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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 24, 1960

JOURNAL OF SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK A.M. PUZANOV FOR 24 MARCH 1960

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

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    Puzanov shares his impression of a tractor plant in the DPRK and his discussions with Kim Il Sung, who explained that agricultural and grain production were the main tasks of the Korean Workers' Party.
    "Journal of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 24 March 1960," March 24, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF fond 0102, opis 16, delo 6, p.72-122. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116292
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USSR EMBASSY IN THE DPRK [faded USSR   TOP SECRET

MFA stamp:                     Copy Nº 3

Nº 58 0767s

25 March 1960 9 April 1960]

[handwritten:

"to Cdes. [[N. P. Varnov?]] and Samsonov, G. Ye.

9 April 1960 [[illegible signature]]"]

JOURNAL

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

16 February through 24 March 1960

Pyongyang

[…]

24 March 1960

At the instructions of Moscow I confidentially familiarized Kim Il Sung with the text of Cde. N. S. Khrushchev's letters of 3 and 21 March and the text of D. Eisenhower's letter of 12 March. After reading [them] Kim Il Sung said, "Thank you. This is very interesting and good information. Cde. N. S. Khrushchev is a persistent and patient fighter for peace".

Kim Il Sung confirmed that from the content of Cde. N. S. Khrushchev's letters to President Eisenhower he fully understands the reply of the Soviet government given at the request of the Korean side in connection with the statement in the press being prepared by Cde. Kim Il.

Then a hour-long conversation was held on a number of issues in a friendly situation.

I shared with Kim Il Sung my impressions about the visit to the Kiyan [sic] tractor plant. In particular, I noted that thanks to the daily attention and help from the KWP CC and government the plant's collective had done much work to prepare and tool the production of tractors, and train personnel. The state of affairs at the plant creates confidence that it will be ensured, from the point of view of the planned amount of the production of tractors in 1960. But I especially stressed the need to stubbornly struggle for high quality of the tractors since the tractors being produced have serious deficiencies - a number of parts and subassemblies are being made of lower quality steel than intended. I expressed the opinion that evidently it is necessary to ensure the production of steel of the required quality at the Seongjin steel mill and its shipment to the plant in order to improve the production and increase the quality of the tractors being manufactured, finish supplying the plant with the needed equipment, and wage a strong fight to reduce the expenditures of materiel and raw materials, and to lower labor costs.

I expressed ideas about the need for timely planning and manufacture of spare parts at the Kiyan [sic] or other plants for the tractor being produced. I also noted, would it not be advisable to involve the plant's collective in helping agriculture by manufacturing from production waste, without damage to the plan, the implements for the tractors needed in field conditions for maintenance of the tractors, [by] the manufacture of simple blacksmith's equipment for agricultural cooperatives, etc. But at the present time the plant has been given an assignment to collect 1.5 tons of fertilizer per each one working, that is, a total of 6,000 tons.

Kim Il Sung listened with interest and said that tractor building in the DPRK is still in the initial stage and there are many shortcomings in the operation of the plant and in its supply with materials. He said that 70% of the machine tool inventory consists of machine tools of Korean manufacture created in the course of the "machine from a machine" movement. Specialists think that the plant will need about another 30 imported machine tools for complete mastery of the production of tractors. It is necessary to have at least one machine tool of various kinds as a model for production. The government intends to buy part of these machine tools this year and the others in the future.

The KWP CC leadership knows that some materials of low quality are being supplied to the Kiyan [sic] plant, particularly steel. This issue has already been discussed with the leadership of the Committee of Heavy Industry in the KWP CC. Production is still not organized at the Seongjin plant, which supplies the steel, in view of it being overburdened with orders for export. However, said Kim Il Sung, I think that this issue will be decided successfully. Meetings have already been held with the workers, engineers, and technicians of the plant about this. At the present time the tractors produced by the Kiyan [sic] plant have already been working in the fields for a month and a half. It is hard to judge how long they will not require repair but for now the comments about them from the peasants and tractor drivers are quite good.

Kim Il Sung noted that last year many mistakes were made in filling out the documentation and launching the production at the plant. Therefore the plant is now faced with the goal of increasing the level of the workers' technical skills. Besides this there are also a number of unsolved issues of the workers' everyday services, particularly the big shortage of housing for the workers.

Kim Il Sung said there are difficulties in the issue of supplying agriculture with spare parts for the tractors in view of the fact that right now the tractors operating in the DPRK were received from various countries. Spare parts for tractors are also produced at a number of plants.

This year 1,000 tractors are coming to the DPRK from Romania and the USSR and 3,000 tractors will be produced in the DPRK. Favorable conditions will thereby be created for the mechanization of agriculture in two provinces, South Pyeong-an and South Hwanghae.

I noted that not long ago a new small tractor used for gardening was tested in the Soviet Union.

Kim Il Sung said that the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Trade was given an assignment to select and buy one model each of various foreign-made tractors in order to study them. In the process the possibility is not excluded that some types of tractors will also be bought in capitalist countries, for example, in Japan.

I noted that it looks that work in the field of agriculture will be deeper this year, with less fuss and greater involvement of the broad masses of the peasantry than last year.

Kim Il Sung said that this year the main efforts in the field of agriculture are concentrated on the production of grain as the main task. Right now an important issue is the introduction of a system of planning in the operation of both the agricultural cooperative as a whole as well as the production brigades. Up to now in a majority of cases neither the agricultural cooperative nor individual brigades have a precise, sound plan of work. No less important, too, is the issue of reinforcing the socialist principle of distributing the income of the agricultural cooperative, in which serious mistakes have also been previously made. The correct assessment of work which has been done has great importance in this issue. Previously there were often cases when the same labor days were counted for easy work as for labor-intensive kinds of work. At the end of last year the distribution in agricultural cooperatives was done in strict accordance with the labor days produced. Kim Il Sung said, in spite of the fact that right now some members of an agricultural cooperative who worked badly in the past year are experiencing a shortage of food we think that this will serve as a good experience and in the future we will also unswervingly pursue the principle of socialist distribution. A system of awards has been instituted in the brigades of the agricultural cooperative as an incentive measure and stimulus to increase labor productivity where the brigade is paid a monetary award or in kind for overfulfilling the plan.

I noted that the experience of the Soviet Union shows what salutary results an intensified reinforcement of the principle of material interest brings in the field of agriculture.

Then Kim Il Sung touches on the issues of improving the organization work of district Party organizations. Previously, he said, in the district Party committee there were too many different departments which engaged in writing varying drafts, and demanded information, various statistical information, even to the point of how many flies were killed. The leaders and instructors of district Party committees did not go out to the field themselves, did not engage in work directly in agricultural cooperatives, but only constantly summoned the secretaries of the ri Party organizations to the district committee (sometimes 20 times a month), thereby making their work harder. At the present time their structure has been changed in order to improve the work of the district Party committees and steps taken for all officials of the committee to go directly to the cooperatives and help to organize work there to fulfill the crop production plans. Kim Il Sung stressed, we are introducing these methods everywhere now and, as reports from the field show, they are bringing positive results. Then Kim Il Sung talked about the mass dispatch to agricultural cooperatives of agronomists and agricultural specialists who has previously worked in various institutions and organizations. Of the 7,000 agronomists and agricultural specialists listed in the DPRK about 4,000 are being sent to agricultural cooperatives so that each cooperative has one specialist. The timeframe for their work in the cooperatives has been set at one and a half years and they have been assured the salary they previously received.

One thousands animal husbandry specialists are also being sent to the field in order to have one specialist for every three ri. Two veterinary offices with three workers each are being created in each district. Thus there will be one veterinary office per 10 ri. Each of these workers also keeps the salary previously received.

He then stressed that in order to concentrate the efforts of the village on field work the peasants are not being supposed to be diverted to other kinds of work this year. Students, manual laborers, and office workers will be enlisted to finish the construction of incomplete irrigation works. Kim Il Sung said, peasants are actively participating in field work at the present time. The average percentage of members of agricultural cooperatives throughout the country appearing [for work] is 95%.

In connection with the issue Kim Il Sung raised about drawing up production plans in each agricultural cooperative, I shared the Soviet experience in the reexamination of output norms and labor payments. I also said that after the war the production plans for the agricultural products of individual collective farms were published in oblast' and republic newspapers. This served as an example for other collective farms.

Kim Il Sung exhibited interest and said that in his opinion the results of he current agricultural year will be better than last year.

In conclusion I thanked Kim Il Sung for the conversation.

Pak Seong-cheol and Pak Yong-guk were present during the familiarization and the conversation.

The text of the letters was translated by Embassy translator D. A. Priyemsky and the conversation was interpreted by Choe Won-sik…

USSR AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK

[signature]

(A. PUZANOV)

Five copies printed

1 - Cde. A. A. Gromyko

2 - Cde. Yu. V. Andropov

3 - Cde. DVO, USSR MFA

4 - Cde. I. I. Tugarinov

5 - to file

Nº [208]