November 8, 1972
Note on Information by the Head of the 1st Department of the DPRK Foreign Ministry, Comrade Kim Jae-suk, on 31 October 1972 for Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of the GDR, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
GDR Embassy to DPRK
Pyongyang, 08 November 1972
N o t e
On an Information by the Head of the 1st Department of the DPRK Foreign Ministry,
Comrade Kim Jae-suk [Kim Jae Suk], on 31 October 1972 for Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors of the GDR, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria
The 2nd Secretary of the Embassy, Comrade Barthel, attended this briefing on behalf of the GDR Embassy in the DPRK since Acting Ambassador Comrade Merten was not available.
The head of the 1st Department requested the presence of the Ambassadors and Acting Ambassadors to inform about the course of the 3rd Main Negotiation of the Red Cross talks between North and South Korea on 24 October 1972 [in Pyongyang].
He explained that negotiations were held in public in the morning and during a closed session in the afternoon. After the recent declaration of martial law in South Korea they took place in difficult times. For both sides the 3rd Main Negotiation served the purpose to state their opinions and proposals about the first item on the Red Cross talks’ agenda, namely the search for separated relatives. The DPRK expressed its position that issues on the agenda of the Red Cross talks will only be solved conclusively when the question of Korea’s unification is settled as well. It argued that those problems are a result of the country’s division, and therefore they can only be solved through overcoming this division. In contrast, the South Korean side just made proposals limited to strictly humanitarian issues. Then Comrade Kim explained the DPRK’s five basic principles and four proposals on the first agenda item, as already known through press publications. He stated that those principles fully reflect the desires of the nation and are in accordance with the spirit of the Joint Declaration of North and South from the 4th of July and the principles of humanity.
Concerning the position taken by the South Korean side he declared, as stated above, that it was limited to purely humanitarian questions. The South Koreans argued the Red Cross is a humanitarian organization based on the principles of humanity and neutrality. Thus the South Korean Red Cross could only provide helpful services, but not contribute towards removing legal and social obstacles to a solution on the question of searches for relatives, as demanded by the DPRK. The South Korean side just proposed to establish an office in Panmunjeom and organize an exchange of forms to identify the existence and addresses of separated relatives. He [Kim] commented, apparently the South Koreans are afraid of meetings between their people and DPRK citizens.
The South Korean side dismissed the DPRK’s proposals to remove legal and social obstacles to a search for separated relatives as not relevant to the issue. It said with such proposals the DPRK would violate previous agreements. During the closed afternoon session the DPRK protested against this slander and criticized the South Korean side for its superficial proposals. Its slander of the DPRK would be tantamount to non-compliance with previous agreements. Therefore the DPRK repeated its proposals during the closed session. The South Koreans justified their position with the argument that the Red Cross is not legitimized to convey South Korean official political statements or implement social changes. They recognized that the issues to be solved by the Red Cross are closely related to the country’s unification but they refused to commit to further steps. Following a South Korean demand, negotiations were subsequently adjourned. As already reported to the press, there was agreement to admit five more journalists each to the next round of negotiations.
Comrade Kim elaborated that the “adversary” attempted to solicit DPRK opinions on the declaration of martial law in South Korea during unofficial conversations. Such exchanges came about on the initiative of the South Koreans. There they contended that the announcement of those [emergency] measures [in the ROK] was actually supportive to the Red Cross talks and would contribute towards achieving the goal of Korean unification.
Then Comrade Kim made further remarks about some marginal occurring during the stay of the South Korean delegation. According to DPRK assessment, about 50 percent of delegation members and 80 percent of journalists were agents of South Korean intelligence services. It turned out that they did not speak their opinions freely when they appeared in groups. Yet in individual conversations, like during a car ride, a major part of the delegates made respectful statements about the Juche idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung. One journalist said that no Korean is against the Juche idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung. South Koreans as well despise pandering towards great powers and are against a dependence on foreigners. One adviser to the delegation asked for books about the revolutionary personal history of Comrade Kim Il Sung and for his collected works to study, as he said, the Juche idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung. Another adviser stated: “Every Korean knows that Kim Il Sung conducted a long and hard anti-Japanese struggle and everybody respects him for that. The policy of Comrade Kim Il Sung is a good policy for the people. We South Koreans have been raised as anti-communists. Yet if that, what we saw in North Korea, is communism then this is not bad. Kim Il Sung is a true man of the people, and the Korean people should be proud and happy to have him.”
Another example for how respectful members of the South Korean delegation and the journalists behaved towards the Juche idea of Comrade Kim Il Sung: During the visit to the Great Museum of the Korean Revolution one journalist continuously taped the explanations presented by the guides. Some South Koreans stated the Korean communists are actually the real patriots. When they visited the opera “O Forest – Please Tell Us” a major part of them were moved to tears. Some of them said the South Korean young people under the age of 28 no longer know what home and nation means. Unification must come about during the lifetime of Comrade Kim Il Sung without foreign interference and in an independent process. Through this visit the delegation could enrich its knowledge about the DPRK and was impressed about its superiority. Yet there also were some delegation members and journalists who were “reactionary gangsters and anti-communists.” For instance, one of them made a statement by walking out of the movie “The Girl from the Diamond Mountains” and locked himself in his room because this movie shows the responsibility of U.S. imperialists for Korea’s division.
In conclusion, Comrade Kim informed that the next round of negotiations will be held on 22 November 1972 in Seoul. The DPRK is expecting controversial discussions due to serious differences in respective proposals. Despite sticking to its principled positions, the DPRK is still eager to achieve a positive conclusion of these negotiations as soon as possible. Kim requested the support of socialist fraternal countries for the DPRK to isolate the South Korean puppets and this way exert pressure on them.
Note: In the course of his statement Comrade Kim frequently used terms like “the adversary” and “puppets.”
1x Foreign Ministry, Far Eastern Department
1x Central Committee, Department IV
1x Embassy, Political Department
Kim Jae-suk provides a brief on the Third Main Negotiation of the Red Cross talks between North and South Korea, noting South Korea's position and its delegates' behavior.
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