Search in
ADD SEARCH FILTER CANCEL SEARCH FILTER

Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 23, 1983

INFORMATION REPORT ABOUT THE PRESENT ACTIVITY OF THE DPRK EMBASSY IN THE GDR

This document was made possible with support from the Kyungnam University

CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
  • Citation

    get citation

    A detailed report about the North Korean embassy in East Germany, focusing on its political and propaganda activities.
    "Information Report About the Present Activity of the DPRK Embassy in the GDR," August 23, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, HA II/10, Nr. 63, p. 219-227. Obtained and translated by Thomas Stock. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208248
  • share document

    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208248

VIEW DOCUMENT IN

English HTML

HA II/10 Berlin, 8/23/1983

Information Report

About the Present Activity of the DPRK Embassy in the GDR

1.1. Introduction

In the analysis of identified activities of the DPRK Embassy in the GDR, it is to be assumed, considering the present policies of the DPRK, that the VI. Party Congress of the WPK[1] (October 1980) made the consistent execution of the ideological, technological, and cultural revolution the general line for the construction of socialism and communism.

The WPK invokes the chuch’e [juche] ideology in all matters.

The chuch’e ideology, whose linchpin is the term “sovereignty,” is an undialectical interpretation of Marxism-Leninism informed by the national liberation struggle but nevertheless seeks the construction of socialism in Korea.

In this spirit, the WPK conducts extremely intensive political-ideological work at home and abroad, in order to propagate the chuch’e ideology.

The theoretical foundation of the DPRK’s foreign policy concept is, in contrast to Marxism-Leninism, the basic evaluation of our epoch as an “epoch of nations’ striving for autonomy and independence, with the non-aligned states being the decisive revolutionary force.”

On this basis, close cooperation and expansion of relations with non-aligned states is the core of the DPRK’s foreign policy.  With the goal of creating more favorable international conditions for the further construction of socialism in the DPRK, relations with socialist states are especially being developed in the economic area as well as in the scientific and technological areas.

Dominating motives are to secure support for the course of peaceful unification of Korea, to prevent the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Korea by socialist and other non-aligned states, to strengthen its own positions within the Non-Aligned Movement, and to attain maximum economic and scientific-technological assistance for the DPRK.

Hence, since the end of the 1970s, the DPRK endeavors to have specialists educated and receive scientific-technological achievements, including the associated know-how, from socialist and capitalist industrial countries.

Recently, the party and state leadership of the DPRK, while exaggerating nationalist aspects, has been moving the struggle for peace and security more strongly into the center of its domestic and foreign policy.

1.2. The State of the DPRK Embassy in the GDR

The German Democratic Republic entertains ambassadorial diplomatic relations with the DPRK since November 7, 1949.

The embassy building is located at

108 Berlin, Glinkastr. 7

(until 1975 at 1157 Berlin, Dorotheastr. 4).

As of 8/1/83,

30 diplomats

of which 27 brought their wives

15 administrative employees with wife

as well as

47 children

are accredited to the Korean Embassy.

All accredited diplomats/administrative employees and family members are lodged in the embassy building.  The Korean visiting assistant professor and his family also live in the embassy.

Moreover, the Embassy has rented seven apartments in the downtown of the capital, which are used for the lodging of Korean business travelers and students.

Due to the central function of the Korean Embassy in the European area, according to the available information, the Embassy is structured as follows:

- political department with extensive press analysis

- military-political department

- trade policy department

- a task force employed by the CC[2] of the WPK,

 with specific tasks for Western Europe

- department for the delivery of materials

Besides the extensive mailing of propagandistic DPRK materials to GDR citizens, due to the low mail fees in the GDR (compared internationally), the department for the delivery of materials is also responsible for the worldwide mailing of Korean materials (a new agreement is currently being negotiated between the postal ministry of the GDR and the DPRK).  

Due to the regular departure of special flights from the airport Berlin-Schönefeld to the DPRK, the Korean Embassy in Berlin is a central gathering point for goods that are to be transported to the DPRK (the Embassy receives these [goods] from Korean embassies in Western Europe, among other places).

In accordance with Korean ideology and the norms derived from it, the Korean Embassy is very strictly organized, which is evidenced by the following:

- general obligation to give notice of departure from the embassy, with diplomats/administrative employees only able to leave the embassy in pairs;

- a daily two-hour instruction in the works of Kim Il Sung for all members of the embassy, with diplomats’ children who go to school in the GDR being educated in the embassy during school vacations;

- for ideological reasons, television and radio is only permitted in common rooms of the embassy as well as in the offices of selected diplomats.

2. Within the limits of the hitherto conducted and supervised operation on the DPRK Embassy in the GDR, the following generalized operational statements about the functioning of the Embassy can be made:

2.1. Contact-related work of the Korean Embassy

2.1.1. Personal contacts

The Embassy of the DPRK conducts a wide range of contact-politics with GDR citizen, for which

[NAME AND PRECISE RANK REDACTED] Secretary of the Korean Embassy

as well as

[NAME AND PRECISE RANK REDACTED] Secretary of the Korean Embassy

are responsible.  The basis of the formation and development of these personal contacts is in most cases tourist trips to the DPRK by GDR citizens, for which GDR citizens inform themselves about Korea ahead of time at the DPRK Embassy and, as a result, receive materials about the DPRK through the Korean travel agency “Korea International Tourist Bureau, Pyongyang,” whereupon they frequently contact the Embassy.

For other persons contacted, their stays in the 60s, carried out for the purpose of completing a common economic project between the GDR and the DPRK in Hamhŭng, form the basis of contacts with [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED], especially since [NAME REDACTED] back then was appointed to the supervision of GDR specialists in Hamhŭng.  Still existing sponsorship-relations with institutions or establishments carrying the name “Kim Il Sung” are also a basis of contact.

It is to be noted that [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] sporadically engage in contact activities and primarily use them to request from their contact partners that congratulatory cards (i.e., laudatory articles) and congratulatory telegrams be sent to official Korean posts on the occasion of particular highlights in the DPRK, such as

- the birthday of Kim Il Sung

- the birthday of Kim Jong Il

- the anniversary of the founding of the WPK,

for which the contact partners, in part, are specifically sought out.

The chief concern of their contact activity is the popularization and propagandization of the accomplishments of the DPRK, with particular attention being dedicated to the portrayal of Kim Il Sung as the founder of the chuch’e ideology.

Through the predominant propagandization of Korean politics vis-à-vis their contact partners, [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] endeavor to develop concordant opinions, in order to portray the growing interest for Korean developments among the GDR population as an achievement of the work of the DPRK embassy.

Besides the already mentioned avenues for the attainment of this goal, both diplomats use their contacts for the wide circulation of Korean propaganda material.  Furthermore, a selection of contact partners with sufficient language proficiency are commissioned for the short-term translation of various materials.

It is interesting that [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] show a general interest in the career development, family situation, hobby, and recreational activities of their contact partners, yet both diplomats survey their contact partners only superficially and not comprehensively in accordance with the real volume of information.  Instead, they broach questions about the development of the GDR and the socialist community of states only in relation to Korean happenings, in order to evidence the correctness of the chuch’e ideology.

In accordance with the Korean ideology, [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] also do not seek a discussion about global political problems.

Next to the contacts with GDR citizens, [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED] are tasked with the supervision of Korean citizens staying in the GDR for the purposes of education and work.

Due to the organizational principles of the Korean Embassy, the students are directly, i.e., through someone who is responsible for them, in weekly contact with the Embassy.  Instruction in the study of the teachings of Kim Il Sung as well as a general reporting on task fulfillment occurs during this contact.

In consequence of the cooperative bases (direct agreements, party relations WPK/SED, cultural-exchange plan), the Korean citizens enjoy “freedoms” beyond the concrete educational objective, which make it possible to gain comprehensive insight into the respective educational areas.

2.1.2. Receptions and official contacts of the Embassy on the occasion of social highlights of the DPRK:

- birthday of Kim Il Sung – 4/15

- birthday of Kim Jong Il – 2/16

- anniversary of the founding of the WPK – 10/10

- anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army – 4/25

- anniversary of the founding of the DPRK – 9/9

- anniversary of the victory of the Korean masses – 7/23

- anniversary of the founding of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan – 5/28

[During these events] receptions and film cocktails are regularly conducted in the Korean Embassy, during which, besides representatives from the diplomatic corps and official representatives of companies and institutions, a constant group of people of approx. 25 GDR citizens (Friends of Korea), which is known to HA II/10, regularly participates.

Furthermore, an incessantly changing group of people is invited through the Embassy to participate in receptions/events, whose function lies in the documentation of a heightened interest in DPRK politics among the GDR population.  This incessantly changing group of people is the result of existing short-term contacts with the Korean Embassy.

It can be estimated that these events always carry a propagandistic character and serve the popularization and propagandization of DPRK politics, especially the achievements of Kim Il Sung.

Characteristic of the demeanor of Korean diplomats during such receptions in the Korean Embassy and other events of the diplomatic corps is that they, in accordance with the goals of the politics of the WPK, conduct extensive networking with representatives from developing countries, states from the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as diplomats from the Chinese Embassy, in order to increase their influence on these countries in terms of the chuch’e ideology.

Moreover, the trade policy department of the Embassy maintains extensive commercial contacts with GDR companies and company representatives from the FRG/West Berlin.

In line with the economic and party relations between the SED and the WPK, numerous Korean delegations are in the GDR and, in the course of their visits, realize special company tours in accordance with their wishes, through which there also arise good opportunities for a comprehensive gathering of information about economic and political questions.

Furthermore, in the framework of tourist exchange, every year a group (24 people) from the DPRK visits the GDR.

The DPRK tourist group consists of people specifically selected by the party and state organs, people whose mission is to gather scientific-technological and other information that can be useful for the development of the DPRK.

Operationally relevant is the fact that these delegations are in part accompanied by staff from the Korean Embassy, that is, they maintain contact with the Embassy during their sojourn in the GDR.

The following generalizations can be made about the activity of the military-political department of the Korean Embassy:

The military attaché of the Korean Embassy, Ri Dong Il, fulfills the duties that are within the framework of his diplomatic activity, and, in front of official representatives from the MfNV[3], he displays efforts to further develop the relations between the Korean People’s Army and the NPA[4] of the GDR.

The deputy to Ri Dong Il is [NAME REDACTED], who, besides his diplomatic activity, is also active for the Korean foreign trade company “Moran” (procurement for the Korean Ministry of Defense), for which he maintains contacts to specific foreign trade companies in the GDR.

In this connection, one should note the existence of a group of Korean diplomats within the Embassy who are protected by their diplomatic activities and, according to the intelligence of Department X, carry out specific tasks—by order of the WPK—with regard to South Koreans living in Western Europe.

It can be assessed that through the multi-layered official contacts of the Korean Embassy extensive opportunities for information gathering on economic and political questions become available, and thus the Embassy’s utilization of individual GDR contact partners’ volume of information (unofficial informant, the Embassy’s circle of friends) is not totally necessary, especially since they are only superficially and primarily made familiar with Korean politics.

2.1.3. Distribution of materials

Another form of the Korean Embassy’s activity is the extensive sending of materials to a wide-ranging group of people (approx. 250 per month).  Included in this distribution are a wide variety of current materials or speeches of DPRK representatives as well as daily newspapers and periodicals.

The bases of the distribution of materials are

- personal and private contacts with the Embassy;

- commercial contacts with the Embassy;

- scientific, i.e., professional, interest in the DPRK;

- addresses of people who used to live in the DPRK for personal reasons, with the Korean Embassy receiving the addresses from the Korean travel agency (DPRK travel agency R.J.T.B. Pyongyang).

3. Theater of operations – West Berlin

Operationally to be noted is the existence of a South Korean consulate general in West Berlin 30, Ansbacher Str. 5.

According to the available information, its main duty consists of consular activity in the monitoring and surveillance of all South Koreans living in West Berlin and in finding out the contacts held by this group of people.

Furthermore, it has been ascertained that [NAME REDACTED], who was active at the consulate general until May 1983, was directly active in terms of intelligence service.  Therefore it must be assumed that the successor to [NAME REDACTED] will take over the diplomatic as well as intelligence service duties of [NAME REDACTED].

In its intelligence service activity, the South Korean CIA assumes that a relatively large group of South Koreans who live in West Berlin maintain personal contacts with the Embassy of the DPRK (cannot be supported operationally).

According to the available information, this results in the following main tasks that became noticeable in the intelligence service activity of [NAME REDACTED]:

1. gathering of personal information about South Korean citizens in West Berlin who have contact with the DPRK Embassy in the GDR;

2. gathering of intelligence about Korean citizens living in the GDR;

3. gathering of information about negotiations between DPRK delegations and FRG companies;

4. gathering of intelligence about the activity of the Korean Embassy in the GDR.

Furthermore, in line with the operation “Forscher” it became known that the DPRK Embassy in the GDR is also in the process of gathering intelligence about a CIA office located in West Berlin.

In this connection, the commercial contacts between West Berlin and the Korean Embassy gain particular operational significance.

The following measures are required for the further monitoring of the Embassy of the DPRK:

1. constant evaluation of monitoring measures introduced with regard to the Embassy, the goal being the discovery of further contacts with the Embassy and an operational assessment.

responsible: AuI.

2. creation of two new and stable unofficial informant contacts with the Korean Embassy, especially with the diplomats [NAME REDACTED] and [NAME REDACTED].

responsible: Sergeant Major Kieshauer

target dates: search - 10/30/1983

intelligence gathering - 12/30/1983

establishment of contact - 1/30/1984

3. guaranteeing of stable intelligence relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Sector, with the goal of giving up-to-date evaluations of the situation and coordinating necessary measures

responsible: Captain Herrmann

4. A separate countermeasure plan will be created for intelligence on the activities of the staff of the South Korean secret service

target date: 10/15/1983

responsible: Sergeant Major Kieshauer

5. Specification of the mission structure of the existing unofficial informants with contacts to the DPRK Embassy in the DPRK –

IMS[5] “Frank Ludwig” HA II/10

IMS “Olli” HA II/10

Through the 1984 plan requirements for Section II of the district administration, influence will be exerted to further enlist selected unofficial informants (from the districts) with contacts to Korean diplomats

responsible: Sergeant Major Kieshauer, Captain Herrmann

target date: 10/15/1983

[1] WPK = Workers’ Party of Korea

[2] Central Committee

[3] MfNV = Ministry of National Defense (GDR)

[4] NPA = National People’s Army

[5] IMS signifies “Unofficial Collaborators”