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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 30, 1953

REPORT NO. 5 OF THE EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF KOREA FOR THE PERIOD OF 1 AUGUST 1953 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 1953

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

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    The Embassy of the Polish Republic reports on 6th Plenum of the Korean Workers' Party Central Committee and the focus on economic reconstruction and industrialization.
    "Report No. 5 of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland in the Democratic Republic of Korea for the Period of 1 August 1953 to 30 September 1953 ," September 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/114958
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Embassy 242/25/K/53

of the Polish Republic [added by hand]

in Korea

[letterhead with eagle]

REPORT No. 5

of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland

in the Democratic Republic of Korea

for the period of 1 August 1953 to 30 September 1953

Report No. 5

of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Poland

in the Democratic Republic of Korea

for the period of 1 August 1953 to 30 September 1953

I. Polish-Korean relations.

[Polish aid to Korea growing, great appreciation, 156 pupils leave for technical schools in Poland; Polish Red Cross hospital planning to relocate to Heungnam to become part of the civilian health service; Charge d’Affaires Cerekwicki visits Kim Il Sung; cultural relations; embassy supplies Polish propaganda materials and books, in Russian.]

II. DPRK’s domestic situation.

1. VI Plenum of the CC KWP.

The VI Plenum of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party met from 5 to 9 August 1953 in Pyongyang. The agenda of the VI Plenum was as follows:

a) The struggle for the post-war reconstruction and growth of the national economy stemming from the signing of the armistice in Korea, and further assignments for the party;

b) Discussion of the anti-party and anti-state sabotage-espionage activities of the Ri Seung-yeop [Ri Sung Yop] clique and the question of Heo Ga-i [Ho Ka I]’s suicide;

c) Organizational issues.

On the first point of the agenda of the session of the VI Plenum of the CC KWP, Comr. Kim Il Sung gave a speech, in which the outlines of the most important tasks facing the DPRK’s party and government in post-war reconstruction and growth of the DPRK’s national economy.

Kim Il Sung’s speech indicates that the main focus in the economic reconstruction plans is the development of industry, and especially of heavy industry, as the base for the country’s further industrialization. The industrial reconstruction plan in the DPRK is characterized by the expectation that those branches of industry for which a strong raw-materials base exists in Korea will be developed first. Because of this, the plan foresees large growth of the mining, metallurgical, chemical, electric, metal-ore and non-ferrous metallurgy, metallurgy [sic], ceramics, canned food etc. industries. Another feature of this plan is the expected strong development of the consumer industry, which will aim to produce articles of mass consumption in order to raise the standard of living of the working masses as quickly as possible.

Because of the serious assignment facing the DPRK government in the area of rebuilding the Korean towns and cities destroyed by the war, the plan foresees major growth in the building materials industry.

Because of the maritime nature of the country, the plan foresees a quick rebuilding of ports and the construction of shipyards, mostly for the construction of merchant ships.

In the area of transportation, the plan anticipates large growth in rail transportation through the construction of new railway lines, electrification of trains and building of an industry to manufacture equipment for rail transport. The plan also foresees rebuilding naval transport by repairing damaged ships and building new ones. Starting passenger air transportation on the main routes by the end of 1953 is also being planned.

The question of reconstructing agriculture and building it up further in revolutionary transformations occupies much space in the plan for rebuilding the DPRK’s national economy. Because of this, the plan anticipates reconstructing irrigation systems on a large scale, conducting large-scale irrigation work, raising the level of animal husbandry and further popularizing the cultivation of agricultural production. The plan focuses very much attention on the issue of raising the political and economic significance of the state crop and animal farms. These farms are to act as model agricultural farms and serve as a base for the further development of the collective form of agriculture. The development of collective agriculture will be based on the principle of the freedom of choice, leaving the land to be individually owned by peasants. This form of agriculture will encompass small holders and landless peasants, and especially peasants living in mountainous regions.

The next part of the plan to rebuild the DPRK’s national economy is devoted to the issue of rebuilding Korean towns, villages and settlements that were destroyed by the war. The plan of rebuilding towns first of all anticipates rebuilding places of work, schools, hospitals, cinemas and theaters, and then rebuilding and building dwellings.

The reconstruction plan anticipates the quick development of education, first of all higher education, which faces the task of preparing the appropriate cadres indispensable to realizing the tasks described in the plan.

The speech relating to the second point of the agenda of the VI Plenum’s session was made by V[ice]-Chairwoman of the CC KWP Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae]. In view of its secret nature, the press did not publish the contents of Pak Jeong-ae’s speech. The title of the speech allows us to surmise that it covered the question of the treacherous role of Ri Seung-yeop ’s clique and deviations from the party line, which became pronounced among some members of the CC KWP during the war. Several personnel changes in the composition of the CC KWP, which resulted from the discussion of Pak Jeong-ae’s speech, are evidence of this. The plenum passed a resolution to remove 7 members of the CC KWP – including former V[ice]-Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK Pak Heon-yeong, former Ambassador to the USSR and later V[ice]-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK Ju Yeong-ha [Ju Yong Ha] and former Minister of Foreign Trade Jang Si-u [Jang Si U]– from among the members of the CC and to exclude them from the ranks of the party for their anti-party and anti-state activity. The VI Plenum removed Candidate member of the CC Gwon O-jik [Kwon O Jik], former DPRK ambassador to the PRC, from the ranks of the party for anti-party and anti-state activity. The Plenum also adopted a resolution to remove [illegible number] persons from the ranks of CC members for not demonstrating the appropriate attitude of a party member and loyalty to the state during the war. Those removed include former Head of the III Department of the Korean M[inistry] of F[oreign] A[ffairs] [Gu Jae-su (Ku Jae Su)] and the V[ice]-Chairman of the Korean Democratic Women’s Union Jo Bong-rye [Jo Pong Rye]].

[Organizational issues: new CC Presidium; Jang Sun-myeong [Jang Sun Myong] and Ri Gi-seok [Ri Ki Sok] removed from Commission of Party Control.]

The VI Plenum of the CC KWP has enormous significance for further cementing the party’s unity. It showed the broad masses of party members that the party is capable of isolating and cutting off anti-party and shaky elements from the party, whose activity came sharply into view during the war. The Plenum’s resolutions show with full clarity that the party did not become weaker in its fight against these elements but, on the contrary, became stronger and richer thanks to the new experiences in unmasking the deeply masked enemies of the party and the people’s-democratic state. The resolutions of the VI Plenum also have great importance as guidelines for the future tasks facing the party and the government in the period of rebuilding the national economy and as guidelines for its further development on a foundation of further revolutionary transformations in the DPRK. These resolutions are being brought to the broad masses of the DPRK’s population.

2. The post-war stabilization of life in the DPRK.

Every day one can observe the growing stabilization of political and economic life in the DPRK, which is expressed in the transition from the state of war to the state of peace. Because of this, the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK issued a resolution on 13.VIII.1953 about the lifting of martial law in the DPRK, and on 19.VIII of this year about lifting universal mobilization. Both resolutions show that the DPRK’s government is striving to launch the peaceful rebuilding of the DPRK’s national economy, and they are also an expression of the strength of the DPRK’s government, in contrast to the Syngman Rhee-ite regime, which despite the signing of the armistice in Korea, is maintaining the state of war.

[Orders established for those who fought in the war and worked for victory; personnel changes in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.]

3. Industry.

Kim Il Sung’s speech at the VI Plenum of the CC KWP included guidelines for the rebuilding and expansion of the DPRK’s industry, which had been destroyed in the period of the 3-year fatherland war. In the area of rebuilding industry, the plan anticipates creating an industrial base for the further industrialization of the country and eliminating shortages in industrial production that stem from the colonial one-sidedness of the development of Korean industry during the Japanese occupation. The plan anticipates building and expanding industry in three periods. In the first period, the plan anticipates conducting preparatory work to rebuild the damaged industry in general. This phase is to last from 6 to 12 months from the signing of the armistice.

In the second period, the plan anticipates developing a three-year plan to rebuild and build up the national economy. This plan is based on the premise of rebuilding the damaged industry on such a scale as to allow its production to reach pre-war levels.

In the third period, a 5-year plan of industrializing the country will be developed. In order to implement these guidelines for rebuilding industry, in his speech, Kim Il Sung stressed the necessity of developing those branches of industry which will contribute to accelerating the execution of the tasks related to the overall reconstruction and development of the DPRK’s national economy, namely:

a) The Metallurgical Industry: In this branch of industry, the plan assumes the quick reconstruction of the Kim Chaek, Hwanghae metallurgical factories and the steelworks in Gangseo, so that in 1954 these enterprises will be able to begin the production of pig iron and rolled products, and in 1955 these factories’ production should reach pre-war levels, which will create the possibility of satisfying the country’s needs in this area.

b) The machine manufacturing industry: The development of the machine manufacturing industry is very important for Korea not only for the development of heavy industry, but also for the further development of industry of the defensive kind. Because of this, it is expected that the import of machines from abroad will be increased, mostly of machine tools, and the use of all the installations and machines which the existing factories of machine manufacturing have now. The main guideline for developing this branch of industry is immediately to begin production of machine tools, electric motors and other equipment needed to build factories which will produce equipment for rail and car transportation, machinery for mines and machinery needed to build ships and agricultural machinery.

c) The ship-building industry: Because of the country’s maritime nature and the existence of many ports, which after being rebuilt will be able to take in large sea-faring vessels, and the broadly developed inland water communications, the plan foresees the construction of a shipyard that will first be able to construct ships for river transportation and fishing boats with a displacement of 100 tons.

d) The mining industry: The development of the mining industry plays a very important role in the development of the other branches of industry that obtain the necessary raw materials from the production of the mining industry. Because of this, the plan for rebuilding the DPRK’s national economy sets a serious goal for this branch of industry. According to this plan, the reconstruction of all mines that were closed or flooded during the war, the construction of new mines and the broad mechanization of the extraction process is expected in a period of 1-2 years. The production of the mining industry during the next 2 years is not only to satisfy the raw-materials needs of the DPRK’s industry, but also to produce these raw materials for export, whose value will reach about 200 mil[lion] rubles per year.

In the course of the further development of the mining industry, geological research work will be conducted with the goal of finding new mineral reserves.

e) The electric industry: The 5-year plan of rebuilding anticipates the rebuilding of all pre-war power plants. The combined power of the power plants will be between 1,500 thou. and 1,800 thou. kilowattamperes [sic]. The plan’s premises in this area are that the production of electric turbines, which are indispensable to equipping the rebuilt power plants, will begin, and the manufacturing of electric accessories for consumer needs will be developed.

f) The chemical industry: Korea is a country that has the possibilities of developing the chemical industry, in view of its large supplies of raw materials. The plan anticipates a broad expansion of synthetic rubber factories, so that in 1953 the production of these factories can satisfy the country’s needs, and the expansion of factories for producing spirit from carbides, which is a necessary half-finished product for manufacturing synthetic rubber.

Because of the absence of oil reserves in Korea, the plan anticipates the construction of a factory of synthetic gasoline on the basis of raw material for this production in the form of coal.

The plan is assigning the task to the chemical industry of quickly developing factories of synthetic fertilizer, whose need is being felt acutely by the DPRK’s agriculture and the rebuilding of a cellulose factory, which will supply factories of synthetic materials with the indispensable half-finished products.

g) The construction materials industry:  The development of the construction materials industry is especially important for the rebuilding of the Korean towns and villages that were damaged by the war. This is why, within the plan, efforts will be directed at rebuilding the large factories producing construction materials, as well as using all the medium and small factories being managed by cooperative societies and private individuals. The plan foresees rebuilding all the factories of concrete that existed before the war by 1954, and their production in 1954 is to total over 2,300 thou. t. of concrete annually, and in 1955 it is to reach the pre-war level.

In the second half of 1954, the production of window glass will begin on a large scale, and it is to be sufficient to satisfy the domestic needs.

The plan pays no less attention to the development of the ceramics industry, and especially the expansion of brickyards. This industry has great development potential in Korea because of the existing raw materials base.

h) The light industry: The DPRK’s party and government have devoted a lot of attention to the issue of developing industry of a consumer character, which is to fulfill an important mission in the sphere of producing consumer goods, with the goal of satisfying the growing needs of the DPRK’s working masses. This is expressed in the guidelines in Kim Il Sung’s speech at the VI Plenum of the CC KWP for the reconstruction and development of this branch of industry. The plan anticipates the development of the textile factories in Pyongyang and Guseong to such dimensions that they will be able to produce between 60 and 70 million m. of cotton textiles annually and the rebuilding of shoe factories, whose annual production is to amount to 30 mil[lion] pairs of rubber shoes and 1 mil[lion] pairs of leather shoes.

In the area of the food industry, the plan foresees rebuilding and expanding breweries, tobacco factories, soy processing, dairy and sugar plants and the construction of sugar factories, whose production potential will be 6 thou. t. of sugar annually in 1955.

The directions of the VI Plenum of the CC KWP regarding the reconstruction and expansion of industry were received by the whole population of the DPRK with deep satisfaction.

According to the press, in many of the DPRK’s provinces, workers began to implement the plan of reconstruction. The workers of a textile factory in Gaeseong completed mounting machinery and started the production of cotton textiles within 10 days of Kim Il Sung’s speech at the VI Plenum of the CC KWP. The Minju Choson newspaper of 21.VIII. of this year wrote that the workers of a Gaeseong textile factory not only rebuilt their factory, but also renovated its workers’ apartments. After rebuilding the factory, the workers fulfilled 150% of the production plan in the month of August, compared to the month of July of this year.

Responding to the call from the party and government, the inhabitants of all industrial centers joined in the effort to rebuild the damaged production enterprises. In the city of Cheongjin, a brigade of 1,200 people made up of the inhabitants of that city, began to clear rubble off the grounds of factories and fill out bomb craters. A part of that brigade fixed 17 km. of roads in a single day, while another collected 7 t. of scrap metal. According to the Ministry of Culture and Propaganda of the DPRK information bulletin No. 11 of 15.IX of this year, the execution of the plan of reconstructing DPRK’s industry is very far advanced.

Thanks to the enormouus technical and material assistance from the Soviet Union, the DPRK government has begun to rebuild the largest power plant on the river Amnok in Supung, which was damaged during the war. This year still, the Supung power plant is to produce 3 times more electrical energy than it does currently. Right now, thanks to the evacuation in the war of its valuable equipment, the workers are completing the assembly and restoration of one of the largest generators in that power plant.

The machine construction factory in Huicheon, which was already in operation during the war, is growing quickly. The Soviet Union recently delivered very many modern machines for this factory. Thanks to this help, the factory began production on a broadened scale in the last days of August.

The rebuilding of the chemical industry is moving ahead quickly. For the past month, work is being performed to rebuild the Heungnam chemical conglomerate, which is one of the largest chemical conglomerates in the DPRK. On 21.VIII of this year, furnaces for roasting carbides were put into use. Because of this, the conglomerate began to produce carbide.

On 20.IX of this year, the steelworks in Songnim (Hwanghae Prov.) produced their first steel in the electric furnace that has been rebuilt since the end of military action.

The DPRK government is paying most attention to rebuilding and quickly activating production in factories of construction materials. This is reflected in the start of construction of a great brickyard near Pyongyang, which will be equipped with the newest machines and equipment. This factory’s production will be 100 mil. bricks per year.

On 11.VIII of this year, the first rebuilt kiln in the Seungho-ri cement factory was put in use. On the occasion of starting the kiln in the cement factory in Seungho-ri, the Minister of Chemical Industry and Building Materials decorated 49 workers, who had rendered outstanding services in rebuilding this factory, with state medals.

In order to assure the inflow of the necessary specialists to rebuild industry, a registration of engineering-technical personnel is being conducted in the territory of the DPRK. This registration is being conducted by special qualifying commissions, who operate out of provincial administrative centers. It aims to encompass all specialists and to use them to exercise the proper cadre management, in accordance with the implementation of the precepts of the plan of reconstruction of DPRK’s industry.

4. Agriculture.

During the three-year national-liberation war, the DPRK’s agriculture suffered major losses. Ca. 30% of homesteads were damaged, animal husbandry was almost completely destroyed, the countryside experienced acute shortages of workforce, draught cattle, tools, synthetic fertilizers, seed and even food. In the conditions of the destruction of the majority of factories in the DPRK, the party and government devoted much attention to agriculture during the war, thanks to which agriculture continually supplied the front and the rear with food, and factories with raw materials of agricultural origin. Despite assistance offered by the party and government, the issue of granting the utmost assistance to the poor peasants, mostly those living in mountainous regions, who make up ca. 30% of the total rural population, remains unsolved. In this situation, the DPRK government intends to conduct propaganda work among this category of peasants, with the goal of resettling them on better land in the lowlands, and to popularize starting animal farms in the mountain villages, in view of the large feed possibilities. These efforts aim to raise the standard of living of the poor peasants living in the DPRK’s mountainous regions as quickly as possible.

The VI Plenum of the CC KWP in its recommendations regarding the further development of agriculture on the basis of further revolutionary transformations assumes: In order to raise the standard of living of the working peasants and the productivity of agricultural production, at the beginning of 1954, it will begin to create societies of agricultural production for peasants who own small plots and landless peasants, which the peasants are free to join and retain their individually owned land and tools,. The remainder of landless peasants who are not included in these societies will be directed to industry.

Intending to promote the further development of state farms, the VI Plenum points to the need to raise the quality of farmland by expanding irrigation systems and delivering synthetic fertilizer. According to the plan to rebuild agriculture, the construction of irrigation devices in Anju is to be completed in 1956. The plan also foresees the expansion of the sowing areas in the regions that suffered especially large losses during the war, by eliminating fallow land, draining swamps in the area of the west coast, which is to be executed in the 3-year plan of reconstruction. The plan anticipates the mechanization of work on farms and the creation of an experimental station, whose goal will be to develop high-quality seed.

The VI Plenum stressed the importance of rebuilding husbandry, which plays a very important role in the implementation of the overall tasks related to the reconstruction of the DPRK’s national economy. Animal husbandry needs to deliver the appropriate quantity of meat, fats and dairy products to the cities, and many valuable raw materials to industry. As Kim Il Sung stressed in his speech about the party’s and government’s duties in the area of reconstructing and developing husbandry, thanks to aid from the Mongolian People’s Republic, which delivered a large number of headage to the DPRK during the war, there exists a base for the further development of state husbandry. The Plenum assigned the task of further developing those farms to the state husbandry farms, which are to start husbandry farms in those areas where soy product processing plants and mills are located, and in mountainous regions, because of their plentiful feed. The party draws attention to the need of conducting serious political work among individual peasants, to encourage them to engage in husbandry, so that in 1956 the production can reach its pre-war level. In view of the great difficulties in the area of qualified cadres, it is anticipated that an indispensable number of veterinary staff, animal technicians will be trained and that the appropriate quantities of professional literature will be delivered.

The masses of he DPRK’s working peasantry received the instructions of the VI Plenum of the CC regarding the post-war reconstruction of agriculture with deep gratitude. Peasants take on obligations at rallies to launch the reconstruction of agriculture immediately. According to the press of 20.VIII of this year, in response to Kim Il Sung’s directives included in his speech at the VI Plenum, on 17.VIII of this year, the reconstruction of the dam in Kenren [sic], which had been damaged by the American air pirates in the final days of the war, was completed.

In the post-war rebuilding of agriculture, the DPRK’s government is helping the peasants. This is expressed in the resolution of the DPRK’s Cabinet of Ministers about exempting peasants from those regions that had suffered especially great losses during the war from paying in-kind taxes and from paying back the seed they had received from the state. This decision further states that the state exempts peasants living in regions at the old frontline who experience a shortage of food as a result of the poor harvest caused by wartime destruction from in-kind taxes in 1953 and from paying back the seed received from the state in 1952. The privileges stemming from this decision cover all peasants living on the islands that were only recently liberated from temporary occupation. The decision anticipates reimbursing the paid taxes to those peasants who in accordance with this decision had been exempted from the payments.

In the last days of August, the harvest of late crops began across the DPRK. The harvest generally promises to be good, and it is only in the areas affected by flooding that the crops are significantly smaller than expected. The overall data regarding this year’s crops have not yet been published.

5. Transportation.

[Details of plans for putting all rail lines into use by the end of 1953, then in 1954 beginning to rebuild freight transportation; rebuilding bridges is a big part of this project; Czechoslovakia will build a car factory; rebuilding of harbors is the first step in restarting transportation by sea; road repair will be a big job.]

6. Domestic and foreign trade.

[Domestic trade thrived during the war, now the government is steering private trade into state enterprises. Increased export of raw materials is being planned.]

7. Education.

[While plans are being made to rebuild all educational institutions to their pre-war levels, training technical cadres is a focus.]

8. Development of culture.

[During the war, culture developed incessantly. Culture employees are now travelling across the country in search of subjects for their creations. Ten-pavilion exhibition about the KPA. People’s democracies film festival.]

III. The DPRK’s foreign policy.

[Goals of solving Korean question peacefully, tightening cooperation with people’s democracies. USA remains aggressive and threatening. Appeal to the UN to invite Korean and PRC representatives to the General Assembly’s discussions and several Asian countries to the political conference about Korea’s future. People’s democracies have promised help in rebuilding Korea. DPRK government delegation, headed by Kim Il Sung, went to Moscow on September 1, where discussions focused on economic assistance.]

IV. Internal Embassy affairs.

[Embassy has asked Warsaw to send Finnish summer houses so that it can be housed in better conditions before its new building is put up.]

E. Cerekwicki

[signature]

Charge d’Affaires a.i.

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

7 copies made.

[…]