June 6, 1959
Notes taken during a Meeting between Enver Hoxha and Choe Yong-geon
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
NOTES TAKEN DURING THE MEETING ORGANIZED AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE CC BY THE FIRST SECRETARY OF THE APL CC, COMRADE ENVER HOXHA, WITH THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE PEOPLES ASSEMBLY OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA, COMRADE CHOE YONG-GEON AND THE PERSONALITIES THAT ACCOMPANY HIM ON JUNE 6, 1959
From our side there were also these attendees at the meeting: Comrades [Chairman of the Council of Ministers and member of the Albanian Party of Labor (APL) Central Committee (CC) Politburo] Mehmet Shehu, [Member APL CC Politburo and CC Secretary] Hysni Kapo, [First Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Minister of People’s Defense and member of the APL CC Politburo] Beqir Balluku, Liri Belishova, [First Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Member of the APL CC Politburo] Spiro Koleka, and [Member of the APL CC Politburo and CC Secretary] Haki Toska.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We are extremely happy, Korean comrades, to receive, in our country, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s exalted People’s Assembly, Comrade Choe Yong-geon [Choe Yong Gon], the right hand of [General Secretary of the Korean Workers’ Party] Comrade Kim Il Sung, a treasured friend of the Albanian people.
Our people love very much the Korean people, because it is a heroic and wise people and we have great admiration for it and your heroic Workers’ Party, and for our dear friend Comrade Kim Il Sung. When Comrade Kim Il Sung came to Albania, the people of Albania were extremely happy and they will never forget his visit to our country, just like the Albanians that visited Korea will never in their lifetime forget that visit and the warm, sincere and loving reception that was extended to us there.
How are comrades Kim Il Sung, Nam Il, and Pak Jeong-ae [Pak Jong Ae]?
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: They are very well.
Comrade Kim Il Sung asked me to transmit our most sincere greetings to Comrade Enver Hoxha, Comrade Mehmet Shehu, and to the other comrades of your CC and Government.
We take the opportunity of this visit to thank you with all our hearts, in the name of the people and the Korean Workers’ Party for the great assistance you extended during the war and even after it.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: Our assistance was very small, but was of greater importance was the point that we were with the Korean people with our hearts and our spirit, and this love for your heroic people “not even the cannons can budge, “as a saying in our country goes.
Now in Albania the people are working well and we can say that we have achieved some good results not only in our industry and agriculture, but also in the fields of education, culture, etc. Thanks to the struggle and unending work of our people, and the very great assistance of the Soviet Union as well as the assistance of the brother peoples of the popular democracies and brave Korea, we have been able to make the living standards of the Albanian people better.
We have been able to, more or less, build our industry well, though it was almost non-existent before. We are developing our mining industry, especially our petrol industry, and are collectivizing our agriculture. By next year, the collectivization of the low-lying fields will be more or less finished. We have done a lot of work and are continuing to do a lot for the reclamation of the fields. This will be a great gain for Albania because in the past many of the fields were under swamps, but we are building a lot of irrigation just like you are doing. Of course, our irrigation projects are small, not large like in your country. Nonetheless, we are building plenty of them and our people are completely mobilized for the completion of such objects because it sees the advantage in them and also sees the reality of their lives getting better and better each year. In other words, our people care about the future.
Our party is very strong, just like yours.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: That is what is important.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: Our party is committed to follow the course of Marxism-Leninism, closely attached to the people, to the Soviet Union and to all of the other communist and labor sister parties. It is unwavering in the struggle against revisionism and especially against the struggle against the Yugoslav revisionists and the opportunists of every color. And our party is especially vigilant against the revisionists because we are right next to them; they lie right next to our border.
The Yugoslav revisionists are brutal enemies of communism and our entire camp, but they are especially brutal against our party and people. But our party and people also make one unified fist. They have withstood all of their attempts against us. The struggle against the Yugoslav revisionism has tempered our party.
During the last few days our people have been celebrating a grand occasion. We have had the indescribable happiness of the chance to have Comrade N.S. Khrushchev pay a visit to Albania. Our people used this occasion to once again show the great love it has for the Soviet Union, for the great party of Lenin, for Comrade Khrushchev.
Comrade Khrushchev went everywhere in Albania. He met the people, the workers, the peasants, the intellectuals, the youth, etc. He saw the economic achievements, the industry and the agriculture, and did not have a bad opinion of it, in fact he thought highly of them. This was a great encouragement for our party and our people. Of course, this is not going to get to our heads (laughter), because we know that we still have much to do, because we know that we have a lot of weaknesses and flaws in our work, because we still have plenty of difficulties to overcome. That is why we need to continue our struggle, make more efforts, and have an even stricter organization.
But the visit by Comrade Khrushchev multiplied our efforts. He pointed out to us that Albania, no matter how small she is, is still of great importance. He warned the enemies that surround us that despite its size Albania cannot be touched because any attempts against her will be considered as an attempt against the wholeness of the entire socialist camp.
Furthermore, the happiness of our people continues on now that in its midst it finds the dear and loving Korean friends with Comrade Choe Yong-geon leading them. Your visit is another assistance that comes to our people and it fills them with courage and faith in their work, because they see how strong it becomes in the midst of the great socialist camp. That is why, in the name of the Albanian people, our party and our government we thank with all our heart your CC and government, and personally Comrade Choe Yong-geon who came to fill our hearts with happiness with his visit in our country, in the midst of the Albanian people.
That is why we should drink a toast to our everlasting friendship with the heroic brother people of Korea, to Comrade Kim Il Sung, to Comrade Choe Yong-geon and the comrades that accompany him, and to the glorious Korean and Albanian peoples.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: Before I set off for Albania, I met Comrade Khrushchev in Budapest, who told me that when I go to Albania I would be seeing an extraordinarily great people.
While we were talking to Comrade Haxhi Lleshi in the reception organized on the occasion of our visit, he brought us up to speed for the marvelous successes that the Albanian people have achieved in the construction of socialism. Fortunately, yesterday, I had the chance to visit your textile plant. I met many workers and was introduced to the great successes of this object. The very warm reception by the workers of the plant made a great impression on me. We noticed the discipline there was very good, despite the fact that the plant is very new. At that time I kept thinking that the peoples of both our countries, Albania and Korea, have suffered greatly in the past, yet they are still facing even stronger enemies. Our peoples are the ones that have to lead on the fight against these enemies.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We are at the forefront of the struggle.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: Our peoples are strong because they are strong ideologically, because they have a common ideology, Marxism-Leninism. That is why the tempo of work of the working class in Korea and in Albania is the same.
Just like the Albanian people, the Korean people did not inherit any industry one can talk about from the past. The old generation left us a weak and primitive industry. While visiting you textile plant, I was thinking how we could progress even further with the help of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.
Of course, our people are still living under low standards of life, but despite this situation we can still progress further and achieve the level of the developed countries. We have now many chances to achieve this goal and our peoples are both very ready to follow this course.
In the past, agriculturally, Korea used to be a backward country but within a very short time she progressed to a developed industrial-agrarian country and in 4 or 5 years we will be able to become a developed industrial country. Now, all the people of the socialist countries are following this same course that the parties of our countries have started.
We heard while visiting the textile plant that the efficiency of work there rose by 15% compared to last year. This shows that the pace of development in Albania is very rapid.
We are cooperating ever more with each other. Both our countries stand in forward positions, one on the eastern shores of the camp and the other on the western side. They walk next to each other on a common course. The duty of the forward patrol is a very important one.
In 1956 there was the counterrevolution in Hungary. Yet, despite that event there was no wavering in Albania, despite the fact that she borders capitalist countries and Yugoslavia. As Comrade Khrushchev has said, Albania is a strong nest in the defense of our socialist camp. This means that Albania is very strong and she always stands at the helm of the defense of our camp, and especially in the defense of peace in the Balkans.
In our party, in 1956, there was also a conspiracy to destroy it from the inside. But thanks to the vigilance of our party, the conspirators were discovered and the conspiracy was eliminated. So in our country the situation is also very stable. That is why both our countries, one in the east and the other in the west, have played an extremely important role.
In today’s situation, it is not important whether a country or a people are small or large. What is important is whether it stands on a healthy position or not. Despite the fact that both our people are small, their strength is great. That is why I propose that we drink this toast to the further strengthening of our socialist camp.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: In Korea, I do not doubt, there must be great changes since the last time we were there in 1956, whether in the industrial sector, or in agriculture and other sectors.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: Yes, there are many changes.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We continually read in the press about the new and numerous factories that have been built, about the new agricultural cooperatives, about the canalization and irrigation projects, and we think that this shows that great progress has been achieved there. You have completed one hundred percent of your collectivization and this is due to the great strength of your people and your party. We saw for ourselves what a good and heroic people you are. You are a hard-working, simple, wise, clean and educated people that love with all their heart the Soviet Union.
We will never forget the impressions that we had from the visit to your country, the good impression that your people made on us. Despite the great and destructive war that was waged there, despite the great human losses that you suffered, your people stand resolute.
We can still very vividly recall your beautiful fields, planted so skillfully with rice as if they were carpets. Not a single wild weed could be seen left on your rice fields. The Chinese also work well with their rice, but the work and the care that the Koreans do for their rice is better and this helps you have a higher level of efficiency.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: When you visited our country, the pace of construction had yet to reach the necessary level.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: The destroyed cities that we saw then being reconstructed we believe must be finished by now?
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: They are almost finished, but you are welcome to come back and take a look at them.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We would love to.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: By coming and visiting one another, we will be able to exchange our experiences at mutual gain.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: Nothing is better than mutual visits. Through the press and books a person can learn a lot of things, but when you are in direct contact with the life of a country and its people, when you exchange your experiences with them, when you give and take advice, that is what is best.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: Especially we, the weaker ones, must cooperate even better with each other.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: But now, as you also said Comrade President, are no longer weak because we are one billion strong and have a common head and heart, the Soviet Union. Comrade Khrushchev said to our Italian and Greek “friends” that it is not a good thing that they have decided to place in their countries bases that can launch missiles, because we have the ability, not only with missiles, but with rocks, to turn them into ashes from Albania within two hours.
Since when Comrade Khrushchev visited our country, new marvelous perspectives were opened for the further development of Albania. He likes our country very much, especially its climate, the sun.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: The people too.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: The people and the party above all. He advised us to further develop our agriculture, especially fruit production, as well as our mining activities. His visit was of immense help to us because he got to see the country firsthand. Our people were very lucky indeed because they got to see the light thanks to the Soviet Union that encouraged its efforts. We can now clearly see the perspectives that await us and we are fully confident that we will successfully build socialism and so, all of us together, as Comrade Khrushchev has said, we will continue on to communism.
Our enemies, the imperialists and the revisionists, are afraid of our steely unity around the Soviet Union. But this unity is unmovable and every year that goes by it will become ever stronger from Korea and all the way to Albania.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: This unity of ours will never waver.
The impression that I got from my visits to the socialist countries is that our countries will arrive at communism at the same time by getting assistance from the Soviet Union. The words of Comrade Khrushchev in relation to the passage of the relatively less developed countries into communism at the same time with the more developed countries are being proven true. That is why we are becoming ever stronger.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We are very strong. The enemies cannot hurt us.
Comrade Khrushchev characterized the international situation well. It is developing ever more in our favor, while the position of the imperialists is becoming ever weaker. We have achieved that greatest hope that humanity has held—the time when wars can be avoided—and the merit for this belongs to the Soviet Union. And how can all the peoples of the world not love the Soviet Union that fights to avoid and eliminate wars, the Soviet Union that fights to avoid and eliminate wars between the people and to weaken those very forces that case those wars, capitalism and imperialism? This is becoming possible thanks to the strength of the Soviet Union and of our powerful camp that it leads, thanks to our great economic and military strength.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: If we can continue on for ten more years without wars, then wars will be avoided forever.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: The imperialists, and especially the capitalists that surround us, could never have thought possible that a small country like Albania, which in the past they would use as a bargaining chip or could attack and do with as they wished, could become untouchable like a strong castle. Witness this time that has come when Albania cannot be touched by anyone anymore, just like Korea cannot be touched, or any other socialist country for that matter.
For three full years the imperialists, including the American, English, French, etc. and even the Turks who are our neighbors, repeated their attacks on the DPRK but they were dealt powerful punches by the heroic Korean people. They were dealt powerful punches that they will never forget.
The peoples of the socialist countries will never forget the great sacrifices of the glorious people of Korea and the heroics of its army. We saw with our own eyes the cities and villages of your country so much destroyed from the war and how they began to be rebuilt and restored to an even better condition. This became possible by the great strength of your people and party, by the great, unwavering strength of Marxism-Leninism. When we visited Korea we met many Korean mothers that had lost their sons and daughters in the predatory war of the imperialists. They stood strong with great courage like granite rocks. The memories that we keep from those meetings are very touching.
Our people have heard about these stories and have felt them in their hearts. When the brother Korean people fought, our people relived their terrible national liberation war and though they lived here, their hearts were with you in your country.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: I saw for myself the feelings of the fighting party of the Albanian people.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: On this issue, the feelings of the Albanian people are very similar to yours. It is only the language that differs. Everything else is similar.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: It is true. Both our people have many similarities between them.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: They can split mountains apart. When we saw how you had split mountains during the war times to build factories and plants deep within them, we considered this a clear indication that showed the smartness, the physical strength and the unconquerable will of your people.
You visited our textile plant, but we also visited your textile plant in Pyongyang. It was a colossal plant that produces 60 million square meters. Our plant is the young son of yours.
In Korea we also saw no only the great love and sympathy that the Korean workers had for our people, but also the love and sympathy of the intellectual girls of your country that had studied alongside our girls in the schools of the Soviet Union and who had never forgotten their Albanian friends. They thought of them with great love.
I also remember the leader of a kolkhoz where we went to visit. He was a very good person, decorated with war medals. He had visited Albania and had never forgotten the great love that our people have for the Korean people.
We met one of your generals who had heroically fought in the liberation war against the ravenous imperialists and who after the war had been out in charge of managing a chemical plant in Pyongyang. He showed great love for our people.
All this are the fruits of the labor of the heroic the Korea Workers’ Party and the correct course of the CC with Comrade Kim Il Sung at its helm.
We were very enthused to hear that you dealt a heavy blow to the revisionist and opportunist conspirators. We were happy for you because we know well the danger that comes from such elements. The Yugoslavs have undertaken many such acts against us through their agents within our party. The Yugoslavs tried hard to get these agents, who had even infiltrated the CC, to do the same thing that the conspirators tried to do in your party. But our CC liquidated these attempts from the start. It unmasked them and these agents admitted on their own that they were connected with the Yugoslavs and that they worked under Tito’s orders. Their intention was the destruction of our party.
The Yugoslav revisionists are fuming because they cannot find even the smallest bit of support for them from within our party and people. Despite the failures they have suffered in their intentions, they continue to this day to send in armed infiltrators to commit assassinations and sabotage in our country. They have gathered in Yugoslav land, along our borders, all the Albanian fascists that left the country during the occupation, traitorous elements, and adversaries of ours and have organized them into bands against us. But no matter how hard they try, our borders are untouchable.
They are trying to prove that allegedly the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Albania, etc. are not united in the common struggle against the Yugoslav revisionists. But the fact is that we have a full common unity in this issue and this is shown by what Comrade Khrushchev and Comrade Mao Zedong have said.
You have heard about the demonstrations that the Yugoslav students have organized in Belgrade and Skopje. There have also been dead and wounded in these demonstrations that number up to 150 people. The economic situation in Yugoslavia is immensely difficult. This is the result of their revisionism, while in our countries where we are successfully building socialism there are no economic crises, no unemployment, and the standards of living for the workers rises continually. Our countries follow without hesitation the successful example of the Soviet Union in the area of the development of agriculture and industry in our conditions and in the area of the further progress of the collectivization of agriculture. Look, comrades, what great successes have we, Korea, Albania and the other socialist countries, achieved because we are following the correct course!
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: We have walked and will always do so in this course full of successes.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: That is because we have taken and gained from the great experience of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Our countries do not know crises anymore. In our countries the industrial and agricultural production levels grow steadily, while on the other hand prices fall every year and the supplying of the people in the villages and cities becomes ever better. This is the result of the correct road of our party, while in Yugoslavia, where the revisionists are in charge, there are demonstrations because of food shortages.
The revisionist Yugoslav leaders like to say that in Yugoslavia the people are governing themselves. This is hogwash. Only in our countries do the people govern themselves. In Yugoslavia the managers of the enterprises are the capitalists, in the village things are run by the kulaks, and at the helm of the government are the revisionists.
Tito spent $45 million during his last trip in the countries of Asia and Africa. It was as if he were Sultan Hamid. While he was in Abyssinia alone he gave out 5000 gold watches to the Abyssinian officers. He had taken over 100 suits to use during this very costly trip. These colossal expenses and such a disregard for the wealth of the people have left a very bad impression on the Yugoslav people. But at this point it is very clear that the revisionist Yugoslav leaders are sworn enemies of socialism and our camp.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: The people will never forgive these actions by the Tito clique.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: It will certainly not forgive them because the Yugoslav people are brave fighters and now they find themselves in very difficult living conditions.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: The overthrow of Tito’s reign is not far off.
Comrade Enver Hoxha: We thank you very much for your visit, dear comrades, and we consider this as a great assistance that is being given to our people. You have slated a very short period of time to spend in Albania. It is our very sincere desire that it be longer, that it be pleasant. We will try that these few days of your stay be utilized well so that you may have a chance to know as much as possible about our people, our economy, and the culture of our country.
Comrade Choe Yong-geon: I will utilize my visit to Albania to learn as much as possible about your country and from the experience of your people. For this we thank you very much.
Enver Hoxha and Choe Yeonggeon discuss industry and socialist development in North Korea and Albania while disproving of revisionism.
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