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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 12, 1947


This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation

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    A request to send Soviet specialists to North Korea. The DPRK especially needs engineers to help them build railways. Shtykov notes that if the Koreans don’t receive aid from the Soviets, they'll turn to the Americans.
    "Cable No. 121973, Meretskov and Shytkov to Cde. Stalin," May 12, 1947, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 346, ll. 0004-0006. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.
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[handwritten at the top: to Cde. Stalin

I think that [[we]] ought to support this proposal.

V. Molotov. 16 May]


Copy Nº 2

[letterhead of the Second Main Directorate of the USSR Armed Forces General Staff] [Translator’s note: which is the GRU]

CABLE Nº 121973/sh

from PRIMVO [the Maritime Military District]

sent at 1835 12 May 1947

received at 1915 12 May 1947

Arrived in the 8th Directorate of the Armed Forces General Staff at: 2015 12 May 1947

[stamp: 10th department of the USSR MFA]

[Stalin’s handwritten reply entered across the text: Give five to eight Soviet [specialist] organizers and force the Koreans to learn. I. Stalin]


to Cde. STALIN

In accordance with a Soviet government decree of 26 July 1946 we sent you ideas in Cable Nº 15327 on 18 December 1946 about sending 82 Soviet specialists to help the People’s Committee of North Korea repair and develop industry and rail transport.

So far not a single Soviet specialist has been sent to North Korea.

We have repeatedly turned to the Ministry of Foreign Trade, but they tell us that the question of sending Soviet specialists should be decided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs they say that this is a matter of the Ministry of the Armed Forces, and the latter said that it does not have specialists at its disposition and is not competent to decide this question.

Thus up to now the question of selecting and sending Soviet specialists for work in North Korea has practically not been solved.

The situation which has developed in North Korea requires the immediate dispatch of Soviet specialists there.

All the Japanese specialists who continued to work in North Korea for some time after the Japanese surrender have been repatriated to Japan.

[Translator’s note: the following paragraph was highlighted in the left

Because of the shortage of engineering and technical personnel the industry and rail transport of North Korea did not fulfill the 1947 first quarter plan.

The People’s Committee of North Korea has repeatedly turned to us for aid with engineering and technical personnel. However, we have not yet been given it this aid.

All this creates among the People’s Committee a feeling of uncertainty that they will be able to cope with the management of nationalized industry and transport.

The industry and transportation of North Korea cannot operate without the aid of Soviet or other foreign specialists. We need to send Soviet engineering and technical personnel to North Korea without delay not only to help the People’s Committee put industry and transport in order, but also to strengthen the position and influence of our country in Korea for the future.

[Translator’s note: the following paragraph was highlighted in the left


Nº 6478/sh

12 May 1947

Sent by Rodina at 2145 12 May 1947

[At the bottom of the first page: deciphered at 1950 12 May 1947 Martynov

13 copies printed

Copy Nº 1 to Cde. Stalin

Copy Nº 2 to Cde. Molotov

Copy Nº 3 to Cde. Beria

Copy Nº 4 to Cde. Zhdanov

Copy Nº 5 to Cde. Malenkov

Copy Nº 6 to Cde. Mikoyan

Copy Nº 7 to Cde. Voznesensky

Copy Nº 8 to Cde. Bulganin

Copy Nº 9 to Cde. Vasilevsky

Copy Nº 10 to Cde. Vyshinsky

Copy Nº 11 to Cde. Malik

Copy Nº 12 to the 8th Directorate’s file

Copy Nº 13 to the 8th Directorate’s file

Chief of the 4th Department of the 8th Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces [[illegible signature]]