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September 3, 1956

Letter from Ri Sang-jo to N.S. Khrushchev

Dear Comrade N. S. KHRUSHCHEV!


I hope that you have received the message from Pyongyang in which you were informed about those serious events occurring in the Korean Worker's Party. You probably well know that our Party has committed serious mistakes and blunders in its activity. Therefore some comrades pointed out his shortcomings to Cde. Kim Il Sung by way of comradely criticism in order to eliminate the mistakes and shortcomings. He was also subjected to comradely criticism at a meeting of the CC Presidium. However, he did not take the opinions of the comrades into consideration. This issue was then submitted to the CC Plenum which was held on 30 August of this year at which severe Party criticism developed.


The contents of the criticism at the Plenum came down to the following:


At the plenum the cult of personality in our Party was criticized in order to overcome the consequences of the cult of personality of Kim ll Sung.


Those sycophants and careerists who had spread the cult of personality in every way were subjected [to criticism] at the Plenum. Workers of the ideological front who had falsified the history of our Party under the influence of the cult of personality were also subjected to criticism. The comrades who expressed criticism at the Plenum pursued only one goal: to eliminate the serious consequences of the cult of personality in our Party, and to completely ensure intra-Party democracy and a collective nature in the leadership in accordance with the Charter of our Party.


However, the comrades in power took revenge on those who had boldly and in a Party way expressed criticism directed at the elimination of the consequences of the cult of personality and the elimination of the serious shortcomings in our Party.


Some CC members, including a CC Presidium member, who have rich experience of the revolutionary struggle, were unjustly expelled from the Party. These events created a serious and complex situation inside the Party.


In those conditions when intra-Party democracy is not ensured in the Party it has become impossible not only to eliminate the shortcomings in the Party by inner strength but also impossible to avert events which have an extremely negative effect on the activity of the Party.


In connection with the above I am submitting my personal suggestions to the CPSU CC which I wish to be seriously considered. Please send a senior CPSU CC leader to Korea in order to convene a Plenum of the CC of the Worker's Party at which all members of the CC should be present, including those who were expelled. At such a Plenum the situation inside the Party should be studied more deeply and comprehensively and specific steps worked out directed at eliminating the shortcomings in our Party.


If such a possibility is precluded, then please invite senior officials of the CC of the Worker's Party and the expelled comrades to Moscow, who would examine the situation which has developed in the Korean Worker's Party together with members of the CPSU CC Presidium and work out specific steps to eliminate the shortcomings in the Party.


If this possibility, too, is precluded, then please send the CC of the Korean Worker's Party a written message in the name of the CPSUCC in which the substance of the issue is presented. A more detailed comradely comment would be more effective if the CC of the Chinese Communist Party were to subscribe to it.


If the steps indicated are possible, then please receive me; then I will present the situation in Korea in more detail.




3 September 1956


Authenticated: [illegible signature]


Ri Sang-jo urges Khrushchev to send a Sino-Soviet delegation to intervene in the aftermath of the August KWP CC Plenum.


Document Information


GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98, Delo 721, Listy 168-169. Translated by Gary Goldberg.


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