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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 16, 1980

REPORT TO THE POLITICAL BUREAU ON THE KOREAN WORKERS’ PARTY’S 6TH CONGRESS AND ON THE CELEBRATIONS OF THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE KWP

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    A report on the Korean Worker's Party's 6th Congress and on the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the KWP to the Political Bureau, including the agenda of the congress.
    "Report to the Political Bureau on the Korean Workers’ Party’s 6th Congress and on the celebrations of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the KWP," October 16, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, MNL OL XIV-J-1-j Korea 25-005249/1980. Obtained by North Korean Materials Archive, IFES, Kyungnam University, and translated by Imre Májer. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/123775
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THE HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST WORKER’S PARTY
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
FOREGIN DIVISION
TOP SECRET!
Produced in 26 copies
Seen by Comrade Német Károly
Inf/152

Subject: Report to the Political Bureau on the Korean Worker’s Party’s 6th Congress and on the celebrations of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the KWP

REPORT
To the Political Bureau
On the Korean Worker’s Party’s 6th Congress and on the celebrations of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the KWP

I.

The Korean Worker’s Party held its 6th Congress in Pyongyang during 1980 October 10-14. At the same time, celebrations were held on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the KWP.

In total 3062 representatives with voting rights and 158 with discussion rights have attended the congress.

The Korean Worker’s Party sent out invitations on this occasion to all parties that liaise with the KWP, not only to the sister parties of socialist countries, but to the parties of capitalist, developing, and those countries that belong to the Non-Aligned Movement as well. The delegations of 50 sister parties have participated, and the delegations of many socialist parties and the national liberation movement were also present. They have invited the other parties of the DPRK, and the representatives of the Koreans living abroad, the circles studying Kim Il Sung’s teachings, and other foreign personnel. In total, more than 170 delegations from around 120 countries have participated in the event. The leaders of the diplomatic missions in Pyongyang have also attended, including the Pol-potist ambassador, who received his letter of commission just a few days prior to the congress.

The delegations of the socialist countries were generally led by members of political bureaus or secretariats.

There were distinguished places in the congressional council for Sékou Touré President of Guinea, R. Mugabe Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Li Xiannian Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China, Petar Stambolić leader of the Yugoslavian delegation, the Secretary General of the Zambian delegation, Ilie Verdeț Romanian Prime Minister, S. Carillo Secretary General of the Spanish Communist Party, V. V. Grishin member of the CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Central Committee Political Bureau and leader of the Soviet delegation.

The leaders of the party delegations from the other socialist countries were placed to the second and third rows of the council, and they were greeted along with the rest of the delegations according to the Korean alphabet.

The Hungarian delegation was led by Comrade Méhes Lajos, member of the HSWP (Hungarian Socialist Worker’s Party) Political Bureau, First Secretary of the Budapest Party Committee. Members of the delegation included Varga István, the deputy leader of the HSWP Central Committee Foreign Division, and Etre Sándor, Hungary’s ambassador to Pyongyang.

II.

The agenda of the congress included the following:

-   Report of the Central Committee;
-   Report of the Central Control Committee;
-   Modification to the Party Rules;
-   Appointment of the leading organs of the party.

Comrade Kim Il Sung, the Secretary General of the KWP, emphasized in his report on the Central Committee’s work that during the last ten years since the last congress the Korean Worker’s Party achieved significant successes in building socialism, mainly in realizing the goals of the “Three Revolution” of ideological, technical, and cultural fields. He described the continuation of the Three Revolution as a strategic objective that is valid during the times of building both socialism and communism.

Speaking of the results of socialism building, Comrade Kim Il Sung said that the industrial production between 1970 and 1979 increased with a yearly average of 15.9 percent, i.e., the industrial production almost quadrupled in this period. They harvested 9 million tons of bread wheat during last year. Regarding the main economic goals of the 80-s, the main task of social building was to establish the financial and technical foundations for the complete victory of the socialist society, and thus to drastically increase the financial and cultural standards of the people. We have to achieve – he said – a production of 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical power, 120 million tons of coal, 15 million tons of steel, 20 million tons of cement, 7 million tons of fertilizer, 1.5 billion meters of textile, and a production of 15 million tons of bread wheat for the Korean economy.

The congress performed its work in the spirit of Kim Il Sung’s teachings. The principles of his teachings are: independence, self-sufficiency, and self-defense. The transformation of society, the economic and cultural building, and the education of the people are being conducted based on these principles. These principles form the basis of the political direction, and because the party members and the workers have completely absorbed Kim Il Sung’s teachings – according to the report of the Central Committee – “they have eradicated the obsequious behavior, the national nihilism, and other outdated ideals… their national pride and consciousness have become stronger. The whole nation relies on its own revolutionary strength, and confidently marches forward…” They describe these teachings collectively with the expression “juche”.

We have to note that in the first decade following liberation, this expression was equivalent with Marxism–Leninism applied to the Korean circumstances. Later, overemphasizing the national features, it gradually diverged from Marxism–Leninism and became an independent ideological system that – according to the Korean interpretation – is not only valid in its national framework but now internationally as well.

The report of the Central Committee on the situation of the party stated that the unified ideological system of the party had become stronger, and it is conducting its activities in a monolithic unity gathered around the Central Committee. The behavior of its members is best characterized by conscious iron discipline. They appointed the next most important objectives of the party in ideological education – especially relying on the anti-Japanese partisan experiences of the party – and directing the economic building. The most important characteristics of the party’s cadres are devotion to the party, idealism, and the fight against degeneration. A party member is obligated to constantly train his revolutionary spirit.

The labor unions, the organizations of agricultural workers, and the youth and women’s organizations must also be armed with the ideologies of the party. They are paying special attention to improving the military and educating its staff.

Comrade Kim Il Sung mentioned in his report that besides the older cadres, representatives of the younger generation should also be involved in leading positions in an appropriate ratio. This process has also been ensured by increasing the number of members in leading organizations and organs of the party. In this framework, the member count of the Central Committee has been increased from 117 to 145, and the alternate member count from 55 to 103.

The 11-member Political Bureau elected in 1970 is getting 12 new members next to the currently reelected 7. They have elected 15 new members to the Military Commission in addition to the previous 4 members.

They have created the Presidium for the Political Bureau in which the members are Kim Il Sung General Secretary, Kim Il Vice President, O Jin-u Armed Forces Minister, Kim Jong Il member of the Central Committee, and Lee Jong-ok Prime Minister.

The modification to the Party Rules have been accepted by the congress, however it was not made public. Detailed data about the composition of the party and congressional delegates were also not made public. According to the press, 44 delegates held speeches during the congressional debate. (The foreign guest only participated on the day of the Central Committee report and during the closing session of the congress.)

According to the impressions of our delegation, there is a distinguished role of Kim Jong Il, the son of Kim Il Sung, in the daily control of the party activities. The Korean comrades tending to our delegation have also let us know this by connecting the name of Kim Jong Il with the results, modern facilities, the congress itself, and the events held in relation to it. His name also received highlighted appreciation in the mass media.

The Secretary General outlined the issues of reunification in detail. He expanded the 1973 initiative and proposed a ten-point suggestion. The main idea behind it is that unification has to be achieved in the framework of a confederative state. According to the Korean Worker’s Party, the “Democratic Confederative Republic” founded by a joint agreement would have a unified national government, and would not take part in any political-military alliance. The confederative state has to be independent in all aspects; it has to provide democracy, and national unity. It must ensure the political, religious, and other freedom of rights, and the free practice of political, economic, and cultural activities. The confederative state has to defend the state, cooperative, and private properties. Free economic, scientific, cultural, educational, and technical exchanges must be allowed between the two parts of the country; transport routes, postal services, and other connections have to be restored. The suggestion emphasizes the elimination of military opposition and the establishment of a joint army. In order to achieve this, it deems it necessary to reduce the number of people in the army to 100-150 thousand, eliminate the Demilitarized Zone separating the country, and to close all military facilities in the area. The confederative state must represent Korea in the UN and other international organizations. The federal government has to pursue the policy of neutrality, be non-aligned, and maintain friendly relations with all countries.

Kim Il Sung emphasized that the goal of the proposal is to create a confederative state that ensures the presence of the 50-million Korean nation on the international stage as an independent, sovereign country. This state has to pursue the policy of peace.

The foreign affairs policy of the report emphasized that the anti-imperialist forces fighting against the foreign oppression of nations – dominationist forces according to Korean word usage – have increased their presence on the international stage. Imperialism, mainly American imperialism, has grown weaker. He assessed the international circumstances to be complicated as the superpowers are increasing their aggressive activity in order to expand their interests, and repartition their spheres of influences. He underlined the necessity for the unity of anti-imperialist, pacifist forces in order to prevent a new world war. He stressed that one must not nourish illusions such that the nature of imperialism would change. He pointed out that the socialist countries, the non-aligned countries, and the newly emerging countries must not make unprincipled compromises with imperialism, must not sacrifice the interests of other countries in exchange for their own benefits that come from maintaining good relations with the capitalists. He advocated the development of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the unity and integrity of the international communist movement. He urged putting aside disagreements, and restoring unity and solidarity.

While praising the foreign affairs policy of the KWP, he stated the following: “In the public eye of the world, our nation is widely regarded as the country of juche, and the model country for socialism.” He marked independence and friendship as the main attributes of this foreign policy. He asserted that the KWP mainly improves its relations with socialist countries, the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, and the newly emerging forces. The KWP is strengthening its unity with the socialist countries according to the principles of independence and proletarian internationalism. He added that the DPRK is ready to improve its relations with the United States given that they withdraw their forces from South Korea and do not stand in the way of reunification. He suggested again to replace the Korean armistice treaty with a peace treaty. The report underlined the importance of developing the relations with Asian countries, mainly with those that neighbor Korea. He considered the dissolution of military blocs, mainly the imperialist military blocs, the termination of foreign military bases, and the withdrawal of troops stationed in foreign lands necessary for peace.

III.

The KWP’s 6th Congress placed the main emphases on displaying results. The demonstrative formalities, the congress held in the spirit of cult of personality, and the festival-like anniversary events were supposed to prove the solidity of the country’s internal political situation, and its increased international prestige.

Emphasizing the uniqueness of the Korean road, the independent model for building socialism were presented to set an example mainly for the developing countries.

Highlighted attention was given to the issue of reunification during the congress. The Korean party is reckoning that its friends will support the ten-point initiative.

Appointing the leading organs is reflecting the efforts in ensuring continuity. But it was also their objective to renew the leadership as well. In comparison to the rumors preceding the congress – which anticipated the election of Kim Il Sung’s son as Secretary General – they have taken seemingly only modest but definite steps to resolving the issue of succession. Besides Comrade Kim Il Sung, only his son became the member of all three leading organizations: Party Presidium, Secretariat, and Military Commission.

The congress reflected and fortified the political direction that the DPRK pursued in the last couple years, both in its internal and international policies. There were no significant changes. This political direction includes the historical approach, methods, and worldview found in Kim Il Sung’s teachings. From what we heard and saw, our impressions is that they have achieved significant results in building. However, they are accomplishing these with educating and organizing the masses in a paramilitary manner. This military spirit permeates the entire system and the control over society.

The congress fortified the KWP’s previous standpoints in international issues. They still regard the main content of our time to be the fight against dominationism. They avoided detailing their relations with the socialist countries, and ignored assessing disputed questions of the international situation. They focused mostly on independence and the Non-Aligned Movement. Their relation to Marxism–Leninism and to the international communist movement is dissociative, they only voice them formally. Various statements of the congress report regarding the current issues of world politics is ambiguous. Thus for example, when they were detailing the nature of imperialism, or the roles of superpowers, it seemed that they were addressing both the American imperialism, as well as the Soviet Union and China. The call for the withdrawal of foreign troops, and the dissolution of military blocs can be interpreted similarly.

Overemphasizing independence is indicating the further intensification of the Korea-centric view and nationalism in the policies and practices of the Korean leadership.

IV.

Our delegation attended the congress and the events of the anniversary of the party foundation. We conveyed the greetings of Comrade Kádár János verbally to Comrade Kim Il Sung, and to the Central Committee in writing, which was heartily reciprocated by the Secretary General of the Korean Worker’s Party. The greeting was fully published in the central paper of the party.

Our delegation spoke up during the 500-member friendship meeting session of the Pyongyang textile factory. We paid a visit to the Geumseong tractor factory, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung, and to the museum dedicated to the foundation of the party.

In the framework of party day, we met our colleagues working at our embassy in Pyongyang.

Our delegation was received by Comrade Park Seong-cheol, member of the Political Bureau, and Vice President, who asked us to continue our party’s and government’s support of their cause for reunification, especially by supporting the ten-point suggestion proposed during the congress.

The permanent escort to our delegation was Choi Jae-u, alternate member of the Political Bureau, and Vice Premier. They have paid a lot of attention to our delegation. They made an attempt to make us omit the part of our grand meeting speech where we expressed our solidarity with the countries of Indochina, and with the Afghan revolution. They claimed that as these topics were not part of their speeches during the congress or the grand meeting, we should only discuss friendship and the Hungarian–Korean solidarity. In the end, they agreed to our argument in the spirit of friendship to let us hold our speech according to how we planned it, but our position on international issues did not make it to the Korean press.

V.

We suggest that the Political Bureau should approve the activities and the report of our delegation.

Budapest, 1980 October 16

The report was compiled by Varga István
Approved by Méhes Lajos