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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 11, 1980

TELEGRAM FROM THE HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN PYONGYANG, 'FOREIGN OPINIONS REGARDING THE KWP’S 6TH CONGRESS'

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    A report on the foreign opinions regarding the KWP's 6th Congress, stating that the North Korean ideology lacks Marxist elements.
    "Telegram from the Hungarian Embassy in Pyongyang, 'Foreign opinions regarding the KWP’s 6th Congress'," November 11, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MNL OL XIV-J-1-j Korea 25-001140/1980. Obtained by North Korean Materials Archive, IFES, Kyungnam University, and translated by Imre Májer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/123748
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EMBASSY OF THE HUNGARIAN PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC

Serial number: 299/80

Produced in 3 copies

Central: 2 copies

Embassy: 1 copy

Presenter: Schiff György

TOP SECRET!

Pyongyang,

1980 November 11

Subject: Foreign opinions regarding the KWP’s 6th Congress

We do not wish to evaluate the congress or its documents in this report, we are merely reporting a few typical opinions of the delegations who attended it. Primarily, we must mention the impressions of the delegations coming from closely cooperating socialist countries, which can be summarized briefly as follows:

The KWP’s 6th Congress did not present essentially anything new; it only summarized the well-known Korean viewpoints that were formulated since the 5th Congress regarding subjects of ideology, politics, international life, and international efforts of the KWP and the DPRK. The characteristic attribute of these views is a pragmatic and nationalistic approach that is moving more and more away from Marxism-Leninism.

From among the socialist countries’ accredited diplomats, we do not know the critical opinions of the delegates of Yugoslavia and Romania, we only heard of their comment stating, so to speak, that these are Korean internal political questions and no opinions will change their Korean policy. That Albanian diplomat’s remark is more noteworthy, the Albanians were not invited to the congress by the way (they informed us through other means), who said the following: “What kind of congress it is where not a single word mentions Marxism–Leninism, and parties with no connection to communist ideologies participate as well?”

Based on reliable information from diplomats of friendly countries, many Marxist, or self-proclaimed Marxist party representatives and individuals have more or less the same idea about the 6th Congress of the KWP. Thus for example, according to the famous Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett, huge progress has been made in the DPRK’s life during the last 25 years. However, there has been a change in their political line as well, and they are moving further away from Marxist–Leninist ideologies. They are supporting that Pol Pot regime that committed one of the biggest crimes against humanity since World War II against the Cambodian people.

A representative of the Communist Party of India, in addition to the above, also criticized that in a congress of a communist party, why did delegates from parties whose ideas are far from being Marxist–Leninist participate.

The representative of the National Liberation Party of Costa Rica condemned the non-existent democratism in the KWP, and the fathomless cult of personality as its result.

The delegates of the Socialist People’s Party of Denmark, the Social Democratic Labor Party of Norway, the People’s National Congress of Guyana, the Socialist Party of Lebanon, and others as well, advocated against the dynasty-founding efforts seen in the KWP, the method proposed by Kim Il Sung in eliminating the military blocks, which lacks elements of the Marxist classes, and against the renaissance of “Stalinism” in the DPRK. They also expressed their skepticism about the “glorious” economic achievements and the long-term economic objectives that were presented at the congress.

At last, we have to talk about the opinions that praised the congress and the juche in superlatives. These made up the majority of the participating delegations: mostly African delegations, and representatives of various juche circles and institutes, for whom by the way, the travel expenses were financed by the DPRK, but there were some delegates from European self-proclaimed Marxist parties among them as well. Most of these people were interviewed on television and some of their laudatory comments were published in the press.

A new aspect of the KWP’s politics is definitely worth to be noted. They are making efforts in approaching Western European social democratic parties. These efforts were already apparent during the congress, where the representatives of the attending six Western European social democratic parties, or simply members, as for example the Norwegian journalist, were given special attention.

When travelling home, the representatives of these parties brought the greetings and best wishes of Kim Il Sung to their respective leaders, as well as his hope that they would liaise with the KWP in the future. We have to mention here the, otherwise non-public, travel of Kim Jong-nam to Austria, France, and Spain right after the end of the congress. According to Soviet diplomats, the purpose of his travel was to establish connections with the social democratic parties of these countries. This fact fits well the picture of the uniquely Korean pragmatic, nationalist political line, with which the Koreans, according to them, are trying to achieve the following:

As the majority of the Western European social democratic parties are leading or ruling parties in their respective countries, establishing good connections with them not only could result in political support for their cause (e.g. reunification, isolating South Korea, mediation of negotiations with the United States, etc.), but it may also lead to forming economic and trade relations with them.

According to our unconfirmed sources, the DPRK wishes to become a member of the Social Democratic International as well.

In conclusion, as variegated and mixed the composition of the foreign delegations attending the 6th Congress of the KWP was, which once again reflects the unique Korean view that, as lacking in Marxist class elements, can only described as an endeavor for demonstration, the expressed opinions were more or less just as diverse. The representatives of the Marxist-Leninist workers’ parties however clearly, and this is the most important for us, expressed the aforementioned worries that the KWP is diverging more and more from their ideology.

Etre Sándor

Ambassador