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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 13, 1955

REPORT FROM ANDREYEV TO THE CHARGĂ© D'AFFAIRES OF THE USSR IN THE DPRK

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

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    Andreyev reports on cultural relations between North Korea and the Soviet Union as well as industries in North Korea.
    "Report from Andreyev to the Chargé d'affaires of the USSR in the DPRK," June 13, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI fond 5, opis 28, delo 314.Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116320
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[USSR MFA              SECRET

Far East   Copy Nº 2

Department   ref N 139

Incoming Nº 2757s  

6 July 1955]

TO THE CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES OF THE USSR IN THE DPRK

Cde. S. N. LAZAREV

Report

I was on an official trip with Cde. Mal'kov (VOKS [The All-Union Society for Cultural Relations [[with Foreign Countries]]) from 21 to 27 June. The goal of the trip was familiarization with the organization of the work of local branches of the Korean Society for Cultural Relations regarding propaganda about the Soviet Union. During the trip, conversations were held with chairmen and board members of the KOKS [Korean Society for Cultural Relations [[with Foreign Countries]] branches of the provinces of Gangwon and South Hamgyeong, with the chairmen of the district branches of Geumgang, Goseong [sic], Yeongun [sic], Jeongpyeong, Geumsan, the chairmen of the factory branches of the Pongun [sic] chemical plant and the Muncheon metallurgical plant, and with the chairmen of the rural branches of the village of Pungmiri, Geumgang District, and the village of Unpongdong [sic] of the province of South Hamgyeong. The following conclusions can be drawn from these conversations and personal observations:

1. An acute shortage of visual propaganda materials is being felt everywhere (photo displays and photo exhibits about the Soviet Union). For example, at the Muncheon metallurgical plant where about 2,000 people work and the output product (concentrates of non-ferrous metals) is mainly delivered to the Soviet Union, there is not a single photo display about the Soviet Union. With the exception of provincial capitals, as a rule the photo displays are made from magazine clippings (Ogonyek, Smena, and others), except that a translation is often missing under these illustrations: the explanation is given in the original Russian or without any explanatory text at all.

[Handwritten at the bottom of the first page: to Cde. V. I. Petrukhov]

2. A scarcity in the showings of movies is being felt no less. Whereas in provincial capitals there are two or three movie theaters and there are daily showings of movies (mainly Soviet), in districts and villages film showings are on average of once a month or two months, and even less often. The problem is that a district encompasses up to 30 or more villages but there is one mobile film projector for the entire district. For example, in the village of Unpongdong of the province of South Hamgyeong only two films were shown last year, and not a single one this year.

3. A whole series of comments were made to the newspaper "Sovetskaya-Koreyskaya Druzhba [Soviet-Korean Friendship]" by local KOKS officials. In their opinion, the main shortcoming is that scientific and technical terminology is incomprehensible to many, that informational material is often given in the newspaper with a great abundance of figures and percentage terms, that articles are printed in the newspaper about the results achieved in a particular oblast' but the means and methods of achieving these successes are rarely described, that the newspaper suffers from the popular appeal of the presentation of the material. In regards of the peasants, they mostly cannot read it because of illiteracy. The chairman of the agricultural cooperative of the village of Unpongdong of the province of South Hamgyeong expressed a desire to print materials on agricultural topics in large print and more articles about the formation of collective farms in the Soviet Union (beginning with the first day of their creation), than about the results achieved in collective farming recently. Of all the materials about the countryside he and also many other readers most of all liked the article entitled "Rassvet [Dawn]" (by correspondent Ya. Tsvetov), which was printed in the newspaper between February 2nd and March 15th, 1955. This article describes the activity of the "Rassvet" Collective Farm of Mogilev Oblast' in the Belorussian SSR from the first day of its creation to  present time.

4. The study of Russian by KOKS members is not entirely satisfactory in spite of the large numbers. Few have a qualified instructor, there are not enough advanced Russian language textbooks and the students have poor conversational skills. There are also KOKS organizations where the language is not studied at all. For example, at the Muncheon metallurgical plant Russian language study groups have not operated since February. There is a shortage of fictional and technical literature in Russian.

5. The worst aspect is correspondence with Soviet comrades, organizations, and enterprises. The Koreans express dissatisfaction that they do not receive replies from the Soviet Union to their letters. For example, in the presence of the chairmen of the Party and people's committees of the district the chairman of the KOKS branch of the district of Geumsan of the province of South Hamgyeong reported that that last year a letter was sent to the Gor'ky Automotive Plant; yet to the present time no reply has been received. A banner was attached to the letter which cost them 20,000 won. Letters were also sent to other addressees and also remain without replies.

They sent one letter to China and some time later received a reply and 58 copies of albums and selections of photographs. Then workers of the Hamheung Chemical Works sent four letters to Kolesov and received a reply to only one of them. Such reproaches were also expressed in other organizations where we visited.

We asked other questions along with familiarization with the work of local branches of the KOKS.

1) The Muncheon Metallurgical Plant

The chairman of the plant's Party committee said that the plant smelts crude lead (with a percentage of gold, silver, and bismuth) which is exported to the Soviet Union. The annual production plan for lead is 21,000 tons, of which 3,000 tons goes for domestic needs. The monthly production plan for lead is 1,800 tons. When the raw material is available they can produce 2,500 tons. The plant's capacity to produce lead is 84 [tons] per day. However, because of shortage of ore only 40-50 tons are being smelted per day at the present time.

Two high furnaces have been repaired. One of them is in operation, the other is the backup. The other two, although there were not badly damaged, are not being repaired since there is no need for them in view of the shortage of ore.

One thousand eight hundred people work at the plant. Those who work in shops harmful to health are fed per a special category according to which butter and five kilograms of meat are added to the established ration. But since there is neither butter nor meat these are replaced with fish.

2) The Pongun chemical plant

The KWP CC Party organization of this plant reported that by virtue of the restriction on the food supply which has been established they will have to lay off 1,000 of the 5,000 workers this year, which will have an immediate effect on the entire operation of the plant. The plant director said that the plant needs the help of Soviet specialists.

3) The Tong Cheon District of Gangwon Province

There are two Japanese ships in Tong Cheon port. I saw one of them myself. As Cde. Hong [sic], the chairman of the KOKS branch of Gangwon Province reported, these ships have been in port for a month. There are ropes on them for fishing tackle, three-wheeled vehicles, and various minor equipment intended for sale, in Hong [sic]'s words. Hong [sic] reported that the MVD organs are engaged in finding out the reason for the visit to Korean ports by these ships.

4) The village of Pungmiri, [Geumgang] District, Gangwon Province

In the presence of board members of cooperative the chairman of the agricultural cooperative of Pungmiri village said that 18 of 80 households have cooperated. A cooperative of three types [kooperativ 3 formy] was organized this year. The cooperative has planted 21 jeongbo of grain. The cooperative has eight bulls. In reply to the question of what difficulties there are, the chairman replied that there is not enough food and fertilizer, and that 70% of the food is grasses and roots.

5) The Geumgang District, Gangwon Province

The chairman of the Party committee of the district of Geumgang reported that many spies and saboteurs are being sent into the southern regions of the province of Gangwon from South Korea. Their goal is military intelligence, sabotage, assassination, and capturing senior officials. Often these people are dressed in the uniform of People's Army soldiers. They hide with their relatives both in cities and in villages. It is not recommended to drive along the coast of the province at night. Traffic in Gangwon province is permitted at night until 11, but until 8 in coastal regions.

EMBASSY ATTACHÉ

[signature] (Andreyev)

Four copies printed

1 - Fedorenko

2 - Kurdyukov

3 - Tugarinov

4 - to file

Drafted by Andreyev

Typed by Fokina

Nº 413

13 June 1955