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September 5, 1956

Letter from Seo Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, Li Pil-gyu, and Kim Gwan to the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee



Translation from Chinese




In the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China:


In connection with the fact that a serious situation, difficult to solve, has been created  in the Korean Worker's Party and in connection with imprudent and harsh actions taken by Cde. Kim Il Sung at the plenum of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party convened on 30 August, we do not have any more ability to remain any more within Korea, and moreover cannot devote further effective efforts to improve the current situation in the Korean Worker's Party; therefore we could not fail to cross the border and emigrate to our great neighbor, China, on 31 August.


The comradely concern which the CCP Central Committee has shown us strengthens our determination to fight for the cause of Communism even more.


We express the deepest gratitude to the Central Committee of the CCP. At the same time we submit the following initial ideas and opinions regarding the serious situation in the Korean Worker's Party which has been created at the present time, and hope that they will be considered; we also hope that we will be given definite aid for the sake of improving the further work of the Korean Worker's Party, and for the sake of the Korean revolution and the Korean people.




We think that the general line of the Korean Worker's Party after its founding was mainly correct, moreover there have been certain successes; however, there have been many mistakes and defeats.


The mistakes and shortcomings in the work of the Korean Worker's Party arose and have existed for a long period; however, by the present time they have become so serious that they cannot be overcome by relying only on the young Korean Worker's Party alone.


The mistakes and shortcomings in Party matters have developed to such a serious situation because Cde. Kim Il Sung has completely concentrated all Party, government, military, and legal power in his hands, using the peculiarities of the period of the creation of the Korean Worker's Party and then the peculiarities of the war period, and turned into an absolute dictator standing over the Party, government, and people, has ignored the principles of intra-Party democracy, the legal system of the republic, and human rights, does not disdain to make use of various means and methods for the brutal and savage repression of reputable comrades who might express correct ideas and opinions.




We think that the most serious mistakes and shortcomings identified in the work of the Korean Worker's Party are the following:


A. The mistakes associated with the war in Korea.


Kim Il Sung should bear responsibility for the war in Korea, which brought the Korean people unequalled suffering and casualties.


1. At the present time, it is no longer a secret who started the war thanks to the numerous demobilized, repatriated soldiers and the population of the area of the 38th parallel.


2. The defeat of the policy of the reunification of Korea by the method of armed force and war was a consequence of a mistaken assessment of the international situation then and the enemy's strength.


3. The lack of planning in the initial period of the war and the mistakes made.


Here one can cite such examples [as]: the military plan provided only for the seizure of Seoul; the order for a general offensive was issued only at a time when the real strength of the enemy army already exceeded the strength of our troops, that is, about 20 August 1950; the absolute absence of planning and organization during the retreat.


4. During the retreat uprisings broke out everywhere in the northern part; moreover, many people participated in hostile detachments to put matters in order or crossed to the Southern part of the country under enemy pressure. The Party pursued an unprincipled leftist policy of repression with respect to these people, and employed sanctions against innumerable people like against enemies. The result of this was that the Party and government bodies lost touch with the broad popular masses.


5. The lack of intra-Party democracy.


The biggest shortcoming in the life of the Korean Worker's Party is the lack of intra-Party democracy. In connection with the fact that intra-Party democracy, criticism, and self-criticism have been subjected to unrestrained suppression this has promoted the development of the following factors inside the Party:


1. The very widespread expansion of the cult of the hero. Cde. Kim Il Sung has put the authority of his personality over the Party, the state, and the people, claimed credit for all the victories and successes, exaggerated and falsified his revolutionary biography even to the point of substituting his personal biography for the history of the Korean revolution, and thereby turned himself into an untouchable saint. As a result of this time-servers, flatterers, bureaucrats, and sycophants have openly revived inside the Party, and also such intolerable phenomena have appeared when some cadre inside the Party served only Kim Il Sung personally, and not the people, Party, and revolution.


2. The increased activity of groups inside the Party.


The group headed by Cde. Kim Il Sung, relying on their own power, openly pursues reckless factional activity. Cde. Kim Il Sung has begun to force out all the revolutionary movements being conducted in the country as sects except the so-called partisan detachments of resistance to Japan and "The League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" led by him.


He considers the few people in the Kim Il Sung partisan detachments and the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" system the nucleus, he invented the so-called leadership system inside "The League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" which did not exist in reality, grouped together renegades of the revolutionary movement inside the country, flatterers, and pro-Japanese elements, and subsequently appointed them to senior positions in the Party and government.


3. The bureaucratism inside the Party.


The bureaucratism inside the Party is extraordinarily serious; the Party does not employ the methods of persuasion and education with respect to Party members and the people when pursuing work for political and ideological mobilization, but through the methods of compulsion and orders; it treats people not in the Party from positions of Party factionalism.


4. Punitive acts inside the Party.


After the creation of the Party the number of those expelled from it has already reached 120,000. Almost every agenda item of CC plenums held in the last several years has had the question of punishment of officials, but it is impossible to count the removals of officials from posts and [their] transfers from one position to another.


5. The lack of solidarity inside the Party.


Real solidarity is totally lacking inside the Party and relations between Party officials have been completely disrupted.


B. The Party's detachment from the masses.


The most basic mistake of the Korean Worker's Party in work with the masses is Party factionalism and bureaucratism.


1. Relations between the Korean Worker's Party and friend parties. In the area of relations with their own friendly parties, the "Chenudan" and Democratic Parties, the Korean Worker's Party does not proceed from principles of mutual cooperation and solidarity for the purposes of the unity of the motherland and the building of socialism, but pursues the work of a united front with methods of pressure, neglect, and suppression with respect to these parties.


In the past, when explaining the operation of the united front, Kim Il Sung advanced the condition: "Build a nest together, but I will eat the eggs (that is, the efforts of other people can be enlisted during the construction of the nest, but the eggs laid in this nest completely belong to you yourself [SIC]). In December 1955 at a CC plenum he even said: "If it were not for Cde. Choe Yun[SIC]-geon, it would be very difficult to swallow the Democratic Party; therefore the services of Cde. Choe Yun-geon are very great".


The left deviationist mistakes made in the work of the united front led to members of the Korean Worker's Party killing a large number of the members of the "Chenudan" and Democratic Party during the period of the retreat after the start of the war. This caused uprisings against the Korean Worker's Party organized by members of the "Chenudan" and Democratic Parties, which turned into a nucleus of hostile detachments to bring order. Even to the point of a certain period after the war the local religion, "Chondoism" and Christianity were forced to be in an illegal status.


2. The question of the alliance of workers and peasants.


The Korean Worker's Party has not pursued effective work with regard to an alliance of the workers and peasants.


Up to the present time the most minimal standard of living of the workers still cannot be provided. The quantity of grain actually handed over to the state by the peasants exceeds 50%. The year 1954 ought to be noted especially when during the collection of the grain tax and the grain procurement the number of peasants forced to commit suicide reached several hundred thousand.


3. The robbery of the urban petit bourgeoisie.


Petty traders and craftsmen were completely ruined as a result of the policy pursued in the second half of 1954 and the first half of 1955 when excessive taxes were imposed on them which exceeded their basic capital and income by many times.


Cde. Kim Il Sung said at the CC plenum held in April 1955 that it is necessary to "restrict and eradicate" the petit bourgeoisie in order to build socialism. In the two or three months after the plenum petty traders and craftsmen of the entire republic were completely ruined and began to wander the streets. They were also forbidden to engage in the search for work. As a result, these people were forced to become unemployed, poor, petty thieves, and secret prostitutes, as a consequence of which the social order was disrupted and contagious diseases spread.


However, relatives of Kim Il Sung enjoy special rights. Today almost all the most important businessmen and capitalists of the northern part of the country are people who have some family ties with Kim Il Sung.


4. The gross violation of legality.


The Party has made serious leftist mistakes in implementing a policy of suppressing counterrevolutionaries and leniency.


During the period of the retreat a countless multitude of people were killed without trial.


The number of people arrested, imprisoned, and interrogated under torture, [or]s accused of ties with the enemy has reached colossal numbers.


In the ten years since liberation 130,000 people have been convicted as criminals, and if one also counts other people imprisoned then their total number reaches one-tenth of the total number of citizens of the republic. Among the 8,000 recently released more than 2,000 spent several years in imprisonment not knowing why and without any guilt.


These serious facts could not fail to become a serious reason for the people's mistrust of the Party and government, that is, the Party's and government's alienation from the masses.


5. The questions of the postwar revival and building of the economy and the improvement of the people's lives.


The ratio between different sectors according to the plan for the postwar construction of industry, the revival of the countryside, and the improvement of the people's lives was not deeply thought out and was incorrect.


As a result of this, in 1955 part of the three-year plan of the postwar revival of the economy was reduced and reconsidered.


There have been numerous cases of unnecessary capital investment and squandering of resources in the sector of industrial construction. Serious attention is not being paid to problems of reviving the countryside and an improvement of the people's lives, which require the most immediate solution. As a result of this, in spite of the great material aid of the fraternal countries, up to the present time the people of the northern part of the country have been in conditions of unbearable poverty.


G. [SIC] Shortcomings in the area of propaganda work.


The main shortcoming in the propaganda work of the Korean Worker's Party is the lack of a Marxist-Leninist materialist analysis of history and reality. Due to this there exists a situation to a serious degree which promotes the flourishing of lies, boasting, falsification, etc.


1. Up to the present time the main reliance in Party propaganda work has been made on the encouragement of the mystical glorification of the personal role of Cde. Kim Il Sung, and the role of the popular masses in the development of history is propagandized very little.


2. The successes achieved are excessively glorified and shortcomings and failures in work are papered over by every means.


3. A historical materialist analysis of the real situation in Korea is lacking. A free discussion is completely forbidden in this regard and dogmatism and formalism occupy a dominant position in propaganda work.


4. The label of criminal factionalism is applied to all other Communist movements of the past besides the revolutionary movement headed by Cde. Kim Il Sung. It should be specially noted that recently a multitude of pretexts were artificially created for an accusation of factionalism in order to deceive the Party members and the people.


5. Recently very little attention has been paid to carrying out propaganda and educational work in the spirit of internationalism under the slogan of searches for a "national spirit", especially propaganda work connected with the Soviet Union and China. Propaganda work connected with helping the fraternal countries and the fraternal Chinese volunteers is insufficiently conducted.




Steadfast personnel cannot fail to have objections with respect to the above serious mistakes and shortcomings. Moods of discontent are increasingly growing among the broad Party masses and people, and therefore with every day demands grow to improve the work of the Party.


However, all these suggestions are not only not being accepted but, on the contrary, those who suggest them receive the label of malcontents, factionalists, and liberal extremists, and are subjected to undeserved repression.


The consequences of Cde. Pak Il-u's offering his views to Cde. Kim Il Sung are a clear example confirming this.


Therefore up to the present time inside the Party the expression of opinions is qualified as a crime and results in punishment.


The 20th CPSU congress exerted an enormous influence on the members of the Korean Worker's Party. This was the result of the fact that the congress conducted bold intra-Party self-criticism and condemned the cult of personality of Stalin and its consequences.


Therefore many comrades thought that it was also necessary to soberly and boldly condemn the serious mistakes which also exist in the work of our Party in order to correct them.


Many comrades expressed the wish that the third congress of the Korean Worker's Party would do this work.


Therefore before the congress Cde. Ri Sang-jo (DPRK Ambassador in the USSR) and Cde. Seo Hwi met with Cde. Kim Il Sung, Cde. Choe Yong-geon, and also with Cde. Kim [Yong-ju] (a brother of Kim Il Sung and Deputy Chief of the Party CC Organization Department) and expressed some views on the question of the cult of personality of Cde. Kim Il Sung, about the improvement of the people's lives, and also about some other issues.


During the conversations the latter made no open objection with regard to these views; however behind [their] backs they said that "Ri Sang-jo has become infected by the cult of personality". In addition, rumors were spread that "Seo Hwi is speaking against the party, using the issues of the cult of personality and the improvement of the people's lives", etc.


Before the third congress Cde. Kim ll Sung and his crafty sycophants Pak Jeong-ae, Pak [Geum]-cheol, Choe Yong-geon, Kim Chang-man, Han Sung-do (Chief of the Organization Department), Ri [Il Kyon] (Chief of the Propaganda Department], and other comrades declared in their conversations, statements, and extensive articles that there are no mistakes or shortcomings in the work of our Party headed by Kim Il Sung, and also said that all the organizations of the Communist movement which existed in the country during the period of the Japanese domination before the 1930s, were factionalist, regardless of what organization they were. The main revolutionary movement in Korea was only the anti-Japanese partisan detachments and the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" created after the 1930s and headed by Kim ll Sung. In addition, they declared that after the 1930s the revolutionary movement in Korea was entirely led by Kim Il Sung. They made a theoretical justification of factionalism using this method.


At the same time as this they characterized all those who point to the mistakes and shortcomings in the Party as factional and anti-Party elements.


Before the Party congress a large article was published in the newspaper "Rodong Sinmun" in the name of Pak [Geum]-cheol under the headline, "The Party Seasoning of Communists in the Course of the Struggle to Strengthen the Party". A multitude of unsubstantiated names of factionalism were cited in it and the past of the revolutionary movement in Korea was only called simply a struggle against factions [gruppirovki]. It was also pointed out that the question of the cult of personality in the Korean Worker's Party is not attributed to Cde. Kim Il Sung, but is attributed to others. Then, in his article, entitled "Some Questions of Party Policy", Han Sung-do also declared: "'The 10 points of the Program' of the League for the Rebirth of the Motherland was the very first revolutionary program in the history of the worker's movement of Korea".


Further in his article he declared: "For the long period up until the day of liberation, 15 August, this program was the main traditional current of the revolutionary movement in Korea". He distorted the historical facts of the revolutionary movement in Korea in this way.


After this, in the report of Cde. Kim Il Sung at the 3rd Party congress it was pointed out that "Members and workers of the South Korean group of the Party were guilty of a cult of personality which made a fetish of Pak Heonyeong, his clique, and other factional elements", but not a word was said of a cult of personality artificially created by Kim ll Sung around himself.


The facts were presented this way, in distorted form.


Criticism was completely stifled at the 3rd congress of the Korean Worker's Party. The texts of all statements in the discussions were freely corrected by the Party CC Organization Department and the Propaganda Department. As a result the congress became invalid [utratil svoyu silu] and did not offer any constructive opinions


There are many weak comrades among CC members elected by the congress, and the name of many actually strong comrades were actually not even proposed.


In consequence of the fact that the 3rd Party congress ended this way, the intra-Party situation was still further complicated and aggravated, and the differences in opinions inside the Party deepened even further.


In this situation Deputy Chairmen of the Party CC Pak Geum-cheol, Kim Chang-man, and Pak Jeong-ae; Han Sung-do, Chief of the Organization Department; and Ri [Il Kyon], Chief of the Agitation and Propaganda Department; and others, threatening and intimidating, proclaimed at Party meetings that "we have no cult of personality", and "if there was one, then it was manifested only formally and did not have any consequences", and that therefore "those who are talking about the cult of personality at the present time are pursuing another goal, they are factionalists, splitting and undermining the Party".


Along with this Pak [Geum]-cheol, Han Sung-do, and others glorified the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" and, carrying on openly false propaganda and employing various methods, persecuted officials who submitted constructive suggestions to the Party and established secret surveillance of them.


In this situation differences in opinion and the struggle inside the Party achieved such dimensions that they were impossible to avoid.


At this time Cde. Kim Il Sung was on a trip throughout the USSR and the countries of people's democracy. A CC Plenum was convened some time after his return to the motherland.


It was at this time that Filatov, a senior Party official of the Soviet Embassy in Korea, met with Choe Chang-ik, Ri Pil-gyu, So Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, and other comrades via Cde. Kim Seung-hwa and exchanged opinions with them about the work of the Korean Worker's Party, but his point of view also completely coincided with the point of view of our comrades. He also said that it is necessary to well organize a struggle to eliminate the cult of personality in the Korean Worker's Party and the serious shortcomings in Party work. He also passed us the substance of a conversation with Cde. Kim Il Sung in the CPSU CC Presidium about the Korean question via Cde. Kim Seung-hwa, which inspired us very much.


The substance of the conversation passed to us by Filatov basically came down to the following:


1. Work to improve the people's lives is not being properly conducted in Korea.


2. The ideology of the cult of personality comes from Cde. Kim Il Sung himself.


3. Why are sycophants concentrated in the Party CC?


4. Why has the history of the Korean Worker's Party been turned into the history of the personality of Kim Il Sung?


As they said, at that time Cde. Kim Il Sung admitted that these statements were correct and expressed an intention to mend his ways.


The substance of this conversation also reflects the very most important shortcomings in our Party work. Therefore we experienced an extraordinary joy then, for if [we were] to criticize the arbitrary actions of Cde. Kim Il Sung, who has concentrated all power in this hands, without the support of the fraternal Parties, then in current conditions this could only lead to victims. Therefore we think that the support of the Soviet Union might stop him.


In these conditions we talked with Cde. Kim Il Sung and Cdes. Pak [Geum]-cheol, Kim Il, and Choe Chang-ik. During the conversations we expressed our opinion to him in the form of advice.


These conversations have take place several times. Their substance came down to the following:


1. Concerning the ideology of the glorification of the personal heroism of Cde. Kim Il Sung, which plays a serious role in the Party, about the mystical worship of him, and about the consequences of this.


2. Concerning the falsification and glorification of the role of personality in the history of the revolution.


3. Concerning the falsification glorification of the role of the "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland".


4. Concerning the creation of the clique of the  "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" and the formation of a faction inside the Party, relying on this clique.


5. Concerning the mistaken positions denying the role of other revolutionary movements in the country except the partisan struggle of Kim Il Sung and the  "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland".


6. Concerning the silencing and suppression of democracy and criticism, concerning serious bureaucratism.


7. Concerning the shortcomings in the area of an improvement of the people's standard of living and shortcomings in the area of the pursuit of the policy in the countryside.


8. Concerning shortcomings in Party policy in the area of a united front.


9. Concerning the serious distortions, conceit, and subjectivism in work concerning Party policy.


10. Concerning policy with respect to Party personnel.


Cde. Kim Il Sung expressed complete agreement and acknowledgment in a conversation with Cde. So Hwi about the above-listed questions. In a conversation with Cde. Ri Pil-gyu Cde. Pak [Geum]-cheol also stated that the drafting of a plan for organizations of a "League for the Rebirth of the Motherland" had already been terminated. Later Kim Il Sung told Cde. Yun Gong-heum in turn that it was necessary to eliminate the cult of personality.


Later Cdes. So Hwi and Yun Gong-heum told Kim Il Sung that Pak Jeong-ae, Pak [Geum]-cheol, Kim Chang-man, and others are not telling CC members about our (CC members') suggestions offered in the interests of the Party, and about alleged anti-Party activity, and requested he halt such actions. Kim Il Sung replied that if this is actually so, then it needs to be stopped without fail.


However, Cdes. Pak [Geum]-cheol, Kim Chang-man, Pak Jeong-ae, Han Sung-do, Ri [Ir Kyon], on the one hand, glossed over the fundamental opinions already advanced in the Party but, on the other, secretly engaged in the creation of all sorts of intrigues accusing So Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, Ri Pil-gyu, Choe Chang-ik, and Ri Sang-jo of factionalism with the purpose of reprisal.


At this time Soviet Ambassador Ivanov and Filatov told Cdes. Kim Seung-hwa and Pak Ui-won (Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers) that by no means could Cde. Kim Il Sung consider people who criticize him as factionalists and anti-Party elements, and that our position is correct. Therefore we believed that Kim Il Sung would be self-critical and continued to devote efforts to an improvement of Party work.


As far as we know, besides us such opinions, advice, and critical comments have also been expressed by Cde. Kim Du-bong, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and member of the Presidium of the CC of the Worker's Party; Cde. Choe Chang-ik, candidate member of the CC Presidium and Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers; Cde. Pak Ui-won, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and member of the Party CC; Cde. Pak Chang-ok, CC member and Minister of Construction; Cde. Kim Seung-hwa, CC member and Chief of the CC Agriculture Department; Cde. Pak [Hun Il], member of the CC Auditing Commission; Kim Chang-[Hep], Minister of Posts; and many others.


Judging from our personal experience and observations during the last 11 years, in his own views Cde. Kim Il Sung is a champion of the cult of the heroic personality and is at the same time a crafty deceiver whose words differ from [his] deeds.


Making use of the Party's name, he has disrupted Party unity, causing splits in relations between comrades, promoted the emergence of quarrels and conflicts between comrades, and then drawn advantage from this. For 11 years he has used officials who arrived from the Soviet Union against local cadre and the cadre who arrived from China, and used local cadre to undermine the authority of officials who arrived from the USSR and China, caused splits in relations between the cadre who arrived from the USSR and China, and also between the cadre of North and South Korea.


After our comrades recently condemned the shortcomings in Party work and expressed their opinions to Cde. Kim Il Sung, and when Kim Il Sung saw that the criticism was not only from the comrades who had come from China, but also from comrades who had come from the USSR and local comrades, he sent Cdes. Pak Jeong-ae and Nam Il to Soviet Ambassador Ivanov, who told him that those factionalists who had arrived from China want to split the Party (in Kim Seung-hwa's words). Pak Jeong-ae also told Kim Seung-hwa that the anti-Soviet elements who had come from China were pursuing factional activity in the Party. Cde. Kim Il Sung in turn told Pak Chang-ok: the anti-Soviet elements who had come from China, Choe Chang-ik, So Hwi, and others, want to undermine our party, and therefore you and we are to fight them. They say that Pak Chang-ok then replied, "You are harming the Party, and not us".


Thus the genuine content of the opinions in the Party was stifled, and the question came down to an unprincipled fight. Cde. Kim Il Sung sent his younger brother Kim [Yong-ju] (Deputy Chief of the CC Organization Department) to the All-Korean Federation of Trade Unions, who said to one of the Federation officials that right now it was necessary to take revenge on So Hwi as with a factionalist and anti-Party element, and therefore it was necessary to quickly collect the necessary materials (in the end, it came to naught).


Kim [Yong-ju] also said that, "Choe Chang-ik, Yun Gong-heum, and Ri Pil-gyu are in the same category and this time they will be defeated ". They told the chairman of the Party committee of the primary organization at the Directorate of the Industry of Construction Materials that Ri Pil-gyu was the central figure of a faction and therefore it was necessary to fight him.


The Chairman of the Pyongyang City Party Committee also told Party workers that "The Yanan faction wants to destroy the Party". Ri [Il Kyon], the Chief of the Propaganda Department, told workers of the propaganda and publishing house:


Not long ago enemies distributed leaflets about the cult of personality and an improvement of the people's lives in order to split our Party. There are also such elements in our Party and therefore it is necessary to increase vigilance.


Thus, with one voice those close to Kim Il Sung accused comrades who had offered critical comments of being factionalists or anti-Party elements, and shouted they would soon be crushed.


All this was a crafty and inhuman method of suppression and repression of staunch comrades in the Party who had offered constructive comments about the shortcomings in Party work.


Cdes. Kim Seung-hwa and Pak Ui-won summarized the above facts and sent them to Soviet Ambassador Ivanov. At this time Ivanov said that Kim Il Sung had agreed to speak self-critically and declared that in no event would he declare comrades who criticize him as factionalists or reactionary elements.


Therefore we thought that Cde. Kim Il Sung would speak self-critically at the 30 August CC Party plenum.

The 30 August CC plenum opened.


This plenum was convened in a tense atmosphere of strict cautionary measures.


Workers of the MVD organs were sent to all areas of Pyongyang dressed in civilian clothes from 15 August until the opening of the plenum. Therefore an extraordinarily tense situation actually developed in Pyongyang during this period.


The Party CC plenum was convened after Kim Il Sung's trusted people and entourage did all the preparatory work which, according to a previously set plan, was to declare certain people "anti-Party and reactionary elements" "to crush and destroy" them.


At the plenum Cde. Kim Il Sung made a report about the trip of the government delegation.


After he told in the report about the work done by the government delegation at the very end he declared in several words: there exists a cult of personality in our Party to a greater or lesser degree, however its effect comes down to enthusiastic shouts and welcoming letters and speeches. Right after this he continued: as regards the issue of the cult of personality and the people's lives the capitalist countries and enemies are thinking of splitting our Party with this and trying to provoke conflict in relations between us and the fraternal countries. Therefore it is necessary to increase vigilance.


After the report Cde. KIM [THE GEN], the chairman of the Party committee of the province of North Hamgyong, spoke in the discussions. In his statement he said that the Party policy in the matter of the improvement of the people's lives has always been correct, however the federation of trade unions and the Ministry of Trade have not coped with the work in this field. It is evident from this at whose bidding the text of his statement was drawn up.


Then YUN GONG-HEUM spoke. The text of his statement is attached separately.


As soon as Yun Gong-heum began his statement, over 20 disorderly elements who had been coached in advanced began to shout with raised fists and cause disorder in the room. Cde. CHOE YONG-GEON, who was chairing the plenum, also began to curse Yun Gong-heum, shaking [his] fists, calling him "a puppy", and wanted to hit him (however, he did dare to hit [him] since Cde. Yun Gong-heum was behaving calmly), therefore order was not restored in the room.


At this time Cde. Kim Il Sung made the following suggestion: there is no need to provide an opportunity to anti-Party, reactionary elements to continue statements, the discussion needs to be halted. Right after this a vote on this suggestion was held which was approved by a majority of votes with seven against. Cde. Yun Gong-heum was deprived of the right to continue his statement. Such arbitrariness is perhaps rarely encountered even in the parliaments of capitalist countries. At this moment, when the disorderly people were causing disorder in the room Cde. Choe Chang-ik proposed continuing the discussion, but he also was subjected to insulting attacks from the disorderly elements. No attention was paid to a proposal to continue the discussion also expressed by Cde. PAK UI-WON. After this Nam Il proposed as a neutral person: "YUN GONG-HEUM's statement is anti-Party; however he needs to be given an opportunity to finish his statement".


In the situation which had been created Kim Il Sung, Choe Yong-geon, and others not only did not take steps to stop the arbitrariness which caused the disorder at the plenum but also joined the disorganizers, shouting "we will defeat and destroy…"


It is completely obvious from this that they had organized this arbitrary act themselves.


Of the 150 people present at the plenum only 20 participated in the arbitrary action; however, they are people from Kim Il Sung's partisans and elements in the Union for the National Liberation of [Kapsan]. The overwhelming majority of the rest kept silent or laughed in this atmosphere of terror.


At the afternoon session RI [CHU YON], PAK [YON KYK], and KIM CHANG-MAN again shouted: YUN GONG-HEUM and his "sympathizers" need to be branded as reactionaries, and to defeat and clean them out. When CHOE CHANG-IK, trembling from fear, spoke some indistinct words, he was subjected to crude attacks from the aforementioned 20-plus disorderly elements, after which order was also disrupted at the post-lunch session.


Stating in his concluding remarks that YUN GONG-HEUM was definitely an anti-Party reactionary element, Cde. Kim Il Sung said: As the comrades have already noted, YUN GONG-HEUM's statement completely coincides with the opinion of SO HWI and RI PIL-GYU, and in no way differs from the content of the leaflets recently distributed by enemies; therefore SO HWI, RI PIL-GYU, and their other sympathizers are anti-Party, reactionary elements in equal measure with YUN GONG-HEUM, and need to be "defeated and cleaned out". Then he said: the opinion of the comrades is completely correct, they will unquestionably be defeated and cleaned out. We should increase vigilance, inasmuch as anti-Party, reactionary elements want to undermine our Party.


Kim Il Sung proposed expelling YUN GONG-HEUM from the CC, after which a vote was held by a show of hands. The majority was in favor, with one vote against (SO HWI). After this a vote was held about expelling YUN GONG-HEUM from the Party, as a result of which there was also a majority in favor, with one vote against (SO HWI). Thus, YUN GONG-HEUM was expelled from the CC and the Party and did not participate any more in the post-lunch session.


After the issue of the expulsion of YUN GONG-HEUM from the Party was decided in accordance with a previously prepared plan [HE SEN TEK], Deputy Chairman of the Party Central Control Commission, having raised appropriate economic and other issues, suggested the arrest of YUN GONG-HEUM. At this time Kim Il Sung, as if revealing a secret plan, replied to [HE SEN TEK], "We'll do this later".


At this time (9 P.M.) the plenum was closed.


On return home SO HWI, RI PIL-GYU, and others noticed that their telephones had been disconnected and understood that they would be arrested in the evening.


Our legal efforts with the goal of improving the work of the Korean Worker's Party ended with this.


The opportunity by way of advice to suggest to Kim Il Sung that the work of the Party be improved and the shortcomings and mistakes in the Party be corrected through criticism was cut short since we were deprived of the right of criticism inside the Korean Worker's Party.


The response of Cde. Kim Il Sung to the completely legal conscientious advice and criticism is unlawful arbitrariness.


So, the label of reactionaries has been hung over us in Korea, our beloved motherland. We think that if Kim Il Sung had arrested and executed us this would not have brought the revolution any good.


We believe that the leading fraternal Parties will help the Communist movement in Korea without fail since it is part of the international Communist movement. We especially believe that our great neighbor, the Communist Party of China, having sealed an alliance with the Korean people in blood, will unquestionably give us rightful aid. This was the goal of our departure from Pyongyang.




The above is our understanding of the serious situation in the Korean Worker's Party and a preliminary report on this issue. At the same time we are offering the following opinions and hope to receive your opinion and aid.


1. We think that right now the question has arisen before the Communists of Korea of who is Kim Il Sung in the final account? What is his nature and where is he going?


The Communists of Korea urgently need a full clarification of this question.


2. In our opinion, Kim Il Sung has begun to take on a new life, and has started to betray the revolution.


Therefore, if as before Kim Il Sung occupies the highest leadership posts in the Korean Worker's Party and government, there will be no possibility of ensuring legality in the matter of improving the work of the Korean Worker's Party and the domestic situation in the country.


3. We think that the presence of Kim Il Sung has already been turned into an obstacle in the path of the course of the revolution in Korea. Only after the removal of Kim Il Sung can the revolution in Korea develop rapidly and promote the reunification of the Motherland and socialist construction.


SO HWI - Member of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party, Chairman of the All-Korean Federation of Trade Unions.


YUN GONG-HEUM - Member of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party, Minister of Trade.


RI PIL-GYU, Candidate member of the CC of the Korean Worker's Party, Chief of the Directorate of the Industry of Construction Materials of the Cabinet of Ministers.


KIM [GAN] - Member of the Pyongyang City Committee of the Korean Worker's Party, Deputy Minister of Culture and Propaganda.


5 September 1956



[signature] (Dubrovsky)

[signature] (Shlyapnikov)


Six copies printed. zk

Drafted by Dubrovsky and Shlyapnikov

Nº 1222

13 September 1956


Seo Hwi, Yun Gong-heum, Li Pil-gyu, and Kim Gwan provide a detailed report on the events of the August Incident and the days leading up to the plenum. The four justify their actions and request the support of the Chinese Communist Party.

Document Information


GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98, Delo 721, Listy 170-190. Translated by Gary Goldberg.


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