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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 01, 1955

LIAISON REPORT FROM THE ROMANIAN EMBASSY IN PYONGYANG TO THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SECOND DIVISION LIAISON, FEBRUARY 1ST 1955, 200/55

This document was made possible with support from the ROK Ministry of Unification, Leon Levy Foundation

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    A report from the Romanian embassy in Pyongyang concerns various meetings and special events in North Korea, ranging from the showing of films and ballets to discussions of the agricultural industry and the status of foreign visitors to North Korea in 1954.
    "Liaison Report from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Second Division Liaison, February 1st 1955, 200/55," February 01, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Year 1955; Issue 20; Country: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115535
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On February 12th, the head of the Polish delegation organized a reception in the underground hall of the Moranbong Theater, on the occasion of Poland’s Army Day, inviting generals, officers and soldiers from the Korean People’s Army, party officials from Pyongyang and representatives of mass organizations, scientists, leaders of the cultural life, and members of the diplomatic corps accredited in the DPRK.

Comrades Florescu Victor and Ciocan Nicolae attended on behalf of our embassy.

On the occasion, the attendees   toasted to the Soviet Army, Poland’s liberator, the friendship between the Korean People’s Army and the Polish Army, and to China’s National Revolutionary Army.

On behalf of the DPRK, the head of the political division from the Korean People’s Army dedicated a toast to the Polish Army and to Defence Minister Comrade Rokossovsky.

The reception progressed amidst a feeling of warm friendship.

On October 23rd, Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu paid a return visit to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Poland, after the latter’s visit following the submission of his credentials.

The discussions we were of little importance, for example: life in Korea, health, Romania’s prosperity etc.

The Ambassador also served some small refreshments, together with his wife and Second Secretary Comrade E. Terecvitsky [sic].   

On October 27th, the Minister of the Albanian Mission arrived at the train station in Pyongyang from the People’s Republic of China. He was welcomed by the Soviet, Mongolian, Czechoslovak, Polish, Hungarian and German Ambassadors, the Minister of the Bulgarian Mission, other members of the aforementioned embassies, and, on behalf of our embassy, Comrades Florescu Victor and Neamu Gheorghe.

Comrade Ambassador was unable to attend due to a schedule overlap with a concert dedicated to Romanian artists, organized on the same evening by the Ministry of Culture and Propaganda. All Romanian from the DPRK were invited and the Ambassador could not miss such an event.

On October 30th, Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu received an introductory visit from Minister of the Albanian Mission Comrade Neste Nate [sic]. In addition to usual conversations of no importance, our Ambassador inquired about the relations with Yugoslavia and whether the challenges were the same as in the past. According to the Minister, the situation has improved and they have even established diplomatic relations.

A joint committee had been formed to resolve the issue of establishing demarcation points and border signs.

The committee signed four treaties regarding the border issues.

Currently, another joint committee is working on implementing the provisions stipulated in the four treaties.

No other relations exist except for diplomatic relations, and the tensions continue. The visited lasted an hour.

On November 1st, Comrade Ambassador made a visit to the Mongolian Ambassador, who is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

The purpose of this visit was to simply discuss some more since meetings between the two have been quite rare.

The most important issue amongst the ones discussed regarded the difficulties related to the construction of the Mongolian Embassy building in Pyongyang, which had still not been completed despite the fact that the move in date was in August.

The Mongolian Ambassador noted that the Korean comrades lack construction workers and have a particular problem with carpenters, whose performance is defective. An additional cause for the bad carpentry work is that the wood is green.

The celebration of the 37th anniversary of the Great October Revolution took place on November 6th 1954, at the Moranbong Theater. The following officials were seated at the Presidium table: Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Du-bong, Vice Presidents of the Cabinet Choe Yong-geon, Pak Chang-ok, Kim Il, Hong Myeong-hui, Choe Chang-ik, and Soviet Ambassador Comrade Susdalev. KOKS Chairman Comrade Ri Gi-yeong opened the meeting.

‘The Story of Sadoseong,’ a ballet choreographed by ballerina Choi Seung-hee with the support of her dance school, premiered after the meeting.

The performance was beautiful and successful.

Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu and Neamu Gheorghe attended the event on behalf of our embassy. Similarly, only two comrades have been invited from the other embassies.

On November 7th, in the evening, the Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK organized a reception commemorating the 37th anniversary of the Great October Revolution, at the Central Committee of the Korean Worker’s Party.

Comrades Kim Il Sung, Pak Chang-ok, Choe Yong-geon, Choe Chang-ik, Hong Myeong-hui, Jeong Il-yeong, Kim Il, Pak Chong-ae, Nam Il and heads of the embassies and missions accredited in the DPRK were seated at the main table.

Cultural and political representatives, representatives of mass organizations, of the Korean People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, workers’ leaders, and Czechoslovak and Polish representatives of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission also attended the reception.

Ambassador of the Soviet Union Comrade Susdalev dedicated the first toast to peace. Comrades Anton Tatu Jianu, Florescu Victor, Neamu Gheorghe, Ciocan Nicolae and their spouses attended the event on behalf of our embassy.

On November 23rd, Hungarian Ambassador to the DPRK Comrade Pál Szarvas organized a dinner for Comrades Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu, Neamu Gheorghe and their wives. The Hungarian Embassy’s advisor and attaché also attended.

In addition to unimportant matters, he inquired about our permanent liaison with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and whether we are experiencing difficulties in regards to receiving documentation materials.

Comrade Ambassador responded that we directly address Comrade Ri Dong-geon [Ri Tong Gon], should serious issues arise, whereas in regards to less important matters, we liaise with the Third Division. As for the documentation materials, we are also experiencing certain difficulties.

On the occasion of the German-Soviet month of friendship, the Ambassador of the German Democratic Republic to the DPRK and the Soviet Ambassador organized a soiree on November 27th, at the Soviet Embassy’s club, inviting all diplomatic envoys in North Korea. After screening a German film, the heads of the diplomatic missions were invited to dinner. The soiree was well organized and progressed amidst a feeling of warm friendship.

We note that this is the first time when a soiree is organized by two embassies in the DPRK.

On December 14th, Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu met with the Minister of Chemical Industry, Comrade Chong Chun-taek, in order to expedite the response to a request sent to the Korean Foreign Ministry in regards to the date of arrival of the equipment to be received for the cement plant.

The non-commercial payments treaty between Romania and the DPRK was signed at the Ministry of Finance on December 17th.  

Comrade Yun Hyeong-sik, Deputy Finance Minister, was assigned to sign the treaty on behalf of the DPRK.

The signing ceremony took place in a formal setting. Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Third Division Comrade Toi Hak En [sic], Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Treaties Division Comrade Zo Cion Su [sic], Head of the Finance Ministry’s Currency Division Comrade Kan The Muk [sic], and Head of the National Bank’s International Division Comrade Kim Ci Be also attended.   

A dinner was organized on the occasion. All aforementioned officials attended.

The following discussions ensued: Comrade Yun Hyeong-sik asked Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu about the fishing and agricultural industries in Romania. According to the Ambassador, the Romanian fishing industry is not as developed as the Korean one and intense efforts are made to enhance interior lakes and fill them with fish grown in special ponds. This will ensure a large quantity of fish. Another measure for developing the industry is to provide fishing cooperatives with the technical means required for fishing in the Black Sea.

In regards to agricultural development, Comrade Ambassador noted that there has been a turn in agricultural policy following a plenary session of the Romanian Workers’ Party Central Committee in 1953, which yielded good results.

Regarding the fishing industry, Comrade Yun Hyeong-sik noted that the DPRK had a vast natural abundance and they foresaw the enlargement of their fisheries and their endowment with mechanical vessels.

Regarding agriculture, Japanese landlords owned approximately 75% of the arable land and the three years of war have enabled collective work in villages, facilitating collectivization.

According to the analysis made by the Central Committee of the Worker’s Party during the November 1954 Plenum, 70% of peasant families will join cooperatives by 1955.

On the evening of December 20th, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia organized a dinner party, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Czechoslovak President Antonín Zápotocký. Comrades Nam Il, Ri Dong-geon [Ri Tong Gon] and the heads of the Protocol and Third Division attended on behalf of the Korean Foreign Ministry.

All the heads of the diplomatic missions in the DPRK, along with their spouses, and representatives of cultural and mass organizations have also been invited. Given the occasion, the Ambassador of Czechoslovakia delivered a short speech on Comrade Zápotocký’s activity.

The dinner was held at the Intourist [sic] Restaurant in Pyongyang and progressed amidst a feeling of warm friendship.

On New Year’s, our embassy, with assistance from the Romanian Embassy in Beijing which provided us with 200 cards, sent cards to members of the diplomatic corps (86 people) and high Korean officials (105 people).

Our embassy received New Year’s cards from all the diplomatic missions in the DPRK and some of them were also accompanied by a small gift. For example, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Mongolia sent Comrade Ambassador Anton Tatu Jianu a gift set containing 3 bottles of vodka, a calendar or a photo album. Comrades Kim Il Sung and Nam Il each sent Comrade Ambassador a casket with various presents.

Lacking beverages or other national objects, our embassy was unable to send anything back.

During this period, Comrade Florescu Victor made the following visits:

On October 1st, Comrade Florescu Victor visited the Chair of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries in order to establish the concerts program for the ‘Barbu Lautaru’ orchestra. According to Comrade Pak, Chair of the Committee, a detailed program has not been established thus far, but will cover Pyongyang and all major surrounding cities. Comrade Florescu requested, if possible, that the photographs from the open exhibition celebrating August 23rd be displayed in several cities outside Pyongyang. Comrade Pak agreed to the proposal.

On October 6th, Comrade Pak handed Comrade Florescu the program and notified him of the upcoming ten day festival dedicated to socialist films, wanting to know which Romanian films we propose to screen on the occasion. Comrade Florescu responded that we would probably receive new movies and would inform them of the decision in due time.

On October 8th, Comrade Florescu informed Comrade Pak that we largely agreed with the program they had established in regards to the Romanian artists’ visit, however we would also like them to insert a concert at the club of the Soviet Embassy. He further mentioned that a Romanian Comrade would also greet the artists at the border. Comrade Pak requested the artists’ biographies for the press and notified us that two posters with Romania had been displayed on the Stalin Boulevard.

On November 12th, Comrade Florescu handed Comrade Pak four billboards to be displayed by the Ministry of Culture, some of which at the textile factory in lieu of the current ones, and a series of articles for the press. Comrade Florescu further mentioned that we want to screen ‘The People’s Republic of Romania’ and ‘The Sun Rises’ at the festival.

On December 10th, Comrade Florescu handed Comrade Pak a small stamp exhibit, consisting of five frames, with the request to be displayed at the Foreign Language Bookshop. He also requested to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Romania on December 30th with a film gala of the movies ‘The People’s Republic of Romania’ and ‘The Sun Rises,’ which were not screened at the festival due to late arrival. Comrade Pak said he would discuss the issue with the Director of Cinema and believes this will be possible.

During the evening of December 10th, Comrade Florescu had dinner with journalist Li Hen Su [sic], editor at Minju Choson, who had been invited to our country on the occasion of August 23rd 1954. The aim of the dinner was to discuss the possibility of publishing some articles on Romania and ensure our support in terms of research materials, if needed. The journalists claimed to have thought about writing a brochure about Romania and a series of articles in the Minju Choson.

On December 21st, Comrade Florescu handed Comrade Pak some articles and photographs to be used by the press in commemorating December 30th, and inquired whether we could receive a response in regards to the film gala and the cultural plan proposal. According to Comrade Pak, the proposal will be finalized by the end of the year and the film gala is to be organized on December 29th or 30th.

On November 4th, Comrade Neamu Gheorghe was summoned to the Foreign Ministry’s Third Directorate which deals with liaison. The head of the division requested that 4 youngsters from our hospital attend the celebration of November 10th (the International Youth Day). They would like one of them to deliver a short speech on the occasion.

Furthermore, he informed us that the Korean authorities did not agree with building brick ovens in the hospital barracks.

On November 12th, the Deputy Head of the Third Division Liaison summoned Comrade Neamu to their offices.

He inquired about the arrival date of the film that was scheduled to screen during the week dedicated to people’s democracies cinema.  

Comrade Neamu informed him that the film had been sent on October 3rd and we were waiting for its arrival.

The Korean official mentioned that they had finalized the program and had scheduled the movie for the last day, in the hopes that it would arrive on time.

After signing the non-commercial payments treaty on December 16th, the Head of the Foreign Ministry’s Forth Division handed Comrade Neamu Gheorghe a copy of the protocol, requesting that we check it and return it immediately.

Also on December 16th, the Director of the Bureau for the diplomatic corps informed Comrade Neamu Gheorghe that the DPRK government has provided our embassy with 300,000 bricks and awaits our construction plans, as well as signing the contract with the construction trust.