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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 06, 1972

FROM THE JOURNAL OF N.G. SUDARIKOV, 'RECORD OF A CONVERSATION WITH KIM IL SUNG, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE KWP CC AND CHAIRMAN OF THE DPRK CABINET OF MINISTERS, 19 JUNE 1972'

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    Kim Il Sung expresses satisfaction toward Brezhnev’s positions regarding Korea and Vietnam which were made during talks with U.S. President Nixon. Kim also criticizes Park Chung Hee for suppressing the opposition in South Korea, including the imprisonment of Kim Dae-jung.
    "From the Journal of N.G. Sudarikov, 'Record Of A Conversation with Kim Il Sung, General Secretary of the KWP CC and Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers, 19 June 1972'," July 06, 1972, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, fond 5, opis 64, delo 423, listy 33-37. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134135
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[CPSU CC stamp:

12 July 1972 22900]

SECRET Copy Nº 1

6 July 1972

Outgoing Nº 252

from the journal of

N. G. SUDARIKOV

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

with KIM IL SUNG, General Secretary of the KWP CC and Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers

19 June 1972

The conversation was held at our request.

in the course of an exchange of greetings Kim Il Sung apologized for the delay in granting our request for a meeting with him, explaining that he was in the provinces of Ryanggang, North Hamgyong, and South Hamgyong, for a long time from where he returned only yesterday.

1. In accordance with instructions [I] presented Kim Il Sung with information about Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union containing the CPSU CC assessment of the results of the Soviet-American discussions held in Moscow [between] 22 and 29 May 1972. I passed the text of the information to [my] interlocutor.

Kim Il Sung expressed gratitude for the good substantive information. [He] requested that his appreciation be passed to the CPSU CC Politburo and Cde. L. I. Brezhnev personally for the firm defense of the DPRK position on the Korean question in the discussions with Nixon and he favorably assessed the principled policy of the Soviet side with respect to the Vietnamese problem and Korea.

Kim Il Sung noted that they still had not exchanged opinions about the results of the Soviet-American summit discussions in the KWP CC Political Committee, but that this evidently will be done, especially as the detailed information of the CPSU CC was received today. He said, if one speaks of an overall assessment of the results of Nixon's visit to the USSR then my personal opinion is that this visit made a great contribution to strengthening the cause of socialism and peace. We have no differing [osobye] opinions about the results of the visit and there cannot be any other [opinions].

I asked whether the Korean comrades plan to report their assessment of the Soviet-American discussions through the press or in any other official form.

Kim Il Sung evaded a direct answer, noting that it is necessary to study the CPSU CC information, the final communiqué, and the other documents signed during the course of the Soviet-American discussions properly. He said, there is no mention of Korea in the joint Soviet-American communiqué and it was hard for us to say anything about the results of the visit. In addition, in general it is difficult to assess documents which were worked out by other countries - one can make a mistake and incorrectly evaluate them, and [we] wouldn't want to do this. In general, we are thinking how to react.

2. At his own initiative Kim Il Sung provided information about the preliminary discussions of the delegations of the DPRK and the South Korean Red Cross delegations and about the work of the delegation experts in working out an agenda for the future main discussions at which the questions of the search for, meetings, and the reunification of separated family members and relatives will be discussed.

Kim Il Sung touched on the sides' differences about some wordings of individual questions of the agenda, noting that the Southerners were initially categorically against the principle of freedom in the organization of mutual visits advanced by the DPRK Red Cross delegation. This was explained by the fact that the South Korean side, fearing something, [that] it meant constructing a building in the area of the demarcation line and holding monitored meetings of residents of North Korea in it with members of their families and relatives who had freely crossed into South Korea and had committed offenses against the DPRK.

Kim Il Sung said, our side declared that we have forgiven all the past mistakes of such people and therefore there is no basis for organizing meetings such as the Southerners are proposing. The agenda was finally agreed after lengthy arguments. Right now preliminary discussions of the delegations of the DPRK and South Korean Red Cross have been resumed about the composition of the delegations, the procedure, and the date of the opening of the future main negotiations which should be held in turn in Pyongyang and Seoul and the questions connected with this about the trips by correspondents and the publications in the press.

Kim Il Sung noted that substantial changes have been recently observed in the position of the South Korean authorities. He said, this is happening due to the influence which our publication of a conversation with Japanese and American journalists containing detailed explanations of the DPRK position on the peaceful reunification of Korea is exerting on the population of South Korea.

We are holding official negotiations through the channels of the DPRK and South Korean Red Cross delegations in Panmunjom and in parallel with this we have secret contacts with South Korean representatives. On the basis of the unofficial contacts we have come to the conclusion that Park Chung Hee is more afraid of his people than of us. He is increasing repression against his people. The press has been taken under strict control, as a result of which the speeches of Kim Dae Jung and other opposition leaders are not published in the South, but they often state good positions. And it is very important for their beliefs to be conveyed to the broad strata of the South Korean population.

The DPRK favors broad contacts with the South. The South Koreans are striving to limit such contacts to narrow bounds. They would like if possible to drag out the process of establishing ties between both parts of the country. We, on the other hand, favor the active development of contacts in order to have the opportunity to exert a direct influence on the South Korean people in favor of the peaceful reunification of the country.

I asked, have any new aspects appeared in of Park Chung Hee's approach to questions connected with the reunification of Korea under the influence of the recent constructive proposals of the DPRK government [?]

Kim Il Sung said that the DPRK proposals naturally put Park Chung Hee in a difficult position. Although Park Chung Hee is pro-Japanese himself, right now he is afraid of other pro-Japanese-minded elements without knowing how they will treat him. The Japanese authorities, just like the US government, do not want Korea to be a united country. Two Koreas suits them - in this event they can ensure a sales market for their goods. South Korea is a small country but it, for example, imports goods [worth] $800 million from Japan. The Japanese do not want to lose such a market.

I touched on the question of the retirement of Japanese Prime Minister Sato. I asked how this might be reflected in relations between Japan and the DPRK.

Kim Il Sung regarded this event on the whole favorably and noted that the retirement of Sato might create additional difficulties for Park Chung Hee. Of course, he said, it would hardly be possible to count on the new government of Japan being progressive, but if it nevertheless changes [its] policy with respect to the DPRK somewhat then this might exert a useful influence on the process of normalization of our relations with Japan.

[He] expressed the opinion that the current overall international situation is developing favorably for the DPRK. The Americans and Japanese should finally understand that the DPRK is a sovereign state enjoying ever-greater recognition in the international arena. Even in the US a reassessment of the previous policy with respect to the DPRK has recently been conducted. Similar processes are also being noted in Japan.

Kim Il Sung noted that they are closely following the course of events in Japan and the US, and the positions of various political and public figures of these countries.

Touching again on the problem of the reunification of the country Kim Il Sung stressed that the KWP CC and the DPRK government are displaying great patience and restraint in work in South Korea, considering that it is important to pursue matters so that the South Koreans demand the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea themselves. In this event it will be hard for the Americans to remain in the South. [Translator's note: the last half of this paragraph was highlighted in the left margin].

3. I told Kim Il Sung about the arrival of a Soviet delegation in Pyongyang headed by I. T. Novikov, a Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, to take part in the eighth session of the Intergovernmental Soviet-Korean Consultative Commission on Economic, Scientific, and Technical Questions, about the start of the Commission's work, and about the desire of the Commission to pay a visit to the head of the DPRK government.

Kim Il Sung noted the importance of the questions which are being discussed at the eighth session of the Commission. He said that he intends to meet and talk with Cde. I. T. Novikov and to try and find the time for this.

4. At the end of the conversation Kim Il Sung said that he would like to visit the USSR this year and is preparing for this. However, right now it is difficult to say anything definite about the timeframe for the visit since many important events are occurring, and [there are] many questions connected with the reunification of the country which require daily attention.

Heo Dam, DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs, took part in the conversation.

DPRK MFA Counsellor Li Syn Khek [sic; proper spelling unknown] and Counsellor of the Soviet Embassy in the DPRK A. D. Putintsev were present at the conversation.

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK

[signature]

(N. SUDARIKOV)

5-mb

1 - to Cde. K. F. Katushev

2 - to Cde. V. V. Kuznetsov

3 - to the CPSU CC [International] Department

4 - to the USSR MFA 1 DVO [1st Far East Department]

5 - to file

Nº 480

5 July 1972