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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 04, 1956

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH DPRK AMBASSADOR TO EAST GERMANY PAK GIL-RYONG BY S. FILATOV FOR 4 JUNE 1956

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    DPRK Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic Pak Gil-ryong speaks to Filatov about Nam Il’s report on the 3rd KWP Congress. Pak also reports that Kim Il Sung is dismissive of foreign criticism of the over emphasis on heavy industry in the DPRK and is planning to implement an ambitious five-year plan.
    "Record of a conversation with DPRK Ambassador to East Germany Pak Gil-ryong by S. Filatov for 4 June 1956," June 04, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI Fond 5, Opis 28, Delo 412. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/120805
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[stamp:

CPSU CC

20623

[[4]] June 1956]

from the journal

of S. Filatov

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with PAK GIL-RYONG, DPRK Ambassador in the German Democratic Republic

Pak Gil-ryong visited me at his own initiative. In the conversation Pak said:

1. After the 3rd KWP congress a meeting of ambassadors accredited to countries of people's democracy was held in the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nam Il gave a report about the 3rd KWP congress and the tasks of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nam Il said the 3rd congress will go into history as a congress which outlined the further steps for the reunification of the country and the building of the foundations of socialism. Nam Il spoke about specific measures to reunify the country in the spirit of the declaration adopted at the congress. Nam Il directed the ambassadors' special attention to the need to establish diplomatic, trade, and cultural ties with such countries as Yugoslavia, Japan, India, Burma, Afghanistan, and Egypt. Nam Il pointed out, conditions have still not been created to establish diplomatic relations with the above countries at this time. In 1956 we should seek to establish trade and cultural ties with a number of capitalist countries, after which it will be easier to establish diplomatic relations. This year we should get out of the isolation organized by the US and seek recognition for the DPRK from a number of capitalist countries.

  

Many places in Nam Il's report were devoted to the issue of the work of the KWP CC. Nam Il pointed out that the mistakes with respect to the cult of personality of I. V. Stalin and his violation of the Leninist norms of Party life and socialist legality revealed by the CPSU and the 20th Party congress relate to the CPSU. The KWP CC has always been strictly guided in all [its] work by the Leninist statutes about the Party and has observed the principles of collective leadership. We have not and do not have a cult of personality in the Party, declared Nam Il.

Nam Il pointed out that dogmatism and rote learning are the main shortcomings in ideological work. A number of officials mechanically transfer everything Soviet, fawn over “foreign things” (Pak said, of course this refers to the USSR), and do not study the history of the Korean people and their revolutionary traditions.

All ambassadors and a number of senior officials of the MFA took part in discussions of Nam Il's report. Those who spoke criticized the Ministry staff for often not answering requests from embassies, which puts them in a difficult position. Pak said, DPRK Ambassador in the USSR Ri Sang-jo spoke well. He sharply criticized the work of the Ministry. Speaking about the 20th CPSU congress and how the USSR was fighting the cult of personality of I. V. Stalin, Ri Sang-jo directed attention to the fact that literature continues to come from the DPRK in which many places are devoted to a cult of personality. Nam Il “corrected” Ri Sang-jo, pointing out that we have no cult of personality, but Ri Sang-jo referred to a number of works in which many places feature the name of Kim Il Sung.

On the whole, said Pak, the conference of ambassadors provided great benefit, and now it is easier for us to work.

2. On 11 May of this year Kim Il Sung received all the ambassadors. In his speech he pointed out that the Soviet friends tell us that we pay little attention to increasing the material level of the people, that we are directing many resources to the development of heavy industry. But we were forced to do this, said Kim, because the development of heavy industry will also allow us to rapid revive other sectors of the economy. In addition, our industry has also produced and is producing semi-finished goods. It is necessary to produce finished goods in order to reach the international market. We are also trying to have such an industry.

Speaking of the successful fulfillment of the three-year plan Kim Il Sung said that we are drawing up a five-year plan for the development of the country's economy ourselves. According to our calculations we are about one billion rubles short. We think that our friends, the Soviet Union first of all, will give us this aid. You know that a DPRK government delegation will soon leave for countries of people's democracy, and we want to request [they] give us aid free of charge. We are first of all asking the Soviet government about a deferment and partial write-off of the payments coming due according to credits previously granted the DPRK by the Soviet Union. In addition, we think that the Soviet Union will give us help of about 300-400 million rubles for the next five-year plan, and the People's Republic of China, [with] 200-300 rubles. The other countries will also not refuse us. If we get 600-700 million rubles of aid from our friends then we will successfully cope with the fulfillment of the five-year plan.

We are planning on the metals we need from the Soviet Union being delivered: steel and rolled metal, [and] mining equipment, various machine tools, cotton, raw material, breeding stock, and consumer goods. This will provide us with the opportunity to improve the material situation of our people.

Kim Il Sung also said that the government is planning to reduce the army and ask the Chinese friends to reduce the number of their troops in the DPRK. With respect to the weapons for the army being shipped from the USSR we now will take only the newest weapons, which will considerably reduce the expenditures for the army and increase its combat efficiency.

3. At the end of the conversation Pak Gil-ryong said that he cannot at all understand the reason for those changes which have occurred in the DPRK with respect to the Koreans who had previously come from the USSR. While a number of Soviet Koreans have made serious mistakes in their work, why is it necessary to have a bad attitude toward those Soviet Koreans who are working well[?] Pak said, I also cannot understand why they have begun to openly wage propaganda in the DPRK against the “dominance”, as some say, “of everything foreign [inostranshchina]”, meaning the Soviet Union, of course. All this is being done under the guise of a struggle against dogmatism. Pak said, it seems to me that this will have a negative effect on the education of Korean cadre.

I thanked Pak Gil-ryong for the information.

The conversation lasted an hour and a half.

S. Filatov

[signature]

[handwritten at the bottom of the first page:

to the archives

The material was used in a note to the CPSU CC during the arrival in Moscow of a delegation of DPRK leaders in June 1956.

I. Shcherbakov

3 August 1956]

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