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April 14, 1969

Record of a Conversation with Kim Il Sung, General Secretary of the KWP CC and Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers

This document was made possible with support from Kyungnam University

[CPSU CC stamp;
12 JUNE 1969]


Copy Nº 2


10 June 1969   



from the journal


with Kim Il Sung, General Secretary of the KWP CC and Chairman of the DPRK Cabinet of Ministers

14 April 1969

The conversation with Cde. Kim Il Sung was held at our initiative.


1. In accordance with instructions, I passed Cde. Kim Il Sung congratulations on [his] 57th birthday in the name of Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev, N. V. Podgornyy, and A. N. Kosygin. I said that Embassy officials and all Soviet people working in the DPRK join in the congratulations of the Party and government leaders of the Soviet Union.


Kim Il Sung asked that [his] gratitude be passed to the CPSU CC, the Soviet government, the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, and to Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev, N. V. Podgornyy, and A. N. Kosygin personally for the fraternal congratulations on the occasion of [his] birthday.


2. I reported in preliminary fashion that in accordance with an agreement, the arrival of Cde. N. V. Podgornyy, the Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, on an official visit is planned for 12 or 14 May of this year. The exact date of the start of the visit will be coordinated somewhat later.


[There is a stamp at the end of the first page stating that “the material is informative and the CPSU CC Department has been familiarized with [it]. 3 July 1969. To the archives” and some illegible handwritten signatures and “Pozdnyak”].


Kim Il Sung greeted this report with satisfaction, and stressed that he welcomes the upcoming visit of Cde. N. V. Podgornyy to the DPRK and that the timeframes we named are convenient for the Korean side.


I passed to Cde. Kim Il Sung Cde. A. A. Gromyko’s gratitude for the invitation to visit the DPRK. I said that Cde. A. A. Gromyko had received the invitation, and that the date of the visit would be refined.


I noted that, in turn, they would be glad to receive Cde. Pak Song Chol in Moscow as a guest of the Soviet government.


Kim Il Sung declared that such trips are a very good and useful thing.


I expressed gratitude to Cde. Kim Il Sung for the warm reception given the Soviet naval delegation in the DPRK at the present time by the Korean comrades.


Kim Il Sung noted that they are reporting to him about the progress of the talks between DPRK and Soviet Navy representatives. He said, we have no comments on the substance of the talks. We think that it would not to be bad to conclude an agreement and have ties with the Pacific Ocean Fleet of the Soviet Union.


3. In accordance with instructions I familiarized Cde. Kim Il Sung with the content of the 11 April 1969 letter of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev addressed to him personally which spoke of the perfidious acts of the group of Mao Zedong in connection with the military provocations on the Soviet-Chinese border and the need to influence the Beijing regime from various sides, and passed him the text.


I expressed the opinion that Cde. Kim Il Sung has great opportunities to call Beijing to reason and influence the Chinese to not complicate the situation in accordance with our suggestion to renew consultations with the Soviet Union on border questions.


Kim Il Sung expressed gratitude for passing him the letter of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and familiarizing him with it.


As far as I remembered, he said, the letter expresses a desire for us to exercise political influence on Beijing. I should say frankly that this is very difficult for us to do, [as] we will hardly be able to influence the Chinese. I have repeatedly said that our relations with the Chinese are bad. In the very letter of Cde. Brezhnev it notes that incidents are arising on the Korean-Chinese border. What influence can we exert on China? We would like to find a mediator ourselves who could settle questions with the Chinese.


I said that one might call Beijing to reason in an acceptable form in one way or another, and to publish a Statement of the Soviet government.


Kim Il Sung replied that the KWP CC did not consider it advisable to place reports in newspapers about the clashes on the Korean-Chinese border, especially as it is difficult to do this about the Chinese-Soviet incidents.


I asked Cde. Kim Il Sung to again consider the question of publishing the proposals of the Soviet government about holding consultations with the Chinese in Korean newspapers. This would also be a certain form of influence since the Chinese would understand that the DPRK do not approve of their actions.


Kim Il Sung noted that Korean citizens listen to Moscow Radio, read Soviet newspapers, and therefore they are aware of events, in spite of the fact that the DPRK press reports nothing about them.


[He] said further that Cde. L. I. Brezhnev’s letter will be discussed in the KWP CC Politburo, a meeting of which will be held tomorrow, 15 April.


Kim Il Sung noted that the KWP CC Politburo will discuss this question while taking into consideration [how] the DPRK’s relations with China have developed.


While we have not found a way out, said Kim Il Sung, we do not know how to decide even those questions which have arisen between us and the Chinese. We can’t manage to find a common language with them. It’s very difficult to talk with them right now. Our line with respect to China comes down to the following.


First, the very first thing is not to give cause for complications and not to give in to the provocations of the Chinese. We are behaving calmly.

Second, we do not plan to bow [our] head and be brought to [our] knees before Beijing. We don’t want to take off [our] hat and bow to the Chinese.


This is the course which we are following in our relations with China.


I noted that the question raised in the letter of Cde. L. I. Brezhnev goes beyond the bounds of Soviet-Chinese relations alone and has importance for all the socialist countries.


I understand this, said Kim Il Sung. But if you don’t want to take off [your] hat before China yourselves, I also don’t want to do this.


Kim Il Sung repeated that it is necessary to continue to study the situation. He said, border conflicts, arise not only on the Soviet-Chinese [border], but also on the Korean-Chinese border. In such conditions it is necessary to pursue a cautious line, and not aggravate the situation. Don’t think that we don’t share your position or oppose it when we don’t publish Soviet statements in our newspapers. The DPRK is in a difficult situation itself. We stand face to face with American imperialism. We have difficult questions in the relations with the Chinese. In South Korea they know that our relations with the Chinese have worsened. South Korean propaganda jokes that we are isolated and don’t enjoy the support of China. Park Chung-hee is using this for his purposes. While confronting the Americans we cannot report in the press about incidents on the Soviet-Chinese and Korean-Chinese borders. We have decided to publish nothing about these questions. If provocations took place from the US imperialists or the West German revanchists we would report about them.


4. I informed Cde. Kim Il Sung of the progress and the results of the meeting of the Commission to Prepare the Documents of the International Conference of Communist and Worker’s Parties, and noted that the participants of the preparatory commission again appealed to all the of Communist and Worker’s Parties to take part in the Conference.


I reported that in the near future the KWP CC would be given the text of the draft main document of the Conference in the sections of which questions relating to the DPRK are touched upon and covered in the tones most favorable for the DPRK. I said that the Korean comrades can state their remarks and wishes on the draft main document if they arise.


I stressed that, as before, the CPSU CC holds to the opinion that the participation in the Conference of representatives of the KWP would have great importance for strengthening the ranks of the international Communist movement, and would meet the interests of the KWP.


Kim Il Sung said that when the draft of the main document is passed to the KWP CC it will be studied. If we remain silent, he added, it will mean that we have no remarks. As regards our attitude toward the Conference this question has been repeatedly covered in conversations. We are continuing to study this. In addition, Pak Song Chol will probably soon go to Moscow and explain our position personally.


5. Cde. Kim Il Sung touched on two questions of a military nature at his own initiative.


He requested an acceleration of the delivery of weapons stipulated by the Soviet-Korean Agreement.


Kim Il Sung then reported that, according to data of the DPRK MVT [Ministry of Foreign Trade], the Soviet side has increased the price for powder. If this is so, he said, then it will be hard for the DPRK to make cartridges and shells. Referring to an absence of production, the Soviet Union is not supplying the DPRK with some kinds of shells, for example for the 100 mm and 30 mm anti-aircraft guns. The DPRK is forces to manufacture these shells itself. But if the price for powder is increased then new difficulties arise.


Kim Il Sung noted that he plans to write a letter about this to Cde. L. I. Brezhnev and send to the USSR with the DPRK ambassador, who is in Pyongyang at the present time.


6. Kim Il Sung reported that he had given instructions to put off the trip to Moscow of a group of KWP CC South Korean Bureau officials for some time to hold talks about deliveries from the USSR to the DPRK of some kinds of special military equipment, inasmuch as comrades from the Bureau had much work with a large group of cadre workers who had arrived from South Korea.


At the same time he stressed that he hopes for a favorable resolution of the questions raised by the Korean side, the main ones of which were the deliveries of the engines for high-speed cutters and communications devices. Kim Il Sung said, these questions are hard to solve within the framework of trade turnover. Of course, they could be solved through military channels, but we think that it is better to discuss and decide  these questions between our Parties.


In Kim Il Sung’s words, a delegation is going to Moscow, possibly in May of this year. He asked that the Korean comrades be given help and support in the performance of their mission. Kim Il Sung said, the new KWP CC Secretary who handles South Korean questions, is by nature a very modest person, and he is completely unable to insist on anything.X)


x) A group of Korean comrades headed by Lyu Dyan Sik[sic] has gone to Moscow about this question.


7. Kim Il Sung said confidentially that the appropriate DPRK organs have intercepted information materials of the South Korean intelligence directorate which demonstrate that officials of the UAR and Indonesian Embassies in Pyongyang (who exactly, he did not name), in contact with members of the diplomatic corps, for example, with the Poles, are getting partial information about DPRK military secrets. Some of this information goes to Indonesia, and from there to Seoul. It is known that South Korean intelligence gives orders to the General Consul of South Korea in Indonesia to verify the validity of particular facts relating to the DPRK through the diplomatic corps in Pyongyang.


Kim Il Sung asked that if the opportunity presents itself, display initiative and tactfully direct the attention of the ambassadors of the socialist countries to this.


He added that the DPRK MFA had given instructions to limit the trips of diplomats of the UAR and Indonesia around the country even more. The DPRK is a small country, and therefore it might be easy to note military facilities, and officials of these embassies try “to get wind of” where military bases, missile installations, and other military facilities are situated in the DPRK.


I said that I will bear Cde. Kim Il Sung’s report in mind.*)


Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs [Ho Dam] and Chief of a KWP CC Sector Choe Won [Sik] were present at the conversation.


The conversation was recorded by A. D. Putivets, Second Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in the DPRK.

[N. Sudarikov]


1 – Cde. V. V. Kuznetsov
2 – Cde. K. V. Rusakov
3 – Cde. V. I. Likhachev
4 – to file
10 June 1969 Nº 362



*) An appropriate briefing was given to all officials of the Soviet Embassy at an operation meeting of the diplomatic staff.



Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sought the help of Kim Il Sung in influencing China, which was in a border dispute with the Soviet Union. Requesting that they "exercise political influence on Peking."


Document Information


Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI), Fond 5, Opis 61, Delo. 462, Listi 95-101. Obtained by Sergey Radchenko and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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Memorandum of Conversation


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Kyungnam University and Institute for Korean Studies, Ohio State University