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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 11, 1958

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 11 MARCH 1958

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

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    Among other personal issues, Park Jeong-ae discusses the results of the Party conference and KWP CC Plenum, in which speeches regarding the draft of the first five-year plan were discussed, some ministries were criticized, and preparations for uprising of factionalist groups are discovered.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 11 March 1958," March 11, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF F. 0102, Op. 14, Delo 6, Listy 61-70. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115971
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USSR EMBASSY IN THE DPRK         TOP SECRET

Nº 67 Copy Nº 1

17 March 1958

[handwritten: 03771-gs]

[handwritten entry: copy to N. Torbenkov]

[faded stamp:

…07417s

24/25 March 1958]

JOURNAL

of Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK A. M. PUZANOV

for the period 5 March through 15 March 1958

[handwritten: 1) please show to Cdes. Nikitin, Samsonov,

and Andreyev.

2) to Cde. Ognev, please follow our

suggestion [n/predlozhenie] concerning page 9.

talk with Cde. Surkov

N. Torbenkov]

Pyongyang

11 March 1958

I visited Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae] (Kim Il Sung left on a trip on 10 March) and passed on that the CPSU CC and Soviet government are inviting a group of senior DPRK Party and government leaders and their families to the Soviet Union for vacation in 1958. Pak Jeong-ae thanked [the USSR] for the invitation and said that they will discuss this in the KWP CC.

In the conversation which took place Pak Jeong-ae said that Kim Il Sung plans to go to the Soviet Union for vacation next year, in 1959, but this year he cannot go since we are awaiting the arrival of the Soviet Party-government delegation headed by Cde. N. S. Khrushchev. She then said, some of the senior officials would like to go but are held back by an unfamiliarity with or a poor knowledge of Russian.

I noted on my behalf that a visit to the Soviet Union by senior KWP and DPRK government officials, besides vacation, provides an opportunity to become familiar, in  accordance with their wishes, with the economic and cultural life of the Soviet people, and also helps establish personal contacts with the leaders of our Party and government. However, last year circumstances developed so that only individual officials (Jeong Il-yong, Ri Ju-yeon [Ri Ju Yon], and others) went to the Soviet Union for vacation.

Pak Jeong-ae informed [me] that yesterday evening Kim Il Sung left to take part in seeing off the Chinese people's volunteers. Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon], Kim Chang-man, Jeong Il-yong, Kim Gwang-hyeop [Kim Kwang Hyop], and other senior officials left with him. After attending a parade today, 11 March, they will go to units to see off the people's volunteers. Kim Il Sung will return from the trip at the end of the week.

Pak Jeong-ae told about the results of the Party conference and KWP CC Plenum which were held.

The Party conference, Pak Jeong-ae said, took place with enthusiasm amid great tension, especially during the discussion of the second issue. Speeches about the report of Ri Jeong-ok about the draft of the first five-year plan were specific, and confidence was expressed in the fulfillment of the tasks of the five-year plan for individual sectors of the economy ahead of time. Our ministries and departments were criticized, and it was pointed out especially that ministries show little concern about giving the enterprises of other ministries help in [their] work, although they have the ability for this. There were an especially large number of complaints against the Ministry of Machine-building. It was stressed that it is poorly serving the needs of our economy in the equipment of enterprises, etc.

The discussion of the second issue took place in a tense situation since the majority of the delegates (representatives of enterprises, agricultural cooperatives, and low-level officials) were finding out about the vile intentions of the factionalist group and its preparations for uprisings for the first time. Kim Du-bong and Pak Ui-won spoke poorly. During the break, after the speech of the secretary of the Party Committee of the Ministry of Railways, Pak Ui-won accused the Minister of Railways of organizing this speech. Other ministers present during this discussion were offended at the incorrect statement by Pak Ui-won and told the Presidium of the conference about this.

I asked Pak Jeong-ae, what new aspects in the factional activity of Kim Du-bong and Pak Ui-won were revealed which, with previously known facts, serve as a basis for using the same Party sanction [mera vozdeystviya] against them as against Choe Chang-ik [Choe Chang Ik], Pak Chang-ok, and the others? I explained to Pak Jeong-ae that I simply want to find this out inasmuch as in a conversation with me on return from vacation Kim Il Sung said that the KWP CC leadership had formed an opinion to remove Pak Ui-won from Presidium candidate membership but leave [him] as Deputy Premier, and that it was desired to keep Kim Du-bong as a Party member.

Pak Jeong-ae did not give any meaningful reply to this question.

Pak Jeong-ae said that she submitted proposals about organizational issues on behalf of the Presidium of the conference as presiding officer at the last session of the Party conference.

I asked Pak Jeong-ae whether there was an exchange of opinions about Kim Il Sung familiarizing us ambassadors with the results of the Party conference?

Pak Jeong-ae replied that there was an exchange of opinions but they decided not to assemble the ambassadors inasmuch as the reports were published. Pak Jeong-ae added, Kim Il Sung said to send all decisions adopted by the Party conference to you, the Soviet ambassador and the transcript of Kim Il Sung's speech, if desired, and if you want, also the transcripts of the speeches of the other delegates. As regards informing the ambassadors, noted Pak Jeong-ae, we have not had such a practice before.

I thanked Pak Jeong-ae and said that we would like to receive the decisions of the Party conference and the transcripts of the speech of Cde. Kim Il Sung and, if possible, also of the speeches of the other delegates. I mentioned that, at the instructions of the CC Presidium, Nam Il informed the ambassadors about the results of the October KWP CC Plenum and the ambassadors remained satisfied with this information. Then I said that, as is known, the CPSU CC acts this way and insofar as I know, [also] the leadership of several other fraternal Communist and worker's Parties. As one of the latter cases I cited the example of the Albanian Labor Party leadership informing ambassadors about the results of a CC Plenum which had been held.

Pak Jeong-ae briefly told about a decision adopted by the KWP CC Plenum concerning the restructuring the work of Party bodies in the army. The substance of this restructuring, said Pak Jeong-ae, comes down to strengthening Party leadership and Party control in the army. Party committees are being created with this purpose in the Ministry of National Defense, in armies, independent corps, divisions, and regiments which will be elected at corresponding Party conferences. The numerical strength of the Party committee of the Ministry will be 45-51 men, for example. The Party committees will elect executive committees to oversee practical work. As a rule, the secretaries of the Party committees will be political workers. The Party committee of the Ministry is being created in the capacity of a KWP CC department. Party bodies will be subordinate to the Party committees in their work. The Party committees will engage in Party political and educational work in the army. With respect to orders, they will plan measures to ensure that the orders of the commanders, who have sole responsibility, are obeyed. Pak Jeong-ae said that it has also been decided to create military collegiums in the capacity of consultative bodies in armies, corps, and divisions instead of military councils. This means that, for example, the military collegium of an army will be approved by the Minister and the military collegium of a division by the commanding general of the army, etc.

I asked Pak Jeong-ae what was the purpose of creating military collegiums instead of military councils which include, as Kim Il Sung said in one of the conversations, members and chairmen of several provincial Party committees?

Pak Jeong-ae essentially could not answer this question, saying at the same time that the statute about the work of Party organizations in the army and military collegiums was discussed in the KWP CC Presidium yesterday but had not yet been finally adopted. It was decided to insert the comments made in the Presidium and afterwards consider it in final form.

I thanked Pak Jeong-ae for the information. The conversation lasted more than an hour.