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April 13, 1955

Record of a Conversation with Editor of the Journal “Novaya Koreya” Song Jin-hwa

This document was made possible with support from ROK Ministry of Unification


Copy Nº 1


Embassy Counsellor  
A. M. Petrov and 1
st Secretary
I. S. Byakov



Record of a conversation

with editor of the journal "Novaya Koreya"

Song Jin-hwa


6 April 1955


Song Jin-hwa came to our apartment for dinner at our invitation together with M. A. Petrov, our adviser at the editorial office of the journal "Novaya Koreya". Song Jin-hwa was present as a guest at the 10th KWP CC plenum.


In the conversation which took place Song Jin-hwa shared impressions of the results of the plenum. He noted in particular that a brochure was distributed before the start of the plenum's work whose author was Kim Il Sung. It consisted of three parts: 1) the nature of the Korean revolution at the current stage; 2) the ways of developing socialism in North Korea; and 3) the situation in South Korea. This brochure was the points of the first part of Kim Il Sung's report at the plenum. It was taken from everyone at the end of the plenum's work along with the credentials. According to the first two issues of the agenda, "The further strengthening of class education of Party members" and "Rooting out bureaucratism in the work of Party and government organizations", Kim Il Sung made the report.


In reply to our questions of how Kim Il Sung defined the nature of the Korean revolution at the current stage, Song Jin-hwa replied that Kim Il Sung thinks that the period of an anti-feudal, anti-imperialist revolution has ended in North Korea and now the period of development of the foundations of socialism is beginning. The main means of this development are industrialization of the DPRK, the creation and development of heavy industry, primarily the metallurgical, coal, machinebuilding, and chemical industries and further electrification of the country. In the area of agriculture, further cooperativization of peasant farms in order to basically complete the cooperation of all peasants in the next five or six years.


As regards of South Korea, the goal is to constantly have an effect on the growth of a popular democratic movement in South Korea and to help the South Korean people in their liberation struggle against American imperialism and the Syngman Rhee clique.


In his report and closing speech Kim Il Sung stressed the great difficulties on the path to developing foundations of socialism in the DPRK. As Kim Il Sung pointed out, the main difficulties are in the weakness of senior officials. Many among them are infected with bureaucratic methods of work, conceit, arrogance, and negligent attitude toward people. The vestiges of Japanese methods of management are far from being eliminated. Kim Il Sung said that an officer of the People's Army behaves like a Japanese officer, an MVD official like a Japanese policeman, and an official of a state institution like a Japanese bureaucrat. In the Soviet Union and China the situation with personnel is better; there are many people and the choice range is large, but here the choice is small since there are few people. Kim Il Sung raised the issue in this regard of more broadly expanding the work to train personnel and educate them in the spirit of uncompromising struggle against all hostile elements and groups.


In replying to the question of which hostile groups were mentioned at the plenum, Song Jin-hwa replied that Kim Il Sung spoke about many groups which existed both during the period of the anti-Japanese national liberation struggle and those after the liberation of Korea, in particular about the Pak Heon-yeong and Ri Seung-yup groups, who embarked upon the path of wrecking Party measures and betraying the interests of our country to the American imperialists. Many Korean leaders who previously worked in other countries turned out to be decadent careerist elements. Kim Il Sung said, for example, Hegai, who arrived from the Soviet Union, presented himself as a very experienced and theoretically trained Soviet Korean official, spoke on behalf of all Soviet Koreans, and sought a special position. When [we] checked through the other Soviet Koreans it turned out that no one had authorized him for this. We did well in isolating him in time. It was the same with the groups of Pak Il-u, Pang Ho-san and some others who came from China.


Pak Il-u, in particular, spread the opinion that he had been appointed by Mao Zedong to the joint headquarters of the Korean-Chinese command and that it was supposedly not subordinate to the command of the Korean People's Army. This is why Pak Il-u's group tried to oppose itself to the Korean leadership and discredit the work of the Soviet military specialists.


Song Jin-hwa said, Kim Il Sung thinks that Pak Il-u and his supporters ought to be given a last chance to disarm themselves [razoruzhit'sya] and take correct positions in work and perspectives.


Touching on the serious food situation in the DPRK, Kim Il Sung stressed that one could form the opinion that everything is bad in the country, that all of us are bureaucrats, embezzlers of state property, thieves, and extremists. Only fools and IML-ers [Translator's note: imelovtsy, graduates of the CPSU CC Institute of Marxism-Leninism], Korean Trotskyites, can think that way. Our successes in industry and agriculture are great, but in many cases these successes are being exaggerated. For example, the 1954 grain harvest was determined to be 3 million tons, but in fact it was no more than 2.3 million tons. Pointing out Pak Chang-ok and Kim Il sitting in the Presidium, Kim Il Sung then said even Pak Chang-ok and Kim Il gave inflated unverified information about the harvest, for which they bear responsibility although they were also deceived by local Party and government bodies.


At the end of the closing speech, which lasted about three hours, Kim Il Sung said that we should learn to overcome difficulties. The Soviet Union and People's Republic of China will not help us forever. They won't help us in the event of a big war. We have to be ready for everything ourselves.


Instead of resolutions about the first and second issues, the plenum adopted the provisions proposed in Kim Il Sung's report for guidance and implementation.


Pak Chang-ok spoke about the third issue concerning economizing the expenditure of state funds and combating the embezzlement of state property. In the decision adopted about this issue, it was proposed to fight embezzlement chiefly by persuasion.


Kim Il Sung spoke about an organizational issue. He proposed adding to the KWP CC and Political Council Choe Yong-geon, who led the Democratic Party for a long time on instructions of the KWP CC, strengthened it, and now his help is needed in the KWP CC in solving important state and Party issues. Kim Il Sung's suggestion was unanimously adopted without discussion.


According to his statement, a month before the plenum Choe Yong-geon left the Democratic Party and was released from the post of chairman of this party. Hong Gi-hwang, who has a favorable attitude toward the Soviet Union and aspires to visit the USSR, was elected in his place as chairman of the Democratic Party at a plenum of the CC of this party.


We thanked Song Jin-hwa for the conversation.


Embassy Counsellor  [signature] (A. Petrov)

First Secretary [signature] (I. Byakov)


Four copies printed
1 - to Fedorenko
2 - to the DVO
3 - to Tugarinov
4 - to file
Nº 317
Drafted by Byakov
Typed by Fokina
13 April 1955

Song Jin-hwa shares his impressions of the results of the 10th KWP CC Plenum, where the nature of the Korean revolution, the development of socialism in North Korea, and the situation in South Korea was discussed.

Document Information


RGANI fond 5, opis 28, delo 314. Translated for NKIDP by Gary Goldberg.


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Memorandum of Conversation


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ROK Ministry of Unification and Leon Levy Foundation