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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 23, 1974

PRESIDENT TITO'S REPLY [TO THE LETTER AND MESSAGE FROM KIM IL SUNG]

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation, Kyungnam University

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    Tito agrees with Kim on the importance of reunification and the need for US troops to withdraw from South Korea.
    "President Tito's Reply [to the Letter and Message from Kim Il Sung]," July 23, 1974, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archives of Yugoslavia (AJ), KPR I-1/648. Contributed by Martin Coles and translated by Anja Anđelković. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208683
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Belgrade,

July 23, 1974

Dear Comrade President,

Above all I want to express how pleased I am that the Worker’s Party of Korea sent a high-level delegation to the 10th Summit of Communists of Yugoslavia, and I want to thank you for your warm greetings and best wishes you sent to our League of Communists and me personally through the chief of your delegation, comrade Yang Hyong-sop.

While relaying your message, Comrade President, the delegation of your Party has thoroughly explained the issues that you and your Party are facing now. They also used this opportunity to inform me about the steps you took recently on the international scene in order to accomplish one of your most important goals - the unification of your unjustly divided country.

I can only say that we, in Yugoslavia, have gone through many temptations on our long road of revolution and socialist development, and that we understand your goals and issues all too well. We fully support the course your party and your government took in order to achieve the unification of your country and nation, even more so because you decided to achieve this goal peacefully and without foreign meddling. As you know, we saluted your proposals on June 23, 1973, and they were also well received by the non-aligned countries who adopted a special resolution about supporting your aims at the Fourth Conference of the Heads of State or Government.

During the conversation with your party’s delegation, I expressed my belief that you could, considering the current circumstances, achieve your end goal step by step, sequentially, by first solving unique separate problems that already have some prerequisites for solution. This direction, in a situation when the international position of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is strengthened, would be met with even more support from non-aligned countries and other progressive world forces.

Believing that the presence of foreign troops in south Korea, even though that they are formally there under the flag of the United Nations, presents an obstacle for normalizing the situation in Korea and for achieving its unification, we have always supported your requests for the troops to completely withdraw and for taking away their right to use the emblem of the United Nations. You can count on our full support in this matter in the future.

Dear Comrade President,

I have carefully listened to the reasons the Supreme Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stated to the Congress of the United States of America in order to start direct negotiations with the aim to sign a peace treaty for Korea. We are certain that making such an agreement, that would replace the previously signed armistice agreement from 1953, would contribute to removing dangers from a possible military conflict again, as well as to stabilizing peace on the Korean peninsula, in Asia and in the world in general. We also believe that this would have a positive influence on achieving the goals of the Korean people to peacefully unify the country. I want to assure you that we will use all available resources to support these goals of yours.

I’ve also paid close attention to the information your chief of delegation gave me about your view on the current world situation. I completely agree with you that reactionary forces are still attempting to disrupt progressive leanings of most countries in the world in many ways. These leanings and goals are also clearly expressed in the politics of non-alignment that Yugoslavia is consistently conducting on an international scene. These politics have grown out of a fight for liberation, the resistance to imperialism and foreign domination, and out of peoples’ and countries’ aims for independence, equality and unconstrained development. This is the progressive and class aspect of the politics of non-alignment.

Ever since the Belgrade conference in 1961, and the conferences in Cairo, Lusaka and Algiers, non-aligned countries have consistently been advocating for peace and they have categorically stepped out against all types of foreign domination and for full economic and political independence. Non-aligned countries have contributed to the overcoming of the Cold War which posed a great threat to world peace. These countries are fighting for this now too, as they don’t believe that the current level of lenience among great forces has provided enough assurance to resolve, with all the countries equally participating, many other problems that piled up in international relations.

The decisions made at the Fourth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algiers reflected the growing strength, unity and the ability for doing of non-aligned countries, and they were a strong encouragement for a thorough change of the current, unequal, international political and economic relations.

The recent special session of the United Nations General Assembly, dedicated to issues of raw materials and development, is a huge step forward in this matter. The significance of this session is, above all, in the fact that the decisions made during it are a basis for building a new, more just system of international economic relations. It is now crucial to invest all the necessary efforts into putting these decisions into actions so that non-aligned countries can participate in the development of international economic relations in a more just manner.

I am using this opportunity to inform you that we, as well as other non-aligned countries, think that the United Nations have a great significance. We believe that this organization in its current form, despite its shortcomings and imperfections, is the most suitable universal international organization, and an irreplaceable instrument of the international community to preserve peace and develop international collaboration. We can say, with pleasure, that there have been some positive changes in the United Nations lately. Today, more than two thirds of the member countries consist of non-aligned and other developing countries. Acting in unity about the most important international issues, these countries play an important role.

I have received the news about your wish to actively and fully participate in the activities of non-aligned countries with my utmost pleasure. We salute this and support the intention of your country. As I have already said to your delegation, we will talk about this with members of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries and further. We hope they will also salute your wish. It would be good, though, that, in order for this to succeed, you also use your contacts with certain non-aligned countries, especially Asian ones, so that you can get their support because, as I am sure you know, you need a general agreement, a consensus, for a decision to be made.

I want to use this opportunity to repeat my opinion, that I already stated in the conversation with your delegation, that your country could also fight more efficiently for the unification of Korea through its actions in the Non-Aligned Movement.

Dear Comrade President,

I was informed about your conversation with the Yugoslavian Ambassador Svetislav Vučić, in the meantime. In regards to this, I want to express how pleased I am for the friendly relations and collaboration between our countries to be developing so well. I believe this development has been aided by us getting to know each other through our various contacts at many levels so far, during which the similarity of our views on many international issues managed to shine through.

As for your wish to further develop the multi-faceted collaboration between our two countries, I assure you that truly want the same in Yugoslavia and that we are always ready to consider, with a good heart, every concrete suggestion or proposal for improving our collaboration on a political, economic, cultural, and many other fields.

With a sincere wish that your efforts on the interior and international plan be crowned with success, I send you comradely greetings and expressions of my personal respect for you.

[signed] Tito