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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 06, 1960

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 6 FEBRUARY 1960

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

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    Czechoslovak Ambassador Stanislav Kohousek and Puzanov discuss some peculiarities of North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 6 February 1960," February 06, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF fond 0102, opis 16, delo 6, p.28-61. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116154
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USSR EMBASSY IN THE DPRK [faded USSR SECRET Copy Nº 3

MFA stamp:

Nº 20 0421s

17 February 1960 24 February 1960]

[handwritten:

"to Cdes. [[I. I. Varnov]] and Samsonov, G. Ye.

25 February 1960 [[illegible signature]]"]

JOURNAL

of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A. M. Puzanov for the period

1 February through 15 February 1960

Pyongyang

[…]

6 February 1960

Czechoslovak Ambassador Stanislav Kohousek expressed a wish to meet and exchange opinions about some issues. I invited the Ambassador to my place for lunch during which I had a conversation with him.

Stanislav Kohousek expressed dissatisfaction with the work of the new MFA leadership: now all information can be received only through the MFA, all meetings with an official can also only be done with the aid of the MFA; information for ambassadors about the most important issues of DPRK life is almost not being given; Minister Pak Seong-cheol [Pak Song Chol] often does not exhibit attention and tact toward ambassadors - he does not always approach the ambassadors when together with the ambassadors in meetings or seeing off delegations, and at ceremonial meetings.

Inasmuch as Kohousek asked my opinion, I replied that some undesirable occurrences are explained by the inexperience of the Minister and his deputies. As regards the receipt of particular news of interest to embassies through the MFA then it seems to me that this was directed not at concealing the situation in the DPRK from socialist countries but against sending important information to undesirable elements which have wormed their way onto the apparatuses of Korean organizations [to send to] the Americans and South Koreans.

Stanislav Kohousek said this is possibly so. Hostile elements which have wormed their way into the government apparatus might pass secret information to the enemy by making use of a lack of oversight.

Then he told with great dissatisfaction that the MFA Bureau for Servicing Foreigners is sending poor officials to them in the Embassy. For example, they sent a very poor Russian-language interpreter, a person with many complaints. At the same time a good official, a Korean woman who had served the Ambassador's apartment for several years, was recently replaced by another sent not just to serve. During our trip to China and Vietnam she carefully examined all the things and looked into every nook and cranny and the boxes. "But we left everything open especially, let her look. We have nothing to hide. She just works clumsily".

For my part I expressed doubt that a person with a task indicated by the Ambassador could be sent and expressed the opinion that she did this out of curiosity.

The Ambassador also expressed great dissatisfaction that during the time that Cde. A. Novotny was in the DPRK last October the Korean friends expressed a desire to get equipment for the mining industry But so far they are silent. Evidently, the Ambassador said, they are thinking of getting the equipment on credit and paying for this credit with the delivery of non-ferrous metals or other goods as they see fit. But we cannot do this. Our country can supply equipment to the DPRK on a mutually advantageous basis" [SIC, no open quotes].

In reply to the last statement of the Ambassador I noted that the Soviet Union gives the DPRK fraternal aid, like to the other socialist countries, but builds relations with the capitalist countries on the principle of "mutual advantage".

After such a comment the Ambassador became uncomfortable and he tried to correct himself badly.

Stanisalv Kohousek also expressed some disagreement with the actions of the dean of the diplomatic corps, Ambassador Qiao Xiaoguang when, without consulting the ambassadors, he congratulated the KWP CC and DPRK government in the name of the entire corps on the victory of the repatriation of Koreans from Japan and added that it seems to him that Qiao Xiaoguang uses the responsibilities of dean to meet with Korean leaders in the interests of the Chinese Embassy alone. Kohousek cited no instances when doing this.

I rejected the Ambassador's last assumption. With regard to statements in the name of all the ambassadors I agreed that in this case it is always necessary to consult with the ambassadors in advance.

[…]

USSR AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK

[signature] (A. PUZANOV)

Five copies printed vp

1 - Cde. A. A. Gromyko

2 - Cde. Yu. V. Andropov

3 - DVO, USSR MFA

4 - Cde. I. I. Tugarinov

5 - to file

Nº 166 17 February 1960