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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 27, 1969

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN N. G. SUDARIKOV AND KIM IL SUNG, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE WORKERS' PARTY OF KOREA

This document was made possible with support from the Kyungnam University, Institute for Korean Studies, Ohio State University

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    Sudarikov briefs Kim Il Sung on the issues discussed at the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. Sudarikov and Kim Il Sung also discuss relations between the Soviet Union and China, as well as the DPRK’s position on the demarcation line.
    "Record of Conversation between N. G. Sudarikov and Kim Il Sung, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea ," July 27, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI, fond 5, opis 61, delo 462, listy 138-152. Obtained by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134248
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[CPSU CC stamp: 27123

14 August 1969]

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Copy Nº 2

SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK

12 August 1969

265

from the journal of

N. G. Sudarikov

RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

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

27 July 1969

The meeting with Kim Il Sung was held at our initiative.

For the meeting with Kim Il Sung I went by train with Pak Seong-cheol to the city of Kanggye, located in the north of the country in the mountainous province of Chagang. Kim Il Sung spends the summer months here, familiarizes himself with the state of affairs in the province, speaks at conferences of workers of the Party and state apparatus, and leads plenums of the city and provincial committees of the KWP.

The conversation with Kim Il Sung lasted more than four hours altogether.

I informed Kim Il Sung in detail about the course and the results of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties, presented the most important positions from the speech of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev on 7 June, and the Main Document adopted by the Conference. I told about the decision of the CPSU CC June Plenum and the Party activists’ meetings then held. I stressed that the entire Party, and all the Party members of the Soviet Union approved the activity of the CPSU CC Politburo in connection with the Moscow Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties and the CPSU delegation at the Conference. I noted that the leaders of the CPSU and a number of delegations of fraternal Parties expressed regret that the KWP could not take part in the Conference.

[Translator’s note: there is a stamp at the end of the first page stating that “the material is informative and the CPSU CC Department has been familiarized with [it]”; there are also some handwritten notations partly off the reproduced page].

I dwelt on some aspects of the foreign policy of the Soviet government, presenting then in the spirit of the positions of the report of Cde. A. A. Gromyko at a USSR Supreme Soviet session.

I touched on questions connected with the celebration of the 100th birthday of V. I. Lenin. I directed Kim Il Sung’s attention to the fact that in the DPRK work is not yet being especially actively developed in connection with the Lenin anniversary. I noted that the Korean comrades are responding poorly to invitations of Soviet organizations to take part in the events which are being held in the Soviet Union in connection with this historic date. Publications also are not appearing in the DPRK press in connection with the 100th birthday of V. I. Lenin. I presented Kim Il Sung with the main positions of the Appeal of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties devoted to the Lenin anniversary. I stressed that great attention is being devoted to this date not only in the Soviet Union and the socialist countries, but also in the whole works, and large political events are being held everywhere.

I touched on several questions of trade and economic cooperation between the USSR and the DPRK.

I informed [my] interlocutor of the progress of the deliveries of Soviet equipment and goods, and about the work of Soviet specialists at the Bukchang thermal power station.

I expressed some wishes about the development of contacts between public organizations of the Soviet Union and the DPRK. I noted that it is hard for us to understand why Korean organizations, for example, delay answering our proposals to sign a plan of cooperation between friendship societies for 1969 and do not engage in contacts through creative unions.

I informed Kim Il Sung of the new instances of hostile activities of the Mao Zedong group with respect to the Soviet Union and the progress of Soviet-Chinese talks in Khabarovsk.

Kim Il Sung listened to everything with great attention, repeatedly asked questions, and was interested in the policies of the Italian, French, ,and Romanian Communist Party delegations at the Conference in Moscow, and asked about the situation in Czechoslovakia and the prospects of the talks in Khabarovsk.

He expressed gratitude “for the good detailed information about a broad range of important questions” and then expressed his opinion on the questions we touched on in the course of the conversation.

1. Concerning the results of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties in Moscow

Kim Il Sung expressed gratitude to the CPSU CC and L. I. Brezhnev personally for the attention which was shown to “little” Korea in Cde. L. I. Brezhnev’s speech at the Conference and in the Main Document that the Korean people and their struggle were not forgotten. He mentioned that the KWP CC Politburo had examined for a long time the question of participation in the Conference or not to send a KWP delegation to it. As a result of a comprehensive discussion a decision was made that the KWP would unfortunately not be able to take part in the work of the Moscow Conference, which was reported in a KWP CC letter addressed to the CPSU CC. We hope, said Kim Il Sung, that the Soviet comrades understood us correctly. The Politburo decision was conveyed to all KWP organizations. All Party organizations accepted with understanding the decision not to take part in the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties by virtue of the situation which had been created. Thus, all the members of the KWP know of the fact of the convening of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties.

Kim Il Sung said, in autumn of this year we are thinking of convening a KWP CC plenum at which we will examine the results of the Moscow Conference. He said, at the present time we are closely following the reactions to this Conference and studying its materials. The KWP CC Politburo has still not drawn final conclusions and thinks that it is necessary to continue a careful study of all the materials relating to the Conference since this was a big event.

Kim Il Sung, that is everything for now that I can say about the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties.

For my part I said that the Conference was an event which provoked broad responses throughout the entire world. Therefore it is natural that the CPSU CC is interested in how Cde. Kim Il Sung personally regards the results of the Conference. The materials of the Conference have been published in full or in part in practically all countries, including in Cuba and the DRV. In the DPRK this event continues to remain as if unnoticed since not one line about it has appeared in the Korean press. I asked how we ought to understand such an attitude of the Korean comrades, what accounts for it[?] The main theme of the Conference was an intensification of the anti-imperialist struggle, the strengthening of the unity of the Communist movement. Our understanding is that the KWP CC holds to this same line.

Kim Il Sung repeated that they are studying the materials of the Conference and the reactions to right now. He spoke in the spirit that the Koreans do not like to be hasty, what is more it is not necessary to rush in such an important matter. He said, I do not plan to touch on matters in other countries. But, for example, after the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties Ceausescu invited US President Nixon to visit Romania, and right before the RCP congress.

Kim Il Sung asked whether a CPSU delegation would be sent to the Romanian Communist Party congress.

I replied affirmatively. I asked in turn whether the Korean comrades will go to the congress in Bucharest.

Kim Il Sung said that evidently it will be necessary to send a delegation since the Party congress is occurring in a socialist country marking its 25th anniversary. He noted, we are only thinking with regret that Nixon, an enemy of the Korean people, is visiting before the arrival of our delegation in Romania. It is necessary to look how the Romanians greet him.

I noted that it seems that the Chinese do not want to send a CPC delegation to Romania.

Kim Il Sung said, we need not follow the Chinese, and added with irony, “although Mao Zedong thinks that China is the center of the Earth, a heavenly empire, but we are also a proud people and have our own point of view”.

2. The Chinese question.

We, said Kim Il Sung, are closely following the state of Soviet-Chinese relations, and all the statements and actions of Mao Zedong. You said that the Soviet Union does not intend to aggravate relations with China and would like to settle questions which have arisen through talks. We are very satisfied with such a constructive position of the CPSU CC and the Soviet government, and think that such a line is absolutely correct. The Soviet Union and China are not only socialist countries, but large and mighty powers. How relations develop between them might exert a great influence on the entire international situation. Any worsening in relations between the USSR and the PRC only plays into the hands of the imperialists. As is well-known, the DPRK is a neighbor of China and the Soviet Union. Therefore we would only be happy if relations between the USSR and the PRC begin to improve.

As I have already explained to you earlier, continued Kim Il Sung, we hold to the identical [Translator’s note: “identical” was circled and a check mark was placed in the left margin next to a vertical line highlighting the phrase] position as the Soviet Union on this question, and we are striving not to worsen relations with China. This is specifically manifested in us not provoking incidents ourselves and trying not to yield to the provocations of the Chinese. At the same time we do not intend to bow [our] head[s] to pressure and intimidation from China.

At the present time Korean-Chinese relations are in the previous rather cold state: there is no improvement, but there is also no worsening in them.

We have such a perfidious enemy before us, American imperialism and its henchmen, and therefore we treat China with forbearance and exhibit restraint. The enemy hopes for a worsening of our relations with China. Kim Il Sung noted in this connection that the length of the DPRK’s land border with the Soviet Union is insignificant, but with the PRC it is very great. Taking this into consideration the Korean side is striving not to do anything that “could make the Americans happy”. He declared, we are orienting all our officials not to permit a worsening in relations with China, and to act cautiously in specific issues. A Korean proverb says, “Cotton can only be made with two hands”. Kim Il Sung again stressed that the DPRK line with respect to China coincides with the line of the Soviet Union. The difference is only that the USSR is a great power, and the DPRK is a small country.

I asked, have the Chinese not exhibited initiative in an improvement of relations with the DPRK on the whole and, in particular, in settling border disputes which, as you have told us, were aggravated at one time.

Kim Il Sung replied that for the time being the Chinese are not exhibiting such a desire. Mao Zedong considers himself an infallible figure, and China the center of all events. As regards us, he added, we also have pride, and we are not taking off [our] hat first, we are waiting.

I asked, does Kim Il Sung admit the possibility that the Chinese will go to war, as they constantly joke about this.

Kim Il Sung said that it is not easy to answer this question. Mao and his associates are very bellicose and vigorous in their verbal statements. However, they evidently understand that it is difficult to force the Chinese people, the Chinese Communists to fight against the Soviet Union, against the DPRK. At the same time one can expect anything from the Peking leaders, including military provocations. Who could, for example, predict that Mao would think up the “Cultural Revolution”[?]

3. Questions of Korean-Soviet cooperation

Kim Il Sung noted that relations between the KWP and CPSU and between our countries remain as before good and developing actively. He agreed that it is necessary [for them] to continue to be developed further, including by an expansion of contacts and an exchange of delegations. Kim Il Sung mentioned that he talked about this in particular during conversations with Cdes. N. V. Podgornyy and D. S. Polyansky. He reported that the KWP CC Politburo had discussed the results of the visit of Cde. N. V. Podgornyy to the DPRK, but a report of Deputy Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers Jeong Jun-taek was heard at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers about the work of the 4th meeting of the Korean-Soviet Intergovernmental Consultative Commission on Economic and Scientific and Technical Questions. The KWP CC Politburo expressed complete satisfaction with the results of the visit to the DPRK of the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium and the open exchange of opinions with Cde. N. V. Podgornyy. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the results of the 4th meeting of the Korean-Soviet Commission and the results of the talks with Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers N. V. Novikov, who headed the Soviet part of the Commission.

Kim Il Sung noted that he regularly receives reports about the progress of the deliveries of Soviet equipment and about the work of the Soviet specialists. He said, all this only causes a feeling of gratitude among us. In general, concluded Kim Il Sung, Korean-Soviet relations have good prospects, and the Korean side will strive to develop them further.

4. Concerning the 100th anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin

Kim Il Sung said that a corresponding decision of the KWP CC Politburo, the content of which has been reported to the Soviet Embassy in Pyongyang, was adopted back in April of this year, and was distributed to all Party organizations. Much work is being done in the DPRK to prepare a new edition of the Collected Works of V. I. Lenin, and individual collections of his work and brochures will be published. Kim Il Sung gave assurances that the invitations to take part in Lenin anniversary events of an international nature in the Soviet Union will undoubtedly be accepted by Korean organizations, especially as there is a KWP CC decision in this respect. Kim Il Sung personally promised to look into this question, and asked that he be informed of all invitations to Korean organizations from the Soviet side.[1]

He also expressed an opinion in favor of an expansion of contacts between public organizations of the DPRK and Soviet Union, and characterized the further development of cooperation between them as “a good thing”.

5. Kim Il Sung talked about our request about the situation in the country.

In his words, in the first half of the year the output of electrical power was sharply reduced because of a lack of water and many enterprises were idle as a consequence of this. Right now, when heavy rains have begun, the situation with electrical power has improved. At the present time the task is for factory and mill collectives to vigorously swing into action and to try to recover what was lost in the second half of the year.

It is necessary to use raw materials and electrical resources economically, and save each kopeck. The last KWP CC plenum discussed the questions of the domestic situation of the DRPK. After the plenum all members and candidate members of the Politburo and KWP CC secretaries and ministers went to the provinces to supervise work on site. Only Kim Il and Pak Seong-cheol remained in Pyongyang.

Whereas in industry matters with enterprises’ supply with electrical power have been corrected, another difficulty, a shortage of labor, remains. Kim Il Sung cited this example. At the KWP city plenum of the city of Huichon he criticized local officials for not fulfilling the plan for the production of machine tools for export. The Huichon Machine Tool Manufacturing Plant had not fulfilled the plan for the first half of the year. In the second half of the year they thought of “doubling down”, but even with that stipulation they would obviously produce 3,100 machine tools instead of the 3,500 according to the plan. The local leaders talked about them needing 4,000 workers. Kim Il Sung noted, I said that there was nowhere to get the workers, but the solution of the problem needed to be sought in actively carrying out a technical revolution. He added that the workers’ mood was good, and militant, and they expressed critical remarks against the managerial comrades, and submitted many sensible suggestions to improve production.

The situation in agriculture is normal. It is proposed to gather the grain harvest in the very same, high, [quantity] as last year. The government is devoting great attention to animal husbandry, and an increase of production of eggs and poultry. A large quantity of poultry farms have been built and are being built in all the provinces, and sprinklers have been widely used in vegetable-growing since last year. All this has allowed an improvement of the population’s supply of food products. In some cities, for example, in Pyongyang there is even a surplus and the problem is to organize their storage and timely processing.

Kim Il Sung characterized the political situation inside the country and in the KWP as stable and good. He said, the people are working with great enthusiasm, fulfilling the plan.

The KWP CC devotes great attention to the political instruction of the population, the training of officials and secretaries of Party committees, and the managers of enterprises. Lessons are held with all Party members and servicemen in accordance with a KWP CC decision. Directors of enterprises and other managers are holding monthly courses right now.

6. The situation at the demarcation line

Kim Il Sung said that the situation in the region of the demilitarized zone has improved, and has become more calm there. Only minor provocations and firefights have taken place after the incident with the American reconnaissance aircraft.

The South Korean authorities are increasing repression against the United Revolutionary Party operating in the South, but it continues to strengthen its ranks, using accumulated experience. Park Chung Hee thought that it was easy for him to handle the student movement, counting on his secret agents among the student youth (one agent per 10 students). However, recent events showed that the students continue to be active. In addition, Park Chung Hee has a “headache” from new surprises: one of the deputies of Parliament turned out to be a Communist, and Minister of Economic Planning Park Chung-hoon fell under [his] displeasure and was arrested after a trip to the US.

Park Chung Hee even quarreled with his son-/brother-in-law [zyat’,] Kim Jong-pil, a former Chief of the CIA of South Korea, a champion of Park’s ideas, and an organizer of the current ruling Democratic Republican Party, which he created from his agents. Park Chung Hee suspect that Kim might offer his candidacy for the post of President and sees him as his competitor.

The main question in South Korea is democratization of the life of the country, and the struggle against the reactionary ideas of Park. Many representatives of South Korean youth support this struggle.

In spite of the fact that the puppet authorities are intensifying repressive activities with respect to progressive-minded people, events on the whole are developing in a favorable direction in the South. Park Chung Hee is managing to hold on with difficulty. For example, he is expanding military preparations, and increasing the army; at the same time, as has become known, the South Korean authorities have to import 1,500,000-2,000,000 tons of wheat from abroad in just the second half of the year.

As regards our general line, Kim Il Sung said, we will not hurry with a solution of the question of reunifying the country, and do not intend to aggravate the situation [or] to force events. It is first of all necessary for the population of South Korea itself to fight, but for the time being there is no basis for the development of a revolutionary or partisan movement. Kim Il Sung stressed, I told Cde. N. V. Podgornyy that the KWP CC Politburo is examining the question of the possibility of offering a new initiative concerning the peaceful reunification of Korea. An appropriate document has been prepared, and we are thinking of when it is best to publish it.

I asked, do the Korean comrades not think it advisable to publish such a document before the opening of the next UN General Assembly session [?].

Kim Il Sung said that the KWP CC Politburo is examining this question. In the process the possibility is being considered that the US “will help” Park Chung Hee remain President for a third term if they feel that the possible coming to power of a new person would not meet their interests. We do not intend to deal with Park Chung Hee; we want him to be overthrown. There are other political leaders in South Korea with whom we could hold a discussion about a peaceful reunification of Korea. The question of the moment of publication of the DPRK government document which presents a principled line and specific proposals with respect to the reunification of the country has great importance. It is necessary to undertake this step tactically correctly so it doesn’t turn out that we help Park Chung Hee consolidate his grip on power, without desiring this. He agreed that it is necessary to take into consideration the political advantageousness of offering a peace initiative on the eve of the UN General Assembly session.

7. In accordance with instructions I presented Kim Il Sung with a request about offering us 500 American automatic weapons.

Kim Il Sung promised to give an order to the appropriate organs to check whether there were American-made automatic weapons in the arsenals. He said that it is true that there were many old model automatic rifles after the war in Korea and they were sent to South Vietnam and Algeria. If the automatic weapons are available, then of course they can be transferred to the Soviet Union.

8. At the end of the conversation Kim Il Sung asked a fraternal greeting and friendly wishes be sent to Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev, A. N. Kosygin, and N. V. Podgornyy, He said that he remembers about the invitation from Cde. L. I. Brezhnev to visit the Soviet Union and intends make use of this invitation and will come without fail. He has just not yet decided when it is best to go. The time should of course also be acceptable to the Soviet comrades.

In reply to my question, asked semi-jokingly, when Cde. Kim Il Sung will let Pak Seong-cheol go to Moscow, he said that he will choose the time of Pak Seong-cheol’s trip himself, and everything depends only on himself since the KWP CC Politburo has approved his visit to the Soviet Union.

Kim Il Sung expressed gratitude for the attention to Cde. Ri Ju-yeon, who is being treated in Moscow.

After the conversation, at which Pak Seong-cheol, who is a KWP CC Politburo member, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, and DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs, was present, Kim Il Sung also invited [the following] to dinner (the Executive Secretary of the KWP Committee of the province of Chagang, Sector Chief of the KWP CC International Department Choe Won-sik, and Second Secretary of the Embassy A. D. Putivets). In the course of the dinner the Korean comrades talked about the province of Chagang. This is a mountainous region of the country in which 800,000 people live.

The province has a developed industry – machine tool manufacture, machinebuilding, mines, and logging. Agriculture is poorly developed because of the scarcity of arable land. The grain harvest for the entire province is 200,000 tons a year, whereas in level regions of the province of South Pyongan one district provides the country with more than 100,000 tons of grain.

Great attention has been paid in recent years to increasing the production of meat, eggs, vegetables, and honey. During the years of people’s power on the whole the life of the people in the province has taken a sharp turn for the better. The population’s standard of living and its supply of food and manufactured goods is almost the same as Pyongyang. At the same time Kim Il Sung noted the turnover of medical personnel. Graduates of the Pyongyang Medical Institute, as a rule young women, work the obligatory of period of 2-3 years in the province and leave for the capital, declaring that they left fiancés there and that it is necessary to organize a family life. In connection with such a situation in the province of Chagang it is being proposed to create a small medical institute whose students will be chosen chiefly from the local population.

The conversation with Cde. Kim Il Sung was held in an unforced, friendly atmosphere.

SOVIET AMBASSADOR IN THE DPRK [signature]

(N. SUDARIKOV)

4-at, lg

1 – to Cde. V. V. Kuznetsov

2 – to Cde. K. V. Rusakov

3 – to Cde. V. I. Likhachev

4 – to file

Nº 518

12 August 1969

[1] Such a memo was sent to Pak Seong-cheol on 4 August of this year.

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