November 7, 1969
From the Journal of A.D. Putivets, 'Record of a Conversation with Sim Dong-hye, Chief of the 1st Department of the 1st Division [department] of the DPRK MFA'
This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University
SOVIET EMBASSY IN THE DPRK
18 November 1969
[CPSU CC stamp: 39298
21 November 1969 Korea]
from the journal of
A. D. PUTIVETS
RECORD OF A CONVERSATION
with SIM DONG-HYE [sic], Chief of the 1st Department of the 1st Division [department] of the DPRK MFA
7 November 1969
The conversation took place at a reception at the Embassy on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
1. I asked [my] interlocutor to explain the relationship between the concepts of “finishing the Korean revolution” and “the reunification of the country”, and to talk about the approach to the solution of each of these problems.
Sim Dong-hye [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown] noted that there sometimes arise incorrect ideas about these questions, which is demonstrated by some publications in the foreign press and the statements of individual foreigners. For example, some think that the DPRK is ready to make an armed attack on the southern part of the country in the name of the reunification of the country. In reality, the position of the KWP and DPRK government consists of the following.
For a revolution in South Korea to arise and be successfully accomplished it is necessary to have both objective and subjective factors for a revolutionary situation to develop. The immediate task of the revolution should be the expulsion of American troops from South Korea, the overthrow of the puppet clique of Park Chung Hee, and the transfer of power into the hands of a progressive government which would be ready to hold talks with the DPRK on the question of the reunification of the country. Of course, it would be better if Communists came to power in the South, but this is unlikely.
[Translator’s note: there is a stamp at the end of the first page stating that “the material is informative and the CPSU CC Department has been familiarized with [it]/Katerinich. 15D/6, 29 November 1969. [To the] archives”; there are also two other unreadable handwritten surnames].
In the course of a proletarian revolution the progressive forces of South Korea might turn to the DPRK with a call to give aid. In this event, said Sim Dong-Hye, we would not sit with folded arms, we would come to the aid of [our] class brothers, using all possible forms and means. [Translator’s note: the abbreviated word “use” followed by what appears to be “9 l. [sheets]” is written next to the underlined portion in the left margin]. We think that in acting this way we will be acting in accordance with the tenets of Marxist-Leninist teachings and the principles of proletarian internationalism. It is just such an approach to the questions of giving aid, continued the interlocutor, that we see in the policy of the Soviet Union. In spite of the fact that the Soviet Union holds to the principle of peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries the CPSU and the Soviet government support the national liberation and revolutionary movement[s] of the peoples of other countries, thereby performing their international duty.
But, he noted, the DPRK will come to the aid of a revolutionary struggle of the people of South Korea only in the event that a request comes to give aid. If they don’t ask us, we will not do this ourselves.
The DPRK favors the peaceful reunification of the country on a democratic basis. This question will be discussed and decided specifically with a progressive government which might be formed as a result of the victory of a South Korean revolution. After the reunification of the motherland occurs and social reforms are carried out in South Korea the revolution will be finished on a country-wide scale. [Translator’s note: the abbreviated word “use” is written next to this sentence in the left margin]. Thus, the question of the conclusion of the Korean revolution and the question of the reunification of the country are closely connected to one another, but they are not one and the same.
I asked, how do the Korean comrades assess the subjective factor, the revolutionary forces in South Korea [?]
Sim Dong-Hye said it is hard for him to give a precise assessment. There are revolutionary forces in South Korea, of course. This is demonstrated in particular by the trials of the members of the United Revolutionary Party and other revolutionary organizations and groups. Revolutionaries in South Korea work in the deep underground, and observe the rules of conspiracy strictly, and therefore it does not seem possible to report any specific information at this stage.
2. I asked the interlocutor whether had had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the materials of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties which was held in Moscow in June of this year.
The department chief replied that he had read only Cde. L. I. Brezhnev’s introduction at the Conference. He also noted that the position of the KWP with respect to the Conference was repeatedly presented by Cde. Kim Il Sung in conversations with the Soviet leaders.
I told Sim Dong-Hye about the most important provisions of the Main Document, and noted that it was completely endorsed [podpisano] by the overwhelming majority of the participants of the Conference. Thus, in spite of some differences in views, more than 70 Communist and Worker’s Parties have a single program of action.
The interlocutor did not display a noticeable desire to keep the discussion going on this subject, however, he listened attentively to everything that was said about the Conference.
3. Sim Dong-Hye asked [me] to tell him [my] “frank” opinion of the prospects for Korean-Soviet relations.
I replied that the prospects of our relations are determined in many respects by the current level of their development. Important treaties and agreements of a long-term nature have been concluded between the governments of the USSR and the DPRK, including about economic cooperation; there are signed plans of cooperation in the fields of science, culture, and sports; contacts are developing between public organizations, and an active exchange of delegations takes place. Thus, the prospects for our relations are determined by how precisely and successfully we carry out what an agreement already concerns.
The interlocutor said that he completely agreed with this. However, he clarified, he would like to know [my] opinion, in what questions we could expand cooperation and contacts.
I said that it seems to me there is a large field of activity for coordination and cooperation on political questions through the channels of the ministries of foreign affairs of our countries. inter-Party ties might also be made more active by the reciprocal sending of working-level delegations to exchange the experience of Party work in specific fields.
Sim Dong-Hye expressed gratitude. He said, it is very important to note those areas of cooperation at the right time where there are unused opportunities. He expressed confidence that changes for the better would occur in these areas in the near future.
First Secretary of the Soviet
Embassy in the DPRK
1 – to Cde. V. I. Likhachev
2 – to Cde. O. A. Chukanov
3 – to file
17 November 1969
Sim Dong-hye reports that there is a revolutionary movement deep underground in the ROK. The DPRK is willing to help them by all possible means, but will await a request for assistance.
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