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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 20, 1966

REPORT, EMBASSY OF HUNGARY IN THE SOVIET UNION TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

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    The Hungarian Embassy reports on North Korea's relations with the Soviet Union and China and Japan's foreign relations.
    "Report, Embassy of Hungary in the Soviet Union to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry," October 20, 1966, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1966, 74. doboz, IV-250, 005007/1966. Translated for NKIDP by Balázs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116646
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An official of our embassy [András Köves] visited the Far Eastern Department of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, and had a conversation about the [Soviet] evaluation of the most recent events in Korea.

[…]

According to the preliminary evaluation of the Soviet comrades, the recent conference of the Korean Workers’ Party „has yielded all the positive results whose declaration one could expect. Under the present circumstances one could not expect the Korean comrades to do even more.” These positive results are the following: the repeated emphasis [the North Koreans] laid on their independence from China and the concrete exposition of that standpoint with regard to the various questions of international politics and the international Communist movement, the Korean point of view adopted concerning the unity of action aimed at helping the DRV, the problem of the anti-imperialist unity of action in general, the evaluation of the Soviet support given to the DRV, and the rejection of several Chinese attacks and accusations in a direct or indirect form. (During his visit to Beijing, which occurred this May, [premier of Albania] Mehmet Shehu very sharply inveighed against those who adopted an intermediate, neutral standpoint in the Sino-Soviet debate. Kim Il Sung responded to him when he expounded in his report that while certain people claimed that he [Kim Il Sung] would fall between two stools, Korea actually had its own stool, on which it sat firmly.)

While stressing the aforesaid facts, they [the Soviets] remark that one must acknowledge, of course, that at least for the time being there are several questions in which the Soviet standpoint differs from the Korean one. The Soviet comrades do not deny at all that they do not agree with the tone of Kim Il Sung who, by emphasizing the independence and uniqueness of the Korean party, actually wants to say that in the entire international working-class movement, it is solely the Korean party that follows a right Marxist-Leninist road, whereas the other parties make one mistake after the other. […]

[The Soviets] told our official that since they, in contrast with the Korean standpoint, could not consider Japanese and West German militarism equally [dangerous], they thought that Japanese military preparations were, for the time being, limited, and the principal task they actually set themselves was to facilitate, as far as possible, the prevention of the 1970 renewal of the Japanese-American military agreement. They consider it necessary to continue such a policy toward Japan that will reinforce Japan’s efforts to be more independent from the United States by […] arousing Japanese interest in relations with the socialist countries, they think that a policy which condemns the Japanese government in a rigid and unilateral way and does not want to improve relations with Japan may prove counterproductive, and it will actually contribute to the intensification of Japanese militarism and the further blossoming of Japanese-American relations.

[…] On their part, the Koreans emphasize that the situation in South Korea differs from the one in South Vietnam to a great extent, and therefore the methods of liberation also must be different. In addition to armed struggle, it is possible, and also necessary, to use all sorts of fighting methods. Although this basically correct standpoint has gained ground, the policy the DPRK pursues with regard to South Korea is still – in the opinion of the comrades over here, unnecessarily – rigid in many respects. For example, there is not any (postal, etc.) contact between the DPRK and South Korea, they [the North Koreans] insist on that the socialist countries should not participate in those international conferences, meetings, and so on, at which a delegation of the South Korean regime – sometimes merely a delegation or personage representing a social [organization] – is present. As is well-known, they demand […] that if such international conferences are held in socialist countries, then no South Korean personage should be given an entry permit. The Soviets, on their part, do not consider such an unequivocal rejection of any contacts with South Korea a right standpoint, but for the time being they do not consider it necessary and helpful to argue with the Korean comrades over this relatively non-essential issue.

    

On the extension of the Seven-year Plan by three years, the Soviet comrades hold the following opinion:

It was already known before that there were certain underfulfillments, and therefore it also came up that the Seven-year Plan would be extended by one and a half or two years. They [the Soviets] think that this decision was motivated by several factors. For instance, they say that the Soviet side repeatedly offered to send planning experts to Korea, who would help the Korean comrades in this field, but the Korean side did not accept that Soviet proposal. It is also well-known that during the few years which preceded 1965, Korea relied completely on China, not only politically but also in an economic sense. The Koreans, on their part, asked the Chinese for large-scale assistance, more specifically, for credits. The Chinese, on their part, made it a condition that a Sino-Korean joint commission should decide how and for which projects the Koreans could use this credit (by the way, the Soviet side does not preclude the possibility of that the Chinese, due to their economic difficulties, did not actually want to give assistance to Korea, and this is why they insisted on these conditions). The Koreans, on their part, found that condition unacceptable, but the absence of economic assistance was certainly a serious blow to the Korean economy. Finally, the Soviet comrades think that it is the large-scale – and, in the opinion of the comrades, partly unnecessary – military expenditures that constitute one of the major causes of the Korean economic difficulties. For instance, they consider the troop strength of the DPRK’s army too high, and they also remark that a substantial part of the defense facilities – air-raid shelters, etc. – are obsolete and completely unnecessary under the circumstances of a modern war.          

  

Finally, for the time being they have not formed a definitive opinion about the resolution the party conference passed with regard to the reorganization of the [KWP’s] leading organs. They think that this is not likely to change either Kim Il Sung’s position in the party or the collectiveness hitherto characteristic of the leadership. What is positive is that in the course of these reorganizations, Kim Chang-man [Kim Chang Man], hitherto the Vice-Chairman of the Korean Workers’ Party, who dealt with ideological issues, and Ha Ang-cheon [Ha Ang Chon], hitherto a deputy member of the Political Committee, the rector of Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, and the chairman of the Korean-Chinese Friendship Society, were left out of the leading organs. It is their impression that thus the elements who represent the pro-Chinese orientation in the leadership of the Korean party have been pushed into the background.

[…]

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                                                                                                                         (ambassador)