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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 30, 1957

INFORMATION ON THE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT DELEGATION VISIT TO THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA, THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM AND THE MONGOLIAN PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC

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    Excerpts from a report on the Bulgarian government delegation 36-day visit to four socialist countries in Asia.
    "Information on the Bulgarian Government Delegation visit to the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Mongolian People’s Republic," October 30, 1957, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Central State Archive, Sofia, Fond 1-B, Opis91, A.E. 325, p. 1-4, 13-16a, 23. Obtained by Jordan Baev and translated by Greta Keremidchieva. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/165262
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INFORMATION

on the Bulgarian government delegation visit to the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Mongolian People’s Republic and the talks with state and party leaders

A government delegation from the People’s Republic of Bulgaria paid a 36-day visit to the socialist countries in Asia - the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Mongolian People’s Republic.

The visit was friendly. The delegation members established or strengthened personal contacts between the leaders of our country and other countries; they were familiarized with life and work conditions, and with the successes and problems of these nations. The visit contributed to consolidating the friendly relations between our countries and people. In addition, it strengthened the entire socialist community.

The delegation was warmly greeted in all countries. In all visited towns in China, our delegation was met by distinguished officials and thousands of people. In other countries, scores of workers waited in the streets. Delegation members were met with exceptional enthusiasm in DPRK.

During their visits to factories, agricultural farms, cultural institutions, etc. our delegation was personally convinced that people in these countries, led by their Marxist-Leninist parties, have confidently set off on the road of socialist construction. They are energetically overcoming multiple serious obstacles, they are overcoming their century backwardness and have already achieved significant successes which increase the power of the socialist community and are a good example for other Asian peoples.

In all places, the delegation felt love and respect toward the Bulgarian people, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian communist party. Georgi Dimitrov’s[1] name is well known to the people in these countries. The successes of our people achieved in socialist construction under the leadership of the Communist Party, the consistent and firm international position of our party and our country on the main problems of international situation and international communist movement have exceptionally raised the prestige of the Bulgarian people, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and particularly the Bulgarian Communist Party.

We are particularly glad that during the discussions on all issues concerning our modern world there was consensus between our delegation and the leaders of the host countries. There was no difference on the main problems of the contemporary international situation. There was full unanimity on the need for further consolidation of solidarity and power of the socialist community as a guarantee to keep world peace and a solid support to the development of every socialist country. No one denied the leading role of the Soviet Union and the need to use the rich comprehensive Soviet experience in the construction of socialism.

Parties in all four visited countries are struggling to keep Marxist-Leninist theory clean, they oppose attempts to revise Marxism-Leninism and are against dogmatism.

The results from the talks were documented in signed declarations in the People’s Republic of China and the DPRK and in published communiqués in Vietnam and Mongolia, as well as in signed trade agreements.

In addition, during talks with state and party leaders, our comrades brought up their problems, successes, difficulties, etc.

[…]

Two rounds of talks were held with the leaders of the DPRK on the following topics:

The Three-Year Plan for economic reconstruction [1954-1956] has been completed and from this year they start implementing the Five-Year Plan [1957-1961]. There are also important political results – the Korean people gained more confidence and they know that they are not alone.

The Five-Year Plan is in a stage of development. There is a plan only for 1957. The draft Five-Year Plan was sent to the Soviet and Chinese comrades for comments. The main aim of the Five-Year Plan is to consolidate the socialist fundament of economy, to solve the problem of food, clothes and housing. There is a struggle for austerity and for internal resources. The plan for the first six years has been fulfilled by 102 percent.

Currently, 900-1,000 tons of cast iron is cast in the country daily. Lead, gold, zinc, tin, copper (2,700 tons), wolfram are extracted from non-ferrous metals. Machine building industry is developing for agriculture, construction, mining, irrigation and fishing. Since last year, up to 1,000 lathes have been manufactured yearly. Fabrics are manufactured - 9 m per capita.

The total cultivated land is 19 million acres, including some steep districts. This year, the production of cereals, including rice, is 3.3 million tons. In the best pre-war year it was 2.8 million tons. Food was not imported at that time. They are planning to stop food imports this year. The average yield of rice this year is 350 kg/acre, whereas the national plan is 310 kg. The yield of corn is 180-200 kg/acre; of soya which is sown under the corn – 45 kg. This year around 8 kg/acre fertilizers were used for corn, and 10-12 kg/acre for rice.

Livestock breeding is not developing well. There are only 50-60,000 sheep. Lack of meat is substituted for fish. Last year, 370,000 tons of fish were caught, which makes 40 kg per capita. The plan for the last year of the Five-Year Plan is to increase fish catch to 600,000 tons.

Currently, 85 percent of the land is cooperative. This was the only way to come out of the difficult situation after the war when there were no machines and labor and cattle were deficient.

It is very difficult to restore houses which were totally destroyed in towns and almost ruined in villages. Their Five-Year Plan includes building with government funds 7.5-8 million square meters housing.

Korean comrades think the Five-Year Plan is too demanding.

DPRK maintains trade relations mainly with socialist countries. Lately, unofficial trade relations were established with India, Indonesia, Burma, and Switzerland.

South Korea is conducting an entirely American policy. The economy is totally ruined. American goods suffocate South Korean economy. According to their official data, 2 million people are unemployed in South Korea, and 1 million peasants are starving. According to official data the army is 700,000 strong, but according to our Korean comrades it is 1 million. Irrigation systems are not maintained. Cultivated land has been reduced by 200,000 hectares.

People’s discontent is rising. The only force that prevents the people from uprising is the numerous police and the strong military troops.

All proposals coming from the DPRK to strengthen and improve relations with South Korea were rejected. The gift of 15 tons of rice for the starving population in South Korea was also turned down.

Political consciousness in DPRK is high. The population is united around the Party. Following the events in Hungary, enemies wanted to organize an uprising, to oust the people’s authorities and to tear off DPRK from the socialist community, but all their attempts were frustrated.

After the 20th Congress of CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union], an anti-party faction was formed with members of the Central Committee. The group criticized the party leadership for not taking any steps regarding the cult to personality in the Korean Workers’ Party. They said that industrialization of the country shall not be forced; support from fraternal countries shall be used mainly for consumer purposes in order to increase the living standard. In addition, group members insisted that DPRK stay far from USSR and the socialist countries and be neutral. They claimed that this was important for improving relations with South Korea and the unification of the country.

The CC [Central Committee] of the Korean Worker’s Party Plenary session discussed this issue and denounced the anti-party group. Some participants were ousted from the Party, but later some were rehabilitated as Party members.

Investigation is under way. Korean comrades have every right to believe that the American intelligence in South Korea is involved.

They told us that CC of the Korean Workers’ Party has been taking measures to overcome the cult to personality and implement Lenin’s norms of party life. This is happening gradually not to provoke any collisions.

[…]

The assessment of the Bulgarian government delegation visit to socialist countries in Asia is positive.

This visit played an important role. It was beneficial for the delegation which became familiarized with these countries, with their leaders, their successes and problems on the way toward socialism. The visit was useful for the host countries as well, specifically Korea and Vietnam. They need to know that they are not alone; they have many friends they can rely on in their struggle. This visit was also beneficial for the consolidation of comradeship and friendly relations between our countries and strengthening solidarity in the socialist community.

30 October 1957

Handwritten signatures:

Anton Yugov

Dimitar Ganev

Boris Taskov

Karlo Lukanov

[1] Georgi Dimitrov – Secretary General of the Communist International (1935-1943), Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1946-1949), leader of the Bulgarian Communist Party until his death in July 1949.

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