September 13, 1969
I.I. Shtodin, 'Report about the Trip of a Delegation of the Primorsky Kray to the Province of North Hamgyong for the Celebration of the 21st Anniversary of the Proclamation of the DPRK'
This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University
about the trip of a delegation of the Primorsky Kray to the province of North Hamgyong for the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the proclamation of the DPRK
A delegation of the Primorsky Kray composed [of the following members] was sent to the province of North Hamgyong at the invitation of the provincial People’s Committee for the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the proclamation of the DPRK:
1. SHTODIN, I. I., First Deputy Chairman of the Kray Executive Committee;
2. MUROMTSEV, S. P., First Secretary of the Frunze Rayon CPSU Committee;
3. NECHUKHAYEV, A. V., a welder of Plant Nº 178.
The delegation crossed the Soviet border via the Druzhba Bridge in the region of Khasan Station at 1140 local time, 8 September 1969, an hour and 40 minutes later than the agreed time. (At 1000, 8 September, as was agreed, Capt. Cde. SOROKIN, the Chief of the Khasan Station checkpoint, called the Korean checkpoint and asked by what means the crossing of the border by the delegation was to be accomplished, and was told that they were still consulting).
The delegation was met at the Korean checkpoint in the region of the Tumangang Station by PAK SEDIN [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown], First Deputy Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee, KIM IN-CHER [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown], Chief of the Foreign Relations Department of the province, interpreter PAK, and several border guards, officers and men.
These officials accompanied us the entire way, including the farewell ceremony at this same checkpoint.
The delegation went from the Tumangang Station to the provincial capital, the city of Chongjin, in two Volga automobiles.
On arrival in the city the delegation was housed in a separate guarded building on the outskirts of the city, from which we could not leave.
The same evening the delegation was invited to a ceremonial meeting of the provincial committee of the Korean Worker’s Party and provincial People’s Committee, which was held in the city Palace of Culture.
On arrival at the Palace the delegation was introduced to the leadership of the province, the first secretary and other secretaries of the provincial committee, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, and his deputies. The entire delegation was invited to the presidium.
The report at the meeting was given by a deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee. Interpreter PAK translated the report, which spoke of the successes achieved in 21 years, that North Korea was liberated from the Japanese by the forces of the anti-Japanese partisan movement headed by the great genius of the 40-million Korean people, Cde. Kim Il Sung. Nothing was said about the Soviet Army.
Then I. I. Shtodin, the leader of the Primorsky Kray delegation spoke. Doubt arose among members of the delegation that the part of I. I. Shtodin’s speech which spoke of North Korea being liberated by the Soviet Army was interpreted. This assumption arose on the basis of the fact that the same thing was said at another ceremonial meeting in one of the district capitals where it appears the interpretation was done correctly. After the ceremonial meeting a concert was given in a musical drama. The substance of the drama was the personification of the ideas of Kim Il Sung by a young woman (she wanted to drown herself, but then, having read the ideas of Kim Il Sung, not only gave this up, but became a fighter of Kim Il Sung’s army).
On 9 September we visited a metallurgical plant. The enterprise was very primitive. Confusing answers were given in reply to questions about the workers’ wage level. When this was being done the leaders of the enterprise asserted that the wages could not be calculated because the medical service was free, the education was free, etc. When the delegation requested permission to approach the workers, it was told, “It’s not necessary, we will pass them greetings from you”.
Such evasive answers were given to the same questions at all three plants which the delegation visited.
The delegation asked permission to visit at least one store, but were refused this, referring to the lack of time, and were driven to the residence where it remained with nothing to do for several hours.
The same evening a concert was given in honor of our delegation in the provincial theater by the personnel of the theater. Approximately 1200 people, predominantly young people, attended the concert. The main content of the concert was glorification of Kim Il Sung. The concluding dance suite personified the struggle of all the peoples against a world aggressor. Young men and women were dressed in various national costumes (African, Cuban, Romanian, Korean, etc.).
In reply to the question, “But where are the Russians?” came the answer, “All the peoples are here”.
A banquet was given for the delegation at the residence this evening. The chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, the secretary, the chief of the propaganda department of the Party provincial committee, and accompanying people attended the banquet. The chairman of the provincial People’s Committee and the leader of the delegation exchanged speeches at the banquet.
On the morning of 10 September the delegation was received by the First Secretary of the provincial committee of the Korean Worker’s Party, where the chairman of the People’s Committee, the Secretary, the chief of the propaganda department of the Party provincial committee, and accompanying people were [present]. A conversation was held in a previously-prepared room with a carpeted floor. Not a single specific answer was given to one of our questions.
For example, Pak Se-din, who accompanied us, said that there were 13 districts in the province, [but] the secretary of the provincial Party committee said that they had 17 districts. A discussion was held that was not open or specific. At the end of the conversation gifts were presented in the name of Cde. V. P. LOMAKIN, First Secretary of the Kray Party Committee, and Cde. M. N. KUZNETSOV, Chairman of the Kray Executive Committee, to the secretary of the provincial Party committee and the chairman of the People’s Committee, respectively. After this the delegation was delivered to the residence where it was informed that today there would be a trip to another place by train. The delegation declared right away that it had to lay a wreath at the grave of Soviet soldiers who had died. It seemed we had received agreement. Then we visited a concentrating mill operating on our anthracite. They told us that there were 14 shops at this mill and in each there was an office to study the history of the fight of the anti-Japanese partisan movement led by Kim Il Sung. There is also a general factory office which we visited. The cabinet is a large separate structure of 16 rooms with a base of white marble. In the office are 64 exhibits glorifying the cult of Kim Il Sung.
On the way back from the mill the delegation was reminded of and it was suggested that it visit a store with manufactured goods.
The store had almost no purchasers, while there was much security. The store was distinguished by an extremely narrow assortment of goods. There was nothing in it besides towels, cotton overalls, children’s clothing, and soap.
In the residence the delegation was told the wreath was ready and that it was necessary to lay it sooner since in an hour [they] ought to go to another place by train. When this was being done it was stressed that it was necessary to lay the wreath in a common grave outside the city in which the remains which were scattered around the city had been collected.
Arriving at the common grave the delegation suggested that it was desirable to lay the wreath in the city at any obelisk or memorial. The Korean officials responded to this with аn objection , declaring the wreath needed to be laid only outside the city. In reply to our question, “Why is the inscription on the obelisk made only in Korean? Where do we know that Soviet soldiers are buried here?”, Pak Se-din began to assert that this is a grave of Soviet soldiers.
The delegation was left with nothing more to do than to lay the wreath at this grave; when this was done the text on the ribbon was written in Korean, although we had asked to make the inscription in Russian. The Korean comrades explained that this was done so Koreans could read it.
The same day the delegation went to the district capital of Chu-Yi [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown], from which they were delivered to the resort of Oniorzh [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown] in cars.
In the evening the delegation was shown the two-part film, “A Soldier’s Oath to Kim Il Sung”.
On 11 September the delegation visited an electrical insulation plant in the morning where it was presented with boxed gifts containing small coffee services in the middle of the plant courtyard under the gazes of all the workers. In the evening the delegation attended a ceremonial meeting of this plant’s collective on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the proclamation of the DPRK, where the plant director gave a report. The report told about the revolution in Russia and the intervention. Then about Korea, and there was not a work about the role of the Soviet Army in the liberation of Korea.
Then the leader of the Primorsky Kray delegation spoke.
After the ceremonial meeting a film about the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the DPRK in Pyongyang was shown.
On the morning of 12 September the delegation visited a primary school in the district capital. There were 2,000 students in the school, which was not badly furnished. There were no children in the school except 11 young girls in one of the classes who were singing the song, “The Mother of Korea” (about the mother of Kim Il Sung) to the accompaniment of folk [national’nye] instruments.
The same day a conference was held at the escorts’ level in the house in which the delegation was staying at which Pak Se-din read out a previously-prepared text without an announcement of questions beforehand.
1. In this text the Korean side proposed: “To maintain broader communications between the province of North Hamgyong and Primor’ye.
2. To exchange ensembles, sports teams, and delegations in 1970 for the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the DPRK and the 53rd anniversary of the October Revolution.
3. To permit a Korean ensemble to go to Sakhalin.
We think there are all the conditions for carrying out these proposals.
If you do not answer us right now we will turn to official bodies”.
The leader of the Primorsky Kray delegation gave answers to all the questions and reported that we will inform the Korean side through the established channels to the extent possible.
In the evening there was a general dinner, that is, the escorts dined together with our delegation. (Usually they were fed separately).
The next day the delegation went to the Tumangang Station and were at the Khasan Station at 1530 our time; in the process it was supplied with an abundance of brochures of Kim Il Sung and about himself.
In the opinion of the delegation there are the following positive features in the lives of the Korean workers:
1. Patriotism, the labor effort, and high discipline was felt everywhere.
2. Work to raise young people was organized well and they have a great desire to study.
3. Many schools and clubs are being built. Visual propaganda is well designed.
The following ought to be classed among the negative phenomena:
1. The delegation was received insincerely and was kept in isolation from the population all the time. Personal articles were examined in the delegation’s absence, and discussions were obviously overheard. Wherever the delegation was, it was constantly accompanied by guards, who blocked everything. When the delegation once went out the doors of the residence to about 250 meters a vehicle drove up and the driver suggested sitting in it, after which he delivered the delegation to the residence.
2. The cult of Kim Il Sung has reached incredible dimensions.
3. Manual labor is everywhere. There is very little transportation. There are draft animals in agriculture, bulls and cows. The roads are very bad.
4. The underscored negation of the role of the Soviet Army in the liberation of Korea and the aid of the Soviet government in building socialism. What could explain this when hieroglyphs [SIC] were welded on the hoods of our ZIL-150 and ZIL-130 instead of the inscription ZIL. On the Belarus’ and T-28 tractors they say that they were made in Korea.
[Translator’s note: there is a largely illegible handwritten note in the left margin, “This is…tractor”]
5. The unjustified conceit which of course brings nothing but harm.
6. The poverty, exceptionally poor housing in the villages, and almost nothing new is being built. The unsanitary conditions.
Suggestions of the delegation:
1. It is necessary to develop cultural, sporting, and other ties in order to strengthen the friendship between the workers of our kray and the province of North Hamgyong.
2. Invite a delegation from the province for the celebration of the 52nd and 53rd anniversaries of the October Revolution.
3. Conduct mutually-beneficial coastal trade broadly.
4. In the future our delegations should travel with their own interpreters.
FIRST DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF [signature]
THE KRAY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (SHTODIN)
The delegation from Primorsky Kray visited various places in the Northern Hamgyong and describes their impressions, such as how primitive the factories were or how much the cult of Kim Il Sung was evident in society.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].