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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 07, 1962

E. SAGAłA, 'RECORD OF CONVERSATIONS CONDUCTED ON 4 APRIL OF THIS YEAR AT A RECEPTION TO CELEBRATE THE NATIONAL HOLIDAY OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF HUNGARY'

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    Socialist bloc diplomats discuss "revisionism" in North Korea, as well as the status of foreign radio broadcasts in the DPRK.
    "E. Sagała, 'Record of Conversations conducted on 4 April of This Year at a Reception to Celebrate the National Holiday of the People's Republic of Hungary'," April 07, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AMSZ, Department II, 10/66, w. 3. Obtained by Marek Hańderek and translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208541
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    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208541

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D II. Kor/o-242/3/62

17 April

Pyongyang, 7 April 1962

[stamp: SECRET]

RECORD OF CONVERSATIONS

conducted on 4 April of this year at a reception to celebrate the national holiday of the People’s Republic of Hungary.

Com[rade] B. Kułajewski, TASS correspondent on Pyongyang, in a conversation with me said that currently in DPRK there is a wide-ranging discussion on revisionism. The discussion was caused by inquiries of party members: „What is revisionism”, because leadership members often use the words “revisionism” and ”revisionist” in their official statements. As a result, among party members, especially in basic party organizations, there appeared an atmosphere in which every infraction by a party member, such as failure to do his duty or negligence is classified as revisionism. In the current discussion on revisionism, rather the intelligentsia and the students are engaged, and to a lesser extent – workers, and probably to a very limited degree – the peasants.

Comrade Kułajewski was profoundly impressed by the publication in this morning’s issue of Rodong Sinmun further excerpts from Lenin’s works. He told me in confidence that the quotes published today had been chosen with particular bias and apparently, are meant to demonstrate that there is a revision of Marxism going on in the Soviet Union.

On the whole, the current discussion caused much agitation, particularly among young people and students.

In late January and February of this year the DPRK saw a wave of arrests of people for revisionist views and “kowtowing to the greats” (the “greats” are taken to mean, according to the official interpretation, the Soviet Union and China). Those arrested included two close acquaintances of my interlocutor (Kułajewski has been in Korea for several years now).

I asked comrade Kułajewski about the current status of retransmissions of the Korean-language program “From the Life of the Soviet Union” by DPRK’s radio stations. As far as I know, DPRK’s radio stations had been broadcasting the program at around 6 p.m. on AM radio. Currently the broadcasts are not available on AM frequencies, but are transmitted on short-wave frequencies by Soviet Far Eastern radio stations.

Comrade Kułajewski replied to me, with some ironic overtones, that the Korean comrades had proposed to discontinue the retransmission of  “From the Life of the Soviet Union” because the radio schedule is overloaded recently, and they are compelled to devote much more and more time to talk about materials for the IV Congress of the KWP and for propaganda broadcasts for South Korea. As far as he knows, radio broadcasts from Beijing continue to be transmitted by Pyongyang radio.

The discontinuation of broadcasts from the Soviet Union has brought a wave of letters to the KWP Central Committee with questions in this matter. The letters are mostly anonymous and also contain questions regarding improvement of supplies for the population.

Com[rade] M. Kopylov, II Secretary of the Embassy of the Soviet  Union, asked the Director of Protocol of DPRK Foreign Ministry, Pak Yn Gyn [sic], who was standing by the same table about the purpose of the recent quotations from the works of Lenin published recently in the press. Pak Yn Gyn replied that the current period in the DPRK is marked by particularly intensive work of the entire nation. In such circumstances, people have no time for self-development, they have no chance to sit down at home or in a library with a book in hand. So, in order to help in self-education and in becoming familiar with the classical authors of Marxism-Leninism, despite the limited time at the disposal of party members, with all those willing to learn in mind, thematically selected materials are published in the press. When asked whether the choice of material is topical and about the resonance of this program among the people, Pak Yn Gyn confirmed that the selected materials are topical and that the program met with great gratitude of the people.

Com[rade] Fendler PRH attaché embassy, in a conversation with me and the second secretary of CSSR, Durchak, said that before the national holiday the Ambassador and other employees of the PRH Embassy had taken part in a number of meetings with employees of factories, schools, agricultural cooperatives, etc. In their addresses and speeches that they made on this occasion they spoke about the Hungarian people’s support for the Korean people’s fight for the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. The press reports published in the Pyongyang dailies the word “withdrawal” was everywhere replaced with “driving out”.

4 copies

[signature]

E. Sagała

II Secretary Embassy

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