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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 24, 1956

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION BETWEEN SOVIET EMBASSY COUNSELLOR S. FILATOV AND DPRK VICE PREMIER PAK UI-WAN, 24 JANUARY 1956

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    Pak reports on the recent KWP CC Presidium decision, “The Further Strengthening of the Fight Against Reactionary Bourgeois Ideology in Literature and Art,” which was directed at the alleged hostile factional activity of Soviet Koreans. Pak says that the persecution of Soviet Koreans is ungrounded, as they do not pose a threat to the Party, and that in fact, favoring members of the local “faction” over members of other backgrounds may undermine the Party’s integrity.
    "Record of a Conversation between Soviet Embassy Counsellor S. Filatov and DPRK Vice Premier Pak Ui-wan, 24 January 1956," January 24, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI Fond 5, Opis 28, Delo 412. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120770
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120770

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Secret Copy Nº 3

from the journal of Cde. S. N. Filatov,        

Counsellor of the Soviet Embassy in   

the DPRK

Record of a conversation with Deputy Premier Cde. Pak Ui-wan

24 January 1956

Cde. Pak Ui-wan, who visited the Embassy, reported that he had received an 18 January KWP CC Presidium decision, “The Further Strengthening of the Fight Against Reactionary Bourgeois Ideology in Literature and Art”. Pak pointed out, I informed you about Cde. Kim Il Sung’s speech at an expanded KWP CC Presidium [meeting]. He characterized this speech as a speech directed against a group of senior officials who had arrived from the Soviet Union.

But I was not suspecting that the CC Presidium would make such a decision. Essentially the decision might say that Cdes. Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin, Gi Seok-bok, and others are being accused of factional anti-Party activity, of systematic statements against Party policy.

It is known that a number of Soviet Koreans, and especially Cdes. Pak Chang-ok and Pak Yeong-bin have made serious mistakes in their work. But they never pursued factional or anti-Party activity and did speak against Party policy.

This KWP CC Presidium decision is being discussed in all primary Party organizations at this time. The Pyongyang City Party Committee, as in December of last year, has instructed the Party Committee secretaries of ministries to hear the explanations of Soviet Koreans about their ties with Hegai. [The following] gave such explanations: Kim Chan, Deputy Minister of Trade; Kim Jwa-hyeok, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and others. It needs to be said that the campaign against Soviet Koreans continues and the Pyongyang City Party Committee is leading this campaign. It seems to me, said Pak, that a number of senior officials are using the speech of Cde. Kim Il Sung in the CC Presidium with criticism of the activity of individual Soviet Koreans and organizing statements against all Soviet Koreans.

Cde. Pak Ui-wan expressed the opinion that the discussion of mistakes committed by some Soviet Koreans does not promote a strengthening of the Party. At this time more than any other Soviet Koreans, local Koreans, etc. have started to be especially emphasized. The division into groups and in the process the promotion of the special merits of local Koreans does not strengthen the Party, but weakens [it]. However, this began with Cde. Kim Il Sung's speech at the December KWP CC Plenum

In reply to my comment that a number of Soviet Koreans have actually made serious mistakes, the revelation of which undoubtedly promotes an improvement of work, Cde. Kim Ui-wan replied that he understands all this. But he cannot agree with the methods with the aid of which the CC is pursuing the work. Here, for two months already the KWP CC and almost all primary Party organizations have been engaged in a discussion of the behavior of a number of Soviet Koreans. I understand that if the Party were threatened with a danger, it would be correct to mobilize the entire Party against this danger. But there is no such danger. Why then pursue the work this way[?]

He then pointed out that he did not understand what goal the CC Presidium was pursuing in trying to connect the admitted mistakes of Cde. Pak Chang-ok and Cde. Pak Yeong-bin with the activity of enemies of the people Ri Seung-yeop and Pak Heon-yeong.

Pak Ui-wan said that today Cde. Pak Jeong-ae had summoned him and explained that at a decision had been made a meeting of the Political Council to send Cde. Choe Yong-geon to the 20th CPSU Congress. She pointed out that all her attempts to persuade Cde. Kim Il Sung to go to the 20th [CPSU] Congress himself had come to nothing. At a meeting of the Political Council Cde. Pak Jeong-ae had suggested sending Cde. Kim Il Sung to the 20th [Party] Congress but Cde. Kim Il Sung had opposed this suggestion. He pointed out that he had given agreement to Cde. Otto Grotewohl to visit the GDR in the summer of this year and that it is not possible to go to countries twice in one year.

Cde. Pak Jeong-ae also told Cde. Pak Ui-wan that Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke at the Political Council and told about the incorrect behavior of individual senior officials with respect to Soviet Koreans. He proposed holding a conference about the Soviet Koreans and to calm them, and to hold a conference with CC officials and to explain to them about the incorrect behavior of individual officials with respect to Soviet Koreans.

Pak Jeong-ae said that such conferences had already been held and now the situation should improve. She said that Cde. Kim Il Sung was concerned about the situation which had developed. He decided to summon some officials and look into why they had such a bad attitude toward Soviet Koreans and why they had incorrectly understood his speech at the December KWP CC Plenum.

Pak said, I asked Pak Jeong-ae, who did Cde. Kim Il Sung have in mind who has a bad attitude toward us? She replied that Cde. Kim Il Sung named Choe Chang-ik, Rim Hae, Han Sang-du, chiefs of CC departments, and Ri Jeong-ok, Chief of the CC Industrial Department, and others. Kim Il Sung decided to talk with them especially.

I thanked Cde. Pak Ui-wan for the conversation.

The conversation lasted two hours.

S. FILATOV

[signature]

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