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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 03, 1957

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 3 SEPTEMBER 1957

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

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    Kim Il Sung informs Puzanov at length about the KWP's new leadership considerations, expressing his opinions about specific individuals recommended to or disqualified from prestigious government posts. Then they discuss a DPRK agricultural cooperative and bartering for the purchase of agricultural produce. Later, Puzanov meets with Pak Ui-wan, who is concerned about KWP investigations regarding his past work in addition to his alleged connection to accused factionalists.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 3 September 1957," September 03, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 13, P. 72, Delo 5, Listy 275-300. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115658
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SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK TOP SECRET

Nº 223 Copy Nº 1

2 October 1957

[handwritten: 010698-gs

6 October [[5]]7]

[stamp:

Incoming 02856s;

9 October 1957]

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

for the period 31 August through 30 September 1957

Pyongyang

[…]

3 September 1957

I visited Kim Il Sung at his invitation.

Kim Il Sung said that he considers it necessary to provide information about issues associated with the formation of the DPRK government at the first session of the second convocation of the Supreme People's Assembly. He then noted that the KWP CC Presidium had not officially discussed this issue. However, he and the deputy chairm[e]n [zam. predsedatelya -SIC] of the KWP CC had consulted with Presidium members and some ministers who are CC members.

One of the biggest issues is that Kim Du-bong ought not be elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly for the following reasons:

first, Last year he vacillated and sympathized with the anti-Party group of Choe Chang-ik, Pak Chang-ok, and others. It is expected that is to answer to the Party for this;

second - he does not try much to understand government and economic matters of the republic;

third, he is old.

Kim Il Sung then added that a final decision of the issue will depend on how correctly and self-critically Kim Du-bong speaks during consideration of the issue of his anti-Party ties.

However, I formed the impression from the conversation that the issue of Kim Du-bong has already been finally decided and Presidium members oppose his re-election as chairman of the Presidium.

In reply to my question, that if the Presidiums decide not to recommend Kim Du-bong, then who will be nominated to the post of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kim Il Sung answered:

There is an opinion to recommend Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon]. He is an old Communist, known in the Party and among the people. It is difficult for him to deal with the leadership in the Cabinet of Ministers inasmuch as he does not know economics well, nor does his health permit him to carry a large workload.

Another very important and large issue about the premier. Inasmuch as this issue affects me personally, said Kim Il Sung, I asked the deputy chairmen of the KWP CC to consult in advance about this issue with Presidium members. They did this and firmly expressed their opinion that I need to keep the premiership for a couple of years, bearing in mind that:

the country is divided into two parts, and there is much work ahead for reunification. Koreans first look at who heads the government;

the circumstances of the matter right now require solidarity and unity;

at the present moment we have not prepared a candidate for the post of premier. We acted incorrectly in preparing Choe Yong-geon for the post of premier. He can't cope with such work. We have the common opinion that Kim Il needs to be prepared for the post of premier. He is an energetic and efficient person, able to deal with people, and will be able to organize the work. However right now it is too early to appoint him premier; he is insufficiently known in the Party and among the people for this. But now we will release Kim Il from the post of Minister of Agriculture and he will be more able to deal with issues of government and economic work.

Kim Il Sung then reported that there is an opinion to also leave him Chairman of the KWP CC in order to lead and direct the work of the CC Presidium, and to create a CC Secretariat to carry out all the practical work. It has not been finally decided where I am to concentrate more:

in the Cabinet of Ministers, or in the KWP CC. If I have to be busier in the KWP CC, then all the practical work in the Cabinet of Ministers will be entrusted to Kim Il; if in the Cabinet of Ministers, then Kim Il will be the lead Secretary. He also can handle this work since he did much political work in the Army during the war. Kim Il Sung then noted that based on the experience of work Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae] ought to be made the lead Secretary, but she is weak in organizational issues; as regards Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol], he is still a young and insufficiently experienced leader. The most suitable candidate is Kim Il. In both cases he will be prepared for the post of premier.

Kim Il Sung also reported that before going on vacation Hong Myeong-hui (Deputy Premier) came to him and said that although he is not a KWP member, he belongs to the Progressive Party of South Korea, but he persistently expresses the opinion that Kim Il Sung remain premier. Leaders of the Democratic Party and the Chondoist Party also expressed the same opinion.

In conclusion about this issue Kim Il Sung noted that he personally is for dividing the posts; it is difficult for he himself to combine the posts of Chairman of the KWP CC and Premier and little time is left for him to read and supplement his knowledge. But it's not a matter of personal opinions. Obviously it's necessary to do what is most advisable and best in the interests of the Party and the people.

I formed the conviction that Kim Il Sung and I myself personally do not want [him] to give up the post of premier at the present time.

Kim Il Sung also spoke about several changes planned in the composition of the government, namely:

Nam Il will be recommended as deputy premier;

Procurator Jo seong-mo will be replaced. He has made serious mistakes; he let obvious counterrevolutionaries out of prison. Kim In Sen [sic], Chairman of the KPK [Party Control Committee] under the KWP CC will be recommended to also be procurator. In reply to my question how he will be able to hold two such important posts, Kim Il Sung replied that this is temporary until we select a candidate for the post of Chairman of the KPK.

Minister of the Coal Industry Yu Ch’uk-un will be replaced by another inasmuch as he does not work satisfactorily and is not coping with the business entrusted to him.

The candidate for the new minister was not named;

for the post of Minister of Agriculture there are two candidates: Kim Man-geum, Chairman of the Party committee of the province of South Pyeong-an and Han Jeon-jong, Chairman of the People's Committee of the province of North Pyeong-an, a specialist in agriculture. We'll probably recommend him. But we'll consult some more;

as Minister of National Defense we will recommend the current Chief of the General Staff Kim Gwang-hyeop [Kim Kwang Hyop] (a member of the KWP CC Presidium), and Ri Gwon-mu, Commanding General of the 2nd Army and Hero of the DPRK, as Chief of the General Staff.

The issue of Pak Ui-wan will be considered in the CC Presidium inasmuch as there is testimony against him that he was in close relations with some of the leaders of the anti-Party group. We will see how he acts. But he will not be punished much. He will be recommended for a post of no less than a minister's.

In reply to my question, shouldn’t the question be about recommending him to again be a deputy premier, Kim Il Sung replied this question was no longer being discussed.

I have formed the opinion that there are Presidium members who are insisting on not leaving Pak Ui-wan as deputy premier.

The Chondoist Party has kept the post of Minister of the Fishing Industry for Ju Hwang-seop.

From the Democratic Party, the post of minister without portfolio for Kim Dal-hyeon.

They have decided in the KWP CC to strengthen the management of the agriculture department. The chairman of the Party committee of the province of South Pyeong-an has been approved for this work.


In conclusion Kim Il Sung asked that the CPSU CC be informed of the views listed about the composition of the government and what wishes are to be reported to him, Kim Il Sung; he was also interested in my opinion about the issues expressed.

I said the following in cautious and general form, that as regards the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly then it is natural that those who work much and intensely ought to be appointed to this, just as to other government leadership work. Collective leadership assumes an active personal participation in the work of the collective leadership [rukovodyashchiy kollektiv]. Kim Il makes a good impression. Counselor Makarov also gives [him] high marks from work in Moscow with the draft of the five-year plan. Pak Ui-wan is actually sometimes hasty in expressing his opinion about a particular issue and is hot-headed. But I have formed the opinion that he works honestly and conscientiously, boldly exposes shortcomings in work, and together with the collective leadership plans and carries out steps to eliminate them.

I did not express any opinion of my own about the post of Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers.

In this connection Kim Il Sung added to the profile of Pak Ui-wan that often he is often noisy at CC Presidium and government meetings and speaks unnecessarily on minor issues, for which many ministers do not like him.

During the possible trip to Moscow Kim Il Sung asks that greetings and wishes for good health be passed to the CPSU and Soviet government leadership. He also asked to find out on what issues is it being proposed to hold a conference of leaders of the Communist Parties of the socialist camp in order to prepare for this conference in time.

I thanked Kim Il Sung for the information and the good wishes for our leaders.

At the end of the conversation Kim Il Sung told about his visit to an agricultural cooperative on Sunday. The farmstead, it is true, is not large - 30 households. They expect to get a very high rice harvest, 13 tons per hectare (about 40 hectares were planted) and after settling with the state the cooperative will have up to 10 tons per household left. Members of the cooperative have persistently asked that a truck be sold to them. Today we consulted with Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae] and Kim Il and decided to look for the necessary money to purchase up to 1000 vehicles during the five-year plan.

I shared with Kim Il Sung the experience of bartering the purchase of agricultural products in the USSR.

Kim Il Sung listened with interest, saying that they will also employ this system.

The conversation lasted one hour and 30 minutes. Nam Il was present at the conversation.

x x x

I met with Pak Ui-wan at his request at the construction of the new Embassy buildings. After inspecting the construction sites Pak Ui-wan talked about a conversation he had had with Kim Il Sung. The fact that more than a page and a half of text in the secretary's report at the general meeting of Party members of the Ministry of Railways' Party organization was devoted to shortcomings in the work of Pak Ui-wan while he was Minister of Railways served as a reason for the conversation.

Pak Ui-wan said, I expressed my bewilderment to Kim Il Sung why are they starting to pick me, a candidate CC Presidium member, to pieces from below, at the same time stirring up old matters which have no relation to the anti-Party statements against the KWP CC leadership which took place before the August Plenum last year which are now the subject of the Party meetings of a number of ministries. If there are any accusations against him, Pak Ui-wan, then they first ought to ask him about them and if necessary discuss [them] at the Presidium.

In Pak Ui-wan's words, Kim Il Sung noted that it cannot be that they are stirring up his affairs about the work at the Ministry of Railways and Pak Ui-wan's information is hardly reliable.

Pak Ui-wan said that the Minister of Railways told him about this.

Kim Il Sung noted in reply to this, we'll look into it. Keep working.

Then Pak Ui-wan reported that he considers it necessary to also talk about this issue in the next few days with Deputy Chairman of the KWP CC Pak Geum-cheol, who handles matters of organizational work.

For my part I said that he acted correctly in turning to Kim Il Sung inasmuch as Pak Ui-wan has a whole series of questions connected with the Party meeting held in the Ministry of Railways.

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. Solodovnikov

5 - to file

Nº 590

printed [pech.] g/k [abbreviation unknown]

2 October 1957