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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 24, 1969

COL. MIECZYSłAW BIAłEK, 'RECORD OF CONVERSATION WITH RSR MILITARY ATTACHé OFFICE'

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    The Romanian military attaché discusses the Sino-Soviet border conflict and the state of Sino-North Korean relations. The Polish attaché describes Romania as being "under a considerable Chinese influence.
    "Col. Mieczysław Białek, 'Record of Conversation with RSR Military Attaché Office'," March 24, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AIPN, 2602/8420. Obtained by Marek Hańderek and translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208549
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IPN bu 2602/8420

IPN BU 00244/137/2

Att. to No. 082/2/69

CLASSIFIED

Copy no.: 1

[handwritten:]

Destroy

[signature]

Record

of conversation with RSR military attaché

On 20 March of this year I had a long conversation with the Romanian military attaché Lt. Cmdr. Petru Voicu. I was interested in two things: first his opinion and assessment of the incidents on the Ussuri River and, second, what he thought of the current state of political, economic and military relations between the DPRK and China. I was thinking about it as I got ready for the conversation. The conversation lasted over two hours and below are its results.

As regards item one, my interlocutor believes that the incidents are temporary and will not escalate. He added that during his conversation with the Chinese military attaché (the conversation took place on 19 March) he was under the impression that China is not interested in such escalation. He underlined that such actions could have an exclusively propagandistic character, and it would lay the blame at Soviet Union’s door for such a state of affairs. The Romanian embassy considers this issue as an expression of China “going on the offensive” before their [party] congress and on the eve of a conference of communist and workers’ parties soon to take place in Moscow. When he expounded on his views in the matter, he gave me to understand that “one should not look for whom to blame” but “look for a way out”. He also said that the communist Party of Japan took a very correct stance in this matter. (As far I know, the JCP allegedly stated that armed action ought to be ruled out and the matter should be discussed at a conference). As I present his opinion, I come across serious difficulties, because he spoke enigmatically, made allusions and cautioned that those matters are difficult to discuss, that the situation is very complicated, that many issues have not been agreed upon, etc. My interlocutor makes an impression of a depressed, tired, forced to take such and such a stance. He clearly “flees” from any discussion of matters pertaining to the socialist camp.

As regards the second issue he showed less restraint, and devoted more time to it, and keenly expressed his opinion. He believes that the political and economic, as well as military relations between the DPRK and China are very good. He thinks that our feelings in this matter are mistaken. There is no rift between Korea and China. There are certain matters of controversy (as all over the world), but they are overcome both by the Koreans and by the Chinese. Clearly, both are interested. He stresses that in Asian conditions, many things are dealt with behind the scenes, no communiqués are issued; all kinds of arrivals and departures of various personages are kept secret. He says that, as before, most Chinese (specialists) do not pass through Pyongyang, but go to different regions direct from the border station at Sinuiju. He added interesting information that the Koreans still receive military aid from China. Recently, deliveries of military equipment (according to an agreement concluded with China) were allegedly increased. He heard about it from the Chinese military attaché, with whom, he is in fairly close contact as the only one of the military attachés in Pyongyang. Allegedly the Koreans recently received large supplies of tanks and MIG-19 aircraft. He does not know any details. As regards the deterioration of relations between the DPRK and China he is quite skeptical.

On the whole, my conversation with the RSR military attaché shows that in terms of the first issue he is under a considerable Chinese influence. His arguments are often downright absurd; he treats issues as something unimportant, irrelevant, and he focused only on the propagandistic aspect. But this is not the point, but it is at the same time an expression of the nationalist stance, something he absolutely cannot admit, as he is somehow reluctant in this respect. He is under a strong influence of the Romanian ambassador, who officially takes a negative stance with regard to a number of issues of interest for the socialist countries; the ambassador is a man who enjoys finding all kinds of shortcomings in our movement and in political action. But he is far from being ostentations. Furthermore, given that both are deans of the diplomatic corps in Pyongyang, one could understand better the complexity of this issue (One is [dean] of the ambassadors’ corps, the other – of military attachés).

As for the second issue, one should admit that he indeed is right on a number of points. Unfortunately we are inadequately informed on the various plans of the hosts, of their assessment of certain phenomena; neither can one infer it from the press. Nonetheless, despite all the negative remarks on this point, one should notice the tendency for further rapprochement between the DPRK and the Socialist Countries. For how long and why is another matter. Is it only temporary? These issues are difficult to assess and they seriously worry the diplomatic community in Pyongyang.

The Soviet comrades are reluctant to speak about it for the time being although they keenly listen to our remarks. But, when pressed, they say that in their opinion things are going well.

Military attaché

of the Embassy of the

People’s Republic of Poland

in Pyongyang

[signature]

Col. Mieczysław Białek

Printed: 3 copies

Copy 1 and 2: addressee

Copy 3: for the files

Made and printed: M. B.,  Col.

No of typescript: RF/37/69

Pyongyang, 24 March 1969

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