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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June 10, 1970

COL. MIECZYSłAW BIAłEK, 'RECORD OF CONVERSATION OF THE MARSHALL OF THE SOVIET UNION COM. ZAKHAROV WITH COM. KIM IL SUNG DURING COM. ZAKHAROV'S VISIT IN THE DPRK'

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    Kim Il Sung mentioned his gratitude to the Soviet Union. Kim discussed the impact of the Cultural Revolution on China and Sino-DPRK ties, and his wish to improve relations with the USSR.
    "Col. Mieczysław Białek, 'Record of Conversation of the Marshall of the Soviet Union Com. Zakharov with Com. Kim Il Sung during Com. Zakharov's Visit in the DPRK'," June 10, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AIPN, 2602/8901. Obtained by Marek Hańderek and translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208551
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Ipn bu 2602/8901

IPN BU 648/34

Att. to No. KZ/0104/70

[stamp] 26 June 1970

Classified

Copy no 2

Record

of conversation of the Marshall of the Soviet Union Com. Zakharov with Com. Kim Il Sung during Com. Zakharov’s visit in the DPRK

I present this account of the conversation on the basis of my conversation with the Soviet military attaché Com. Col. S. S. Zudin [sic], who was the only embassy representative to accompany Marshall of the Soviet Union on his visit with Kim Il Sung.

Com. Zudin’s first impression was that Kim Il Sung is in good health, full of humor, feeling well. He personally tried to create a very pleasant atmosphere.

The conversation was unofficial, social, as if between two long-time friends from World War II.

At the beginning Kim Il Sung was to have said he deeply regrets that he could not take part in the celebrations of V. Lenin’s 100th birthday in Moscow due to poor health. But he is certain that there will be many other occasions and he will come to Moscow. He then added a brief explanation that soon after Zhou Enlai’s departure he lay in bed and even today he is in a sanatorium undergoing therapy.

Then Com. Zakharov joining the conversation, said that there would definitely be an occasion, because the 25th CPSU Congress is due, and stressed that this was, not an official invitation, but if Kim Il Sung’s health improves, then the CPSU leadership would certainly send such an invitation.

Kim Il Sung uttered a few words of gratitude to Com. Brezhnev and Kosygin for making the time for a conversation with Coj Jen Gen [sic] during his visit in Moscow. At the same time he stressed that on the 25th anniversary of DPRK liberation (15 August) KWP and DPRK leadership is issuing an invitation to the USSR (he did not mention anyone by name).

Then he moves on to Zhou Enlai’s visit to the DPRK and says: the situation in China is gradually stabilizing, but there still is quite a lot of mess and a lot of things to take care of. He believes that in 56 years one would be able to say that order reigns in China. Here he presents Zhou Enlai’s view that the Cultural Revolution was a great experience in the worker’s movement, one more experience for the socialist countries on the way of socialist construction, that for China it was beneficial.

In this part com. Kim Il Sung was to add that in a conversation with “Zh[ou]” he said that it might have been beneficial for China, but he sees no possibility to initiate it in the DPRK.

With China, says com. “Kim”, we maintain good relations, recently we have seen some improvement, and we will make further efforts to improve them; we have common enemies, primarily the American imperialists, we have similar views regarding the strengthening of the revolutionary movement in those countries that recently won their freedom and in those that are still fighting for their liberation. Joint efforts to build socialism in our countries intensify and grow, we will help one another but [will do so] on the principle that there will be no interference in our internal affairs. Recently, the Chinese stopped interfering in our internal affairs and this is a very positive development. There was a time when we had more difficulties on the border with China than on the demarcation line. And you know very well that the border is 1300 km long, whereas the demarcation line around 240 km. Those were incidents at border stations, at forest work, during water (river) transport. The Chinese also ceased to use large street loudspeakers on the border, which was sometimes very unpleasant  (NB As far as I know it was anti-Kim Il Sung propaganda – my own remark).

As regards the Chinese policy vis-à-vis the USSR – we do not approve of it at all; we are of the opinion that the Chinese do the workers’ movement the gravest harm here: you cannot criticize the USSR and apply the same measure as viciously and aggressively the United States of America. The KWP cannot agree with certain tenets of Mao’s philosophy (the whole – division into parts – the whole). To be sure, it is a very complex problem; we totally approve of CPSU policy as to the maintaining of the unity of the need socialist system and of the workers’ and communist movement.

In his conversation with “Zh[ou]” he was to have expressed the view that he disagrees with a number of views of the CPC leadership but does not find it necessary to criticize them publicly.

“Zh[ou]”’s visit was very brief, the conversations valuable and positive. Many issues were clarified, many problems resolved and agreed upon. For example, agreement was reached with respect to the joint use of water energy for power plants on border rivers. (Allegedly this problem was very difficult, as the Chinese interrupted the Koreans’ efforts as far as they could to utilize water power. I heard that there were cases of redirecting the flow of water, etc. – my own remark).

Agreement was also reached as regards the use of water transport on border rivers, the use of border waters of irrigation, as well as the issue of rail transport and problems related to crossing state borders.

Allegedly, Kim Il Sung stressed several times that “Zh[ou]” personally was to have repeatedly expressed the view that China wishes to improve relations with the USSR. In that connection “Kim” stated that it would certainly be better.

Then he moved on to the problem of Cambodia and [said] that the problem of Cambodia worries him deeply (the conversation took place in late April).

Then the conversation touched on the Korean-American war. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the USSR for help offered, but was  quite critical of the involvement of the Chinese volunteers in Korea. He had now several complaints about the former commander of the Chinese army Peng Dehuai, who  after reaching the demarcation line ordered the offensive to be stopped fearing that the Americans might start to bomb China. It was then that American radio allegedly said that if Chinese troops were to cross the demarcation line (of 1945) the US Air Force would attack Beijing and Shanghai. When “Kim” turned personally to Peng Dehuai, he refused. “Kim” believes that it was possible to liberate the southern half of the country even then. When “Kim” demanded the withdrawal of the Chinese troops and deploying Korean (DPRK) troops there, the commander of the Chinese troops also refused.

At the end of the conversation dinner was offered. Zakharov’s visit continued into the evening hours.

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: PF/33/70

Pyongyang, 10 June 1970

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