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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 19, 1978

HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN GUINEA, REPORT, 19 MAY 1978. SUBJECT: GUINEAN-SOUTH KOREAN RELATIONS.

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

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    Kertesz discusses the diplomatic relations between Guinea and the two Koreas, as well as inter-Korean relations, relations of the two Koreas with other African countries, and the Korean reunification issue.
    "Hungarian Embassy in Guinea, Report, 19 May 1978. Subject: Guinean-South Korean relations.," May 19, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Guinea, 1978, 59. doboz, 54-1, 003757/1978. Translated for NKIDP by Balazs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115821
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115821

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In January, a South Korean delegation spent substantial time in Conakry. The delegation was given accommodation in the rest houses reserved for the guests of the government. No Guinean communiqué of any kind has been published about the visit and on its objective and result.

The DPRK ambassador was unwilling to speak, or provide information, about this issue to anyone, fraternal [diplomats] included. The Guineans also refrained from [discussing] the subject.

In contrast with those news which suggest that the establishment of contacts was confined to the economic and consular spheres, the Western diplomats firmly stated, and still state, that an agreement was reached on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and South Korea will dispatch an ambassador to Conakry within a few months.

Certain capitalist diplomatic representations made considerable efforts to prepare the ground for the South Koreans among the Guineans and the DC [Diplomatic Corps]. During casual conversations, the Japanese chargé d’affaires laid particular emphasis on this subject, assuring [the other diplomats] that it would be definitely advantageous to Guinea to establish economic relations with South Korea. He also stressed that this would not be an extraordinary case, since the two Koreas maintained simultaneous diplomatic relations with as many as 21 African countries. To back up this claim, at diplomatic receptions the chargé d’affaires distributed a list that he had prepared, in which he enumerated the aforesaid 21 countries, including Guinea.

The fraternal [diplomats] are also of the opinion that apart from the very advantageous opportunities for economic cooperation that [South Korea] had offered, the Guinean decision may have also been influenced by the fact that the assistance which the DPRK provided to the development of industry has ended in fiasco. Shortly after its inauguration, the factory that the DPRK had built in the vicinity of Conakry for the production of porcelain household and sanitary wares ceased to operate due to technological problems and the deficiencies of the mechanical equipment. (Guinea asked Czechoslovakia to carry out the reconstruction. [The Czechoslovak government] did undertake to accomplish that, and its technical experts have already started working.]

The cooling of relations is also indicated by the fact that during the last one year, the Korean film shows—which used to be held on every possible anniversary, and at which the Guineans always attended at a high level and made extremely positive speeches that unequivocally supported the DPRK—have discontinued.

The establishment of relations with South Korea fits into the leading capitalist countries’ efforts to provide additional support to their economic penetration through their smaller allies, by indirect means. In the political field, they have obtained Guinea’s support to the “two Koreas” principle.

József Kertész

   Ambassador