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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 10, 1962

EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF POLAND IN PYONGYANG, 'REPORT REGARDING THE CURRENT DPRK POLICY CONCERNING THE REUNIFICATION OF THE COUNTRY'

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    Socialist bloc diplomats and North Korean officials discuss the danger posed by South Korea and the Americans, and the possibility of new war on the peninsula.
    "Embassy of the People's Republic of Poland in Pyongyang, 'Report regarding the Current DPRK Policy concerning the Reunification of the Country'," April 10, 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/208542
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Embassy

Of the People’s Republic of Poland

in pyongyang

Pyongyang, 10 April 1962

[handwritten]

D II. Kor/0-242/2/62

17 April

SECRET

Report

regarding the current DPRK policy concerning the reunification of the country.

Since last November the Korean comrades from the MOFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] and other departments, in their contacts with members of the diplomatic corps on various occasions strongly emphasized the possibility of driving out the Americans from south Korea, but did not mention peaceful reunification of the country. They underlined that the expulsion of American troops and overthrowing General Park Chung Hee’s clique is a task for the entire Korean people. As they spoke about it, they did not link their policy with the general policy of our camp, with the struggle for peace and global disarmament, etc. DPRK press began to treat the reunification of Korea in a similarly narrow manner, which was combined with more and more frequent appearance of quotes from Lenin’s works, specially selected in terms of the necessity to fight imperialism, revisionism, etc.

In light of the above, a part of the corps were becoming increasingly interested in the methods and forms that DPRK intends to employ in order to carry out its policy of reunification. A uniform opinion began to form that the foreign policy of the DPRK is increasingly “catching up with” the basic foreign policy tenets of the PRC  (“a part of the diplomatic corps” should be taken to comprise the representatives of the socialist countries except PRC, DRV and Albania).

Some chiefs of diplomatic posts and their diplomatic staff began to ask the Korean comrades outright why no one is talking about a peaceful reunification of Korea, how the Americans are to be driven out, why the question of Korean reunification is no longer connected with the general foreign policy of the entire socialist bloc, etc. Most of the answers were evasive.

Recently, the Bulgarian ambassador, G. Bogdanov requested a visit with the MOFA of the DPRK in order to obtain information from one of the deputy ministers regarding the current reunification policy of the DPRK. He waited several days, and before the early April session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the Ministry’s Chief of Protocol summoned the First Secretary of the Bulgarian People’s Republic and said that the matter in question would be discussed during the session and whether the ambassador still wishes to visit one of the deputy ministers. The ambassador withdrew his request.

However, the issue of Korean reunification was not discussed by the Supreme People’s Assembly. But on the second day (during the Assembly’s session), deputy foreign minister Kim Tae-hui invited all chiefs of diplomatic missions to a briefing on this subject. This is a summary of information provided by Kim Tae-hui:

1)  Kim Tae-hui began by claiming that the south is in advanced stages of preparation for a new war. He gave a historical overview of those preparations, such as the continual build-up of south Korean and American troops, introducing state-of-the-art weaponry, regular violation of the Armistice Agreement by the Americans. When the Agreement was signed, there were 16 divisions, now there are 31 divisions. According to Lemintzer of 14 March this year, there are now 65,000 American troops in South Korea, i.e. 15,000 more than under Syngman Rhee. Between February and November of this year, four groups of American special troops were brought in, trained to combat all kinds of domestic revolt. They were deployed near the demarcation line. American main forces are deployed in the key strategic points. There is a continual build-up of armaments and firepower of the existing troops. south Korea formed a citizens reserve of men aged 14–40. This reserve can be mobilized in case of war or other emergency.

This year 200,000 young men and 150,000 reservists are mobilized for the south Korean army. The equipment is being intensively modernized; for example new kinds of guided weapons were introduced, 280 mm nuclear guns, anti-tank “earth-to-earth” SS-10 missiles, M-41 tanks, 20 mm M-56 and 106 mm recoilless guns. Navy and air force weapons are also being modernized. New types of war ships are being introduced, including torpedo boats and landing craft. In the air force, piston engines are being replaced by jet aircraft. As the command system is being reorganized according to the American model, American control over the south Korean army command increases as well.

A paramilitary formation so-called „Fatherland builders units” have been formed and are deployed to build and expand airfields, highways, storage and repair depots. New storage depots are built, for example, at Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Seoul. A new air base fighter and a transport plane repair depot were opened at Kwondion [sic]. Formerly, aircraft, tanks and other equipment were repaired in Japan, and now this is carried out in new south Korean bases. The supplies system is being reorganized. At present army supplies are being prepared for three-years’ war.

2) Provocations

South Korea is carrying out intensive military training, with frequent military exercises near the demarcation line. Last year, thirty military exercises were conducted, and in the first quarter of this year there had already been eight large exercises of the south Korean and UN troops. From the Armistice and this February there were 3645 instances of violation of the Armistice Agreement. Last year there were 2511 such violations.

Recently, high-ranking American personal and politicians are visiting more and more often, which fuels the intensification of war atmosphere. 90% of the visitors are high-ranking US army officers. Last year there were 63 such visits, including Gen. Lemnitzer’s, the [Chairman] of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commander of the US 7th Fleet and others. Most of the visitors advocated speeding up war preparations. Characteristically, many high-ranking American officers who come last year visited supply depots and areas near the demarcation line.

On his last visit on 1 April this year, Lemnitzer said that nowhere had he seen troops so well prepared as in south Korea. Regardless of the many visit of high-ranking American military personnel in the first quarter of this year, even more such visits are expected in the near future.

Similar war preparations and increased number of visits of high-ranking US military personnel can be observed not only in Korea but all over East Asia. The intensity and the character of the visits resembles the situation in 1950, before the Korean war broke out. Those preparations are a result of the deepening crisis of imperialism and of the collapse of the colonial system in Asia. Therefore, imperialists are getting ready for local wars, and practically wage such undeclared wars in South Vietnam, Laos, and drag into the Taiwan and Siam. They supply state-of-the-art weaponry to Chiang Kai-shek’s clique against the PRC and aim for a Korean-type war. They arm Japan as a strike force in the Far East. They intensively mobilize forces for a war in the Far East. In an effort to create NEATO, the US are putting a lot of pressure to improve the relations between Japan and south Korea. The US war policy in the Far East was discussed at conferences of American politicians and military personnel in the Philippines and Hawaii Islands.

On 19 March of this year, the deputy director of the UPI Agency in Tokyo said that in his conversation with many leading American politicians, they expressed the opinion that the current situation in the socialist camp is deemed most appropriate for starting a war against the socialist countries in Asia. If the American imperialists were to start a war, they would undoubtedly perish. The DPRK would further consolidate its alliance and friendship with the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and with other socialist countries, and at the same time fight against American operations. Intensified building of socialism, the strengthening national defense, further fight of the south Korean people against the American imperialists and Park Chung Hee’s dictatorial rule, would lead to driving the Americans out, deposing the Park Chung Hee’s clique and a peaceful reunification of the country. The entire Korean people is against the American imperialists and their intrigues. In the Korean people is well armed, not only would it effectively oppose the American imperialists, but it would also contribute to the peace process in the Far East.

25 April of this year marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of partisan troops under Kim Il Sung’s command. This occasion will see popular rallies to condemn the intrigues of the American imperialists and the Park Chung Hee’s clique. The rallies will be combined with parades of the workers-peasants guard.

In conclusion Kim Tae-hui expressed his conviction that the friendly countries would spare no effort to support their rightful cause by exposing the war preparations of the American imperialists against Korea and other socialists countries in East Asia. They also request materials regarding the war preparations by the imperialists against Korea and other socialist countries in East Asia.

After the information was passed, the ambassadors asked a number of questions. I quote the questions and the answers in chronological order.

CSSR ambassador, Kohoushek:

What kind of policy towards south Korea will the DPRK have now?

Bulgarian ambassador, Bogdanov:

a) is there imminent danger of aggression against the DPRK?

b) Do the Korean comrades think that there have been changes in the current international situation in comparison with the situation that was assessed by the conference of communist and workers’ parties in 1960?

c) After CSSR ambassador he requests more detailed explanation of DPRK policy regarding Korean reunification?

Kim Tae-hui’s reply:

DPRK policy vis-à-vis reunification has not changed and will not change. Efforts are made to drive out the American imperialists and achieve reunification peaceably without any outside interference. The forces of the people of south Korea are big enough to cast off American rule and re-unite. But under the current conditions of Park Chung Hee’s military dictatorship any kind of peaceable reunification is out of the question. Reunification talks can only be conducted when it would be possible for political parties and social organizations in the South   to operate freely and there will be freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly. In the current situation, we should summon the people of south Korea to unite in a national front, to fight to cast depose the Park Chung Hee’s clique and drive out the Americans.

We will fight for a peaceful reunification of the country, but since the American imperialists desire an aggressive war against us, it is crucial for us to strengthen our forces in order to fend off the assault of the American aggressors. If we are strong, the Americans will not dare attack us. We must mobilize the people for heightened vigilance, arm it ideologically, so that it is ready to fend off aggression.

PRB Ambassador:   

He referred to the speech of the first deputy prime minister Kim Il who did not speak of peaceful reunification of Korea but of overthrowing Park Chung Hee’s military dictatorship and of driving the Americans out and asked for clarification of the deputy prime minister’s words.

Reply:

Kim Il’s speech explicitly mentioned peaceful reunification after overthrowing the military dictatorship and after driving the Americans out. It is in this spirit that the first deputy prime minister’s words should be read. The demand to drive the American occupiers out is also put forward by the south Korean people and there is no Korean that would not wish to drive out the Americans and peacefully reunite the country.

My question:

In connection with the situation presented above what kind of tasks and programs for the DPRK people they plan to put forward. (I asked that question, because Kim Tae-hui did not talk about the different methods and forms of combat for the population of south Korea and DPRK.

Reply:

There is one indivisible Korean people therefore the fighting slogans are identical for the entire people.

GDR ambassador Schneidewind:

In the light of the above described situation aren’t steps envisaged to demonstrate the peaceful policy of DPRK and of our camp, particularly now during the Geneva conference?

Reply:

The matter of the Geneva conference is clear. Kim Tae-hui said that he is not aware of any new peace initiatives being undertaken. He referred to previous speakers and underlined that the current situation in Korea and in the Far East is very tense. In a situation where south Korea is occupied by US troops, peaceful coexistence is out of the question. This position is a result of the situation in our country and the desire of our people.

Bulgarian ambassador:

He reiterated his question regarding the assessment of the current international situation in comparison with the assessment of the 1960 Moscow conference.

Kim Tae-hui’s reply:

Impolitely evaded the answer and said that in his previous statements he did speak at length about the international situation.

CSSR ambassador:

Asks for clarification how are they planning to carry out the fight to drive the Americans out.

Reply:

We fought and will fight against the imperialists. Our people has fought for 30 years, never put forward idle slogans but fought for its independence. In this fight and in our policy we have always applied and will continue to apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism. The slogans for fight at the current stage were precisely formulated by Kim Il-Sung at the IV Congress of the KWP.  The Korean reunification is also included in the declaration adopted at the IV Congress of the KWP. It contains our tasks, clearly specified.  He added that he himself is ready to discuss at any time the tactics and forms of combat at length in order to achieve the defined goals.

CSSR ambassador:

He referred to Kim Tae-hui’s words and just asked for detailed information that would include how the party and the government of the DPRK connects its policy with the policy of the USSR and of the other countries in our camp, in particular how does DPRK policy relate to our policy of peaceful coexistence, disarmament, the liquidation of military bases, this is including US bases in south Korea.

Kim Tae-hui:

Asks for a more precise phrasing of the question, as he felt that ambassador Kohoushek believes that KWP’s policy is not right (agitation in the audience).

Soviet ambassador, Puzanov:

Says that the interpreter mistranslated ambassador Kohoushek’s question who expressed no doubts about KWP’s policy.

CSSR ambassador:

Believes that the interpreter mistranslated ambassador Kohoushek’s question and specifies it again.

Kim Tae-hui:

Our task is to speed up socialist construction in DPRK, summoning the people of south Korea to fight against the imperialists and Park Chung Hee’s clique. If the people of south Korea unite in this struggle, it will succeed in driving out the 65,000 Americans from the South, especially so if the fight against imperialism and colonialism intensifies at the same time. In south Korea we carry out vigorous ideological work in order to prepare people to fight. The Party, the DPRK government and the Supreme People’s Council have made a number of statements on the tasks of the people of south Korea and of the entire nation. They keenly follow the course of the Geneva conference, demand and expect the liquidation of US bases in south Korea, among others. Unfortunately, the Geneva talks yielded no results while on the 14th of this month the USA and England begin nuclear testing. We have been informed of the above by the Soviet government and we totally agree with the assessment included in the information.

Kim Tae-hui repeated his statement about the aggressive US preparation in south Korea, stressing that they are ready to repel resolutely any provocation or aggression.

The demand to liquidate the bases corresponds with their view on the matter. Therefore they propose to combine these efforts with the struggle to drive the Americans out of south Korea. He understands that the Americans will not pull out of Korea today or tomorrow. This fight is far from easy.

Kim Tae-hui ended his information and answers to questions, trying to explain that his intention was merely to inform about the situation in south Korea, but had not prepared for a comprehensive discussion of international issues.

The Soviet ambassador, and the dean of the diplomatic corps, he thanked the deputy warmly and from the heart in his own name and in the name of the chiefs of missions for such lengthy information and assured him that the Soviet people and the Soviet government fully supported and supports the rightful struggle of the Korean people, the rightful policy of the KWP and of the DPRK and said that the USSR, to be sure, would continue exposing all the way moves of the imperialists (number one enemies of all the socialist countries without exception), including the hostile moves of the United Stated in Korea and all over the Far East. He expressed his deep conviction that all the fraternal countries through the press, the radio and by other means, would also expose the aggressive moves of imperialism.

Next spoke the Bulgarian ambassador and said that the information failed to clarify the matters that are of interest to him and announced that he would request an individual conversation. He made it that he does not doubt the rightfulness of KWP policy and of the DPRK government and stressed that he was not acting on his governments behest, but tried to clarify a number of issues related to Korean reunification, which, for him personally, are incomprehensible.

After he briefing the CSSR ambassador approached Kim Tae-hui and asked for a meeting in the next few days. Kim Tae-hui replied that he could see him the following week, but can’t be sure if he would have free time.

Kim Tae-hui’s briefing and the discussion lasted over three hours. What he said was largely based on available press reports. Kim Tae-hui put a great deal of emphasis on the threat of a US aggression, whose troops are in south Korea. He clearly linked this threat with the threat of aggression against all the socialist countries in the Far East. He did not specify the tactics of the DPRK government in the current situation, but he did talk at length about the need of all the Korean people to fight against the American imperialists and the Park Chung Hee’s clique. He did not link DPRK’s policy with that of the socialist camp and failed to give a clear answer to the questions he was asked, which brought on a rather unpleasant atmosphere.

In a conversation with me after leaving the conference room the USSR ambassador, Puzanov, admitted that the information was not enough clear and Kim Tae-hui himself complicated a few things. Most chiefs of diplomatic missions expressed a similar opinion.

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