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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 05, 1956

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH DPRK MINISTER OF CONSTRUCTION KIM SEUNG-HWA BY SOVIET EMBASSY COUNSELLOR IN THE DPRK S. N. FILATOV, 5 MARCH 1956

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    Kim Seung-hwa speaks to Filatov about his recent inspection trip to a fertilizer plant. Kim says that he does not support the KWP CC Presidium decision “The Further Strengthening of the Fight Against Reactionary Bourgeois Ideology in Literature and Art” and its proponents’ aim to characterize Soviet Koreans as an anti-Party faction.
    "Record of a conversation with DPRK Minister of Construction Kim Seung-hwa by Soviet Embassy Counsellor in the DPRK S. N. Filatov, 5 March 1956," March 05, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI Fond 5, Opis 28, Delo 412. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120797
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[CPSU CC stamp:

[[serial number illegible]]

2 April 1956

Subject to return to the

CPSU CC General Department]

from the journal of

Counsellor of the Soviet

Embassy in the DPRK

S. N. Filatov

[handwritten: 18 March 1956]

Record of a conversation

with Cde. Kim Seung-hwa, Minister of Construction and Member of the KWP CC Presidium

5 March 1956

Cde. Kim Seung-hwa, who visited the Embassy, said that he had gone to the Heungnam Chemical Mineral Fertilizer Plant at the instruction of the KWP CC and the Cabinet of Ministers to inspect and take the necessary measures to speed up the construction of the new shops of this plant. Kim pointed out that the management and engineering personnel of the plant and also the management of the provincial and city KWP Party committees give a high appraisal to the work of the group of Soviet specialists.

With respect to the construction of the new shops of the plant, which will be done according to a design drawn up by the general contractor, the USSR Ministry of the Chemical Industry, we, the Ministry of Construction, examined the request for Soviet specialists again and think that we will need 62 people. This request was examined in the Cabinet of Ministers and approved by Cde. Kim Il Sung. Kim requested that the resolution of the issue of sending the specialists for this construction be sped up, especially construction specialists, in accordance with our request which we submitted to the GUEhS Mission.

At the same time the KWP CC charged me to helping the city Party committee of Hamheung with preparing and holding a Party conference. Kim pointed out that the Party conference took place in an organized manner and at a high level. The speeches of the delegates criticized the city Party committee for poor management of industrial enterprises, for unsatisfactory [one word illegible] of the matter of political education of senior officials and KWP members. Attention was directed to the fact that [several words obscured by a 21 April 1956 noted handwritten note by I. Shcherbakov over the typed text] of Party democracy.

Cde. Kim Seung-hwa expressed the opinion that delaying the conference in Hamheung demonstrates the considerable growth of Party cadre and a reduction of the role of primary Party organizations in reviving the economy and the building of a new life.

Then Cde. Kim Seung-hwa said that Cde. Pak Jeong-ae, who attended the Party conference of the Hamheung Party organization, was with him in Hamheung. While in Hamheung and Heungnam in conversations with me Pak Jeong-ae asked about the sentiments of Soviet Koreans in connection with the recent KWP CC Presidium decision, “The Further Strengthening of the Fight Against Reactionary Bourgeois Ideology in Literature and Art”.

Having told about the sentiments of the Soviet Koreans I asked Cde. Pak Jeong-ae why the discussion of the state of affairs in the Writers' Union of Korea had come down to a discussion of the activity of a number of Soviet Koreans. We all know that in their works many of our writers, including Han Seol-ya, have made and are making mistakes in describing the history of the Korean people in its fight against the Japanese colonizers, and especially in the description of the modern period of the history of Korea, that is, 1945-1955. I also directed Cde. Pak Jeong-ae's attention to the fact that Kim says that in this CC Presidium decision it speaks not only about the mistakes made in literature and art, but also about the mistakes made in Party organizational work and in the selection of cadre, etc. In addition, a number of officials like Cdes. Pak Chang-ok and Pak Yeong-bin, were accused of factional anti-Party activity. I expressed to her my negative opinion toward this KWP CC Presidium decision.

Cde. Pak Jeong-ae agreed with my opinion and said that she doubts the correctness, the course of the discussion of this issue, and the decision made by the CC Presidium, especially in that part where it speaks of the factional anti-Party activity of certain Soviet Koreans. She also said that she tried for a long time to convince Cde. Kim Il Sung that Cdes. Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin, and others had not been waging an anti-Party fight and had not opposed Party policy. They have always fought honestly and put Party decisions into effect. If they have made mistakes in their work then these were done in a difficult period for Korea. I would have looked into these mistakes, and corrected the comrades; nothing more could be [done]. Right now campaigns are going on here, there, and everywhere to look into Soviet Koreans. These are having a negative effect on work.

Kim says, I asked Cde. Pak Jeong-ae why she had been silent and had not spoken at the December KWP CC plenum, the CC Presidium meetings, and in the Political Council.

Cde. Pak Jeong-ae replied that Cde. Kim Il Sung asked her not to speak about this issue. He told her that if she spoke then officials such as Cdes. Nam Il, Pak Ui-wan, Kim Seung-hwa, and others would speak after her, not to mention Cdes. Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin, and Gi Seok-bok. And these comrades have great influence among senior officials. Cde. Kim Il Sung said, Cdes. Choe Yong-geon, Pak Geum-cheol, Choe Chang-ik, and others will speak against this group of comrades and this is undesirable. Such an impression might be created in our cadre that there is no unity in the leadership and this would weaken the work of the Party. Therefore, said Cde. Pak Jeong-ae, I also did not speak, although there was much I did not agree with.

Then Cde. Pak Jeong-ae said that she had hoped that Cde. Kim Il Sung would go to the 20th CPSU Congress, then added that it is obviously known in the CPSU CC what is happening among us. I thought that there they would suggest how such problems need to be solved, but under the pretexts of overwork and that he will have to make a return visit to the GDR Cde. Kim Il Sung suggested at the Political Council that Cde. Choe Yong-geon be sent to the 20th CPSU Congress. Pak Jeong-ae said, I opposed this suggestion, and expressed the opinion that he, Kim Il Sung, needed to go to the 20th Congress. The Political Council agreed with the opinion of Cde. Kim Il Sung. After the Political Council decision I repeatedly tried to persuade Cde. Kim Il Sung that he ought to go to the 20th Congress, but he did not agree with this.

Cde. Pak Jeong-ae expressed the opinion that she is not losing hope that the CPSU CC will help intra-Party issues be correctly solved and help us investigate complex issues of ideological work.

Cde. Kim Seung-hwa pointed out that recently the KWP CC had taken a number of steps directed at improving the attitude of senior local officials toward Soviet Koreans. Cde. Kim Il Sung held a conference at which he condemned the incorrect behavior of individual leaders and demanded the organization of correct relations between senior officials regardless of where they came from. Instructions were given to all the provincial Party committees not to organize statements against Soviet Koreans. Cde. Ko Bong-gi, Chairman of the Pyongyang City Party Committee, who repeatedly gave instructions to regional Party committee [raykomy] secretaries and Party committees of ministries to discuss all Soviet Koreans who were mentioned in statements by Cde. Kim Il Sung at a plenum and in the KWP CC Presidium, was released from the position he held and sent to work as chairman of the provincial Party committee of the province of South Hwanghae. A number of Soviet Koreans previously released from work have returned to [their] previous places or received equivalent work (not counting Cdes. Pak Yeong-bin, Gi Seok-bok, and Jeong Ryul). This undoubtedly promoted an improvement of relations between senior officials to some degree.

Cde. Kim Seung-hwa said, but my observations convince me that the discussion of Cdes. Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin, Gi Seok-bok, and other Soviet Koreans has not promoted an improvement of the Party's work or settled the relations between senior officials. On the contrary, relations between us and local senior officials have worsened. Even those who had a good attitude toward us have started to avoid us.

In the course of the conversation I asked Cde. Kim Seung-hwa about Cde. Pak Yeong-bin's statement at the 18 January CC Presidium meeting. I was interested in how correctly Cde. Pak Yeong-bin told me about his statement at this CC Presidium [meeting].

Cde. Kim Seung-hwa replied that Pak Yeong-bin had basically spoken correctly at the KWP CC Presidium [meeting]. He listed the mistakes he had made and indicated the reasons for these mistakes. This completely satisfied Cde. Kim Il Sung and he praised him for this. But Cde. Pak Yeong-bin did not speak against such accusations made against him like factionalism and anti-Party activity. Cde. Kim Seung-hwa said, but I explain this by the fact that Cde. Pak Yeong-bin was seriously ill and his health was broken.

Then Cde. Kim Seung-hwa directed attention to the fact that the speeches made at the 20th CPSU Congress by Cdes. A. I. Mikoyan, V. M. Molotov, and G. M. Malenkov were not published in full in national Korean newspapers. Especially left out was the part of the speeches where it spoke of the cult of personality, of the collective nature of the leadership, etc. Cde. Kim expressed the opinion that, although Cde. Kim Il Sung had also held an official conference with senior officials about the issue of incorrect coverage in the press and verbal propaganda about the role of personality in history, and about the glorification of him, Kim Il Sung, this issue still continues to be incorrectly covered, as before. And Kim says this will be until the KWP CC makes a special decision condemning such phenomena.

At the end of the conversation I told Cde. Kim Seung-hwa that I will report the issue of accelerating the dispatch of construction specialists from the Soviet Union to the Heungnam Chemical Mineral Fertilizer Plant to the Embassy leadership.

I thanked Cde. Kim Seung-Hwa for the information.

The conversation lasted three hours.

NOTE: 1. The GUEhS Mission has taken the necessary steps with respect to accelerating the dispatch of specialists from the Soviet Union for the construction of the new shops of the Heungnam Chemical Mineral Fertilizer Plant.

2. The report of Cde. Kim Seung-hwa about the brief account of the speeches of Cdes. A. I. Mikoyan, V. M. Molotov, and G. M. Malenkov in Korean newspapers is correct.

Four copies printed

1 - to Cde. Molotov

2 - to Cde. Fedorenko

3 - to Cde. Kurdyukov

4 - to file

Nº 310

Drafted by Filatov

typed by m/b [SIC]

16 March 1956

COUNSELLOR OF THE SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK

[signature] (S. FILATOV)

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