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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 12, 1957

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 12 JULY 1957

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

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    Pak Ui-wan informs Puzanov on the characteristics of KWP CC meetings, criticizes Choe Yong-geon, and discusses issues regarding Soviet-Koreans and DPRK-PRC relations. Pak reports on instances of incorrect attitudes of North Korean officials and his personal relations with KWP members.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 12 July 1957," July 12, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 13, P. 72, Delo 5, Listy 146-164. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115634
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SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK TOP SECRET

Nº 175 Copy Nº 1

1 August 1957

[faded image of a stamp:

[[TOP SECRET]]

Incoming 9211-gs;

10 August 1957]

The Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A. M. PUZANOV

for the period 11 through 31 July 1957

Pyongyang

TOP SECRET

Copy Nº 1

[…]

12 July 1957

After an inspection of the premises of the Soviet Embassy dachas in [Sopho] with Cde. Pak Ui-wan with the object of conducting design and survey work for water; I had a conversation with him over dinner in which Pak Ui-wan told about the work of the KWP CC Presidium during the recent period and touched on several other issues.

Pak Ui-wan said that the principle of collectivity was more frequently observed in the work of the KWP CC Presidium after the September KWP CC. Meetings are convened regularly and the discussion of issues and exchange of opinions is more active. In the course of the meeting, besides Kim Il Sung, Chief of the General Staff Kim Gwang-hyeop [Kim Kwang Hyop], himself, Pak Ui-wan, and several others express their point of view on particular questions. However, as a rule many of the Presidium (Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol], Kim Chang-man, Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae], and Jeong Il-yong) support Kim Il Sung's proposals on everything without sufficient discussion. And in most cases Kim Du-bong and Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon] are silent at Presidium meetings.

However, not long ago when the issue of the state of affairs in the DPRK Ministry of Culture, where very large expenditures had been permitted, was being examined Choe Yong-geon made a forceful statement proposing the arrest of the Minister of Culture. The Presidium did not agree with such an extreme suggestion.

Several days ago Choe Yong-geon also spoke during a discussion in the Presidium of the issue of Pak Il-u. He suggested not letting Pak Il-u go to China, which had been decided beforehand, since in his opinion the anti-Party group of Korean officials which had gone there would be enlarged and strengthened. Kim Il Sung opposed such a change of previously adopted decision. He said that the resolution of the issue of Pak Il-u could not be put off any longer. He needed to either be given suitable work in the DPRK or his departure for China to be permitted. Kim Il Sung stressed that the Chinese comrades will believe the KWP CC and not individual dissatisfied people, and therefore there is no need to fear Pak Il-u's departure for the PRC. Three Presidium members were charged with talking with Pak Il-u, finding out his final wish, and deciding the issue accordingly.

Pak Ui-wan then reported that about one and a half or two months ago at one of the CC Presidium meetings the issue of appointing Han Sung-do, chief of the KWP CC Organization Department, to the post of Chairman of the CC of the United DPRK Trade Unions was being considered (instead of Seo Hwi, who had fled to China). When this was being done a document prepared by the CC Organization Department was discussed in which an assessment of the anti-Party activity of Seo Hwi was given; his provocative work with respect to Soviet Koreans was particularly noted.

Pak Ui-wan spoke in this connection and, noting the correctness of the assessment of the activity of Seo Hwi, pointed out that Seo Hwi's assistant in the campaign against the Soviet Koreans was Han Sung-do, who had made up a "black" list of all Soviet Koreans. Therefore he, Pak Ui-wan, suggested writing in this document about the mistaken position of Han Sung-do. The Presidium rejected this suggestion as unacceptable in this situation.

In reply to my question of whether I had formed the correct opinion about the sincere and friendly attitude of Kim Il Sung toward the Soviet Union and the Soviet Embassy at the present time, Pak Ui-wan replied as follows.

Kim Il Sung sincerely shares with conviction and supports the policy of the CPSU CC and the steps of the Soviet government. Right now he speaks very highly of the Soviet Embassy. As regards the campaign against Soviet Koreans (in 1955-1956), in my opinion, said Pak Ui-wan, Kim Il Sung fully understood the mistakes made by the CC during that period; however, he does not want to say this openly and does not consider it possible to adopt a decision rehabilitating us. I consider this incorrect, stressed Pak Ui-wan.

In the course of the conversation I asked Pak Ui-wan how Korean-Chinese relations are developing, in his opinion.

Pak Ui-wan replied that the many difficulties in this respect are associated with the incorrect behavior of the PRC Ambassador in the DPRK, Qiao Xiaoguang. He does not seek any conversations or ties with DPRK officials. Even Kim Chang-man, who knows Chinese, added Pak Ui-wan, found himself unsuccessful in his attempts to establish ties with Qiao Xiaoguang and considers him an unsuitable ambassador for establishing good relations between the DPRK and PRC.

I told Pak Ui-wan that I could not agree with such a conclusion about Qiao Xiaoguang. We have formed a good opinion of him. Possibly he does not have sufficient experience in establishing and developing relations, but persistent, friendly work is needed in this matter from both sides.

Pak Ui-wan expressed his opinion in connection with the important and pressing issue at the present time of a candidate for the post of Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers. He gave a negative assessment of the candidacy of Choe Yong-geon, describing him as an incapable person who does not know or wish to study economics and other aspects of the life of the country and who does not have stature among the majority of senior officials. Pak Ui-wan added that Choe Yong-geon had headed the campaign against the Soviet Koreans in the past.

Pak Ui-wan then reported about the case of the incorrect attitude of DPRK Gosplan Chairman Ri Jeong-ok toward a request of Counsellor for Economy Affairs, Cde. Makarov. Ri Jeong-ok refused to give Cde. Makarov data about the material balances and title lists for capital construction needed by GUEhS for consultation with the Korean friends about the draft DPRK five-year plan in accordance with their request. After this became known to Pak Ui-wan he informed Kim Il Sung and the latter instructed Li to immediately furnish the materials that GUEhS needed for the draft five-year plan. Kim Il Sung then admonished Ri Jeong-ok for his incorrect actions and that any needed materials should be furnished to the Soviet Union.

Then Pak Ui-wan told about a conversation he had at his initiative with KWP CC Presidium candidate member Kim Chang-man about two months ago. Pak Ui-wan asked why Kim Chang-man and other Presidium members had a poor and even hostile attitude toward him, Pak Ui-wan. Kim Chang-man replied that he and other Presidium members were displeased with Pak Ui-wan's behavior during Cde. Mikoyan's and Peng Dehuai's visit to the DPRK when Pak Ui-wan sharply criticized the style and method of work of the KWP CC Organization Department. However, at the present time Kim Chang-man considers relations with Pak Ui-wan to be normal.

In reply to my question of how Pak Ui-wan assesses relations, the latter replied that his relations with Presidium members have actually improved. In recently months Kim Il Sung has talked with him frequently, explained to him the situation about a particular issue, and gave advice relating to Pak Ui-wan's work.

Then, speaking of Pak Jeong-ae, Pak Ui-wan noted that her position and authority in the CC and Presidium has also recently improved.

In conclusion, Pak Ui-wan told of his conversation with Nam Il about Kim Seung-hwa (former Minister of Construction, now studying at the CPSU CC Academy of Social Sciences). Pak Ui-wan suggested that Nam Il summon Kim Seung-hwa from Moscow and in his presence investigate the accusations made against him. Nam Il did not agree with this. Pak Ui-wan said that Nam Il's opinion about the inadvisability of returning  Kim Seung-hwa to the DPRK was somewhat new for him in view of the fact that in this case the issue of his allegedly former incorrect ties with the Soviet Embassy, which cannot be allowed, might arise. Pak Ui-wan could not say what ties this was about.

Embassy Counsellor V. I. Pelishenko was present at the conversation.

[…]

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK

[signature] (A. PUZANOV)

Five copies printed

1 - Cde. Gromyko

2. - Cde. Fedorenko

3. - Cde. Kurdyukov

4. - Cde. Solodovnik

5. - file

Nº 482

1 August 1957