December 28, 1956
Communist Party of the Soviet Union Central Committee Report on the Situation in the Korean Workers' Party and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
?9 Jan 1957
Subject to return to
[[2-3 words typed over]] CPSU CC]
Distributed at the instruction SECRET
of Cde. D. T. SHEPILOV 28 December 1956
THE SITUATION IN THE KWP AND THE DPRK
[Handwritten at the top left of the first page: "To Cde. Ponomarev. Suslov"; handwritten at the bottom of the first page: "To the archives. An informative document used in the work [1-2 words illegible]. Shcherbakov. 15.II.57"
1956 was a year of substantial change in the life of the Korean Workers’ Party. In April 1956 the KWP Third Congress was held after an eight-year interval. Its decisions determined the future direction of the economic and political development of the country and also the DPRK's goals in the area of foreign policy. In view of this, the KWP Third Congress was an event of great political and practical importance for the party and the country.
At the same time there were serious shortcomings in preparing for and holding the Congress. The greatest of these shortcomings were that the most important enactments of the CPSU Twentieth Congress and the conclusions resulting from them from the specific situation in the DPRK - the Marxist-Leninist principles of party policy; overcoming the consequences of the cult of personality in the KWP; the observance of the principles of collective leadership; and the strengthening of democratic legality - did not receive the necessary reflection in the work and the decisions of the KWP Third Congress. The previous tendencies of the KWP leadership to develop all sectors of heavy industry, especially machine-building, without considering the real possibilities were exhibited at the Congress. At the same time, the Congress did not place in the focus of attention the question of raising the population's standard of living, which remains extremely low.
Both at the Congress and in the post-Congress period these questions keenly troubled a certain portion of senior KWP officials. Kim Du-bong [Kim Tu Bong], Choe Chang-ik [Choe Chang Ik], Pak Chang-ok [Pak Chang Ok], Pak Ui-wan [Pak Ui Wan], Seo Hwi [So Hwi], Yun Gong-heum [Yun Kong Hum], Kim Seung-hwa [Kim Sung Hwa], and other important officials thought that it was impossible to tolerate the great shortcomings in the leadership of the party and the country any longer. The dissatisfaction with the situation which has developed in the party also included a certain portion of the senior officials of the army and trade unions. Discontent with the KWP leadership especially increased during the visit of a DPRK delegation to the countries of the people's democracies and in connection with the well-known events in Poznan.
At the KWP CC August Plenum this group of officials proposed to sharply criticize the main shortcomings of the activity of the leadership and Kim Il Sung personally, pointing out that the spread of the cult of personality and the assignment of party personnel according to the principle of personal devotion fettered initiative and diminished the responsibility of government and party bodies; as before an atmosphere of mistrust and suspiciousness predominates; collegiality at work is essentially lacking; and a serious material situation for the working masses has been created in the country.
The emergence of dissatisfaction with the situation which has developed among a certain part of senior KWP officials testifies to the growth in the party of national cadres who have made increased demands of the party leadership. The above officials were trying to expose the serious shortcomings which exist through sharp and bold criticism.
As is well known, at the August plenum Kim Il Sung did not lead the criticism of the shortcomings in the work of the party, as the CPSU CC had advised him and which many senior officials inside the KWP had expected. The KWP leadership did not go the route of self-criticism and took every step to isolate those who intended to criticize the shortcomings and mistakes. For the forthright and courageous opinions about the situation in the party expressed by a number of officials who had exhibited dissatisfaction with the KWP leadership they were regarded as a "hostile anti-party group which had set as their goal the seizure of power in the party and the country" and subjected to party repression. Some of these officials, fearing further persecution, left for China (nine people) and Ri Sang-jo [Ri Sang Jo], the former Korean ambassador to Moscow, refused to return to the DPRK.
Thus, a difficult situation arose in the KWP when the serious shortcomings and mistakes of the party leadership were not exposed and the correct measures were not taken to eliminate them.
As a result of an exchange of opinions about the situation in the KWP which took place between the CPSU CC and the KWP CC it was decided to send Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai to Pyongyang to discuss situation which had developed with the KWP leadership.
The KWP CC Plenum held in September during their visit to the DPRK reexamined the decisions of the August Plenum with respect to Choe Chang-ik, Pak Chang-ok, and others, admitting that "when considering the question concerning these comrades at the August Plenum the proper seriousness was insufficiently exhibited and the approach to the decision was oversimplified". The plenum restored Choe Chang-ik and Pak Chang-ok to CC membership and those who left for China to party membership.
At the same time, the need was recognized in the decisions of the plenum to create an atmosphere in the party which facilitates the holding of more lively organizational discussions which arise in party life and to ascertain the truth through a broad expansion of criticism without resorting to organizational administrative measures. The plenum pointed out that party organizations should gradually organize a campaign for the further expansion and development of intra-party democracy and intensify criticism and self-criticism inside the party, especially criticism from below.
The preparation and adoption of the decisions by the September Plenum of the KWP CC was the result of the influence of fraternal parties on the KWP CC leadership. Kim Il Sung and a majority of the members of the KWP CC Presidium reluctantly agreed to reexamine the decisions of the August Central Committee Plenum. A desire to show the guilt of Choe Chang-ik, Pak Chang-ok, and the others and [to show] the justification for the measures and organizational conclusions taken toward them at the August Plenum was exhibited in the process of preparing for the September plenum.
At the present time, as before, the opinion continues to exist in the KWP that the hostile anti-party group of Choe Chang-ik and Pak Chang-ok who had set as their goal the seizure of power had been exposed at the August Plenum and that, in spite of this, the party had displayed magnanimity toward them and had restored Choe Chang-ik and Pak Chang-ok to Central Committee membership and the rest to party membership.
The reluctance to reexamine the decisions of the August Central Committee plenum about the organizational conclusions with respect to Choe Chang-ik, Pak Chang-ok, and the others was also reflected in the fact that, in spite of an agreement between Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai on the one hand and Kim Il Sung on the other about publishing the complete text of the decision of the September plenum about the above question in the press, this text was nevertheless not published. The KWP CC limited itself to publication in the press of a brief informational report in which it omitted the two important sections of the decision regarding the assessment of the measures which had been taken at the August plenum with respect to Choe Chang-ik and the others and also the questions of the need to develop intra-party democracy, criticism, and self-criticism.
During the visit to the DPRK by Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai it was arranged with the KWP leadership that there would be a reexamination of the decisions of party committees with respect to other party members who were called to account in connection with the Choe Chang-ik and Pak Chang-ok matter. However the Korean leadership is beginning these steps very slowly. After the September Plenum senior officials of the KWP Pyongyang City Committee and also the Secretaries of the State University Party Committee, the construction department, and the Central Committee of the united trade unions, and the Ministry of Trade were removed from the posts they had occupied and sent to the provinces from where they, too, left for China.
With respect to former Political Council member Pak Il-u [Pak Il U], who is under arrest, an agreement about his release was reached between Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai and Kim Il Sung. It was decided in October at the KWP CC Presidium to release him from confinement under house arrest and suggest that he go to China to study if he wishes. However, this decision has not yet been carried out, which is explained by the general aggravation of the political situation.
In the opinion of Bang Hak-se [Ban Hak Se], Minister of Internal Affairs, considering the current international situation, it is impossible to exclude the possibility of undesirable statements by some senior officials in the capital and in the provinces who favor more democratic methods of leading the Party and country although the August Central Committee Plenum also condemned such statements as factional and anti-party and took severe measures with regard to these kinds of officials. In the first place such statements might come from Choe Chang-ik, a Central Committee member who counts on the support of General-Lieutenant Kim Un (Deputy Minister of National Defense), Bang Ho-san (formerly a General-Lieutenant and front commanding general and now working as deputy director of a mine), and Go Bon-gi, Central Committee member, (Chairman of the KWP South Hwanghae Provincial Committee. In Ban's opinion, at a critical moment one can expect a comparable statement from Kim Du-bong.
The above is evidence that Kim Il Sung, having repeatedly resorted in the past to the removal of his political opponents in order to strengthen his position and having sometimes overindulged in repressive measures, is at the present time still slowly changing [his] methods of leadership, reluctantly correcting past mistakes, and switching halfheartedly to measures to convince and educate.
It ought to be noted along with this that the events of this year in both the international and domestic life of the DPRK, especially the above manifestations of acute dissatisfaction by a certain number of officials with the KWP leadership and also Kim Il Sung's summer trip to the countries of the people's democracies; his visit to the Soviet Union and the conversations held in Moscow with CPSU and Soviet government leaders about questions of party policy; the advice received in Moscow about improving the economic management of the country and increasing attention toward questions of the material support of the workers; and work done in Pyongyang by Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai, could not have failed to reflect a certain positive influence on the KWP leadership.
As us well known, the KWP Third Congress pointed out that the main task of the upcoming five-year plan should be the creation of a firm foundation of a socialist economy, the industrialization of the country, and the completion of the organization of agriculture into cooperatives. At the present time party political, economic, and organizational work are being done in this direction.
In the area of industry the three-year plan of postwar recovery and development of the DPRK economy (1954-1956) was fulfilled four and a half months ahead of schedule, and in the area of agriculture the plan will basically be fulfilled. In spite of a bad harvest in some northern provinces the gross grain harvest throughout the country is about 2.7 million tons, or about the 1949 level.
Some significant changes were made at the August plenum to the drafts of the first five-year plan after the trip of the DPRK government delegation to the Soviet Union and the countries of the people's democracies. The plenum pointed to the need to consider the experience of fraternal countries in developing an economy in the process of building the foundations of socialism and to be guided by resulting principle of cooperation and division of effort between the socialist countries.
In this connection the Workers’ Party Central Committee recognized that it is advisable to temporarily defer the construction of the large industrial facilities planned by the KWP Third Congress which require large capital investment and lengthy periods of construction and concentrate attention on the construction of the enterprises of those industrial sectors where it might be most beneficial to use the country's natural and economic resources.
Decisions were also made to abandon the construction of a large electrical equipment plant in Pyongyang, the further restoration of the Kim Chang metallurgical plant in Cheongjin [Chongjin], the construction of a perfume factory in Pyongyang, and several other facilities.
The party Central Committee and the DPRK leadership recently devoted greater attention to increasing the production of fertilizer for agricultural recovery and primarily to solve the grain problem. A task was set to reduce the period for the construction of new workshops to produce ammonium nitrate at the Hungnam chemical fertilizer plant.
The party and government are doing a great deal of work to organize agriculture into cooperatives. At the end of October of this year 79% of all peasant farms had been formed into cooperatives. It can be assumed that the organization of agriculture into cooperatives will be mainly finished by spring of next year.
The implementation of a number of economic measures in industry and agriculture is evidence that after the government delegation's visit to the USSR and the countries of the people's democracies the Central Committee leadership has begun to more realistically approach the question of the rates of growth and economic possibilities of industrialization and to display great concern about increasing the standard of living of the country's population.
The party Central Committee has recently planned and implemented a number of measures in this area. Beginning on 1 November 1956 the wages of manual laborers and office workers were increased by 35%. New wage scales have been developed and introduced, according to which the minimum monthly wage was set at 1000 won whereas previously it had been 600 won.
In August and September of this year another [ocherednoe] reduction of state commercial prices for several important kinds of industrial goods was made, by an average 10 percent. As a result of the wage increase and the reduction of retail prices the population is getting a benefit of approximately 12 billion won a year. For this sum the population could get 120,000 tons of rice at current market prices.
In implementing these measures the Korean leadership, besides its own resources, is also counting on aid from the USSR and the countries of the people's democracies in consumer goods which are to begin to arrive in 1957. Without an increase in the quantity of goods for sale the wage increase and price reduction will not produce the proper result.
In order to ease the tax liability to the state of peasants in the cooperatives and individual peasant farmers a decree has been adopted to reduce the payments in kind and release the peasants from returning grain loans in 1956 and arrears for past years. According to this decree agricultural cooperatives and individual peasant farmers who had abatements for taxation in kind which did not exceed 10-12% of the harvest for them; peasants who received a poor harvest because of drought; poor people in a serious material situation; peasants living in the demilitarized zone; and also peasants in regions which suffered from natural disasters are released from payment of taxes in kind for the current year. Underdeveloped cooperatives and the families of servicemen, resettlers, and refugees are completely or partially released from returning seed and food loans in 1956 and arrears for previous years.
However, the granting of these abatements to the peasants for 1956 should not exceed the stock of 26,000 tons of grain designated for these purposes.
A decree was also adopted about reducing the tax in kind for the use of an irrigation system by an average of four percent.
In October the government adopted a decree to reduce by 50% the income and local tax for small merchants and entrepreneurs, craftsmen, and people in the free professions whose average monthly income does not exceed 10,000 won.
By another government decree local bodies of people's power and department managers are obligated to supply entrepreneurs with the necessary raw material to produce consumer goods. Private merchants are permitted to sell goods to state industries where there is no state or cooperative trade, granting them the necessary funds to do this. Private entrepreneurs are permitted to develop gold deposits in order to increase the population's income and accumulate foreign currency.
The above party and government measures carried out after the KWP Third Congress improved the population's standard of living somewhat and promoted the strengthening of the people's democratic system of government. However the material situation of the workers, peasants, and intelligentsia has not reached the prewar level.
About 40% in the Republic are on rationed provisions. Manual laborers and white collar workers are given from 700 to 900 grams of grain a day and students and dependents [are given] from 400 to 500 grams of grain. All categories receive 50% of the rice ration and 50% of the ration for other cereals. At the same time only 4% of all those working (of category 1) receive 900 grams, 22% receive 800 grams, and the rest of the workers, 74%, receive 700 grams of grain a day.
Depending on the supply category manual laborers and office workers receive from 15 to 28 meters of cotton per year, from 3 to 12 pairs of socks, from 2 to 12 bars of soap, from 2 to 6 pairs of komusin (Korean rubber shoes], 3 kilograms of vegetable oil, 7 liters of liquid soybeans, 7 kilograms of hard soy, and 12 kilograms of salt. One percent are supplied at the 1st, highest, category; 6% at the second category; 17% at the 3rd category, and 73% of those working are in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, the lowest supply categories.
The goods issued through ration cards are far from being sufficient to meet the needs of the families of manual laborers and office workers in food and clothing.
The overwhelming majority of the urban population gets almost no meat, fats, and sugar through ration cards. Fish products are also issued irregularly.
Market prices for foodstuffs are extraordinarily high. For example, one kilogram of meat costs 250-300 won, fish - 100-200, rice 100, potatoes - 30-40, a liter of bean oil - 600 won, 10 eggs - 130-150 won, etc. It is also the same situation with prices for manufactured goods. Market and commercial prices for textiles, clothing, and shoes are very high and almost unaffordable for the majority of the country's population.
In the three postwar years the state built more than 3,500,000 [square] meters of housing. Nevertheless, about one-third of the urban population continues to live in half-dugouts and flimsy [legkogo tipa] houses made of stalks of kaoliang and clay. In the winter the urban population experiences an acute need for fuel and school buildings and some institutions are almost unheated.
The material situation of the peasants improved somewhat this year; however, after settling accounts with the state for taxes in kind for land, water, and MPS [machine rental] work, for two or three months a considerable number of the peasants of the northern regions nevertheless do not have enough food until the next harvest.
Thus the conclusion should be drawn that, in spite of some improvement in the material condition in the country, the standard of living of the population is extremely low. Many families of manual laborers, office workers, and peasants are chronically underfed, do not have an opportunity to obtain warm clothing, and are in difficult living conditions.
The difficult situation of the workers takes on especial seriousness in conditions where the country is divided. It should be kept in mind in this context that in South Korea, a mainly agricultural country, the food situation of the population is better than in North Korea. The supply of the population with essential goods is also higher in the South as a consequence of the fact that the economy suffered less damage during the war and also as a result of the flooding of the South Korean market with American-made goods.
The difficulties being experienced at the present time by the DPRK population are being more correctly assessed by the KWP leadership. The fact that the consequences of the serious destruction caused by the war have still not been overcome and also the previous mistakes made by friends when restoring sectors of the economy, especially the underestimation of the need for a very rapid recovery of agriculture and the development of light industry, are the reasons for these difficulties.
In spite of the serious difficulties in the country the policy of the Korean Workers’ Party is supported by the working masses of the city and the countryside, who in the past had been under foreign oppression and experienced more [difficulties] in comparison to the present deprivation and poverty.
However, in connection with the British and French aggression against Egypt and the events in Hungary, the KWP CC and the DPRK government took some precautionary measures in the event of possible provocations from the South Korean authorities and the hostile espionage network inside the country. KWP CC Presidium members and members of the government went to the grass roots to strengthen mass political work among the population. More attention began to be paid to the deeper study of the political morale condition of the personnel of the KPA and the mood of the population.
The Americans and the South Korean authorities stepped up subversive activity against the DPRK in connection with the events in Poland and Hungary. During this period there were occurrences of the insertion of enemy espionage networks and the dropping of leaflets, and the aggressive tone of radio propaganda was intensified. In November meetings and demonstrations were organized in Seoul and several other cities of South Korea calling for the population of North Korea to rise up against the people's democratic system of government and the KWP leadership. At the end of November several hundred students from Seoul were brought to the line of demarcation in automobiles for a provocation and who called upon the population of the North "to follow the example of Hungary".
It ought to be noted that the increased provocations from the South did not meet with any significant response among the DPRK population. No statements against people's power took place in the KWP.
The meetings of manual laborers and office workers which were held at this time at enterprises and institutions, the large demonstration of the population of Pyongyang in support of the struggle of the Egyptian people against aggression, and the protest against the provocation of the counterrevolution in Hungary were evidence that the population of the DPRK supports the people's democratic system of government of its country.
The KWP leadership has been recently devoting more attention to political work in the Party and among the population. This is especially necessary because the Party is to a certain degree flabby: the party numbers 1,160,000 members and candidate members in its ranks, and this means that every eighth person in the country is a member or candidate member of the party. Also considering that in the party 60% of its members are peasants and 28% are manual laborers, 86% [SIC] of the members and candidate members of the Party are semi-literate and have a primary education and only 0.8% have a higher education. The KWP CC is paying special attention to improving the quality of the party and the Marxist-Leninist education of its members.
Admission into the party was actually halted beginning in 1954, the same year that a campaign was conducted to verify party membership; an exchange of party documents is being carried out in the current year.
After the Third Party Congress, the Central Committee carried out a number of measures to restructure ideological work. Secondary school and higher educational study programs are being reexamined, especially the socioeconomic disciplines, and work has begun to republish textbook and training aids in order to remove statements in them explaining the events of public life from the position of the cult of personality.
Having condemned dogmatism in ideological work and the practice of mechanically borrowing everything Soviet to Korean practice, the KWP CC is devoting more attention to the study and incorporation of the revolutionary and progressive past of the Korean people, restructuring ideological work on the basis of Marxist-Leninist teachings.
At the same time when restructuring ideological work various materials have begun to be published more often in the press to correct the mistakes which have been made; the plays of Russian and Soviet authors have again begun to be included in the repertoire of Korean theaters; and the experience of the Soviet Union in party, government, economic, and cultural policy is being more fully popularized.
In October of this year a congress of Korean writers was held and in November a congress of the Union of Democratic Youth [was held, both of] which displayed the unity of the intelligentsia and youth around the KWP. The congresses expressed support for the political and economic policy of the party in developing the DPRK along the path of socialism.
The leadership core of the party changed considerably after the Third Congress. The newly-elected Central Committee Presidium was double the size of the previous Political Council. Its membership was augmented with people from among those who had actively participated in the national liberation struggle and have experience in party and government policy. Only five of the previous leaders remained, including Cdes. Kim Il Sung, Kim Du-bong, Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae], Kim Il [Kim Il], and Pak Geum-cheol [Pak Kum Chol]. The roles of Kim Du-bong and Pak Jeong-ae were reduced. At the same time the role and influence of re-elected Presidium members Cdes. Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon], Kim Chang-man [Kim Chang Man] (Deputy Chairman of the KWP CC), Cheong Il-yeong (Deputy Prime Minister), and Kim Gwang-hyeop (Chief of Staff of the KPA) were increased.
The Central Committee Presidium and especially Cdes. Choe Yong-geon, Pak Geum-cheol, and Kim Chang-man are taking a not altogether correct position in the area of personnel assignments. For example, exaggerating the mistakes of a number of officials who came from China and the USSR, they have sought to get them removed from senior positions in the Party and the government. They acted this way with former Political Council members Hegai and Pak Il-u and then with Pak Chang-ok, Pak Yeong-bin [Pak Yong Bin], and Choe Chang-ik, adopting severe measures against them (the arrest of Pak Il-u, the replacement of Choe Chang-ik). Until very recently critical statements against the leadership were viewed as a manifestation of factionalism and an anti-party attitude.
It ought to be said that the situation eased somewhat after the September Plenum. Choe Chang-ik returned to Pyongyang and the question of his work was again examined; Pak Chang-ok was appointed chief of the construction of a cement plant; and a number of KWP members were readmitted to the party and the attitude of the KWP leadership toward former Soviet-Koreans changed for the better. Some of them began to be restored to previous positions and even promoted to diplomatic work in foreign institutions.
In accordance with decisions of the August and September KWP CC plenums explanatory work is being carried out and materials of the September Plenum - the report, the closing remarks of Kim Il Sung, and the complete text of the Decree about Reexamining the Decision of the August Plenum Concerning an Organizational Question - were distributed to the provincial, city, district, and primary Party organizations for discussion and to carry out appropriate explanatory work among Party members.
In a number of places the discussion of the materials of the September Plenum occurred in plenary meetings along with a discussion of the August Plenum. Meetings in party organizations, especially in ministries and other large enterprises and institutions, proceeded tumultuously for two, three, or even four days. According to the reports of friends they had to perform much organizational and explanatory work in party organizations in order to show party members the need to decide to rehabilitate Choe Chang-ik, Yun Gong-heum, and others and convince them that the methods of patient education and a comradely attitude toward mistaken party members ought to prevail in the party, and not the methods of punishment and management by decree; they had to show the mistakenness of some statements which contained demands to severely condemn Choe Chang-ik and the others.
At plenary meetings, meetings of party activists, and meetings about the results of the August and September Central Committee Plenum at which party and government leaders were present more critical comments were made against local party leaders and local government leaders who exhibit insufficient concern about meeting the material needs of the workers. In particular, demands were expressed to accelerate housing construction, improve the supply of food and manufactured goods, etc. It was also suggested that the workers' opinions be taken into account when promoting people to the positions of skilled worker and foreman at enterprises. The awarding of bonuses to leading production workers also ought to be at the recommendation of worker's collectives.
All the demands and critical comments of party members which came to light during the discussion of the decision of the September Plenum are being summarized in the KWP CC and will be taken into consideration in practical work.
Criticism in the party from below is become somewhat bolder. However, it is still weak against higher party bodies. The principle of collective leadership is started to be exhibited more often in the practical work of party committees and management by decree and command has become less frequent. The ties between the masses and party and government bodies are being strengthened.
A number of materials have been published in the national party press about the results of the October Central Committee Plenum in which special attention was paid to the need for the method of persuasion as the main method of educating party members.
In some party organizations the cases of expulsions from the party in connection with the decision of the August Plenum were reexamined after the September CC Plenum. In particular, two deputy chairmen and the chief of the organization department of the Pyongyang City Party Committee were readmitted to the party. However [Hong Seonghwan], a former Deputy Chairman of the Pyongyang City Party Committee, was recently again expelled from the party as not wanting "to be corrected".
We think that a shift is being noted in the party after the September KWP CC Plenum in the direction of observing Leninist principles of collective leadership and the norms of party life. However, only the first steps have been made in this question.
After the KWP Third Congress and the September CC Plenum the friends began to implement some measures to democratize the political life of the country.
Elections were held to local government bodies on 20 and 27 November 1956. An absolute majority of the population which took part in the voting gave its votes to candidates nominated by the KWP and other parties and public organizations which are allied with it. Ninety-nine and 73/100% of those who participated in the elections voted for the candidates to village people's assemblies; 99.89% to district and city [people's assemblies], and 99.98% to provincial [people's assemblies]. At the present time preparations have begun for the elections to the Supreme People's Assembly which are scheduled for April and May of 1957.
Measures to democratize the political life of the country and to restore Leninist norms of party life are understood by the Korean friends as a lengthy process during the implementation of which it is necessary to carry out appropriate steps to avoid causing negative consequences in the party and the country.
The elimination of the cult of personality of Kim Il Sung is being carried out slowly and the friends are observing a policy of gradualism in this question. Until recently it was indicated in the decisions and documents of the KWP that there is no cult of personality in the KWP. At the present time the existence of the KWP cult of personality is admitted by the friends but at the same time there exists the opinion that the cult of personality in the DPRK has no negative consequences. The friends have also done some work in this area. They have stopped glorifying Kim Il Sung in propaganda, and literature and art are embarking on this path. The most important party and government questions have begun to be decided collectively and patience has begun to be exhibited more often with regard to people who have criticized the leadership.
The 30 October 1956 Declaration of the Soviet government was discussed in the KWP CC Presidium and at the XII session of the Supreme People's Assembly and received the approval and support of the friends. The KWP CC Presidium declared that the DPRK government has no questions for discussion with the Soviet government in connection with the publication of the Declaration. The XII session of the Supreme People's Assembly pointed out that the peace-loving foreign policy of the Soviet Union based on Leninist principles of full equal rights, non-interference in internal affairs, and friendship and cooperation is being consistently and unswervingly followed in Korean-Soviet relations.
In spite of the fact that the Korean friends have declared that they have no complaints against the Soviet Union in connection with the declaration there are unofficial statements by some DPRK ministers about the presence of elements of inequality in individual treaties and agreements between the DPRK and the USSR which infringe on the rights of the Korean side.
Abnormal situations with respect to Soviet-Koreans and also mistakes when propagandizing the national past of the Korean people occurred at the end of 1955 and the beginning of 1956, when under the pretext of the struggle against everything foreign, in a number of cases propaganda about the Soviet Union ceased. These [cases] are being eliminated at the present time.
Speaking of the advisability of the visit of Cdes. Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai as representatives of fraternal parties, Kim Il Sung declared that such visits are possible and necessary in the relations between parties.
At the same time it ought to be said that relations between the DPRK and PRC leadership cannot be considered completely normal. Particularly negative events in these relations have recently appeared.
It ought to be borne in mind that the abnormality in Korean-Chinese relations has existed from the time of combat operations against the American-Syngman Rhee troops when the Chinese friends had differences with the Korean leadership about a number of important questions connected with the start and the conduct of the war.
The Korean leaders and Kim Il Sung personally have an incorrect attitude toward the Chinese friends and this attitude is not in keeping with the enormous aid which the Chinese people have given the DPRK both during the war and in the postwar period
The Korean friends are clearly insufficiently studying and propagandizing the experience of building socialism which has been accumulated in China and the dissemination of which could bring substantial benefit to DPRK party and state policy.
Up to now relations between the DPRK and PRC leadership have been of a strictly official nature. Personal contacts between Party and government leaders are rarely maintained. Kim Il Sung declined to travel to the CCP Eighth Congress. Kim Il Sung does not attend festive meetings and receptions at the PRC Embassy in Pyongyang during national holidays at the same time as he visits comparable events associated with the national holidays of the Soviet Union. The Korean friends are rarely encountered with officials of the Chinese Embassy and do not consult with them enough about questions of government and Party policy.
The event of greatest importance which negatively affects Chinese-Korean relations is the departure of a number of senior DPRK personnel for China. The Korean friends were counting on the Chinese side handing over those who had fled to the DPRK leadership. However, as is well known, this did not happen. In the opinion of the Chinese friends those who fled continue to "blacken" the Korean leadership in the eyes of the Chinese friends.
Recently the refusal of the Chinese friends to grant new economic aid to the DPRK contributed to some deepening of the abnormalities in Chinese-Korean relations. No response to a request of the Chinese leadership by Kim Il Sung to grant additional free aid or credits in 1957 in the amount of 50 million yuan was given for three months and then a refusal followed. In light of this the Korean friends canceled an already agreed visit of a trade delegation to the PRC to conclude a trade treaty for 1957 headed by Deputy Prime Minister Kim Il [Kim Il].
In giving a favorable assessment to the fact of the arrival in the DPRK of representatives of the CPSU and CCP in September 1956 the Korean friends expressed dissatisfaction at the same time that Peng Dehuai, who allegedly is not respected in Korea, was sent to Pyongyang as the CCP representative.
The above is evidence that, in spite of some work which has been done by the KWP leadership to improve the situation in the party and to democratize the life of the country, the situation in the KWP and the Republic continues to remain complex, requiring the KWP CC to take gradual steps to introduce Leninist norms of party life and also for fraternal Communist Parties to [pay] close attention to the situation in the KWP.
Considering that the material situation of the population of the DPRK is still extremely serious, it is necessary for the KWP leadership and the DPRK to take all possible steps to constantly raise the standard of living of the workers, which is an indispensable condition for the further consolidation of the domestic political situation in the republic and the peaceful unification of the country on democratic principles.
Bearing in mind the abnormalities in relations between the Korean leadership and the Chinese friends noted above it would be advisable to direct Kim Il Sung's attention to this fact.
USSR Ambassador to the DPRK V. Ivanov
Authenticated: [illegible signature]
23 copies sent am/ts/mch
Nº 3 2.I.1957
The Soviet embassy in Pyongyang provides a description of the events leading up to the 1956 August Plenum,the strained relations between the DPRK and the PRC following the joint Sino-Soviet intervention, and North Korean development strategies.
- Korean Worker’s Party
- Korea (North)--Foreign relations--Soviet Union
- China--Foreign relations--Korea (North)
- Kim Il Sung--Cult of personality
- Political purges--Korea (North)
- Korea (North)--Economic conditions
- Korea (North)--Politics and government
- August Plenum Incident
- Korean Workers' Party. 3rd Congress (April 1956)
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