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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 17, 1956

CONVERSATION WITH THE DELEGATION OF THE KOREAN WORKER'S PARTY AT THE 8TH CCP CONGRESS

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    Mikoyan and Choe Yong-geon dominate the discussion between the two delegations. While Mikoyan tries to learn the exact chronology of the events that transpired at the August Plenum, Choe avoids providing clear replies and instead stresses the gravity of the "conspiracy" planned by the accused.
    "Conversation with the Delegation of the Korean Worker's Party at the 8th CCP Congress," September 17, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98c, Delo 718, Listy 49-57. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121800
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The conversation with the delegation of the Korean Worker's Party at the 8th CCP congress, 16 September 1956

Present: Cdes. Mikoyan, Mukhitdinov, Ponomarev, Kapitonov, Yudin, and Satyukov. The Korean delegation: Choe Yong-geon (Deputy Chairman of the KWP CC, leader of the delegation), Rim Hae (member of the KWP CC Presidium), Ri [Ju-yeon] (Chairman of the KWP Central Auditing Commission), and Ha Ang-cheon (member of the KWP CC).

Cde. Mikoyan - How does Cde. Kim Il Sung feel?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - He planned to come to Peking, but fell ill and could not come.

Cde. Mikoyan - Have you met with the Chinese comrades?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon -  No, we haven't yet met.

Cde. Mikoyan -  The Chinese comrades have told us that several members of the Korean Worker's Party CC fled to them.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - Yes, this happened.

Cde. Mikoyan - No one informed us about this. Cde. Kim Il Sung informed our ambassador about the KWP CC plenum, but not that several people had fled, he said nothing. We would have liked to have been informed about this.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - We wanted to inform you about this.

Cde. Mikoyan - Do you plan to meet with the Chinese comrades and talk?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - We were ready to discuss this issue with them.

Cde. Mikoyan - Have you already arranged a meeting?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon -  It hasn't yet been arranged. The Chinese comrades are not talking to us about a meeting. We ourselves passed to them that we would like to meet, but we have not yet received a reply.

Cde. Mikoyan - Possibly you can tell us right now, what happened at your place?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - I want to tell [it] briefly. This whole matter arose after Cde. Kim Il Sung's return from the trip to the USSSR and the European countries of people's democracy. These four people fled because they did not want to reconcile themselves with the fact that the Party criticized them for their incorrect behavior. Choe Chang-ik was the organizer of this whole matter. He did not stand for criticism.

The conflict arose for the following three reasons:

First, about the issue of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung;

Second, they did not agree with the opinion of the Party and government leaders;

Third, they did not agree with our opinion about the living conditions of the people. They saw only shortcomings, but we think that we have both shortcomings and successes.

These people began to make various unfair and incorrect statements against senior officials.

When Cde. Kim Il Sung returned to the country and found out about the dissatisfaction of these people, he said that it was necessary to pursue educational work among them. He invited these dissatisfied people to a conversation and convinced them. After this conversation they recognized that they were mistaken. Then a CC plenum was convened at which Cde. Kim Il Sung gave a report about the trip of the delegation to the USSR and the countries of people's democracy. Then the discussions began. One of the opposition group criticized Cde. Kim Il Sung. He was a CC member and his name is Yun Kong-hum. This is a very bad person.

Cde. Mikoyan - Why was a bad person elected to the CC? For the congress of your Party was not long ago.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - At the congress nothing was yet was known about this.

Cde. Mikoyan - How many years has he been in the Party?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - More than 10 years. In his statement Yun Kong-hum began to say that the 3rd KWP congress was held incorrectly, in contrast with the spirit of the 20th CPSU congress. He criticized the Party congress' decisions and demanded these decisions be reconsidered. His statement caused strong displeasure from all the members of the CC plenum. Yun Kong-hum was not allowed to finish the statement. After this a lunch break was announced. However, after the break Yun Kong-hum and the other dissatisfied people did not appear at the plenum meeting.

Cde. Mikoyan - Yun Kong-hum was not allowed to speak, or they opposed his statement? For these are different things.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - When he began to speak, the entire plenum said: we do not want to listen to such a statement. After this a break was announced.

Cde. Mikoyan - Did he finish his statement or not?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - He made more than half of his statement. When the break ended, Yun Kong-hum and others did not appear for the afternoon meeting.

Cde. Cde. Rim Hae - (clarifies) After the break only Yun Kong-hum did not come; the rest arrived. But these four people fled on the evening of the same day.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - We found out that they had fled only on the second day. The plenum continued its work the next day. At this meeting, Choe Chang-ik, the head of the group of dissatisfied people, spoke. A decision was made to expel these people who had fled from the Party.

Cde. Mikoyan - Were they expelled before they fled, or after?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - They were expelled after they fled.

Cde. Cde. Rim Hae - [Inserted: With respect to] Yun Kong-hum, [inserted: a proposal was made] to expel [inserted: him from the Party] right after his statement, at the afternoon plenum session at which he did not appear.

Cde. Mikoyan - A proposal was made about expulsion or was a decision made? These are different things.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - A decision was made with regard to Yun to expel [him] from the Party after his statement. The rest were expelled after it became known that they had fled.

Cde. Mikoyan - Is this everything you wanted to tell?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - We think that these people committed anti-Party and anti-government acts. However, we do not think that this is any great event. There are some other people who found themselves under the influence of those who are dissatisfied. We are pursuing explanatory work with respect to them.

Cde. Cde. Rim Hae - We did not plan to discuss this issue at the CC plenum since before the plenum in conversations with Cde. Kim Il Sung they all admitted that [they] were wrong. Their statements at the plenum were surprising to us. We consequently decided to deal with this issue.

Cde. Mikoyan - It seems it is already a suitable time to go to the meeting of the congress.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - We hope to talk about this issue in more detail. Today I have just briefly told the substance of the matter.

Cde. Mikoyan - Do you have a desire to talk about this issue again?

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - Our CC is preparing detailed information about this issue for the CPSU CC.

Cde. Mikoyan - We have no reports about this.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - That is correct. Such material is being prepared right now in the CC and we will send it to the CPSU CC.

from a conversation over lunch.

Cde. Mikoyan - How did the Korean comrades like the report of Cde. Liu Shaoqi?

Cde. Rim Hae - An exceptionally good report.

Cde. Mikoyan - We also liked it. Did you like all the parts of this report, or did [you] not like all of it?

Cde. Rim Hae - Yes, [we] liked all the report.

Cde. Mikoyan - But you also liked that place in the report where it spoke of the need to show patience with respect to comrades who are dissatisfied?

Cde. Rim Hae - We approve of it, that's what needs to be said.

Cde. Mikoyan - [Was] it correct to say it so, or to do so would be correct?

Cde. Rim Hae - We also want to do it just so.

Cde. Mikoyan - I'm not just talking about you. This affects both us and the Chinese comrades. Let's drink to a good party regime, to patience, both in reports and in the activity of the Party…Cde. Choe is not drinking, probably he does not agree on this issue? Possibly he does not agree, but it's necessary to have a drink.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - If I myself spoke Russian well I would talk in more detail about this matter. Of course, we have shortcomings in the Party, but nevertheless the successes are more than the shortcomings. But these people see only some shortcomings and mistakes. They decided to correct these mistakes through by conspiratorial methods.

Cde. Mikoyan - You know, they were speaking at a CC plenum. This is the most legal method. Where else to speak about shortcomings if not at a CC plenum? But they were interrupted for some reason. It was necessary to let them say everything to the end.

Cde. Choe Yong-geon - But it was frankly difficult to tolerate their statements.

Cde. Mikoyan - I myself see it was probably hard for you. to be patient. But where is Cde. Kim Il Sung right now [?]

Cde. Rim Hae - He is somewhat ill. He's in Pyongyang right now.

Recorded by V. Kovyzhenko

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