A report on assistance from the Soviet Union and East Germany to North Korea's intelligence services.
May 25, 1987
Memorandum about the Discussion between Comrade Minister Mielke and the Deputy of the DPRK’s Minister of State Security, Colonel General Ch’oe Dwu Sen [sic], on May 25, 1987 in the MfS in Berlin
This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University
About the Discussion Between Comrade Minister Mielke and the Deputy of the DPRK’s Minister of State Security, Colonel General Ch’oe Dwu Sen [sic], on May 25, 1987 in the MfS in Berlin
On the side of the DPRK’s MfS: Major Ko Gon/Interpreter
On the side of the GDR’s MfS: Colonel General MITTIG
Major General DAMM
Lieutenant Colonel SALEVSKY/Interpreter
Greeting by the Comrade Minister.
My comrades have reported to me that the talks are in full swing and will still be continued.
We still have fond memories of the visit of the General Secretary, Comrade Honecker, to the DPRK. A few days ago, Comrade Tisch visited [the DPRK]. I would like to welcome our Korean comrades in this spirit.
You are coming to the GDR on the eve of a historical event. It would be important for you to familiarize yourself with the results of the upcoming plenum of the Warsaw Pact.
The struggle for the resolution of the intermediate-range missiles problem assumes ever-increasing and fierce forms. This raises the significance of this plenum, because a unified position of the socialist states is being worked out.
The struggle for peace is the chief concern.
I informed the General Secretary that we have Korean visitors. He authorized me to deliver you his greetings.
Today we met at the opening of the “Science and Production” exhibition. It is an example of the development of science and technology in the GDR.
These are my introductory remarks.
I ask for your input on which problems exist and how the previous consultations are being evaluated.
It is a pleasure to see that you are healthy, vivacious, and energetic. According to our understanding, you are a very “old man” (in the sense of “venerable”). We have already met with your deputy, Comrade Mittig. He told us that you are almost 80 years old.
Thank you very much for today’s reception, even though you are extremely busy with state affairs.
One must have time for friends. Then one can solve problems more easily.
Fraternal greetings from the Minister of State Security, Comrade Ri Chun-su, to all the chekists of the GDR on behalf of all the workers of the state security organs.
Thank you for the good reception and hospitality. We have spent our time usefully. We had encounters with leading comrades of the MfS and with you, Comrade Minister.
We toured the city and drove to Potsdam. Everywhere we felt the good relations between us and the personnel of the GDR’s state security organs. We had the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the accomplishments of the people of the GDR in the implementation of party resolutions, including the accomplishments of the chekists, under the leadership of the party, with Erich Honecker at the helm. This is an eloquent testimony to the relations between Kim Il Sung and Erich Honecker. They are a testimony to the fact that the political relations, the relations between the state security organs, have reached new heights. The relations between our organs are—as this visit shows—remarkable.
On the Situation in Our Country
The situation is excellent. The Party and the People are closely united around our “beloved Leader” and fulfill the great tasks regarding the development of production for the construction of socialism and the reunification of our homeland with great enthusiasm.
The situation in Korea has been very tense ever since the occupation of the southern portion of our country 40 years ago by US imperialism.
This tension is also seen in the activities of the secret services of the enemy. In recent times, the secret services of South Korea, in cooperation with the secret services of Japan and the USA, have strengthened their unofficial, subversive measures against the DPRK via third countries.
This situation presents our organs with the task of further strengthening our work, to intensify the struggle against the secret services in order to secure the achievements of the revolution.
We consider it an honor that we have in the personnel of the GDR’s security organs a reliable brother-in-arms in the struggle against the coordinated activities of the imperialist secret services.
The “beloved Leader” Kim devotes his great attention to the cooperation between the parties and organs and, for this purpose, has sent this delegation to the GDR.
I am deeply convinced that our visit will serve as a great contribution to the creation of cooperation between both organs, the cooperation between our two countries. I am thankful that
spoke so openly about their experiences. We especially received with great attention the experiences of the German comrades at organizing the World Festival of Youth and Students and would like to utilize your experiences in organizing the festival in our country.
We learned much during the meeting with your comrades, about your experiences regarding the organization of such a festival and the strategy and tactics for the execution of such a great event.
During the meeting with your comrades we talked about what intelligence exists concerning potential terrorist actions with regard to the execution of the World Festival of Youth and Students in our country.
- information about the participants who travel to Korea via the GDR;
- assistance with the delivery of operational technology for the security of the World Festival of Youth and Students;
- a constant line between the organs during the time of preparation for and execution of the World Festival of Youth and Students;
- mutual support for the safeguarding of our citizens against attacks by imperialist secret services and for the ferreting out of technology employed by these secret services;
- the conclusion of appropriate agreements;
- assistance, using appropriate technological means, with the uncovering of the machinations of these secret services
After returning to our home country, we will report to our leader, Kim Il Sung, that the chekists of the GDR hold fraternal sentiments toward the personnel of the state security organs of our country, and we will also report the results of our conversations with the comrades in the GDR.
Thank you for the frank words and your positive attitude regarding the further development of friendship and cooperation between our organs.
Thank you for your comments.
1. Commonality in the fundamental goals and tasks of the security organs of both states in the international class conflict.
Despite the great spatial distance, despite the fact that close cooperation is not always possible, our two organs fight on the same front against a common enemy, imperialism and its centers.
We have even more imperialist powers in our vicinity. The USA, the English, the French, and other NATO-states are stationed in the FRG. Ultimately, the FRG is itself an imperialist state.
Commonality results from the concord between our Marxist-Leninist parties, the Workers’ Party of Korea and the SED.
Between the GDR and the DPRK, the close relations of traditional friendship and fraternal cooperation based on mutual utility have successfully developed further. The essential foundation of this is the Contract of Friendship and Cooperation between the GDR and the DPRK that was signed on June 1, 1984.
With the official friendship visit of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED and Chairman of the State Council of the GDR, Comrade Erich Honecker, to the DPRK in October 1986, the relations between both parties, states, and peoples have become deeper and experienced a qualitatively new development.
It is indeed of far-reaching political significance for the strengthening of socialism, for the solidification of the ranks of the socialist world community, when Comrade Erich Honecker and Comrade Kim Il Sung were able to determine
that there are no disagreements between both parties,
that a long-term coordination of [our two countries’] policies and the intensification of know-how exchange could be achieved, and that
new conditions for the general development of relations, particularly in the economy and in scientific-technological cooperation, could be created.
Comrade Tisch’s trip to the DPRK also served this goal. Tomorrow the politburo will deliberate. Our ministry subordinates its whole activity to the agreements made by the leaders of our parties.
2. The MfS of the GDR prizes the great efforts of the security organs of the DPRK for our common cause, for the strengthening and safeguarding of socialism and peace, as well as for the further solidification of political stability and the guaranteeing of the DPRK’s security.
Through their work, comrades of the MfS of the DPRK contribute substantially to the maintenance and safeguarding of peace in Asia.
Like in the GDR, in the DPRK, too, [one] leads the struggle under conditions in which two states with different social systems confront each other in one country. [This] assigns a special responsibility to the security organs, [to] maximally support the policies of our parties for the maintenance of peace and the guaranteeing of security.
For the MfS, all its service units [have] the paramount task of achieving their maximum contribution for the realization of the peace politics of the socialist states, especially the initiatives of the USSR for the elimination of intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
Hence of particular import:
- Reconnaissance of all plans and intentions of imperialism that threaten peace—war plans, military armament, especially those of the NATO-states;
In relation to this, great efforts are made by us to prevent any sort of surprise by the enemy, particularly a military one.
The knowledge that SDI has already shown results, in terms of new weapons for American imperialism
- Reconnaissance of all plans, intentions, and measures that are aimed against the unity and closeness of the socialist community and against the international Communist and workers’ movement;
- Infiltration into the enemy centers and organizations, especially suppression of imperialist secret services and their subversive machinations
3. Leadership and fundamental orientation of the MfS comes directly from the Party. Our work is consistently organized on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and the decisions of the Party made in observance of universal doctrines (but creative application in accordance with our concrete conditions)
Maximum contribution to the implementation and fulfillment of these decisions, especially the decisions of the XI. Party Congress, is the yardstick for the entire ministry, for individual service units.
The MfS is interested in everything that is aimed against society, even if it is not a crime against the state. Although we don’t do everything ourselves, we must know everything to prepare the Party and social organs for it. There is much to say about this. What problems we are facing, how one has to work, what methods one must apply, legal ones or disruption or persuasion.
4. Solid trust [between] Party-State-People, which includes a close relationship of trust between workers and the MfS and a close bond between our organ and workers, is an important basis of our work.
The situation is favorable for the Staatssicherheit [Stasi] when there is order in the country, provisions are sufficient, and the people are satisfied.
Then it is easier for the work of the Staatssicherheit. But that is not the whole truth.
The struggle has become more complicated. Due to the whole international trend, the enemy attributes particular importance to the question of ideological diversion, the disruption of our people’s ideology. There are quite a few enemies abound. They operate ever cleverly under multifarious covers and camouflage.
[We] consider the solidification and strengthening of the socialist social order, about which the enemy claims that it is a social order without perspective, and the broad development of socialist democracy, the consistent adherence to socialist legality, as decisive bases and, at the same time, important tasks of our activity. These factors [are] of decisive significance for the politically stable situation in our republic, for high safety and order.
The main task is and remains the decisive struggle against all external enemy attacks, no matter under which flag, but also against all hostile-negative domestic forces who attempt to act against the socialist state and social order.
All activity in the spirit of proletarian internationalism;
Educating our personnel to become true internationalists. Friendship with all socialist states, Soviet Union, Korea, serves all who are our friends. [We] ourselves lend much support, as much as we can, to all friends in the world.
5. [I] hope that you gained this impression also during the consultations your delegations had in the MfS of the GDR, during the entire stay thus far in the GDR.
The visit to Potsdam was surely very useful and insightful. You saw that Stalin was never “afraid of the nuclear bomb,” but he struggled so that the GDR could remain in existence. Imperialism wanted to split up all of Germany so that it would no longer exist.
That is why we also understand your problem of the 40-year division: that is why I mentioned Potsdam.
Comrades of the MfS of the GDR endeavored to convey, on the basis of all the available intelligence and experiences, what could be of significance for the safeguarding of the World Festival of Youth and Students in the DPRK (1989).
Apply intelligence/experiences to the concrete conditions in the DPRK – in this regard [there is] particular responsibility on the part of the MfS of the DPRK.
Not to transfer anything in a cookie-cutter fashion; thoroughly heed the intelligence following the World Festival of Youth and Students in Berlin; here partially already again under different international conditions.
Professional analytical and preventative work is of extraordinary importance for the interference-free execution of the World Festival of Youth and Students, for the guaranteeing of high safety and order.
We will not disregard a single fact and make an effort to pose fundamental questions.
I would like to clarify this using some international problems.
For example: The fight against “Drugs” does not exist here, although around us all socialist countries are dealing with it. Due to the analytical and preventative work, measures were taken so that this problem would not occur here.
We react the same way to other questions. Also in the question of terrorism. While this is a very delicate question about which we do not say a lot, we do not have terrorist phenomena in the GDR (for the time being).
This is a very serious problem, even more so because sometimes friendly states “pay homage” to this question. The main question is that one evaluates in time and comes up with a solution. It is the same in economic life, to make the right decisions in the economic arena.
Close cooperation with all involved organs, institutions, and forces; close cooperation with all social forces – essential foundations for the success of the operation for the safeguarding of the World Festival of Youth and Students.
The entire operation [is] in the hands of the Staatssicherheit. Forces, army, and police report to us, without abrogating the autonomy of the ministers.
Information activity is concentrated at the MfS.
Possibly expect a wish for further support through the MfS – insofar as concrete requirements and possibilities; would have to be concretely clarified in each case; agreement in principle.
For example: to make an agreement about operational-technological cooperation. This is a broad field. It has to be concretized. There are constantly new developments. One can develop cooperation on the basis of concrete agreements.
We will inform you about everything that becomes known to us in regard to the World Festival of Youth and Students. Not just about the transit travelers.
Regards to the Minister, to all members of the Ministry for State Security of the DPRK.
Kind regards to General Secretary Kim Il Sung, and also from Comrade Erich Honecker and all comrades of the GDR whom he knows.
[We] wish further success in Korea. May peace be maintained so that the World Festival of Youth and Students can take place.
My best wishes.
Thank you for the meeting. I am very satisfied. [We] have understood everything with regard to the XIII. World Festival of Youth and Students and the work between our organs.
It was a pleasure to listen to you.
In relation to the world revolution, the most valuable and important thing is to apply this information in accordance with our conditions, our festival.
Your experiences are very valuable to us.
After our return, we will report to our leadership and the leadership of state security. Fundamental answers were given so that the working-level relationships can be continued concretely.
Following our return, we will definitely convey your regards and the regards of Comrade Honecker.
Many thanks for the valuable and good words. We wish you much success in your responsible work, fortune, and especially sound health.
 Ministry for State Security
 SED = Socialist Unity Party of Germany
A discussion about cooperation between the East German Stasi and North Korea's Ministry of State Security, including GDR aid to the DPRK.
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].