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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 21, 1976

NOTE FROM OSSI SUNELL, HEAD OF PROTOCOL DEPARTMENT, 'THE EMBASSY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA IN HELSINKI; MEASURES IN CONNECTION WITH ACTIVITIES OF EMBASSY PERSONNEL'

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    The North Korean charge d'affairs in Helsinki protests the Finnish Foreign Ministry's decision to expel diplomats from the DPRK embassy in the wake of the smuggling scandal.
    "Note from Ossi Sunell, Head of Protocol Department, 'The Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Helsinki; Measures in Connection with Activities of Embassy Personnel'," October 21, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, UM 6D Pohjois-Korea, Archives of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland. Obtained by Charles Kraus and translated by Ulla-Stina Henttonen. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/145141
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MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS                              

Protocol Department

THE EMBASSY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA IN HELSINKI; MEASURES IN CONNECTION WITH ACTIVITIES OF THE EMBASSY PERSONNEL

Following the discussion in the Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs (SCFA) on 19. and 20. October 1976 regarding questions presented in the Political Department memorandum no. 576 dated 10.19.1976, I invited the chargé d’affaires ad interim, Counsellor Chang Dae-hi [sic] along with his interpreter (Assistant Li Zy Gwon [sic]) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 10.20.1967 at 18:30 (the government had been informed about the decision by the SCFA at its informal evening session at 18:00).

According to the instructions included in the aforementioned decision by the SCFA, I read Mr. Chang the content of the attached memorandum (attachment 1), which the interpreter translated to Mr. Chang in Korean.

Mr. Chang protested in sharp tone against the decision of the Finnish government, considering it to be artificial and based on false information. “We do not admit anything,” Mr. Chang repeated several times, attesting that Finnish authorities do not have proof of any of the accusations that are included in the decision, and demanded for the withdrawal of the decision.

I told Mr. Chang that I have nothing to add to what I had just brought to his attention as to the decision of the Finnish government. Additionally, I emphasized that before the Finnish government makes such decisions, it has substantial grounds, and that therefore the decision cannot be withdrawn. I promised, however, to bring his demands to the attention of the Finnish government.

Mr. Chang also attacked strongly against the behavior demonstrated by newspaper photographers and TV cameramen earlier in the day outside the [North Korean] embassy, attesting that it was not only against good practice, but also the law and international treaties. I responded to him that as we had received information about the incidents and the embassy’s demands for police interference in the afternoon from Assistant Li, I had immediately requested assistance from the police to calm the situation. I apologized for the incident and asked if the police operation had been appropriate, and he agreed that it had.

Assistant Li noted that “a representative of the Finnish police had intruded the embassy grounds, stolen goods, and offered them for sale." I rejected Mr. Li’s claim.

At the end of our discussion I explained that “immediately” removing the people who were declared “personae non gratae” in the government decision means in practice that they will leave the country by the latest in six days from when the government decision has been brought to the attention of the embassy (the same as the position adopted by Denmark and Norway).

The aforementioned discussion lasted approximately 20 minutes. After the chargé d’affaires ad interim Chang and Assistant Li had left, I informed the duty officer at the Ministry’s press office, who published the attached Foreign Ministry press release to the public (attachment 2.)

On the morning of 10.21, the decision of the Finnish government was communicated over the phone to the representatives of the protocol departments at the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish Foreign Ministries that we had maintained close contact with following the similar decision made by the Danish government on 10.15.1976.

In Helsinki October 21. 1976.

[signature]

Ossi Sunell

Head of Department

Distribution:

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