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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 10, 1969

NOTE ON A CONVERSATION BETWEEN USSR AMBASSADOR COMRADE SUDARIKOV AND AMBASSADOR HENKE ON 2 JUNE 1969 IN THE GDR EMBASSY

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    A note on a conversation about the Soviet President Podgorny's visit to North Korea and Soviet Union-North Korea relations. It includes the Korean Worker's Party's decision not to send a delegation to the world conference of the communist and workers’ parties in Moscow.
    "Note on a Conversation between USSR Ambassador Comrade Sudarikov and Ambassador Henke on 2 June 1969 in the GDR Embassy ," June 10, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, G-A 360. Translated by Karen Riechert. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116680
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GDR Embassy to DPRK

Pyongyang, 10 June 1969

N o t e

on a Conversation between USSR Ambassador Comrade Sudarikov and Ambassador Henke on 2 June 1969 in the GDR Embassy

The meeting was held on my request from some days ago, but it did not occur until now due to the busy schedule of Comrade S. (in advance to this visit there had been an information from Comrade Golosov to Comrade Jarck on 30 May, see our confidential information 18/69). My conversation also suffered from time pressure, as Comrade S. was instructed to come to the KWP Central Committee in an hour regarding the issue of the world conference [of the communist and workers’ parties in Moscow].

In addition to our above-mentioned confidential information 18/69, we received the following additional information about the summit talks during the visit of [Soviet President] Comrade Podgorny [to the DPRK]:

  1. Comrade Kim Il Sung has expressed his firm intention to visit the USSR in 1969. Nothing will be published about this yet.
  1. Concerning the communiqué: Prior to the arrival of Comrade P., Ambassador Sudarikov hinted to Comrade Kim Jae-bong [Kim Jae Bong] that a communiqué might make sense. According to Soviet opinion, it is common that the host presents a draft. During the last days of Comrade P.’s stay the Koreans finally handed over such a draft. It was too much “over the top” in its attacks against imperialism so that the Soviets revised it somewhat in this regard. According to Comrade S., there were no discussions about this on principle. Text passages concerning European questions, the Budapest Appeal [of the March 1969 Warsaw Pact conference regarding an European Security Conference], disarmament problems etc. were already part of the Korean draft (this does not square with information given to us earlier by Comrade Gutusov [see above]). Perhaps I will return to the communiqué issue in a later conversation with Comrade Sudarikov.
  1. The remarks on Japan are too simplistic also in Soviet opinion. Yet in light of [West German Chancellor Kurt Georg] Kiesinger’s parallel visit to Japan the Soviets raised no general concerns here.
  1. During discussions about the text of the communiqué the Soviet Union at times proposed to talk of the “Seoul Clique”. Yet the Korean comrades objected and explained they prefer personal attacks on Park Chung Hee. They want to maintain some leverage with other personalities in South Korea in the light of potential opportunities for domestic differences there during the forthcoming 1970 elections.
  1. The Korean comrades stated they will want to prepare “a significant document” concerning the national question. During the talks [with Podgorny] assessments of the resistance movements in South Korea were realistic. They explained that currently there is no broad resistance there. It must be re-launched starting within the South Korean working class.
  1. Comrade Sudarikov provided information by the Czech Ambassador that an aggressive document by the Mao Clique against Kim Il Sung was distributed in South Korea and Japan.
  1. References to questions of disarmaments and nuclear weapons represent a new DPRK position compared to statements of recent years. For now, however, the Soviet Union will not become proactive on the question of [the DPRK joining] the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As we had agreed, on the evening of 2 June 1969 Comrade Sudarikov informed Comrade Jarck about a message from the acting head of the Fourth [International] Department in the KWP Central Committee: The KWP politburo had thoroughly discussed over the last two days the problem of participation in the forthcoming world conference. The outcome confirms the appropriate KWP position according to which it will not send a delegation to Moscow. The reply letter from the KWP Central Committee to the CPSU Central Committee states the KWP’s non-participation in the world conference without providing a reason.

Additional remarks:

I am of the firm conviction that the Soviet comrades still work on their final assessment of the Podgorny visit, and the statements made by the Korean comrades. For that reason Comrade Sudarikov shows a certain restraint regarding comments on the overall assessment.

There is no doubt that the visit is of high significance to the development of USSR-DPRK relations. For this reason alone, the visit represents the most important recent result of the DPRK process of rapprochement towards the countries ruled by Marxist-Leninist parties. Text passages prepared by the Korean comrades on questions most relevant to us are a significant step into this direction, both Comrade Sudarikov and myself agreed.

Still to examine further are the content, extent and character of the doubtlessly existing reservations on the side of the Korean comrades. A main current question is the KWP decision not to participate in the world conference in any form.

Comrade Sudarikov also thinks such is not exclusively due to the precarious DPRK situation that demands to take bilateral relations with the PR China into account. He nonetheless considers this argumentation as highly relevant. In my opinion, the reasons I stated in our annual analysis for 1968 under 3.1. are still valid.

It is a quite remarkable fact that the Korean comrades openly told the USSR about the need for two more days of intensive discussion in the KWP politburo to reach the decision [on the world conference] made in the meantime. Maybe this message can be interpreted in terms of content that the KWP politburo discussion resulted in conflicting opinions arguing for and against the decision ultimately made.

Henke

CC

1x Deputy Foreign Minister, Comrade Fischer

1x Comrade Markowski (Central Committee, Department IV)

1x Comrade Schneidewind, Department Head [Far East], Foreign Ministry

1x Embassy/Secretariat