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February 1, 1960

Journal of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A.M. Puzanov for 1 February 1960

This document was made possible with support from ROK Ministry of Unification


MFA stamp:

Nº 20 0421s

17 February 1960 24 February 1960]



"to Cdes. [[I. I. Varnov]] and Samsonov, G. Ye.

25 February 1960 [[illegible signature]]"]



of Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK A. M. Puzanov for the period

1 February through 15 February 1960




1 February 1960


Yesterday I was on a hunt with Nam Il and a conversation with him on various issues.


Concerning the recall of Ambassador Ri Sin-pal from Moscow.  Nam Il said, I was very displeased when, having returned from a business trip at the end of December, I found out that Ri Sin-pal was being recalled from Moscow in connection with an incident which occurred with graduate student Ri Sang-un. Such a case of a recall of an Ambassador of a socialist country from Moscow has hardly occurred. How could this happen? I really don't yet know what really happened.


I told Nam Il that as far as I knew Ambassador Ri Sin-pal had visited Cde. Yu. V. Andropov and, referring to instructions of the KWP CC, asked for assistance in returning conservatory graduate student and Korean citizen Ri Sang-un to [his] homeland. However, without waiting for a reply, on 24 November Ri Sang-un was snatched around the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in broad daylight gangster-style by Embassy officials and Korean students and forcibly shoved into an automobile with a diplomatic license plate and then taken to Pyongyang by plane. On 7 December USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs Cde. A. A. Gromyko invited DPRK Chargé in the USSR and made a statement to him about this incident. The Chargé gave a completely unsatisfactory and incomprehensible explanation. On 8 December I reported the text of Cde. A. A. Gromyko's statement to Minister Pak Seong-cheol.


As you see, I said, a scandalous, absolutely unbelievable event occurred where a person was forcibly seized in Moscow in broad daylight in violation of all the statutes we have. And this was done by the officials of an Embassy of a country which is friendly and brotherly to us. Naturally we could have come to the opinion that the friends don't trust us. If any Soviet officials had committed such an incident anywhere they would have been immediately and strictly punished by our government.


Nam Il noted, how is it that Kim Il Sung told the minister that he would personally receive the Ambassador after a lunch break at 5 P.M.


I explained to Nam Il that I was informed through the MFA about the reception by Kim Chang-man at 1300. Having received such a report I asked the MFA leadership to again report to Kim Il Sung about the desirability of a personal meeting with him but added that if for any important reason he could not do this then as a consequence of the urgency of the issue I would give the CPSU CC letter to Kim Chang-man at the designated time. Several minutes later he informed the MFA that Kim Il Sung could not receive [me] because he was busy.


Nam Il again expresses surprise.


Before going home Nam Il said, "I am very surprised at the conversation which took place since for many reasons, as I have now come to understand, Kim Il Sung and indeed other Presidium members were incorrectly informed".


He further said that no temporary misunderstandings could undermine the friendship and good relations between the KWP CC and CPSU CC [or] between our Parties.


I said for my part that there could be and is no doubt of this.





[signature] (A. PUZANOV)


Five copies printed vp

1 - Cde. A. A. Gromyko

2 - Cde. Yu. V. Andropov


4 - Cde. I. I. Tugarinov

5 - to file

Nº 166 17 February 1960

Nam Il and Puzanov discuss an incident involving Korean graduate student Ri Sang-un. Puznov expresses his desire to meet with Kim Il Sung.

Document Information


AVPRF fond 0102, opis 16, delo 6, p.28-61. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg.


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ROK Ministry of Unification and Leon Levy Foundation