Skip to content

November 18, 1972

From the Journal of N.G. Sudarikov, 'Record of a Conversation with Kim Yong-nam, First Deputy Chief of the KWP CC International Department, 12 October 1972'

This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University

[CPSU CC stamp:

22 November 1972 37914]

SECRET Copy Nº 1

18 November 1972

Outgoing Nº 352

from the journal of




with Kim Yong-nam, First Deputy Chief of the KWP CC International Department


12 October 1972


A conversation was held with Kim Yong-nam, First Deputy Chief of the Party CC International Department, at a friendly meeting with a film viewing and dinner held for officials of the Soviet Embassy by the KWP CC International Department on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Worker’s Party.


In the conversation Kim Yong-nam devoted the main attention to an explanation of the three principles of the reunification of Korea contained in the 4 July joint statement of the North and South.


He said that the independent peaceful reunification of the country is the consistent policy of the KWP and government of the republic. The Korean people, who are enduring territorial and national division, unanimously desire the peaceful reunification of the country. The desire for the peaceful reunification of the motherland is growing rapidly not only among the DPRK population, but also among the South Korean population. Taking into consideration the desire of the people of South Korea for peaceful reunification, back in August of last year the KWP and DPRK government offered a proposal to establish contacts with the ruling Democratic Republican Party of South Korea, public organizations, and individuals. In September 1971 preliminary discussions began [between] the Red Cross organizations of the North and South which led to the main negotiations, which began in August of this year.


Then contacts took place [between] high representatives of the DPRK  and South Korea, and in July of this year a joint statement was published which was permeated by the idea of the peaceful reunification of the country without any outside interference. The appearance of this joint statement, noted Kim Yong-nam, was a great achievement, but it still does not mean that all the questions touching on the reunification of the motherland can now be resolved, simply and easily. The entire Korean people should patiently and persistently continue the struggle in order to resolve these questions.


[Translator’s note: handwritten at the bottom of the first page: “Reported to Cde. K. F. Katushev [[illegible signature]]]. To the archives [[illegible signature]]]. 11 December 1972”]


The South Korean authorities signed the joint statement, but are not fulfilling its agreed provisions, slander the DPRK, and commit acts in contradiction to the spirit of the joint statement.


The first principle of the reunification of the motherland means reunification without outside interference, by an independent means, on the basis of the principle of national self-determination. In other words, to reunify the country independently is to achieve the withdrawal of American forces from South Korea and to not let the reactionary forces of Japan into this matter. The South Korean authorities accepted the principle of the independent reunification of the country in general, but they do not consider the UN an outside force, they agree to keep the American forces in South Korea, and declare that the reunification of Korea should be achieved by so-called free elections under UN supervision.


The joint statement contains the principle of the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means, that is, without the use of armed force. This principle needs to be observed so that the parties refrain from actions exacerbating the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK does not intend to force South Korea to establish a socialist system, but it will not permit the restoration of capitalism at home. Whatever system is established in South Korea in the future will be decided by the South Korean people themselves.


The achievement of national consolidation regardless of the differences in ideology and system is one of the most important principles of the reunification of the motherland, which is mentioned in the joint statement. This principle requires the implementation of the democratization of South Korean society and the securing of the freedom of activity of political parties and groups. Only with the implementation of the democratization of society in the South can all the forces striving for the independent peaceful reunification of the country be united, regardless of ideology, political views, religion, and party affiliation. But, as is evident, after the publication of the joint statement of the North and South the South Korean authorities do not intend to reconsider the “law about anti-Communism” and “the state security law”, continue suppress democratic freedoms, are increasing repression, and are hindering contacts between the DPRK and figures of the opposition parties. They are arresting and imprisoning those who speak out in favor of contacts between the North and South, but no so long ago they executed patriots who fought for democracy and a peaceful reunification. In today’s meeting in Panmunjom with Lee Hu-rak Cde. Pak Seong-cheol raised this question to him.


The interlocutor said, henceforth we will put pressure on the South Korean authorities so that they halt such acts, observe the provisions of the joint statement. At the same time we will exhibit patience and flexibility so as not to ruin the contacts which have started.


Speaking of the creation of a Coordination Committee of the South and North, Kim Yong-nam said that agreement has not yet been reached regarding the level of representation in the Committee. Initially the DPRK proposed that the Committee include ministers. The South Koreans insisted on “advisers”. We made a concession and proposed composing the Committee of deputy ministers. In the future we will even be ready to agree with the South Korean proposal, but we will insist that the Committee be composed of more or less well-known officials.


Kim Yong-nam continued, the question of the reunification of the country cannot be finally solved only by means of limited contacts, for example, with the aid of Red Cross discussions or a Coordination Committee. It is necessary to seek the holding of joint conferences of political parties, public organizations, and conferences of representatives of the government[s] [vlast’] of the North and South. We will strive to form a confederation of the North and South preserving the existing political systems by creating a Supreme National Committee of representatives of the DPRK and South Korean governments and the organization of an exchange in the political, economic, and cultural fields. A broad exchange between the North and South in all areas of economics, culture, etc. will promote the elimination of mistrust and alienation between the DPRK and South Korea, and then the independent reunification of the country can be sought.


Kim Yong-nam told about the direct contacts [between] members of the delegation of the DPRK Red Cross and ordinary residents of South Korea when the delegation visited Seoul in the middle of September of this year. In his words, the South Koreans were very surprised, seeing that the Northerners were ordinary people and not “creatures with horns”. Our comrades ingratiated themselves with hotel employees by addressing them by name and amiably greeting them. The delegation members cleaned [their] shoes and ironed [their] clothing themselves, and when they were asked why they do this, they replied that everyone acts this way in the DPRK. One of the elderly hotel employees said that he had worked in the hotel since childhood and was only called “boy”, and that only the Northerners first greet him by name for the first time. This moved him to tears.


Kim Yong-nam said that he still did not know the specific results of today’s discussions between Pak Seong-cheol and Lee Hu-rak in Panmunjom. He only noted that at these discussions the DPRK will pursue an aggressive and at the same time flexible line, seek a similar understanding by the North and South of the substance of the main provisions of the 4 July joint statement. Kim Yong-nam stressed, our main task was and remains a revolutionizing effect on the broad masses of the population of South Korea in order to attract them to the side of the socialist North.


In [reply] to our question, do the Korean comrades have a developed program of action with respect to individual strata of the South’s population, in particular the petty-, middle-, and big bourgeoisie, Kim Yong-nam said that the problem of attracting the small and medium property owners to their side is considered very important and they are engaged in its development at the present time.


The meeting with the officials of the KWP CC International Department passed in a quite friendly atmosphere. Kim Yong-nam and the other Korean comrades strived to stress the Party nature of this event, and behaved sociably and in a relaxed manner.








1 - to the CPSU CC Department, to Cde. K. F. Katushev

2 - to the USSR MFA 1 DVO [Far East Department]

3 - to file


17 November 1972

Nº 670

Kim Yong-nam explains the three principles for reunification, which were established at the North-South Joint Communique on the 4th of July in 1972, and blames South Korea in part for not following the spirit of the agreement.

Document Information


RGANI, f. 5, op. 64, d. 423, ll. 143-147. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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].

Original Uploaded Date



Memorandum of Conversation


Record ID



Kyungnam University