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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 20, 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, 7 NOVEMBER 1972'

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    During the meeting between Lee Hu-rak and Pak Seong-cheol on November 2, North Korea asked the South to free political prisoners, cease its anti-communist campaigns, and restore democracy before a North-South Coordinating Committee is established. The structure and functions of the committee were discussed as well.
    "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, 7 November 1972'," November 20, 1972, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, fond 5, opis 64, delo 423, listy 55-64. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134149
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[CPSU CC stamp:

22 November 1972 37920]

TOP SECRET Copy Nº 1

20 November 1972

Outgoing Nº 361

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

7 November 1972

Today, I visited Cde. Kim Il Sung on the day of the 55th anniversary of October and, in accordance with instructions [I] passed him a letter of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev about an invitation to visit the Soviet Union for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Soviet Union.

In addition to the letter, I told Kim Il Sung that the Soviet side is ready to take every step to create favorable conditions for his trip to the Soviet Union. The Soviet side could offer Cde. Kim Il Sung a special aircraft to fly from Khabarovsk to Moscow in which an atmospheric pressure would be created similar to that which exists on the Earth’s surface, along with other comforts.

Kim Il Sung asked that [his] gratitude be passed to Cde. L. I. Brezhnev for the warm letter and the invitation to visit the Soviet Union. He said that they will discuss the question of the possibility of his making the visit at the time proposed in Cde. L. I. Brezhnev’s letter in the KWP CC Political Committee.

Kim Il Sung said, the immediate future in the DPRK it will be quite intense for us, and there will be many important political events of a domestic nature. On 22 November the next meeting of the DPRK and South Korean Red Cross Society delegations will meet in Seoul. On 30 November Pak Seong-cheol leaves for Seoul to meet with Park Chung Hee; he will return to Pyongyang at the beginning of December.

Elections to the Supreme National Assembly and local governments should be held in December, and on 29 and 30 December a session of the new VNS [Supreme National Assembly] will be held. Kim Il Sung said, at the present time I am working on a report about the draft Constitution which I should give at the VNS session. At the last KWP CC plenum a draft of the new DPRK Constitution was considered; however, its elaboration has not been completely finished.

Taking all these circumstances into consideration the KWP CC Political Committee will consider the question of the time of my visit to the Soviet Union and the adoption of a decision; the Soviet ambassador will be kept informed.

Kim Il Sung added that he would very much like to meet with Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and discuss with him questions associated with the future of the Korean Peninsula. The entire question is only to choose a suitable time.

In turn I noted that there are many other important questions in the modern world. Our CPSU CC, Politburo, and Cde. L. I. Brezhnev personally often inform the KWP CC and Cde. Kim Il Sung personally about all the most important foreign policy actions of the Soviet Union.

Kim Il Sung provided information about the recent negotiations between the South and North and the content of the information [and] requested it be reported to Cde. L. I. Brezhnev.

On 12 October, he reported, a meeting was held in Panmunjom between Pak Seong-cheol and South Korean CIA Director Lee Hu-rak at the initiative of the South Korean side. During the negotiations Lee Hu-rak addressed a request, how could the Coordination Committee of the North and South, whose creation was provided by the 4 July statement of the North and South, be instituted more rapidly[?]

There existed two points not in agreement regarding the question of the creation of the Committee, said Kim Il Sung. The DPRK has proposed that the Committee include seven people from each side, but the Southerners, five each. The South Korean side also was not in agreement with the proposal that the Coordination Committee assist the convening of a conference of representatives of political parties and public organizations of the North and South.

At the 12 October meeting Lee Hu-rak proposed creating a Coordination Committee with fewer members for the time being in order expand its membership later.

In his statement the DPRK representative condemned the South Korean side for conducting an anti-Communist campaign, summarizing all its slanderous attacks against us after the publication of the 4 July joint statement. We raised the question this way: if the anti-Communist campaigns continue in South Korea the South Korean side will not have to hold negotiations with the DPRK. The sentence recorded at one time in the joint statement about the mutual cessation of attacks was introduced by Lee Hu-rak himself. We now declared to him that in the conditions of the anti-Communist campaign continuing in the South the DPRK doesn’t see a need to create a Coordination Committee since this campaign has wrecked the agreement achieved about the cessation of attacks.

Lee Hu-rak replied that South Korean journalists are guilty of the anti-Communist campaign.

To this we said that if the South Korean authorities cannot control the activity of the journalists, this is one thing. But the question is South Korean leaders themselves make anti-Communist attacks. On 1 October in his speech on the occasion of Army Day President Park Chung Hee declared that it is necessary to seek the reunification of the country on the basis of “freedom and democracy”. Does this not mean that the South Korean side is striving to impose its ideology on the DPRK? For an agreement was reached not to impose either socialism or capitalism on one another. But a call to seek the reunification of the country on the basis of freedom and democracy as it is understood in the South demonstrates a desire by South Korea to impose capitalism on the DPRK. Lee Hu-rak was told that if they want to continue the dialog them they should cease the anti-Communist campaign.

[Translator’s note: the above, from the underlined portion to the end of the paragraph, was highlighted in the left margin]

Lee Hu-rak admitted the fault of the South Korean side. He said that he had personally given orders that the aforementioned statement by Park Chung Hee be omitted from the speech when it was published. Lee Hu-rak gave assurances that nothing of the sort would be repeated in the future and that he will try for Park Chung Hee not to make such proposals.

Kim Il Sung noted, it is obvious from this that at the order of the American CIA Lee Hu-rak is putting pressure on Park Chung Hee himself and enjoys greater authority than the President himself. In the negotiations Lee Hu-rak asked the DPRK delegation to trust him in the negotiations and declared that he will personally apply every effort to achieve the reunification of the country. He asked that those difficulties which exist in the South of Korea be treated with understanding, noting that there is no such solidarity there as in the North. There is also no unity of opinions in the leadership circles of South Korea.

Our comrades who conducted the negotiations with Lee Hu-rak consulted with Pyongyang by telephone how to treat Lee Hu-rak’s request about the creation of the Coordination Committee. We gave instructions to come to agreement about holding a new meeting with representatives of South Korea in Pyongyang and to conclude the creation of the Committee at this meeting.

At the negotiations Lee Hu-rak also asked about the substance of our proposal about a confederation mentioned by Kim Il Sung, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, in an interview with the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. After the explanations given him Lee Hu-rak began to pursue the idea that South Korea would go the route of the creation of a confederation as a transitional form before the achievement of the complete reunification of the country.

On 15 October the Southerners requested a meeting by telephone of the sides’ liaison representatives in Panmunjom. At this meeting, in which two people from each side took part, at the instructions of Lee Hu-rak, the Southerners declared that the reunification of the country needed to be sought in the lifetimes of Chairman Kim Il Sung and President Park Chung Hee. The Southerners also said that on return to Seoul after the meeting [between] Lee Hu-rak and Pak Seong-cheol they again listened to the recording of the 12 October conversations and that as a result the South Korean side found the arguments of the DPRK justified, offered their apologies, and promised that nothing of the sort would be repeated in the future.

[Translator’s note: the majority of the underlined text was highlighted in the left margin].

On 16 October the South Korean side again asked for a meeting of liaison representatives. We got in touch with them by telephone and the Southerners said that on 17 October President Park Chung Hee would make an important statement which would touch only on the domestic situation of South Korea, not the question of the reunification of the country. In the second half of 17 October the Southerners called again on the telephone and asked [us] to listen to Park Chung Hee’s statement on the radio at 1900. As is well-known, in his statement Park Chung Hee declared the introduction of a “state of siege” in South Korea, the disbandment of parliament, a halt to the activity of political parties, etc.

The banner was taken down from the headquarters of the ruling party in Seoul. The banner was also taken down from the premises of the opposition New Democratic Party. A police patrol was posted at the house of HDP Chairman Kim Hong Il. Kim Dae Jung, the Deputy Chairman of the NDP, fled to Japan. Yang [Ik] Jeong, another Deputy Chairman, remained in the US after the declaration of the “state of siege”. Tanks were posted at the radio station, parliament, Park Chung Hee’s residence, and other government institutions. Soldiers occupied the premises of universities, and flights of military aircraft and the release of servicemen into the city were prohibited.

After the declaration of the “state of siege” the Southerners proposed holding a meeting of liaison representatives and at this meeting they asked us to regard the measures taken in the South calmly, like measures of a purely domestic nature. The Southerners declared that it was necessary for them to change the Constitution, which contains anti-Communist provisions. Otherwise, they said, they themselves would end up violators of the Constitution [by] entering into contacts with us.

The same day, after Park Chung Hee’s statement a meeting of the KWP CC Political Committee was held at which the situation created in connection with the introduction of a “stage of siege” in the South was discussed. The Political Committee came to the conclusion that Park Chung Hee’s measures pursue the goal of increasing the repression in South Korea, under the banner of the peaceful reunification of the country, and disbanding all the opposition parties in order to avoid the appearance of such a situation in which some other force would appear in South Korea cooperating with the DPRK on the issue of the reunification of the country and acting against Park Chung Hee. In other words, Park Chung Hee is striving to avoid being opposed by two forces – the DPRK and the opposition. The problem is that after the publication of the joint statement of the South and North, in spite of the expectations of the Americans, in South Korea a desire for reunification has increased and the opposition became more active.

A second goal which, in the opinion of the Political Committee, Park Chung Hee is setting himself is to change the Constitution of South Korea so as to prolong his time in power, using the peaceful reunification as a pretext.

Two-thirds of the votes of parliament are needed to change the Constitution legally. Park Chung Hee has no such ability. Park Chung Hee’s party has 113 seats in parliament, but the NDP [has] 39. So, without the aid of a “stage of siege” Park Chung Hee could not change the Constitution in the direction he needs.

The possible reaction of the DPRK to the introduction of a “stage of siege” in the South was also discussed in the KWP CC Political Committee. We took into consideration that if these measures were condemned the Southerners might cease contacts. If these measures were not condemned then the DPRK’s silence might be viewed as complicity in the repression against the opposition in the South.

Thus, a complex and quite delicate situation arose, said Kim Il Sung. At first a decision was made to give a brief report in the press about the situation in the South with objective criticism. Such a report was published. It noted from objective positions that a “stage of siege” had been introduced in the South besides a “state of emergency”, which demonstrates the confusion of the South Korean rulers, their desire to pour cold water on the fervent desire of the South Korean population for reunification. An editorial [for] Nodong Sinmun was also prepared with a condemnation of these measures in the South. A joint appeal was prepared of the KWP, the Democratic Party of North Korea, and the Chondoist Party to the political parties of the South.

The question of the article and the appeal was again discussed in the Political Committee. The opinion was expressed that if these materials with condemnation of the South Korean authorities were published Lee Hu-rak might not come to Pyongyang for the meeting of the co-chairmen of the Coordination Committee set for 2 November. And then a decision was made to express our critical attitude toward these measures in the South at the aforementioned meeting of the co-chairmen of the Coordination Committee.

Lee Hu-rak arrived in Pyongyang on 2 November. He was accompanied by former Deputy Premier Chang [Gi Yen]  (now editor-in-chief of the newspaper Hankook Ilbo), Park [Chzhon Khi], special assistant for foreign policy questions; Choi Gyu Ha (former Minister of Foreign Affairs), the chief of a directorate of the South Korean CIA, and one liaison representative. This group was accompanied by 10 experts and 10 correspondents.

At the negotiations Lee Hu-rak again raised the question of the need to create a Coordination Committee and declared the sincere desire of the South Korean side for a peaceful reunification of the country.

Kim Il Sung continued, the Southerners declared that inasmuch as the Korean nation is a single nation, it cannot remain divided, and reunification of the country needs to be sought. We told the Southerners that the South Korean side should: 1) cease the anti-Communist campaign; 2) restore democracy in South Korea; and 3) release all political prisoners to create the conditions conducive to the achievement of the reunification of the country.

We also declared that after the South’s acceptance of these conditions the DPRK could continue the dialog and agree to the creation of the Coordination Committee. The creation of the Committee is necessary in order to carry out “cooperation with dialog” and not “confrontation with dialog”, as Park Chung Hee wants. The DPRK favors peaceful cooperation, and not peaceful confrontation.

Kim Il Sung said, the Southerners agreed to halt the anti-Communist campaign and restore democracy after the adoption of a new Constitution in the South. They also said that the activity of the Communist Party could be permitted in the South if the DPRK promised not to make a revolution in the South. They did not promise to release political prisoners.

The question of a revolution in the South was avoided by our representatives. We also did not start to pressure the Southerners on the question of political prisoners, considering that the first two conditions were accepted by them. Nevertheless they were told that the DPRK considers it advisable to release the political prisoners in the South to increase mutual trust and cooperation. The Southerners replied that they are taking notice of this point of view of the DPRK and will study it.

Agreement was reached at the negotiations about the creation of the Coordination Committee, its composition, and functions.

On the question of cooperation, continued Kim Il Sung, the DPRK delegation submitted a number of practical proposals, predominantly of an economic nature.

First, we proposed using the workforce of South Korea to develop the natural resources of the North with the aid of DPRK equipment. When doing this we proceeded [from the position] that the South has many people unemployed and that they are sending the workforce from South Korea even to the countries of Western Europe and Latin America. Second, considering the impoverished condition of South Korean fishermen we proposed permitting South Korean fishermen to catch fish in DPRK waters and North Korean fishermen [to catch fish] in the waters of South Korea. Third, we proposed sending specialists and equipment to the South from the DPRK to built irrigation systems in South Korea. We also submitted proposals about scientific and cultural cooperation. The Southerners displayed clear interest in cooperation in these fields, but said that they have to report to Park Chung Hee about the proposals made.

[Translator’s note: the preceding paragraph was highlighted in the left margin].

The Southerners objected to the word “cooperation” when defining the functions of the Coordination Committee. When they did this they said that in South Korea history textbooks the “cooperation between the CPC and Kuomintang was regarded as unsuccessful, and they did not want anyone in the South to draw historical parallels. It was decided to use the expression “to jointly work, uniting forces” instead of the word “cooperation”.

I asked Kim Il Sung, what does the “cooperation in the international arena” mean to which the South and North agreed[?] Does it not mean unity of actions, let’s say, at the UN?

Kim Il Sung replied that it means the creation of joint athletic groups, artistic collectives for performances abroad, etc.

Returning to the question of the introduction of a “state of siege” in South Korea, Kim Il Sung again said that the actions of the Southerners are fundamentally reactionary, but criticism of these actions would lead to the Southerners closing the doors whose opening we have long sought. The DPRK is striving to keep these doors open since it knocked on them first itself. The Southerners are striving to close these doors in every possible way, refusing reciprocal travel, and to meet only in Panmunjom. They have become convinced of the ineffectiveness of their propaganda. Hence their reluctance to conduct reciprocal travel. At the same time DPRK propaganda is producing a great effect, said Kim Il Sung, and therefore we are striving to step up contacts in every possible way.

In conclusion Kim Il Sung expressed gratitude for the support to the DPRK on the question of the reunification of the country and expressed the hope that the Soviet Union would henceforth support the Korean people in this matter.

During the conversation Cde. Kim Il Sung asked that his greeting and October holiday congratulations be passed to Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and the other members of the leadership of the CPSU and Soviet government. The interlocutor was in a quite good, upbeat mode.

Heo Dam, DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Ha [sic; proper spelling unknown], Deputy Chief of the 10th Department of the DPRK MFA, and V. K. Gorovoy, First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in the DPRK were present at the conversation.

ATTACHMENT: on one sheet n/s [SIC, perhaps meaning “ne sekretno, unclassified”], only to copy Nº 4

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK   [signature]

(N. SUDARIKOV)

4-mg

1 – to the CPSU CC department to Cde. K. F. Katushev

2 – to the USSR MFA, to Cde. V. V. Kuznetsov

3 – to the USSR MFA 1st Far East Department

4 – to file.

19 November 1972

Nº 677