Report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a North Korean student's very negative description of the discussions between Kim Il Sung and Alexei Kosygin in Pyongyang in February 1965.
February 16, 1965
Record of a Conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK Comrade V.P. Moskovsky
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
Record of a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK Comrade V.P. Moskovsky about the negotiations between the Soviet delegation, led by the USSR Council of Ministers Chairman Kosygin, and the governing body of the Korean Workers Party, which took place at the USSR Embassy in Pyongyang on 16 February 1965.
Participants in the conversation: CSSR c. V. Moravec, PRH (Hungary) c J. Kovacs, PRP (Poland) c. V. Napieraj, GDR c. H. Brie, PRMo c. D. Sharav, Cuba c. L. Vigoa, and the PRB chargé ď affaires a.i. c. L. Pavlov.
C. Moskovsky said at the beginning that the Korean side initiated the delegation’s visit. During the delegation’s stay in the PRV [sic; People’s Republic of Vietnam, i.e., North Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam—ed.], the DPRK Minister of Foreign Affairs Deputy Kim Yong Nam originally invited him for a hunt on 8 February this year. On 6 February, this invitation was hastily changed to Sunday, 7 February. C. Moskovsky went with Kim Yong Nam to a remote district about 100 km from Pyongyang. Soon after their arrival, Kim Yong Nam relayed to him Kim Il Sung’s request that he finds out whether the delegation led by c. Kosygin would accept an invitation to visit the DPRK.
C. Moskovsky immediately promised to pass the request on but asked why it was necessary to discuss this matter at a hunt. Kim Yong Nam replied that they wanted to use this “common diplomatic way.”
C. Gromyko and the delegation were informed about Kim Il Sung’s wish the same evening. The delegation agreed if it could be only a two or three day excursion. The Korean side was informed about it. Then, on 10 February, the Soviet Embassy received a written invitation where the name of the delegation was not specified (a dotted line was in the place for the name), and the USSR titulary was asked to also relay to c. Kosygin that the Korean side was leaving it up to him to determine the character of the delegation (c. Moskovsky’s impression: the Korean side was apparently concerned that if they chose an inappropriate name, the invitation might not be accepted). The format of the public announcement about the delegation’s arrival was also finalized with c. Moskovsky. The delegation then decided to keep the same name it had in the PRV.
The whole time until the delegation’s arrival in Beijing, the Korean side was trying to find out how long c. Kosygin would stay in the PRC. It was a bit disappointed when it learned that the delegation would leave the PRC for the DPRK as early as on 11 February. That is, it expected longer talks in Beijing.
Out of the delegation’s stay in the DPRK, c. Moskovsky concentrated namely on the course of talks with the KWP leadership.
He said that the first meeting took place on 12 February. It was agreed at the opening of the talks that first c. Kosygin would make his presentation, and then c. Kim Il Sung would present the KWP position on the next day. During the initial conversation, a program for the delegation’s stay in the DPRK was also approved in general. Among other things, c. Kosygin requested that the program include only usual mandatory protocol actions and no other, like excursions to factories and so on. He again pointed out that the delegation could stay in the DPRK 3 days at the most.
In his 4-hour presentation, c. Kosygin talked about following issues:
• The delegation’s mission—to renew good friendly relations with the KWP and the DPRK.
• He informed the KWP leadership about the internal situation in the USSR.
• Foreign policy of the USSR.
• Actions of the CPSU CC after the October 1964 plenary session.
Right at the beginning he also pointed out that his presentation should not be taken as his subjective opinion; he was going to show in talks how the whole leadership of the CPSU views these issues and what is its position.
In the course of the conversation he then informed the KWP leadership about the situation and good results in USSR manufacturing and its successful planned development. When talking about agriculture, he pointed out a number of difficulties the CPSU faces and deals with. He said that as it appears, shortcomings of the USSR agriculture are not affecting only the USSR but are characteristic for all socialist countries. He said that practically all our countries must buy grain abroad these days. True, some countries, like Romania, sell grain after the harvest but have shortages of it soon after and must buy it back. “Even though we had a good harvest in the USSR this year, we had to buy again. Many of these difficulties were caused by Khrushchev’s incorrect directive to substitute the shortage of bread in the population’s diet with increased consumption of meat, that is, with increased slaughtering of livestock. As a result of that, we have today low numbers of livestock, and we will be able to achieve the level of 1962 only by middle of 1966.”
While talking about foreign policy, c. Kosygin informed the KWP leadership about all the most complicated problems of current international relations, and also advised it about the CPSU CC position on these issues.
He first talked about the last session of the Warsaw Pact political consultative committee. He said that it was summoned at the request of the GDR [German Democratic Republic; East Germany] on concerns of growing danger from the FRG [Federal Republic Germany; West Germany]. Kim Il Sung immediately reacted to it with a question whether the PRA [People’s Republic of Albania] was invited to this session as well. C. Kosygin said yes but at the same time pointed out that the Albanian leadership responded with an insulting letter. Therefore it was agreed not to discuss the letter. Nevertheless, Albania was still given a chance to return. In connection with Kim Il Sung’s question, c. Kosygin informed the Korean side about the recent initiative of the USSR to renew mutual diplomatic representation between the USSR and the PRA, which the Albanian side completely ignored. That all illustrates, as c. Kosygin then commented, that the PRA is excluding itself from the socialist camp.
As for the Warsaw consultations, c. Kosygin again pointed out that it was summoned due to the German issue coming to a head, and that the meeting of the political consultative committee unanimously called for taking necessary measures along the line of the Warsaw Pact Treaty. Among other things, a proposal was discussed there about setting up a Warsaw Pact Command Center that would be in charge of a permanent build-up of defenses. He also mentioned a negative position of the Romanian delegation, which so far prevented carrying out this measure. He further mentioned the Romanian delegation’s initiative for abolishing all pacts, including the Warsaw Pact.
He further briefly touched upon meetings of [Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei] Gromyko with [US President Lyndon B.] Johnson and [Secretary of State Dean] Rusk, about which the USSR Ambassador already informed c. Kim Il Sung earlier. In connection with that, Kim Il Sung again pointed out that during these meetings, the DPRK and its request of American troops’ withdrawal from South Korea was not mentioned. C. Kosygin assured him again that the USSR identifies fully with support of the DPRK foreign policy. When talking about the USSR foreign policy, c. Kosygin said that until the October  plenary of the CPSU CC, this part of the CPSU policy was also affected by number of Khrushchev’s subjective influences that the CPSU CC does not agree with. Then c. Kim Il Sung interrupted him with a remark: “Yes, yes, we even thought that he would go to [Chancellor Ludwig] Erhard in the FRG in order to sell the GDR.”
C. Kosygin did not react to this remark and continued that after the October [plenum], different relations prevailed in the CPSU CC, the evidence of which are also the delegation’s talks with the KWP leadership. “We have reintroduced principles of collective decision making and collective reason. That is the fundamental pre-requisite for mutual relations among fraternal parties. This collective reason can better judge what unites us, what divides us, and what we do not agree with. It is best suited to prevent us from revealing openly what we do not agree with, and giving thus a chance to imperialists to use our disagreements against us.” He said that every country has many special features, especially of national character. Khrushchev allegedly did not show any interest in considering these differences. That, of course, was not right. “Vietnam has special features; by the way, we delivered there a lot of weapons and ammunition recently; Cuba has special features; our aid there also represents a considerable contribution to the struggle of the Cuban people; every country has special features, and we have to take it into account. However, these special features must not override our common line. You were accusing us of many things. True, your own objections were restrained and dealt mostly with economic problems but you were bringing up and stressing many Chinese accusations.” To that, Kim Il Sung retorted that the KWP line has always been independent and not Chinese. He said: “We have always been for pure Marx-Leninism without any amendments.” and he repeated: “We apply the purest Marx-Leninism and condemn both the fabricated additions of the Chinese, and the mistakes of the USSR.”
Then he asked c. Kosygin three questions:
What is the USSR position on Indonesia leaving the UN?
How is the CPSU CC dealing with the problem of calling an international meeting of fraternal parties[?]; whether and how the USSR supports the liberation movement.
Whether the CPSU CC has any critical comments on the KWP.
C. Kosygin reacted to it immediately. About Indonesia leaving the UN, he said that they exchanged very nice letters with Mr. Sukarno. In his letter, Mr. Sukarno expressed a concern that this step by Indonesia might damage relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet side assured him that the USSR policy towards Indonesia would not change and remains friendly. However, the Soviet government considered it necessary to mention to him that it would be more appropriate if Indonesia stayed within the UN. “True, we agree with his criticism of the UN but we believe it was not necessary to slam the door.” Sukarno allegedly replied with a nice letter where he expressed how glad he was that relations with the USSR would not change.
About consultations of fraternal parties, c. Kosygin said that the date March 1 for the meeting [in Moscow] of the editorial commission would be kept. He stated that the meetings would only be of consultative character, and no joint document is expected to be issued. There is also not supposed to be any request for future consultations, as it was with the last consultations of FP [Fraternal Parties]. “The objective of meetings will be similar consultations to those you regularly hold with the Chinese and that you held with 22 delegations from Latin America.” Kim Il Sung commented: “That’s bad. It will cause a discord in the ICWM [International Communist World Movement].” C. Kosygin replied that the position of the CPSU CC and all 60 fraternal parties is solid and unchangeable. “All 60 fraternal parties demand clarification of the situation. Should we now reject this requirement, we would get into a conflict with those 60 fraternal parties. If the meeting is organized, only 3 parties will be against it. It is thus up to you whether you participate or not. The date of the meeting is firmly set on March 1, and we have a final commitment from 19 fraternal countries. As for the agenda of the talks, you probably expect that we will mainly discuss polemics within the ICWM. That would be incorrect, though. The main topic at the talks will be how to achieve unification of the ICWM.”
As for the question of the CPSU attitude towards the KWP, c. Kosygin pointed out that he had talked about these issues briefly with c. Kim Il Sung during his stay in Moscow [in November 1964] for celebrations of the 47th anniversary of the GOSR [Great October Socialist Revolution]. “Our attitude towards you,” he said, “is the same as towards other fraternal parties and countries. We were glad in the past that our mutual friendship was flourishing. These relations, though not by our fault, deteriorated considerably in the last years. I would like to tell you that we are aware of your specificities, and therefore we visited you in order to talk with you about what unites us. However, you have many objections to us. You are accusing us that we do not fight with imperialism and that we even side with it. Do you really think that namely we would be capable to align ourselves with imperialism against communist parties?”
Here again c. Kim Il Sung interjected with a remark that Khrushchev was buddy-buddy with Eisenhower and Kennedy. C. Kosygin only replied that it is not appropriate to make remarks like that at a meeting of such a high level. “I did not meet with you in order to badmouth Khrushchev. Let us rather discuss how to further fight with imperialists. Let us establish a program for this struggle and reach a consensus about what method is better, whether yours and the Vietnamese, that is Chinese, or ours and that of other fraternal countries. By the way, that is one of the main issues we want to discuss at meetings.”
“You ask how we are helping the national liberation movement. For instance, take Indonesia. We provided all their military equipment. Indonesian aircraft, weapons for ground forces and navy, all of which is from us. Our military advisors are training the Indonesian army, and I think it is no secret to you that when Indonesians were not yet able to fight with these weapons, our people were doing it for them. And now you tell me how do you fight with imperialism?” C. Kim Il Sung replied that their main means are meetings and press. C. Kosygin remarked: “You see, you call this help but you have to understand that the time for meetings is behind us. Only actions count today. For instance Cuba. Where would she be if she did not have a well-equipped and armed army? And who provided both clothing and all weapons and organization of this army? Or how about the PRV, who was again bombarded in the last days by American planes?
“I would like to tell you that I talked about it with Mao Zedong during our stopover in Beijing. I asked him what they were doing to support the PRV. I was told that they allegedly moved a large army to the Vietnamese border just in case there is a big war. But why wait for a big war, I asked, when Vietnam needs help now, immediately. We will give you immediately and free of charge as many planes and weapons as you need; only help the PRV. If they destroy 100 of your planes, we will immediately give you other [planes], even 200, but help.
“Mao Zedong also talked about how 4 American cruisers operate in Vietnamese waters. I told him: Sink them! We will give you weapons even for that, our most modern submarines. Do you want ten of them? You will have them, and completely free of charge. Just sink those cruisers! Do you want to know how Mao Zedong took it? He turned away from me and changed the subject. He started to talk about the history of China. Despite of that, I was still calling on the Chinese comrades: Defend Vietnam! We will give you completely free of charge all the necessary weapons and planes and submarines. And if they destroy them, we are willing to give you new ones and twice as many. But help Vietnam. Are you not its close neighbors?” Kim Il Sung and all other members of the Korean delegation listened especially to this part of c. Kosygin’s talk. Kim Il Sung himself in no time asked c. Kosygin how he views the current situation in South Vietnam, and with an obvious concern he then asked whether American provocations would not lead to a “great war.”
In the ensuing conversation, c. Kosygin made the KWP leadership familiar in detail with the USSR aid to the National Liberation Movement [of South Vietnsm] and with training of guerilla cadres in the Soviet Union, and he asked Kim Il Sung: “How can we write about it in the press? And you cry to the whole world that we do nothing.” C. Kim Il Sung replied: “Well, we are finally publishing in The Truth scathing articles against imperialism.” C. Kosygin: “But I told you already that writing in the press and calling names does not cut it anymore. Tell me though, which of these two ways of support of the National Liberation Movement is more effective?” C. Kim Il Sung did not answer that.
As c. Moskovsky, who was present at the talks, told us, it also became obvious during the conversation about Vietnam that the KWP leadership had no information at all either about the situation in South Vietnam or about the quantity, kinds, and strength of weapons that the USA deployed in South Korea.
C. Moskovsky told us about the second meeting on February 13 that it started at 10 o’clock and lasted till 2:30 pm. C. Kim Il Sung was talking and was occasionally interrupted by c. Kosygin’s questions. According to c. Moskovsky’s assessment, Kim Il Sung acted objectively and calmly. He first thanked C. Kosygin for accepting the invitation and for his presentation at the meeting in the Great Theatre. He said that this presentation was a remarkable contribution to Marx-Leninism, and it allegedly also contributed to the increased enthusiasm of the Korean people. He also thanked for the honest and open conversation at the first meeting that he regarded as a significant contribution to strengthening of unity of the two countries. He then especially thanked for clarification of the situation in Vietnam and the Soviet Union. He therefore also wants to openly and honestly inform the Soviet delegation about the situation in the DPRK and about the KWP CC position on the discussed issues.
When talking about the DPRK, he said: “We are now struggling to fulfill the 7-year plan put forth by the IV Plenary of the KWP. However, I also have to tell you that we are in a bad shape.
When we were putting together this long-term plan, we lacked most of all necessary experience for working it out. We used what we learned from the previous three- and five-year plans. That, of course, was the cause of our difficulties today, our complex situation. To make things worse, we suffered greatly because of disagreements with you and other socialist countries, and because of disagreements within the ICWM. That is, the goals of the 7-year plan presumed aid from and further broadening of cooperation with you and other socialist countries. We were counting on this aid but, unfortunately, it did not materialize. That was the main reason why we did not fulfill the plan.
Due to the Caribbean [i.e., Cuban missile] crisis and the American aggression in Vietnam, we were forced to quickly build up our defenses and especially our defense industry. We had to look for financing exclusively within our own country, and we could get it only at the expense of other sectors. I am sure I don’t have to tell you how large amounts of money it involved. That is why we are currently falling behind in completing the 7-year plan by one year, and we still need 3 to 5 years in order to fulfill the seven year plan at least in basic parameters. However, 4 years and 2 months have passed and we have fulfilled less than half of the 7-year plan’s goals.
In the first half of the 7-year plan, we concentrated especially on stabilizing the standard of living. Our goal was to guarantee the population solid rationing, to give them confidence that they do not have to worry about hunger and cold tomorrow. We almost managed to do that. Unfortunately, poor harvest in the last two years and especially natural disasters, mainly in 1964, forced us to lower food rations this year. We also wanted to strengthen the basis of our national economy and to develop it further. Our GDP was 4 billion 100 million Vons in 1960. We were planning 11 billion 400 million Vons by the end of the 7 year plan. Four years have gone by and our plan is in trouble.
Have a look how we are fulfilling the plan in main industrial sectors:
- Total industrial production was 2.5 billion Vons in 1960. It should be 8.2 billion Vons by the end of the
- We produced 7..2 billion kWh in 1960. It should be 16 billion kWh by the end of the 7-year plan.
- We mined 10 billion tons of coal in 1960. Now we are mining 14 billion but we should be mining 25 billion by the end of the 7-year plan. It is clear that we will not fulfill the plan in this sector. (At this point, c. Moskowskyi mentioned that during the delegation’s stay, Korean comrades told him that in connection with lagging development of coal mining, the KWP CC sharply criticized the last Politburo member, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Coal Mining Industry, as well as his deputies in the Ministry of Coal Mining Industry, for failure to achieve the required goals, and stripped them of all party and government functions. The deputies were then also expelled from the party and sent to coal mines and factories.)
- We produced 850,000 tons of cast iron in 1960. Now we are producing million tons. However, by the end of the 7-year plan, we should be producing calls 2,300,000 tons. It appears that we will not fulfill this task either. The same is with steel, of which we produced 530,000 tons in 1960. However, the 7-year plan calls for 2,200,000 tons. It is obvious today that this exceeds our capabilities.
- We made 560,000 tons of synthetic fertilizer in 1960. We are supposed to produce 1.5 million tons by the end of the 7-year plan. We are not going to achieve that either.
- We produced 2,000 tons of synthetic fiber. The 7-year plan calls for 60,000 tons. We will fall short here as well.
- Likewise, we will not reach the plan quotas in the textile industry either, where we produced 190 million meters of fabrics in 1960 while by the plan, we should produce 400 million meters.
We could go on and show you other sectors and basic goals of the 7-year plan where we always presumed double and more production. If we could at least double production in these fundamental sectors, we could solidify our position and secure an acceptable standard of living for our population. As you can see, we will reach this goal only with difficulty.
I also want to note that the situation is much more difficult for us because by fulfilling the 7-year plan successfully, we wanted to demonstrate the advantages of the DPRK and socialism to the South Korean people.
Our GDP was 5 billion Vons by the end of 1964 (compared to 4.1 in 1960). Now we are facing a very difficult problem: how to double it in less than three years.
More on production of electricity: We produced 10 billion 300 million kWh by the end of 1964. This parameter is already more promising. However, we do not have any crude oil or natural gas.
Our machine industry is still young and at a low technical level. Quite understandably, there is no interest in our machinery abroad. And not only that. Our machine industry so far cannot even satisfy our national economy.”
C. Kosygin interrupted c. Kim Il Sung’s account with a remark: “If you manage to produce 60,000 tons of synthetic fiber, then together with the textile industry, you can cloth your population well. ” C. Kim Il Sung replied to that: “You see, it is like this: There is no problem with clothing for summer season. I can even say that summer clothing of our people is better than in China. Our main concern is the winter. Except for a small factory in Sinuiju, we do not have in our country an established production of wool fabrics. That’s why we have a huge shortage of winter clothing that is insufficient not only in quantity but also in quality.
In his further account, c. Kim Il Sung drew the delegation’s attention to the situation in the DPRK agriculture. He pointed out that in 1960, they achieved production of 3,300,000 tons of cereals including potatoes and other crops that are in the DPRK converted to cereals units. He said that by the end of the 7-year plan, the DPRK should produce 6 million tons of cereals, out of which 5 million tons of grains and 1 million tons of other crops. He talked again about the bad harvest of 1963 and 1964 when the total agricultural production was less than the planned 5 million tons of cereals. Thus it appears in 1964 that it will be smaller by as much as a whole million tons (an agricultural year in the DPRK is from July of a calendar year to the end of June of the following year.
As for the 1965 harvest, c. Kim Il Sung said that the communist party expects an improvement. It counts mainly on its ability to increase the total production of fertilizer up to 1,200,000 tons. To c. Kosygin’s question whether the DPRK has its own apatite, c. Kim Il Sung replied that the DPRK was importing it from the PRV.
In conclusion about the situation in national economy, c. Kim Il Sung summarized shortcomings that the DPRK is currently facing and that according to him are caused by very serious lag in technological advance. He said to the word: “There is practically no technological advance here. That’s why we have very low productivity, and that is also why we have so few products per capita.”
A big problem is also the fact that investments are too much dispersed in the DPRK. Concentration of investment means is almost never adhered to. All that keeps us from increasing the standard of living. In agriculture, we do not have a well developed produce production, thus we cannot ensure the necessary level of livestock production, and therefore, we don’t have meat, we don’t have eggs.” C. Kosygin reacted to that with a remark that he noticed the PRV is achieving much higher quality of produced goods. C. Kim Il Sung replied to that: “Yes, that’s right. As far as I know, they have better technology in the PRV. Our technology is very much outdated. That’s why we cannot export our production. They are rejecting it abroad. The quality of our export is far behind not only the PRV but also the PRB and other countries.” C. Kosygin reacted to it with a proposal: “Let us agree on a joint plan, say for 15 years. Tell us what you will want to export to us, and we will stop producing it, and vice versa. Tell us what you want and need us to produce for you, and we will arrange for this production in the Far East.” “That would be good. We will think about your proposal,” said Kim Il Sung.
C. Kosygin repeated: “Do not hesitate to say what your difficulties are. We don’t take from the PRV only what we need, either. We are importing number of products we could easily do without, like products from rice straw.” Kim Il Sung then continued that due to failing export, the DPRK has a foreign trade deficit. “We trade mainly with you and the Chinese, only very little with other socialist countries. As for our trade with capitalist countries, there’s practically nothing to talk about.”
He was then elaborating on the dismal material situation of workers in the DPRK. He said: “We were not able to secure increase of workers’ wages and salaries. This, too, has obviously many causes. The main one is that we have to maintain a large army. Just about 30% is spent on the army. It represents the amount of 1.2 billion Wons. And we cannot reduce it yet, due to the situation in the South. We hold a long front. Together with the Panmunjeom line and the coast, it represents many hundred of kilometers. We have to maintain 400,000 soldiers in these sectors alone. It is even more difficult for us because our best and most capable workers are in the army. If not for that, we could immediately increase substantially the mining of non-ferrous metals that are in abundant supply throughout the country, if only we had the manpower. We know that the goals of the 7-year plan are extremely challenging. Nevertheless, we have to reach them no matter what. At least within the basic parameters. How would we appear to the South and to the young states of Asia and Africa?
. We are very acutely aware that the fundamental factor for fulfilling the 7-year plan is technological advancement, attaining high productivity, and reserves. However, that is a very difficult task for us at the moment. That is why we are looking for other ways, especially in trades production. We rely heavily on trade workers returning from Japan. To wit, our trade workers used to leave for Japan where they earned living. Now we are interested in their repatriation, and I can tell you that they are a great help. We even acquired and mastered some Japanese innovations with their help. As for our relations with Japan, there are no official contacts yet. We only maintain contacts with some companies. I can tell you though, that we have some reserves also in Japanese industry whose representatives are going to visit us.
We were often accused of nationalism when implementing our slogan about building up our national economy. I can assure you that we set the slogan about our own resources namely for South Korea. Look, the population in South Korea is being persuaded that it is impossible to build the national economy without Americans. But what did Americans build there for the last twenty years? Except for airports and warehouses, practically nothing. And our slogan helps to open eyes especially to the South Korean intelligentsia. It turns out that the DPRK is already standing firmly on its own feet. You helped us to get on our feet. Thank you for that. Now we are able to walk on our own, though.” Then the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Kim Il Sung ignored him and continued: “We believe that this slogan serves a common purpose, even for Afro-Asian countries. Especially these found out and are finding out that even a small country is capable of building up its national economy.”
“As for the South, it is becoming more and more obvious for the South Korean population that the DPRK, with the help of socialist countries, not only can build its own economy but is now able to develop it on its own while the USA and Japan are not helping South Korea. Number of articles appeared in South Korean and other press, which show the situation in the DPRK as an example for the South Korean population.
We invited some intelligentsia from the South and showed them the DPRK. They did a lot of work for us when they returned home. There were even 2 professors of economics among them. Also two capitalists from Japan visited us. Both of them then also visited South Korea. When they returned to Japan, they did an objective public evaluation of the both visits. Undoubtedly, their facts about free education, free clothing for children, and about the DPRK as a country without beggars, impressed strongly even the Japanese public.
On the 1st May 1964, we hosted several scores of South Korean intelligentsia. Our broadcasting has also a significant impact. We want to achieve that they realize in the South that they chose the wrong way. That’s the reason for our slogan about our own resources.
As for the aid from fraternal countries, we, of course, are not rejecting it. We are now in a stage, though, when this aid is no longer crucial and a priority, and when the most important is the task of mobilizing our own resources. The Chinese are helping us even now. They are building a plant for production of kraft paper for us. Your comrades therefore don’t have to assume that we don’t want to cooperate with you. We also did not deserve your accusation of nationalism, autarkic tendencies and isolationism. “
C. Kosygin commented on this: “It is not about a slogan. A slogan can be correct. However, we should not forget that nowadays, it is important to unify our forces in order for our cause to progress faster and better. “ Kim Il Sung replied to that: “It is different with us.” And Kosygin: “Of course. It is your internal matter. But together, we could make a better and faster progress.”
Kim Il Sung dedicated the next part of his account to the issues of the situation in the KWP. He said that currently, the situation in the KWP is good. The party is very solid. “Factional activity that we had to struggle with as recently as in 1956, disappeared. Now we are fighting against dogmatism and are widely implementing the line of the of the masses. We require from all cadres to educate the masses and learn from them at the same time, to come to the masses and lead them on locations to manage especially economy on their own. We expel from our number anyone who is not able to fulfill this task. Today, all our comrades are in a close unity, all think about how to ensure fulfillment of the 7-year plan and how to unify the country.
As for the South Korea and our movement in the South, we are very concerned.” In connection with that, c. Kim Il Sung explained the whole history of the workers movement in South Korea; he pointed out that a party used to be active even there but the USA managed to infiltrate it with many spies. They made the party to grow in numbers rapidly. However, cadres were not lustrated, and that made it possible for American and Syngman Rhee agents to disrupt it internally. “A typical representative of members of this former branch of the KWP” - pointed out Kim Il Sung - “is to
Both these parties are ours. One of the leaders of the Workers Party is even an alumnus of the Moscow Party University; another one used to be a minister in the Syngman Rhee’s government. Unfortunately, neither party had much of a success because they lack good organizers. Undoubtedly, there are many Koreans - American spies in these parties. The biggest weakness of all illegal organizations in the South is that these are organizations of the intelligentsia that does not cooperate with workers and that lacks any experience in revolutionary activity.
As for the revolution in the South, we now adopted a line that does not mention a revolution. We also currently reject military means of unification of the country. We are after concentration of our force. So far, though, we cannot even talk about revolutionary forces. We mainly try to influence the South Korean population, and there we already have some success.
I repeat again, though, that there’s only intelligentsia in our illegal organizations, which does not know life and does not even have contacts with workers. That’s why we have to start over. That’s why we are trying to concentrate our force, to raise a party cadre and get it into all people’s groups. There could also be such a way that some suggest (he did not say who these “some “ might be) - to trigger an immediate uprising that would force us to drive the American troops out of South Korea. However, such cannot be our Leninist way of revolution, exactly because Americans are there. On the contrary, we take it that today it is necessary for all forces of Korea to come out with a decisive request of democratization of the life of the country. That’s what Park Chung Hee is most afraid of.
Many wonder why there is no guerilla movement in South Korea, as it is in South Vietnam. There is a substantial difference between South Korea and South Vietnam. It is not possible to fight a guerilla war in South Korea. There are not suitable geographic and other conditions. There are no forests and the sea is all around. Not even the necessary revolutionary cadres are there. There are no industrial workers, namely in heavy industry. The workers class in South Korea consists mainly of agricultural workers, and if we are to talk about the possibility of a guerilla war, then only in case of a big war. However, we are seriously getting ready for a guerilla war.
There were no major conflicts along the demarcation line so far. As for the South Korean army, it is better armed than ours. However, we have better fortifications and better coastal defense than in Vietnam.
Our greatest weakness, though, is anti-aircraft defense, and we would be glad if you would help us to build it up, for Pyongyang, Hamheung, Nampo, as well as for some other industrial centers. We need namely the system Land - Air 75. Unfortunately, as I have shown you, we have nothing to pay with; we have no money. On top of that, we owe you a lot.”
C. Kosygin interrupted him with a remark that the appropriate military representative (Colonel General Sidorovich) was present, and recommended that the DPRK Minister of National Defense meet with him for closer consultations. Kim Il Sung again pressed namely for delivery of the missile system 75 and asked also for providing the appropriate specialists, to which c. Kosygin promised: “Yes, we will give you people as well but you have to understand that we will not be manning the weapons. We will teach you to use them but you will have to do the rest.”
Then Kim Il Sung proceeded to assess the international standing of the DPRK. He said: “Our country has borders with three large countries: the USSR, the PRC and Japan, Japan being a capitalist country. I do not count the American occupiers in South Korea. We practically do not have any relations with Japan. Our relations with the USSR are of the best. Our people will never forget what the Soviet Union did for them.” He then reflected on aid the USSR provided to the DPRK, and continued: “We have no objections against the Soviet people today either. We only have thanks for them. We are your allies, having shed our blood together.
However, we have objections against the CPSU created by Khrushchev. Our other objections arose after the XXII Plenary, where Khrushchev took a stance against Albania. We do not condone what you did with Stalin. True, it is your internal matter but we think it is not right.
Having returned from the XXII Plenary of the CPSU, I myself asked the former Ambassador to the DPRK Puzanov and the Albanian Ambassador not to start polemics here in the DPRK. That was also my condition to c. Moskovskyi for our participation at the reception for the 45th anniversary of the GOSR.
We also did not publish materials from the AWP even though we were heavily criticized for it. We were referred to as vacillators. True, we published Chinese materials but as soon as Chinese reverted to a derogatory tone, we stopped publishing even those.
However, when Germans did not allow us to speak at their plenary, we started to publish our own articles, and we said openly: “So why did you invite us? Only to insult us? Despite that, we continued to call for unity in all our articles. We were also offended because we were being reproached for what side we were on. I hope you remember that at Bucharest consultations, we supported recognition of the leading role of the CPSU in the ICWM even against Chinese. In spite of that, we are considered supporters of China to this day, even though we follow only our own independent policy.
Try to understand our situation. We are connected with you as well as with China, both politically and economically. However, it does not mean, and we are stressing it in the Politburo, that we are about to follow someone. Regardless of that, you know that conduct of our delegates at various international conferences and meetings was in conflict with this line. We are equally responsible for this as you are. However, we could have hardly done otherwise during the Khrushchev era. He was very moody. He was changing his opinions like underwear. He had a different opinion in the morning than in the evening. In 1960, we signed a document condemning revisionism of the LCY in the morning, and in the evening, he was saying toasts to Yugoslavian socialism.”
Here c. Kosygin interrupted him wit a remark that he did not agree with Kim Il Sung’s opinion about Yugoslavia. He himself allegedly was in Yugoslavia and could see with his own eyes that there was no restoration of capitalism there whatsoever. On the contrary, Yugoslavian communists are said to be politically mature and good communists, and that we have to be concerned about whose side Yugoslavia is on. Today, Yugoslavia is holding Balkans for us militarily. Why then should we exclude Yugoslavia from our camp? He recommended to Kim Il Sung that instead of useless criticism of Yugoslavia, which stems from sheer ignorance of the situation in Yugoslavia, the KWP should try to help Yugoslavian communists in their fight against foreign non-Marxist influences, and that Kim Il Sung himself visits Yugoslavia in order to get familiar with its problems.
C. Kim Il Sung then continued: “It would be good to forget all the misunderstandings of the past. Since the October Plenary, we are following very closely the work of the CPSU CC. As early as on October 19 last year, we were talking in the Politburo about the new situation in your leadership. We can also see that you are supporting the national liberation fight. I myself said in the Politburo several times that you proceed in a Leninist way and that removing Khrushchev was Leninist as well. Even though it’s been a relatively short time since your October Plenary, we can see that you have achieved in the fight against imperialism things that were impossible under Khrushchev. If you continue this way and do not interfere with matters of others, differences in our camp and in the ICWM can be reconciled. Some of them arose out of misunderstanding anyway, and resulted in attributes about revisionism and the like. Of course, it will be necessary to meet more often and to communicate. We can assure you that then even we will support your new leadership.
We are concerned, though, that the new CPSU leadership is also under the influence of ultra-right elements. As for overcoming differences, we think that it will be necessary to proceed deliberately and to clarify individual problems gradually, to work towards mutual understanding. I would also not recommend for you to keep inciting differences with fraternal parties of Japan and Indonesia where certain changes of opinion are going on right now. As soon as c. Kim Il returned from Moscow, we adopted an appropriate resolution and stopped publishing all materials about misunderstandings in the ICWM.
As for the trip of our delegation to Moscow for celebrations of the 47th anniversary of the GOSR, we talked about it with Chinese. They were encouraging us to go. We did not want to, though, because we did not consider the situation sufficiently suitable yet. However, when c. Kim Il returned, we adopted a resolution to establish better relations with your party, to seek a common road with the CPSU.
As I have said, we forbid the press to publish unsuitable articles.
As a matter of fact, we even had set up in the CC a special group of comrades, a special section of the KWP CC, which closely monitored development in fraternal parties. Of course, we have stopped its activities since. We also like that you brought your party back to the Leninist ways and that you have discarded Khrushchev’s division into industrial and agricultural sectors. We as well welcomed you commitment to development of the defense industry. I must tell you we were anxious when we heard how Khrushchev was railing against production of tanks, considered them useless in current warfare and called for phasing them out. Where would we, poor souls, get spare parts? Whom can socialist camp countries rely on in case of a war if not on the Soviet Union?
It is good you burned all Khrushchev’s books. There was nothing good in them anyway. And you’re right that you also correct mistakes in agriculture that were Khrushchev’s fault. As for your foreign policy, we are grateful that you are helping the PRV, Cuba and all our countries. As I have said, rumors were going around here that Khrushchev wanted to sell the GDR to Erhartd.
As for helping us in foreign policy, it is important and right that you call for withdrawal of Americans from South Korea. However, we would like you to take every available advantage to that end, including international organizations, to support and hear our rightful requests for ways to unify our country. We will do our best to support your position. I am sure you have noticed that all our organizations and delegations abroad received instructions to support the USSR. It was like that already at the IUS Leningrad Conference where our delegation was acting according to this line. Needless to say Chinese were angry with us for that.
As for your overall activity, it still is not without negatives. Why do you interfere in internal matters of the Japanese Labor Party? There are two parties operating in Asia that are in a very difficult position. These are the CP of Japan and the CP of Indonesia. We know both these parties and their problems very well. The CP of Japan wants to act independently and it would very much like to support your new leadership. However, you are not treating it very well. Why, is it normal when 2 societies for friendship with the USSR and 2 parties operate in one country? Japanese comrades are very concerned about it. Their relations with the USSR are not bad. Many factions are active there, a Korean faction among them. And as you know from the past, the Comintern was expelling and disbanding parties for factional activities. That happened also to our party in 1925. If you will support any Siga faction, you will fracture the CP of Japan.
“We are glad you have visited the PRV and helped it. I was waiting yesterday that you would ask me about our opinion on the consultations.” C. Kosygin: “I assumed you would talk about it yourself.” Kim Il Sung: “This is a difficult question, and I will tell you why. It is because the Chinese CP will not take part in the consultations. And if that one doesn’t go, the consultations will be characterized by disunion. In this situation, we will not go either. We have informed you about it in our letter. We are a small party and thus we have less pride. You are a large party and thus you have more pride and don’t want to change your opinion.”
Kosygin: “The question of calling the consultations is not a question of pride.” Kim Il Sung: “But Khrushchev called these consultations. Please, understand us. If Chine is not coming, Vietnamese and we cannot come either. Let us rather fight against imperialism and let us not interfere with other issues. As for the KLP and the CPSU, there we want to strengthen our relations.” With that, Kim Il Sung concluded his continuous speech. C. Kosygin thanked him for his honest information and clarification of the KLP position, and said that as for the KLP policy, he thought it was its internal matter. Life would show whether it was correct. He said that the USSR was not going to and would not interfere in internal matters of the KLP and the DPRK. As for the development of the DPRK in direction of building socialism, he considered it correct. He also understood concerns of the KWP leadership about diverting resources to defense needs. The DPRK is not alone in such a situation. “I am sure friends will understand why the 7-year plan in the DPRK will not be fulfilled. And as for enemies, they will scream in any case. Let them scream! However, I would like to mention again that Korean people are not alone in their fight against American imperialists. The mighty Soviet Army stands at their side, as well as armies of socialist countries.”
Commenting on assessment of the situation in South Korea, which c. Kim Il Sung presented, he said that it shows an objective view and confirms that requests of the DPRK are justified. “We will fully support you from our side.”
About the consultations, I repeat that we will have them. The reason for calling them, I say it again, is not some kind of pride of the CPSU but an immediate need of fraternal parties to consult one another. Consultations are not called in order to issue some documents but in order to give all fraternal parties a chance to exchange opinions. You are mistaken if you think that these are our consultations. These are consultations of all fraternal parties. Even Chinese were initially for the consultations and now they are against it. Why? Don’t we all feel the need to consult one another? I do not think nobody feels that need.
Kim Il Sung interjected: “On the contrary, consultations are needed.”
Kosygin: “There you go. Of course, consultations need preparation. You think no harm done if you won’t go. Yes, maybe no harm to you. But you possibly don’t expect us to join you and thus turn 60 fraternal parties against us? After all, strengthening of unity is at stake.”
Kim Il Sung: And did you convince Chinese?
Kosygin: “We tried long time but eventually, we could not.”
Kim Il Sung: “And Vietnamese?”
Kosygin: “Neither. They will not go without Chinese either.
Kim Il Sung: “And won’t you criticize us?”
Kosygin: “We will not. Why, are we criticizing you today for consulting with 22 Latin American countries in Beijing?”
Kim Il Sung: Yes, we were talking with them. We went there with the intention to influence the Chinese CP.”
Kosygin: “As you know, we approach with great respect every party, large and small.”
Kim Il Sung: “I can assure you that we will not criticize the consultations in our press, if they do not cause a disunion, but still, think it over with those consultations.”
Kosygin: “I think you yourself will still think about your participation both in the Commission and the consultations. I would also like to tell you few words about Yugoslavia. Why are you afraid to meet with Yugoslavs? After all, you’re not afraid of meetings with Americans in Panmunjeom!”
Kim Il Sung laughed.
Kosygin continued: “I’m telling you again, try to help Yugoslavs. They are worth it. They are a very revolutionary nation. Tito wants time. Let him have it. Let’s not forget, though, that many subjective views still persist about Yugoslavia. Either from Stalin or Khrushchev.”
Kim Il Sung: “Yes, I think it is right that you want to tear it away from America.”
C. Kosygin thanked again Kim Il Sung for his account, mentioned how late it was and said that if the DPRK leadership wanted to continue with talks, their delegation is always welcome in the USSR.
In the continuing conversation c. Moskovskyi then informed the present titularies about some other conversations of c. Kosygin with Kim Il Sung outside of official talks. He said Kim Il Sung asked Kosygin, among other things, why they did not publicly criticize Khrushchev; it looks like Khrushchev bowed out based on their, Korean criticism. C. Kosygin allegedly replied that Vietnamese and Koreans (intentionally left out Chinese) think that they toppled Khrushchev. Not you but we were so strong as to remove him from office, and 4 days later, we forgot he ever was sitting among us. Without him, we can work better and steady; we apply fully a collective leadership. We don’t miss him in the CC Presidium either. Chinese, though, remember Khrushchev even today and gossip. And as for your direct question, we did not want to use the same methods that were characteristic for Khrushchev. To wit, criticism has two sides. Positive and negative. We were trying our best to avoid the negative side of criticism.
Conversation between Kosygin and Kim Il Sung also lead to a discussion about the position of the both parties on issues of peace, war and peaceful coexistence. C. Moskovskyi then pointed out how satisfied Kim Il Sung was to hear c. Kosygin’s assurance that the CPSU fully understands Korean specificities that prevent him from talking fully and openly about peaceful coexistence.
According to the words of C. Moskovskyi about his impression that he got from talks of c. Kosygin and Andropov with Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Sung showed an unusual interest in an assessment of situation in South Vietnam. Allegedly, he asked with great fear several times, even outside of talks, about Soviet comrades’ opinion whether current events in Southeast Asia could lead to a possible “great war”.
According to the words of C. Moskovskyi, the concluded talks showed, among other things, exceptionally weak knowledge of the Korean side of the current international affairs.
The discussion took 4 hours.
Record of a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in the DPRK Comrade V.P. Moskovsky about the negotiations between the Soviet delegation, led by the USSR Council of Ministers Chairman Kosygin, and the governing body of the Korean Workers Party, which took place at the USSR Embassy in the DPRK on February 16, 1965.
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