Pak Hon Yong], former ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Gwon O-jik [Kwon O Jik], former ambassador in Moscow Ju Yeong-ha [Ju Yong Ha] and others.

At the same time as the uncovering of the espionage conspiracy, the party punished and dismissed from their posts several comrades who had given in to opportunistic, leftist deviations, underestimating the role and significance of the National Front either in the nation’s liberation or its social struggle. The vice-minister of Culture and Propaganda comrade Jo Il-myeong [Jo Il Myong] [illegible word] was dismissed from his position for these ideological deviations.

The liquidation of the conspiracy, the purging of the party and state apparatus of hostile elements, which were foreign and shaky and the elevation of new cadres from the party ranks and political apparatus of the People’s Army have seriously strengthened the People’s Government and become a mobile challenge for the whole party, whose principal task is the daily arming of its members with the weapons of vigilance at all fighting and working posts.

The enhanced vigilance and keeping of state and working secrets have become visible at every step. The party and state apparatus has taken on responsibility for every word that is spoken, for every number that is given out.

The fact that all the central offices and institutions are summarizing the results of the fulfillment of plans in their spheres of activity; that they know the needs and the problems of the departments assigned to them and respond to the questions being asked of them knowledgeably; and that they feel that they are in charge of their areas is an expression of the setting of power and an expression of the planning of work.

I was able to come to this conclusion by conferring with the heads of many departments on the issues of interest to our country.

The harvesting of a rich crop last year, the intensified and great assistance from the Countries of the camp of peace have improved [Korea’s] economic situation significantly.

The population of the DPRK no longer goes hungry, even though the food norms that have been introduced are still far from sufficient (800 gm. of rice for someone who works hard, 600 for someone who works more lightly and 400 for those who do not work), with certain supplements of fat and meat, represent a basis for existence.

The fact that the rural people fully fill their needs by basing their work on neighborly help is giving the state increasingly large and qualitatively better harvests.

For hundreds of kilometers, one cannot see even a scrap of uncultivated land. Even high mountain slopes and deep bomb craters are even being used.

The total burden of the cultivation of land rests on women, children and old people who stay in their fields from dawn till late dusk, and often replace tractive force, demonstrating the limitlessness of heroic effort.

The patriotic work of the Korean workers is expressed not only in their physical work, which often surpasses their strength, but also in their understanding of the country’s situation and the response to the appeals of their People’s Government.

The Korean press every day gives news about the increased delivery commitments taken on by the peasants to feed the Army, the urban population and, especially, the children who are drained by the war.

In order to make the existence of the urban population easier, the People’s Government has allowed private trade, of both the bazaar and basket types, to develop widely.

An example of organized private trade is the construction of an underground bazaar in Pyongyang, which supplies the population with all indispensable food and clothing items at prices that are, however, very elevated.

Parallel to the private trade, the development of state trade is visible; for example in Pyongyang, a number of state shops have been opened, which for the most part sell articles from the Soviet industry.

Factory cafeterias, of which all employed take advantage, represent a major relief for the working population.

The three years of war have created an unheard-of, it would seem, situation: the country is alive, pulsating and vibrant.

The terrorist air raids, despite the total terror of their effects, do not make as big an impression as they did a year ago. The people, in a focused and prudent way, have learned to fight the enemy psychologically and physically, defeating the lowly American pirates. Life has moved underground, and it is there that the remains of surviving industries are working, there that warehouses, government offices and institutions are located.

From Anju to Pyongyang, in an area of three hundred kilometers, one can see burned earth, injured with bomb craters, Korean towns and villages have been transformed into charred remains and ruins.

The oppressive view is [illegible word] little house carved in the rocks, a mud hut on a mountain slope and the expression of the calm and intense will of the inhabitants of Korea.

The ruined and destroyed country is preparing for reconstruction. The Party and Government are preparing plans for reconstructing the totally ruined industry, the shattered towns and villages.

The approval by the Government of the plan to reconstruct Pyongyang, whose outlines were summarized at a conference with the participation of the diplomatic corps by the minister of construction Kim Seung-hwa [Kim Song Hwa], serves as the expression of preparations for the planned reconstruction. The plan was prepared with the help of Soviet specialists. The area of the newly built Pyongyang will encompass 1,500 ha., the area of the city will amount to 25 square kilometers and the full reconstruction of the city will be completed in eight years.

This conference, as well as several conversations with party and government leaders, and especially with Comrade Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae] and Vice-premier Comr. Heo Ga-I [Ho Ka I], were an introduction to the total picture of the situation of the destruction and needs of the DPRK.

Comrades Heo Ga-i and Pak Jeong-ae provided concrete data regarding the perspectives for assistance from the countries of the Peace Camp, Korea being rebuild, including what was mentioned above that the People’s Republic of China has accepted the commitment to deliver to the DPRK indispensable clothing and food in the period of the next few years, that the Soviet Union will give help in the reconstruction of industry, that Czechoslovakia has taken on the commitment to build a truck factory in Korea.

Referring to Poland’s potential help, Comr. Heo Ga-i stressed that, thanks to the decision of the premier of the Polish Government, Comrade Boles?aw Bierut, a delegation of Korean specialists, which will get to know the industry in our country and will discuss the extent of help that Poland will be capable of giving to the DPRK, is leaving for Poland at the end of June.

I am giving the precise contents of the [illegible word] conducted in Korea in the enclosed notes.

The scale of destruction and the extremely difficult economic situation of this country demand aid in all spheres of life, and especially in the area of means of production. Assistance from People’s Poland in every shape and form, for the damaged industry, ruined towns and villages, will be accepted with pleasure and, at the same time, with an understanding of our difficulties.

III. The friendship between the Chinese and Korean nations.

The war in Korea and the three years of the nation’s struggle for liberation are the [illegible word] of the unprecedented heroism of the nation and of the savage imperialistic barbarianism.

In these difficult years, the Korean nation connected itself with deep ties to the nations bringing it assistance.

The Soviet Union, the liberator of the Korean nation: the epoch of its social victories is a model and an inspiration in its struggle and work. The love of the Korean nation toward the Soviet nations and the faith in the strength and might of the country that is building communism represent a serious incentive in the steadfast struggle for liberation.

The Nations of the Countries of People’s Democracy, which are building a new and better life, until recently so little known to the average Korean citizen, have become close despite the geographic distance between them.

Yet the friendship of the Korean and Chinese nations, forged in the fire of the difficult struggle, a friendship confirmed by the fact of direct participation of the representatives of the Chinese nation in Korea’s liberation struggle is in its expression the strongest tie between nations fighting for a common cause.

People’s China and Their Leader Comrade Mao Zedong are the symbol of the power of friendship and sacrifice for every Korean.

The Korean nation knows and talks about the fact that People’s China is sending food, that People’s China has saved over twenty thousand Korean children by giving them shelter and care. The Korean nation knows that the Chinese volunteer is not only a soldier, sapper or airman, but also a friend who will fix a house, help to cultivate soil, repair tools and defend a Korean child, often saving it from bombs, and will give a part of his food rations to the Korean child and woman.

The sight of the Chinese volunteers, their fighting, moral and social attitudes, confirms the deep belief that the Great Chinese nation, out of which such people have sprung, is undefeated, and it will achieve total victory in its struggle and work and for a new socialist tomorrow.

The assistance given by the Great Chinese Nation to the nation of Korea, its contribution to the Korean nation’s liberation struggle, is one of the most beautiful stories of brotherhood and friendship of nations fighting for their independent existence and social liberation.

IV. An assessment of the work of the PRL [Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa—People’s Republic of Poland] embassy in the DPRK.

[Relationship improving; improvements still need to be made in organization and office work, but we worked on this; need to give vacations to overworked staff, some of whom are not getting along; more staff is needed; thinking about building embassy headquarters; good impression created by arrival of Kiryluk’s wife]

St. KIRYLUK

[signature]

Ambassador of the PRL in the DPRK