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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 21, 1956

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

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    Pak tells Filatov that he does not fully agree with the KWP CC Presidium decision regarding Pak Chang-ok because the Presidium's failure to cite specific evidence. Pak Ui-wan says that he spoke well of Pak Chang-ok in a recent meeting with Kim Il Sung.
    "Record of a Conversation between Soviet Embassy Counsellor S. Filatov and DPRK Vice Premier Pak Ui-wan," February 21, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI Fond 5, Opis 28, Delo 412. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120772
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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

21 February 1956

I received Cde. Pak Ui-wan at his request.

Pak said that recently Cde. Kim Il Sung had held a number of conferences on the question of improving Party and state work.

1. On 18 February at a conference of deputy premiers and chiefs of KWP CC departments Cde. Kim Il Sung told about how the issue of the role of personality in the development of the history of human society is being incorrectly covered recently in oral and printed propaganda. He pointed out that in all the newspapers and magazines there is very much mention of his name, and much is attributed that he did not do. This is in contradiction to Marxist-Leninist theory, which guides our Party in its development, and it leads to an incorrect perception by Party members. Kim Il Sung demanded that KWP CC department chiefs pursue the necessary work concerning this issue and seek a correct interpretation of the issue of the role of personality and the popular masses in the development of society.

2. On the same day, after this conference, Cde. Kim Il Sung invited me to his place and in a conversation asked my opinion about the correctness of the KWP CC Presidium decision, “The Further Strengthening of the Fight Against Reactionary Bourgeois Ideology in Literature and Art” with regard to the factional and anti-Party activity of Cde. Pak Chang-ok and whether to leave him in the post of deputy premier after such a decision.

Pak Ui-wan said that it was very difficult for him to answer the question raised by Cde. Kim Il Sung since I did not believe that Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin, and other Soviet Koreans had pursued factional anti-Party work. As regards the correctness of the Presidium decision I replied that I did not know about materials which would describe Pak Chang-ok as a factionalist who had pursued a fight against the Party. When present at the CC Presidium listening to the speeches of the comrades I did not hear anyone cite specific materials about factional activity of Cde. Pak Chang-ok. Only Cdes. Rim Hae and Han Seol-ya said that they had such materials, but they were not so bold as to say what these materials were. I am a Party member, have always believed the CC and carried out its decisions, and I regard this decision in a Party way and will pursue active work to carry it out.

As regards the work of Cde. Pak Chang-ok in the post of deputy premier, I said that it will be difficult for him to handle the responsibilities entrusted to him. Cde. Pak Chang-ok has been sharply criticized in the last three or four months, expelled from the Political Council, released from the responsibilities of Chairman of Gosplan, accused of factional anti-Party activity, etc. His authority has been undermined, many do not trust him, and do not respect him. If you want to leave him in this work, it is necessary to support him and he will undoubtedly straighten himself out and be a useful official. Cde. Kim Il Sung said that it necessary to think about the work of Pak Chang-ok and look about the possibility of his further use.

Kim Il Sung did not express his opinion regarding the CC Presidium decision.

I directed Cde. Kim Il Sung’s attention to the fact that he, Kim Il Sung, had trusted Cde. Pak Chang-ok until recently and had entrusted him with the most responsible assignments, always praised him, and held him up as an example.

I gave him my own opinion that Cde. Pak Chang-ok is actually a capable and resolute official and if he has been making mistakes - but he had many of them - rudeness, conceit, bureaucratism, etc. then they, these mistakes, were less manifest in just the last year and a half or two than they were in 1950-1953, that Pak Chang-ok has improved his work considerably, and has mastered such a large field of work as Gosplan, etc. And then when a person has considerably improved and has started to work better they begin to present seven- and eight-year-old accusations at him. I don't understand this.

Cde. Kim Il Sung replied that a number of prominent officials have long demanded that the activity of Cde. Pak Chang-ok be looked into and that he be held accountable. I withstood these demands as far as possible but then decided to investigate. I think that there will be great benefit to both the Party and Cde. Pak Chang-ok from this critique.

Then Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke well of the republic conference of construction workers which had been held and the upcoming measures to improve the work of construction organizations.

Cde. Kim Il Sung asked detailed and careful questions about the report of Cde. N. S. Khrushchev with respect to the cult of personality, about the collective nature of the leadership, and about the shortcomings of the Party organizational and ideological work. He asked [me] to tell about Cde. A. I. Mikoyan’s and Cde. V. M. Molotov’s speeches. He expressed regret that he had not gone to the 20th CPSU Congress.

3. On 20 February Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke at a conference of KWP CC department chiefs, senior officials of the Cabinet of Ministers, and ministers.

Cde. Kim Il Sung pointed out first of all that the ministers are using the Soviet specialists poorly.

At our request the Soviet Union is sending skilled officials who have rich experience in managing industry, transportation, and agriculture. We have established that a number of ministers have the recommendations of their own advisers on individual issues of improving the operation of industry, admit them to be correct, thank the advisers for the advice they have given them, and do nothing to carry out these recommendations. The recommendations of advisers in the Ministry of the Metallurgical Industry and the Department of Machinebuilding are being especially poorly implemented.

In addition, in some ministries and especially in the Ministry of Trade they think that the advisers ought to wait when they ask them, then they should give advice. This is incorrect. The advisers should work actively, and the ministers are obliged to familiarize them with everything and consult with them. The suggestions and recommendations of the advisers should be implemented.

In 1956 we should considerably improve the management of industry, transportation, and agriculture. We can accomplish this goal on condition that we use the aid of the Soviet specialists correctly.

Then Cde. Kim Il Sung pointed out that the engineering and technical officials, and especially the engineers, who have graduated from higher educational institutions in the Soviet Union are being poorly used in many ministries and enterprises. All of us know that the engineers who have received an education in the USSR are more competent and trained specialists. The old specialists, who received an education in Japan, are working passively, and are resisting the introduction of progressive methods of work. The managers of ministries, departments, and enterprises are giving poor help to the young specialists and lead workers and do not fight the old and obsolete which is hindering our forward progress.

Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke much about the incorrect attitude of a number of senior officials toward the Koreans who had come from the Soviet Union. All of us know that the Koreans who came from the Soviet Union played a great role in our revolution. They worked selflessly in managerial positions at the most difficult time for our motherland and taught many of us new socialist methods of work.

Some comrades have made mistakes in their work, they have been criticized, some have been punished, and now our task is to help them to correct themselves and be useful to our Party.

They have had an incorrect attitude toward the last batch of Korean specialists who arrived from the Soviet Union in the summer of last year. Under the pretext that they knew Korean badly they were all put in ordinary work, and normal housing and everyday conditions were not created. Many of them had worked in managerial work in the Soviet Union. We knew about this and still put them in ordinary work.

It is necessary to put an end to such a situation and treat the matter in a Party manner. Organize the correct education of our personnel, and boldly promote capable officials to managerial work regardless of their origin.

Cde. Kim Il Sung directed the attention of CC department chiefs to the fact that they are poorly monitoring the work of ministries, not criticizing some ministers for poor work, and not raising issues before the CC Presidium and Political Council connected with the improvement of the work of ministries, provincial and district committee, and people's committees.

Cde. Pak Ui-wan pointed out that Cde. Kim Il Sung had recently considerably changed methods of work: he had started to consult with his deputies, regularly held meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers according to a plan, etc. Cde. Kim Il Sung had changed his attitude toward Soviet Koreans and is taking steps so that there would not be a bad attitude toward them from other senior officials.

At the end of the conversation Cde. Pak Ui-wan passed on a request of the Korean government concerning the possibility of sending 15 Korean construction specialists to the Soviet Union for a month and a half for familiarization and study of the organization of mechanization at large Soviet construction sites. They propose to send the specialists from 7 March through 20 April 1956. The delegation will include a deputy minister of construction, a manager of a construction trust, five or six construction engineers, and six or seven workers of various specialties. Pak requested that a decision of this issue be accelerated.

I thanked Cde. Pak Ui-wan for the information. As regards the request about sending a group of Korean construction specialists to the Soviet Union I promised to immediately report to the Embassy leadership about this.

S. FILATOV

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