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April 25, 1986

Meeting between President Chun Doo Hwan and President Samaranch

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

In attendance at the meeting: President ROH, Minister of Sport PARK, and interpreter KIM


Duration of the meeting: from 15.20 to 16:50 o?clock.


I began the meeting by talking about the recent trip to Europe by President Chun, and by congratulating him on having known the opportune moment to make the trip given the new economic conditions of his country. This really was the moment to make this trip.


I am very glad to meet one more time after our meeting at Lausanne on April 19, in the course of which we discussed above all the problems between South Korea and North Korea, responded President Chun. The first question is: is there anything new?


I affirmed to him then that the great success of the meeting in Seoul of the NCOs and of the Executive Committee is a very favorable point for the 1988 Olympic Games, and reminded him that he told me in Lausanne that if North Korea were prepared to respect the Olympic Charter and the IOC decisions, in particular those taken at Baden-Baden, he would be prepared to open discussions with North Korea. I asked him in a very direct manner if he is prepared to give some sports to North Korea.


His first response was to congratulate me on the great success of the meeting held in Seoul and on the record number of the 152 NOCs which would have been impossible without me. He reminded me of having told me in Lausanne how much he appreciates my personal efforts. You have travelled much across the entire world to help the Olympic Movement, and especially the Olympic Games in Seoul, he added. I very much appreciate your work, as equally do MM Roh and Park. ?Also, and in recognition of your extraordinary effort in defending the Olympic Movement, it is impossible for me to say no to your request, but on conditions which I expressed to you in Lausanne. That which I ask from the North, it is not a favor, I only ask that they respect the Olympic Charter, and the decisions of the IOC. If, by the way, we come to discuss concrete details, we will find out very quickly that too many people are involved, if we reach an agreement. There will be a great number of legal details, of organization, etc., political, technical problems?


The whole world perfectly knows that North Korea does all it can to ruin us, and to ruin the Seoul Games.


We know that the Korean people are with us, and support us.


We also know that we have invested a lot of money and effort, and it will therefore be very difficult for me to convince my people to share the Olympic Games with North Korea.


You must be very careful. We perfectly know North Korea, and we know that if we grant them even one sport, they will create lots of problems for us. It is impossible to expect goodwill or cooperation on their part.


But I repeat, it is impossible for me not to accept the request which you present me with as the President of the IOC.


Here is my response. I am prepared to grant them two sports, but on the condition, all the same, that North Korea respects the Olympic Charter and the conditions decided by the IOC.?


I then responded to him that, as the President of the IOC, I find that this is a very good solution because it leaves North Korea with the responsibility of saying no. It is difficult for me to think that North Korea can open its borders to more than ten thousand journalists and to all the members of the Olympic family.


President Chun stated that he finds my analysis of the situation absolutely correct, and that the efforts that I have exerted to assure the success of the Olympic Games serve to reinforce the interest that I have towards the Olympic Movement [sic]. He added that this was the true reason for his decision, and that he was expecting the IOC request so that I [Samaranch] can demonstrate to the socialist countries that I have been able to obtain a positive result from South Korea.


?In principle, and I will never say it publically, he added, it will not at all be easy to share the Olympic Games, and this will even create big problems. North Korea must absolutely guarantee the safety of all, and provide everyone with all the amenities and full freedom of movement. We must be very careful: if one gives one finger to North Korea, they will take the whole hand. I also think that they will ask to equally share the money. In the end, it is very important, if organization of a sport is confined to North Korea, that the SLOOC can have direct communications, and the freedom to travel to North Korea when this is necessary.


I do not know if they are prepared to accept all the conditions, but, I repeat, I accede to your request in order to enhance your presidency.?


I then indicated to President Chun that sharing the Games is not a new thing, since in 1956 equestrian events took place in Stockholm instead of Melbourne, and I insisted on the fact that he would make a big step for the success of the Olympic Games in Seoul.


He then remarked to me that the situation in Seoul was very different from that in Melbourne. The equestrian games were organized in Stockholm due to difficulties with the organizing committee, whereas in Seoul, the IOC has not had any difficulties with the SLOOC. He repeated for the last time his offer, insisting on the fact that it is meant to help the IOC and its President.


Reorganization of SLOOC.


As Minister Park would not take his post at the President of the SLOOC for some weeks, I proposed to President Chun to name President Roh as the Chairman of the SLOOC while Minister Park would have the title of the President. It would be the same structure as that of the Los Angeles organizing committee. In effect, I would not want to lose Minister Roh completely whose presence in SLOOC may be very useful ? I have always had the best possible relations with him ? I do not act out of friendship towards Roh but because I am persuaded that I may need him.


President Chun appreciated my position and stated that he understands very well my feelings towards Roh. He found it particularly remarkable (?very fair play?) that I spoke to him this way. He must therefore respect my friendship and my loyalty vis-?-vis Roh. But he must equally point out that M. Roh is a politician and that he must assume very big responsibilities.


In this regard, the rule in our ?democratic? country is that politicians become real party men in the next campaign. President Roh, who is among the most senior officials, will be totally absorbed by this task. He reaffirmed his full and entire confidence in Minister Park, and was certain that he would accomplish very great work. This is one of his closest collaborators.


In conclusion, he reaffirmed that if I make that request to him, and if the position of a ?Chairman? is honorific, he is prepared to accept my idea.


Members of the IOC


I then turned with President Chun to the possible election of Un Yong Kim as a member of the IOC, and repeated one more time that he is a part of the Olympic family. His presence would constitute a perfect bridge between Korea, the IOC, and the IFs. I added that Korea could have a second member elected eventually after 1988 if the Games in Seoul are a great success.


President Chun asked me then how much time he has for giving me his response. I stated to him that the IOC can wait approximately until the end of the month of May, and repeated to him that M. Kim Un Yong seems to me to be ?the right man at the right moment.? Minister Park then made an observation in Korean which was not translated.


President Chun then declared that he knows very well the importance of Kim, and that he cannot currently see another name he can recommend. Nevertheless, he must receive the views of Korean NOC and of the Minister of Sports before giving me his response.


He stated then that in his view a member of the IOC must enjoy great prestige and consideration in his own country, and that this is a point of particular importance. M. Kim is unfortunately not positively viewed by his compatriots. He absolutely must do something to ameliorate his image among his compatriots. At this moment, if elections were to take place within the NOC, he would not obtain a single vote. He is indeed particularly unpopular within the NOC. All the indications are not in his favor. You certainly remember M. Park, added President Chun. He was very effective and very close to me, but did not sufficiently respect, and personally caused me many difficulties. But from the internal Korean viewpoint, he was still better than Kim.


I responded to him by repeating that in my view M. Kim is the better choice at the moment. His election would be very easy. I added that it is not up to the NOCs to designate members of the IOC, and that it is the prerogative of the organization over which I preside. I can wait at most until the month of June. The President indicated his agreement with this date.


?I dare touch on the problem of internal Korean politics,? I stated to President Chun. If he does not want to respond, I will perfectly understand his attitude. But I think it important, in my position as the IOC President, to touch on this point. Indeed, the IOC estimates that should there be presidential elections 6 months before the Olympic Games, this will not be favorable to the Games.


President Chun reminded me that I already expressed to him the same concern during the visit that I made the previous year. But he must tell me very clearly that even if these elections took place 1 month before the Olympic Games, the latter will still be a great success. The Olympic Games do and will always have the complete support of the Korean people. In the most improbable case that we lose these elections, and become the minority, this will not have any negative effect on the Olympic Games. All that which one can read in the press on the subject of student demonstrators is not new, and this has been the situation since 1953. But the government, the people, and all the officials get along very well. You certainly know Minister Strauss, the political leader of Bavaria. He came on a visit here, and I met him again in Germany. We know each other particularly well and speak to each other as two politicians that we are. He told me: come to the FRG with a camera, take snapshots of some manifestations in the streets, and publish the photos. You can then easily demonstrate that there are critical problems in my country. I have visited Korea, and I know this very well, M. Strauss told me. I can affirm that there are no problems of this type in Korea. You have a rate of inflation of 1 to 2 [%] and the rate of growth of 5.5 [%]. M. Strauss concluded by this phrase: ?If a country like Korea truly suffers the problems like those described in the press, how can the head of state absent himself for two weeks for carrying out a trip to Europe??


President Chun then concluded our meeting by reassuring me one last time that Korea is quite able to organize the Olympic Games without any problems of security, and in a very great atmosphere of stability. ?I can assure you of that,? he said ? ?not 100% but 120%.?

Meeting between President Chun Doo Hwan and President Samaranch

Document Information


International Olympic Committee Archives, SEOUL ’88 / POLITICAL MATTERS DE 1982 A MAI 1986. Obtained for NKIDP by Sergey Radchenko.


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Memorandum of Conversation


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Leon Levy Foundation