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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 08, 1968

NOTE ON A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE 1ST SECRETARY IN THE USSR EMBASSY, COMRADE ZVETKOV, AND COMRADE JARCK ON 7 AUGUST 1968 BETWEEN 17:00 AND 19:00 HOURS

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    The East German Ambassador in the DPRK summarizes South Korea's revised and strengthened military policy in the wake of North Korea's provocations in 1968.
    "Note on a Conversation between the 1st Secretary in the USSR Embassy, Comrade Zvetkov, and Comrade Jarck on 7 August 1968 between 17:00 and 19:00 hours ," August 08, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PolA AA, MfAA, G-A 320. Translated for NKIDP by Karen Riechert. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116683
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/116683

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GDR Embassy to DPRK

Pyongyang, 8 August 1968

N o t e

on a Conversation between the 1st Secretary in the USSR Embassy, Comrade Zvetkov, and Comrade Jarck on 7 August 1968 between 17:00 and 19:00 hours

The conversation had been scheduled during our last meeting. Its purpose was to inform the undersigned about military activities of the South Koreans. Comrade Zvetkov provided the following information on his subject.

After the events in Seoul in January 1968 and the seizure of the American spy ship “Pueblo”, the South Korean government used these events following consultations and talks with the U.S. for the preparation of a so-called three-year-plan to defend South Korea’s security. Either this plan has been already approved, or will be approved shortly, by the South Korean National Assembly.

The most important elements of this plan, according to information received by the representation of a socialist country in Panmunjeom [Poland or, less likely, Czechoslovakia], are as follows:

  1. Training and arming 2.5 million South Korean reservists for the fight against the so-called infiltration from the North.
  1. Training of South Korean pilots in the United States to enable them to fly the “Phantom” aircraft scheduled to arrive in South Korea by the end of 1968.
  1. Equipment of the South Korean army with modern speed boats, radar stations, signal stations, electrical and electronic means of communication, the M-16 gun, and special vehicles for roads and tracks in order to speed up troop transports. These equipments are scheduled for delivery from the United States. Probably these deliveries will be funded from the additional 100 million dollar military credit agreed during the visit of U.S. presidential envoy [Cyrus] Vance in South Korea, i.e. they will not be part of the 230 million the U.S. annually spends on its forces deployed in South Korea.
  1. Creation of a staged defense system South of the DMZ reaching to the capital of Seoul. This system is supposed to consist of five defense lines. Each line will have a system of trenches with bunkers and stationary gun points. Bunkers and gun points are designed to weather 150 millimeter artillery fire. Costs for the five defensive lines are supposed to be shouldered by the U.S. The United States have apparently already agreed to this.
  1. Until the end of 1968 construction of border security equipment along the DMZ on South Korean territory will be finalized. It includes bunkers to be built at certain segments of the DMZ.
  1. Bolstering South Korean air defense through deployment of missile launching pads for “Hawk” missiles (surface-to-air missiles). Altogether about 30 launching pads are to be built, 7 of those surrounding Seoul.
  1. Establishing security zones around important industrial and military objects. Introduction of special permits for movements, prohibits for taking photos etc.
  1. Expansion and construction of important roads, in particular between Seoul and Busan and Seoul and Incheon. At the same time bridges will be expanded or built from scratch.
  1. Construction permits for industrial objects or residential living are only to be granted by South Korean bureaucracy if the project can prove integrated of air defense capacities.
  1. Call to the entire population to prepare with all means available for potential air attacks.

The justification outlined for this three-year-plan stipulates that all measures are considered as prevention against potential attacks from the DPRK.

This plan is said to have been discussed in principle during the meeting between Park Chung Hee and Johnson in April 1968 in Honolulu. In May 1968 there were detailed negotiations over this complex between then South Korean Defense Minister Choi Young-hi and American War Secretary Clifford in Washington. The U.S. is said to have agreed to the plan. This means that the United States has signed up for shouldering the additional costs.

Jarck

Acting Ambassador

CC

1x State Secretary Hegen (Foreign Ministry)

1x Comrade Axen (Central Committee)

1x Embassy/Secretariat