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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 25, 1968

REPORT, HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN CUBA TO THE HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY, 25 JANUARY 1968

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    A report on the great friendship between North Korea and Cuba.
    "Report, Hungarian Embassy in Cuba to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, 25 January 1968," January 25, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MOL, XIX-J-1-j Cuba, 1968, 59. doboz, 1, 001121/1968. Translated by Balázs Szalontai. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116665
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It is doubtlessly the issue of Vietnam that plays the greatest role in Cuban foreign policy. The Cuban leadership views it as a manifestation of its own policy. It can illustrate the direct struggle against imperialism with the example of the DRV, and in the case of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam the ideal of the guerrilla struggle also comes true.

Apart from the Vietnamese question, it is Korea that plays the greatest role in Cuban foreign policy. In the last year the realization of this political aim assumed the shape and character of an organized campaign. The recurring mentioning of Cuban-Korean friendship is of such an extent and it is so many-sided that one has to pay particular attention to it.

[…] the Cubans devote the greatest care possible to the maintaining of relations [with the DPRK]. In all fairness it must be noted that the Koreans return this, and they also make use of it as best as they can.

To support all this, one may cite a sentence from a speech made by Deputy Premier Raul Castro as an example: “If someone is interested in what the Cubans’ opinion is on certain questions, he should ask the Koreans. And if someone asks what Korea’s standpoint may be in certain cases, he can safely ask the Cubans about that. Our views are completely identical in everything.”

In what follows, we should cast a glance at all the phenomena that were characteristic of the relations of the two countries last year.

This stage was introduced by the visit of President Dorticos and Deputy Premier Raul Castro in Korea.

With huge efforts and financial sacrifices, Korean weeks were held in Cuba, and even the heads of the diplomatic missions were invited to these program series and country tours.

A large-scale Korean industrial exhibition was held in Havana. The opening speech was made by Minister of Foreign Trade Marcelo Fernandez. In his speech he referred to Korea as the sole country besides Cuba where there was a spirit of real internationalism.

During the whole year a large-scale exchange of delegations has been going on. The Korean delegations were not absent from a single Cuban international program.

The [Cuban] press gives daily news coverage to issues related to Korea. The papers publish the statements and speeches of Kim Il Sung in their entirety. (!) The provocative acts affecting Korea – like the most recent case of the American spy ship – take up the whole first page of the papers.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Korean embassy holds press conferences almost every week, even on small issues. The papers give appropriate coverage to these [press conferences].

The Cuban visit of the chairman of the Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (head of state) was an event of very great importance. The [Cuban] treatment of the delegation and the protocol actions of the large-size delegation were very remarkable. [Prime Minister of Cuba] Premier Fidel Castro, President Dorticos, and Deputy Premier Raul Castro also personally dealt with the delegation, which, in the light of the occasional behavior of the Cuban leaders, was in itself quite uncommon.

To the question that why the friendship with Korea was so important for the Cuban political leadership, Foreign Minister Raul Roa gave an indirect reply in his most recent speech that he made at a [Cuban-]Korean friendship rally. The Foreign Minister declared that now there existed a great triangle in world politics, and this was Cuba-Vietnam-Korea. These three countries were the sole and real manifestations of armed revolution.

He said that the Cuban party was a great and sincere friend of the Korean party, because this party was – in the view of Raul Roa – completely independent, had ideas of its own in every respect, was unconditionally anti-imperialist, and supported armed liberation struggle by all means.

Lőrinc Soós

Ambassador