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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 01, 1960

FROM THE JOURNAL OF N. YE. TORBENKOV, RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH DPRK MFA COUNSELOR PAK DEOK-HWAN

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    In this incomplete document, Pak Deok-hwan, a Soviet Korean, describes his plans to return to the Soviet Union. He also discusses the "Juche" philosophy being promoted by the KWP that "everything Korean is better compared to [anything] foreign."
    "From the Journal of N. Ye. Torbenkov, Record of a Conversation with DPRK MFA Counselor Pak Deok-hwan," June 01, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg. AVPRF fond 0102, opis 16, delo 6. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121622
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121622

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stamp: USSR MFA
Far East Department
SECRET
Incoming Nº 01337s
2[[0]] June 1960]

FROM THE JOURNAL
OF N. YE. TORBENKOV             
[illegible surname, followed
by "during negotiations"]

TOP SECRET Copy Nº 2
13 June 1960
Nº 102

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with DPRK MFA Counselor Pak Deok-hwan

1 June 1960

I received Cde. Pak Deok-hwan (a former Soviet citizen) in connection with his request at the instruction of Ambassador Cde. A. M. Puzanov and had a conversation with him during which the following issues were touched upon.

1. Cde. Pak Deok-hwan reported that he had received official permission of the appropriate DPRK organs to return to the Soviet Union. He formed a firm intention to return to the Soviet Union in the first days of April of this year after he heard an official statement of Pak Yong-guk, Chief of the KWP CC International Department, about the new procedure for the return of Soviet Koreans to the USSR. Pak Deok-hwan said that at a conference of DPRK ambassadors to the socialist countries at the beginning of April of this year, Pak Yong-guk reported that at the present time all the former Soviet Koreans wishing to return to the Soviet Union could do this, and there would be no obstacles for them from the DPRK authorities. Then Pak Yong-guk added that several Soviet Koreans who had returned to the USSR, and were dissatisfied with their position there because they were being sent to collective farms to work.

By this, in the opinion of Pak Deok-hwan, Pak Yong-guk wanted to stress that the Soviet Koreans should be satisfied with the situation in which they presently found themselves in the DPRK and not expect any better conditions in the USSR. However, Pak Yong-guk did not say at this time who specifically from among the Soviet Koreans who had returned were now dissatisfied with their situation in the Soviet Union.

2. Pak Deok-hwan said that, beginning with the second half of October 1959, a thesis was again starting to being stressed in the propaganda work of the KWP Party organizations of the so-called originality of Korea ("Juche"), the substance of which was that everything Korean is better compared to [anything] foreign. As is well known, Pak Deok-hwan pointed out, this thesis was advanced in 1955, but it did not subsequently become widespread. Almost nothing has been said about this in the last two years. However, since the end of last year this thesis has again become widely propagandized in reports and lectures in restricted audiences. This began with a report of Kim Do-man, Chief of the KWP CC Agitprop Department, which was read by him in the second half of October 1959 for senior Party and state officials of the city of Pyongyang. Pak Deok-hwan said that Kim Do-man devoted great attention to this question in his report. He then pointed out that nationalism was sensed in the coverage of this thesis ("Juche") because some contrast of Korean reality to the experience of socialist development both in the countries of people's democracy and in the Soviet Union was permitted. The opinion is current among the Korean senior officials that the sponsor of the promotion of the thesis is Kim Chang-man, Deputy Chairman of the KWP CC, who is proud of this.

3. Touching on the issue of the situation in the apparatus of the DPRK MFA, Pak Deok-hwan said that among a considerable part of the MFA officials there exists the opinion that allegedly the release of Nam Il from the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs was connected with the following reasons:

a) repeated postponements of the arrival in Korea of a Soviet Party-government delegation headed by Cde. N. S. Khrushchev, which is being assessed as a weakness of the work of Nam Il, who has not ensured…[Section of document missing]

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