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December 21, 1968

From the Journal of N.G. Sudarikov, 'Record of a Conversation with Ri In-Gyu, Chief of the 1st Department of the DPRK MFA'

This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University

[CPSU CC stamp: 03126

31 January 1969 Korea]



Copy Nº 1



27 January 1969



from the journal of

N. G. Sudarikov



with RI IN-GYU, Chief of the 1st Department of the DPRK MFA


21 December 1968


I visited Ri In-gyu at his invitation. Ri In-gyu provided information about the Americans’ agreement to sign a document about the malicious activity of the armed reconnaissance ship Pueblo.


At the negotiations in Panmunjom between representatives of the DPRK and the US government which began in February of this year the Americans have always stubbornly refused to apologize for their criminal acts, declaring that the ship Pueblo was seized in international waters [v otkrytom more].


[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]. 15D/6 17 February 1969. Pozdnyak”. [[Two illegible signatures and a 14 February reference to the archives follow. An illegible signature over the date of 23 [[January]] appears in the left margin]].


However, when the Korean side presented material evidence and further, that the criminal acts of the Pueblo were observed, on 19 December the Americans declared that they would sign and submit a document with apologies and guarantees with the following content:


To the Government of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic.


Admitting the veracity of the testimony of the crew members of the American ship Pueblo and the corresponding documents submitted by a representative of the DPRK government proving that this ship, which was interned on 23 January 1968 as a result of the self-defense of the ships of the naval forces of the Korean People’s Army in the territorial waters of the DPRK, repeatedly and illegally entered the territorial waters of the DPRK and committed espionage, collecting intelligence on important military and state secrets of the DPRK, the government of the US bears full responsibility for the serious acts of espionage against the DPRK and solemnly apologizes for the serious acts of espionage committed by the American ship during its intrusion into the territorial waters of the DPRK, and gives a firm guarantee that henceforth not a single American ship will violate the territorial waters of the DPRK.


At the same time the US government earnestly requests the DPRK government to magnanimously pardon the crew members of the American ship Pueblo, taking into account that the former crew members of the American ship Pueblo confiscated by the DPRK side have candidly confessed to their crimes and turned to the DPRK government with a request to graciously pardon them.


In the name of the US government

Major General of the US Army

Gilbert Woodward

__ day  __ month  ___ year


Ri In-gyu said that if the American side signs this document and presents it to the DPRK the Korean side intends to return the Pueblo crew members to the Americans.


The precise date of the handover of the crew will obviously be coordinated at the 22 December meeting. If at the 22 December meeting the Americans give final agreement to sign the document then the signing ceremony and the handover of the crew will occur within the following 24 hours.


Ri In-gyu stressed that the information about the content of the document is of a confidential nature since there is a decision not to publish this document until the Americans sign it.


The interlocutor noted that although the Americans behaved impudently after the incident erupted, and resorted to all sorts of machinations in the course of the talks, in the end they capitulated in the face of the firm position of the DPRK.


The receipt of the document from the American government with apologies will mean that the myth of the omnipotence of the US has again been completely shattered. This is a new great victory for the Korean people in the struggle against American imperialism.


I thanked Ri In-gyu for the information. I noted that the Soviet government and DPRK government had maintained contact since the beginning of the outbreak of this incident, had exchanged opinions on this question, and therefore we receive information about the progress of the resolution of the question about the Pueblo crew with satisfaction.


I asked, are there any substantive differences between the initial draft of the document presented by the DPRK representative and its final text [?]


Ri In-gyu replied that he was not informed on this question.


Senior desk officers Om Tkhe Ob [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown] and Kim Yen Chan [sic; proper Korean spelling unknown] of the DPRK MFA and Second Secretary of the Embassy A. D. Putivets were present at the conversation.



(N. Sudarikov)


22 January 1969


1 – to Cde. O. B. Rakhmanin

2 – to Cde. V. I. Likhachev

3 – to file

Nº 74


Ri In-gyu states that the US has finally agreed to sign a document admitting its guilt over the USS Pueblo incident.

Document Information


RGANI, fond 5, opis 61, delo 466, listy 57-59. Contributed by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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Memorandum of Conversation


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Kyungnam University and Institute for Korean Studies, Ohio State University