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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 22, 1958

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 22 FEBRUARY 1958

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

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    At the 40th anniversary of the USSR Armed Forces meeting, Kim Il Sung shares impressions of the visit of the PRC delegation and discusses the South Korean aircraft that overflew DPRK in February 16 and students who renounced the DPRK citizenship.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 22 February 1958," February 22, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 14, Delo 6, Listy 32-60. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115967
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22 February 1958

A festive meeting in honor of the 40th anniversary of the USSR Armed Forces was held in the Moranbon Theater organized by the Korean-Soviet Friendship Society. The Party and government leadership led by Kim Il Sung was present at the meeting, and I and Military Attaché D'yakonov were in the Presidium. General-Lieutenant Kim The Gyn [sic], Chief of the Political Directorate of the Korean People's Army, delivered a report. After the report the military attaché gave a short speech.

In a conversation which took place Kim Il Sung shared impressions of the visit of the Chinese government delegation, expressed his attitude toward the students who had renounced DPRK citizenship, and opinions were exchanged about the South Korean aircraft which had overflown the DPRK.

While sharing impressions of the visit of the PRC government delegation, Kim Il Sung said that Zhou Enlai and delegation members remained very satisfied with the visit to the DPRK, the meetings with workers at enterprises, and members of agricultural cooperatives. They gave high praise to the development of industry and the socialist cooperation of agriculture. They thoroughly approved of the KWP CC policy, and noted the people's active support of KWP CC policy and the good political mood of the population.

Kim Il Sung said, during the talks we asked that the issue of the possible amounts of cotton and coke deliveries to us be examined. Zhou Enlai replied that in the next few years the delivery of cotton from the PRC to the DPRK was possibly in the range of up to 10,000 tons annually (it was previously set at 8,000 tons). As regards coke, this will be reported on the delegation's return home and after discussion of this issue by the PRC government.

Kim Il Sung said, in the talks Zhou Enlai proposed that we build an Unbong hydroelectric power plant together on the Yalu (Amnok) River above the Suphun Hydroelectric Power Plant with a capacity of 500,000 kilowatts. We replied that at the present time we do not have the means to build such a hydroelectric power plant. Zhou Enlai noted in connection with our response that they can build the plant with their own resources and the DPRK could pay their share of the investment afterwards. We did not object to such a proposal. Evidently in practice the matter turns out such that a year will be needed for exploratory work and a year for planning. Construction of the plant will not be started before a couple of years.

Kim Il Sung then said that they completely agree with the statement of chief of the CPSU CC department Yu. V. Andropov made to the DPRK Ambassador in Moscow about the eight Korean students who renounced DPRK citizenship. I suggested that Nam Il inform the Ambassador to pass to Andropov that [they] ought not resort to methods of forcible return of these students to Korea and, in general, not pursue any measures which might cause damage inasmuch as to some degree this can not look good for the CPSU CC and KWP CC. Kim Il Sung noted, I did not know at the beginning of February the MVD sent two of its officials to Moscow to forcibly return these students to Pyongyang (it seems to me that Kim Il Sung knew about this but at the present time he is giving the appearance that the dispatch of the MVD officials to Moscow occurred without his knowledge).

[We] exchanged opinions about how the DPRK leadership intends to act with the South Korean plane which overflew [the DPRK] and the passengers on the plane. Kim Il Sung said that the passengers and crew will be returned to South Korea after the South Korean government addresses the DPRK government about this issue or the Red Cross organization [turns to] the Red Cross of North Korea. As regards the aircraft, the issue of its return will be considered when the South Korean authorities turn to the DPRK government. The passengers and crew have been given good living conditions and good food while they are in Pyongyang. They will be shown Pyongyang, exhibits, theaters, and museums.

For my part I said that, judging from the radio and press, the Americans are trying stir up a big sensation and fuss around the overflight of the aircraft and, it seems to me, to use this incident to distract public opinion from the very strong and very important measure announced by the Korean and Chinese governments in their joint Declaration of 19 February. Considering this circumstance, it would be advisable not to drag out the solution of the problem of the return of the plane's passengers, especially as you have already said, all the passengers who wish to return will be returned to South Korea.

Kim Il Sung replied that they will obviously not drag out this issue.

During the translation of the speech of Military Attaché A. A. D'yakonov (Military Attaché Nikol'sky was the interpreter) Kim Il Sung reacted disapprovingly of the translation, saying that he was doing it without intonation, too quietly, slowly, and distinctly. Then Kim Il Sung noted that with suitable help they could offer our diplomats who know Korean an opportunity to acquire the habits in colloquial speech to give a particular report to workers at enterprises and agricultural enterprises or to converse about life and work in the Soviet Union.

I thanked Kim Il Sung and said that we will try to make use of this offer.

During a break Kim Il Sung recommended that Ri Gi-yen [sic], Chairman of the Korean-Soviet Friendship Society, help our Embassy officials acquire the habits in colloquial speech of the Korean language.

The conversation with Kim Il touched on the same issues, the aircraft and the students. Kim Il also said that Kim Il Sung did not know about sending the two MVD officials to Moscow for the Korean students (Kim Il said this at his own initiative; I did not touch on this issue at all).

In the conversation with Kim Il I informed him that in accordance with their request of 17 February 270 tons of cotton seeds had been shipped and the remaining 130 tons would be shipped in the next few days.

Kim Il thanked [me] for the report. In turn he addressed a request, was it not possible to accelerate the delivery of 100 sets of instruments for the artificial insemination of cows through Trade Mission channels? According to the information available to us, said Kim Il, the delivery of these instruments is planned for the third quarter, which will be an extremely late time.

I promised Kim Il to look into it and take steps to meet his request. (I asked Trade Representative I. A. Gladkov to look into it and take steps to accelerate the delivery. Gladkov promised to do [this]. They reported from Moscow that shipment will be done in March of this year[)].