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September 20, 1956

Record of a Meeting between the Sino-Soviet Delegation and the Korean Workers' Party Presidium

Record of the discussions at the meeting of the Presidium of the KWP CC on 20 September


All members of the KWP CC presidium, Cdes. Kim Il Sung, Kim Il, Pak Jeong-ae, Pak Geum-cheol, Choe Yong-geon, Kim Chang-man, and Pak Ui-won, representatives of the CPSU CC Mikoyan, Mukhitdinov, and Ponomarev, Soviet Ambassador to the DPRK Ivanov, representatives of the Chinese Communist Party Cdes. Peng Dehuai, Nie [Rongzhen], and Chinese Ambassador to the DPRK Cde. Qiao Xiaoguang, were present at the presidium meeting.


Opening the meeting, Cde. Kim Il Sung said that yesterday his conversation was held with the leaders of the delegation of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Cde. Mikoyan, and the delegation of the Communist Party of China, Cde. Peng Dehuai. We exchanged opinions about those organizational conclusions which were undertaken with respect to some KWP CC people in August of this year. The leaders of the delegations of the fraternal Parties gave much useful advice to us with respect to the organizational conclusions made by the CC. Kim Il Sung said, I, personally, accepted all the advice of the delegations of the fraternal Parties with pleasure. When making the organizational conclusions with respect to Choe Chang-ik and the others who were expelled the KWP Central Committee proceeded from the position that their actions were directed against the Party's actions, that they had a group, and were pursuing anti-Party work. Although the CC presidium took a course of pursuing patient educational work among the mistaken comrades before the plenum and did not intend to undertake organizational conclusions with respect to them, their statements at the plenum angered CC members. Yielding to a feeling of resentment the CC adopted a decision to remove a number of members from the CC, and to expel some CC members from the Party. Now, it must be recognized that we yielded to a temporary mood, yielded to a feeling instead of patiently and carefully looking into this matter. The representatives of the fraternal Parties tell us that, although these comrades were at fault, that they had pursued anti-Party work, nevertheless it was necessary to display patience and not expel the guilty from the Party. We agree with this.


Considering the advice of the fraternal Parties and the situation which has been created I am submitting a proposal to examine at this meeting the issue of the organizational conclusions adopted at the August KWP CC plenum with respect to some comrades who were CC members. The advice of the fraternal Parties will be useful to us not only with respect to the organizational conclusions, but will also be a help for us in further work. Although we made a decision more than once - to patiently approach those who are mistaken - but in fact [we] were mistaken. It is necessary to approach comrades who are mistaken magnanimously, and at the present time to magnanimously approach the CC members who were expelled at the August KWP CC plenum. I personally received the advice of the fraternal Communist Parties with great pleasure. This fact is a great lesson for us. This lesson ought to be used to reconsider past work where mistakes were also made in order to try and not make them in the future. It is necessary to unite the ranks of our Party. The measures which it is proposed to take right now will promote the further cohesion of the ranks of the Korean Worker's Party.


Cde. Kim Il Sung addressed a suggestion to the members of the presidium to speak and express their opinions.


Inasmuch for some time none of the presidium members took the floor Cde. Mikoyan turned to Cde. Nam Il: Perhaps Cde. Nam Il will open the discussion. Cde. Nam Il said that he was of the same opinion as Cde. Kim Il Sung.


Cde. Kim Il Sung, again taking the floor, said that the mistakes of those who were expelled need to be considered mistakes but that magnanimity ought to be shown to them.


Cde. Choe Yong-geon. I have just arrived from China, where I had a meeting with Mao Zedong, during which I received much advice. The main advice of the CC of the Communist Party of China is the uniting of the ranks of the Korean Worker's Party. He said that, although some Communists have different opinions, it is necessary to give them the opportunity to work. I understood and accepted this truth well. We are grateful to the fraternal Parties for the useful advice directed at strengthening the KWP. We need to pursue a policy of magnanimity with respect to the KWP members who were expelled. I consider Cde. Kim Il Sung's proposal to be correct. Specifically, the following proposal ought to be submitted to the CC plenum: during consideration of the case of this group headed by Choe Chang-ik [we] ought to proceed from the position that this reconsideration not harm the future work of the KWP CC. A display of magnanimity should not bring harm to this matter. Choe Chang-ik and Pak Chang-ok ought to be reinstated in the Central Committee, but it is not necessary to reinstate them in [their] old posts of deputy premier and minister or in the CC presidium. It is necessary to consider that, although we have exhibited magnanimity toward them, they have not ceased their factional activity. Therefore, it is impossible to leave them in [their] previous posts and members of the CC presidium. They will take all the secrets outside the presidium and cause harm to our revolution. That's how it was with Pak Heonyeong. Under him secret resolutions became known to all of Pyongyang, and also in South Korea. It often happened that after a CC  presidium meeting everything that happened at this meeting became widely known through the fault of Choe Chang-ik. Therefore it is impossible to keep them in high positions. They need to be reinstated as CC members. This is already a big step. As regards those who fled to China, they can be reinstated in the Party, but cannot be reinstated as CC members, nor appointed to [their] old positions. They violated Party discipline and Party structure. If too much magnanimity is exhibited the will think that the Party is weak. If they are thinking of reinstating them in [their] previous posts, then it will be hard to pursue work among all Party members. It needs to be taken into account that before us stand imperialist enemies, and therefore keeping secrets should be a sacred duty. If firm discipline is not established and vigilance is not increased, then it will be hard to pursue work.


Cde. Kim Il. At today's meeting we all found out about the purpose of the arrival of the delegations of the fraternal Communist Parties, and also understood the character of the presentation of the problem about the tasks facing the KWP. They think that the advice about correcting the shortcomings in the CC will promote an improvement of the work of the Party CC. The matter is mainly in the organizational conclusions which were made at the August CC plenum. This resulted because Yun Kong-hum spoke anti-Party phrases and angered CC members with his behavior. We needed to exhibit patience. For the KWP the issue about the solidarity of its ranks has been the very first [issue] since the beginning of the appearance of the Party. The Korean Worker's Party appeared after the liberation of Korea by the Soviet Army and consisted of people who had come from the Soviet Union, China, and local Communists.

It needs to be said that the CC has strived for Party solidarity for all this time. For example, Choe Chang-ik was a member of the bureau [SIC] for several years, but in 1948 he was not elected at the demand of many Communists. After the 3rd KWP congress he was promoted to the CC presidium in order to involve him in work. We treated him well, but he nevertheless pursued his own line. At Party meetings he supported Party decisions, but spoke against them behind the scenes. Yun Kong-hum officially has also supported Party decisions but misinterpreted them behind the back of the CC. At the CC plenum he declared that the CC does not want to carry out the policy of the 20th  CPSU congress, that it is necessary to reconsider all Party policy for 10 years, and that the situation in the DPRK right now is such that it could not be worse. We held conversations with them before the plenum and came to the conclusion that they not speak at the CC plenum. There was no thought of employing organizational conclusions against them. But they so behaved at the plenum that they were expelled. What was their program? The improvement of the lives of the population, about the shortcomings associated with the cult of personality in the DPRK, and about overcoming factionalism in the KWP. Considering all this that has been cited, it needs to be recognized that they are anti-Party elements.


I received the advice of the fraternal Parties with great pleasure and again agreed to display magnanimity with respect to those who were expelled, to reinstate them in work, but not to high posts.


Cde. Kim Il Sung notes: it is impossible to proceed only from the position that we ought to reconsider the decision of the August plenum just because the fraternal Parties recommended [it] to us. We are doing this because we see the need to reconsider this decision ourselves. We made the organizational conclusions in a heated atmosphere and they are not entirely correct. Those who were expelled ought to be reinstated in the ranks of the Party and the CC, but not to high positions.


Nam Il continued: Those who fled to the PRC can be reinstated in the Party, but not reinstated in the KWP CC.


Cde. Kim Chang-man: I think that the advice of the fraternal Parties and the advice of Kim Il Sung that it is necessary to exhibit magnanimity are correct. I agree with Cde. Kim Il Sung that we accept the advice of the fraternal Parties because it is right.


There are two questions in the matter under consideration. The anti-Party behavior of Choe Chang-ik needs to be understood, additionally ascertained, their [SIC] participation in the anti-Party group clarified, and then exhibit magnanimity. Their anti-Party behavior is not casual. For example, for many years I have noted that they direct main attention at obtaining high positions for those close to them. After the departure of the government delegation headed by Kim Il Sung to the democratic countries Choe Chang-ik and his group began work. They said that inasmuch as after the 20th congress they changed leaders in the other fraternal Parties, then it could be done here, too, in the KWP. It is known that they replaced Cde. Rakosi in Hungary, and Cde. Chervenkov in Bulgaria. Although in reality we did not have such terrible consequences as in these countries. Choe Chang-ik thought that we had such consequences.


Cde. Mikoyan. It is necessary to keep in mind that the Bulgarian Party and the Hungarian Workers Party released their leaders unanimously. Rakosi voted for this himself. But perhaps you agree to release Cde. Kim Il Sung. For this isn't the question, as it was in Hungary and Bulgaria. Cde. Chervenkov was released from the post of Prime Minister and appointed to the post of Deputy Prime Minister by unanimous decision of the Politburo and CC of the Communist Party of Bulgaria. This is a normal Party decision. Perhaps there is something un-Party-like in this? The matter cannot be interpreted such that the 20th congress led to a crisis in the leadership of the Communist and worker's Parties. It needs to be kept in mind that you do not have an analogy with Hungary and Bulgaria. None of those who spoke at the plenum or who were expelled from the KWP CC demanded the replacement of Kim Il Sung. However, CC members cannot be deprived of the opportunity to criticize CC members.


Kim Chang-man continued: I also understand the situation as Cde. Mikoyan has said. But at the KWP Central Committee plenum they raised the question about senior personnel, they called them sycophants, and CC officials of working-class [background] - illiterates. They pursued a policy against deputy premiers and many ministers, and spoke of the low standard of living of the population. One of those who was expelled even enlisted his own wife for the spreading of incorrect opinions. The anti-Party group prepared a surprise blow which was to have been launched on the government delegation's return from a trip. They intended to use the Party organization[s] of Pyongyang and South Hamgyong.


At the CC plenum Cde. Yun Kong-hum accused the Party of many shortcomings, in particular that our Party was not pursuing the line of the 20th CPSU congress. Their goal is the replacement of the Party leadership. The CC presidium pursued educational work with them, but they did not listen. At the CC plenum they pushed us to the organizational conclusions with their behavior.


Cde. Mikoyan asks a question: what was the substance of the differences with those whom you expelled?


Kim Chang-man: For example, the deputy minister of culture gave different instructions regarding theater productions than the CC staff. When the CC officials held a conference in the Ministry of Culture about the need for solidarity he declared that they were united anyway. When the chief of the agitprop [department] gave an order Kim [Gwan] acted as he wanted: the Cabinet of Ministers and the CC approved a plan for the production of 10 films a year, but Kim [Gwan] said that this was impossible to do.


The CC should nevertheless exhibit magnanimity and give them an opportunity to correct themselves.


Cde. Pak Ui-won. The advice of the fraternal Parties has very great importance and their help is correct. It needs to be stressed that Cde. Kim Il Sung spoke completely correctly that this advice is substantially correct, we should accept it and carry it out with all good faith because it is deeply correct, but not just because this is the advice of the fraternal Parties. The resolution of the August plenum was extreme and not well thought-out. Therefore the advice of the fraternal Parties was doubly correct. There was a tense atmosphere at the August plenum. In spite of the fact that Kim Il Sung and Choe Yong-geon talked with the dissatisfied CC members before the plenum and in spite of the fact that they arranged in the CC not to expel them, but to educate [them], it practice it turned out differently.


At the plenum Yung Kong-hum spoke heatedly and sharply, and he was not allowed to [continue to] speak, but he needed to be heard. If he is not right, show his incorrectness. It turned out differently. Those who fled from Korea to China did not speak at the plenum. Why? They saw that they were being attacked as members of an anti-Party group, and even their arrest was demanded, [so] they decided to leave for the PRC. The CC plenum did not listen to what they wanted to say, and expelled them from the Party. This was wrong. Pak Chang-ok did not speak at the plenum at all since the presidium advised him not [to speak]. When he was asked questions at the plenum he only justified himself. As is well-known, he was removed from the CC presidium in spite of this. At this meeting they talk of the need to reinstate the expelled comrades because this will be magnanimity. It's not a matter of magnanimity, but to not  make a hasty and ill-considered decision. All the decisions of the CC and Cabinet of Ministers should be adopted deliberately. But it should be said that we often act on our own authority, and pressure officials below us. We need to correct the method of work of the CC and Cabinet of Ministers. No one can fail to agree with the opinion of a particular senior official. Otherwise, this would be an anti-Party opinion. If he is wrong he needs to be convinced of this. It turns out such as when a judge acts with a preconceived notion of the guilt of the accused. In such a case the defendant will always be declared a thief.


The CC should approach [this] objectively. The correct instruction of Cde. Kim Il Sung needs to be put into effect, officials of the Central Committee staff are to approach such issues more carefully, and not give commands. It still often happens among us that if a particular official does not agree with the opinion of a CC staff official they simply tell him that he is acting against the CC, that he is an anti-Party element, etc. Therefore it is necessary to just listen, otherwise they will immediately make accusations of anti-Party activity. It is necessary to distinguish a mistaken Party member from an enemy. At the upcoming plenum we ought not hunt for the fault of the expelled comrades and pursue an investigation about their behavior. [We] ought to decide right now in principle whether the CC resolution about their expulsion was correct, and if it was incorrect, then it needs to be revoked. It can be frankly said that the CC resolution was hasty and incorrect, and therefore it needs to be revoked.


The recommendations of the fraternal Parties have enormous importance for us. We need to study them deeply and use [them] not only in the solution of these problems but also in all the future work of the KWP CC and its senior officials.


Cde. Pak Geum-cheol. The advice of the CPSU and PRC Communist Party is absolutely correct. In consideration of the issue we ought to take into account that the behavior of Choe Chang-ik was not Party [behavior]. He and his group of supporters raised questions about the cult of personality and other things. They said incorrectly that the Party is not following the line of the 20th CPSU congress. We are following the line of the 20th congress.


At the plenum he said that there is also a cult of personality in the KWP to some degree. We also cannot agree with what Ri Pil-gyu said, that what happened in Poznan can also be repeated in Korea. We also cannot agree that So Hwi did not deal with issues of increasing the population's material welfare.


Cde. Mikoyan: First of all, it is necessary to say why the delegations of our Parties came here to you. We think that this is the performance of our international duty. The aid of the fraternal Parties with advice has no less importance than material aid. We want to give you advice so that you can look into the condition of the Party yourselves and make the decision yourselves. Frankly speaking, we have alarm for the fate of the Korean Worker's Party. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea stands at the junction of two worlds. There is a struggle between capitalism and socialism on both sides of the 38th parallel, and therefore if there is a failure here then it is a failure of the entire camp of socialism. The CC of our Party is poorly informed about the matters associated with the August CC plenum. We did not receive information from the CC of your Party. We do not know those people about whom this concerns. And we are not pleading for them. The very fact of the resolution of the August CC plenum, where six CC members were expelled three months after a Party congress, four of whom fled the country, alarms us. These are the signs of a crisis of state and Party leadership. In a capitalist country they would say that this was a deep government crisis. Does this strengthen the Party, or does it weaken [it?] This undoubtedly weakens the Party. Will such decisions of the August plenum be understood by the population, will the Party tear itself apart in disagreements, that a constant struggle is going on inside the Party[?] Think a little, they themselves, if such events had occurred with Syngman Rhee, you yourselves would have said that things are going badly for Syngman Rhee. The expulsion from the Party of this group of comrades is a blow to the Party. But we want your Party to grow and strengthen.


There was talk here about several mistakes of the comrades who were expelled. Possibly what they said and did was incorrect. Possibly several of them have a bad character; but what did the CC do for their correction and consideration of their proposal [?] For they were in the Party for many years. Three months ago the congress elected them to the CC, but you up and expelled a whole group of CC members without convening a congress. If one speaks of the need to maintain the authority of the CC, then you undermine this authority by a decision about an expulsion of a group of members from the CC and the Party. If the 3rd congress had gone more self-critically, then all the issues would have been decided at the congress.


If intra-Party democracy is developed in the Party, Party members, including CC members, have an opportunity to speak openly without fearing any persecution. Then all issues are resolved easily and simply. If a CC member does not speak at a CC meeting, then what he thinks is that you do not have a skilled and competent leadership. When a CC member speaks at a CC meeting, he thinks that he is right, and his statement cannot be considered incorrect before a discussion of this issue and decisions are made. Only after a comprehensive discussion can it be decided who is right and who is wrong. Cde. Kim Chang-man spoke here, characterizing the activity of the expelled CC members as anti-Party. Everything that he said for proof of this assertion is completely wrong. According to his statement it turns out that anyone who wants to have his own say on something is speaking against the CC policy. Such an approach is a factional approach.


The situation is completely abnormal that Cde. Yun Kong-hum, who was expelled from the CC, was not even allowed to finish his statement. It needs to be kept in mind that you have enormous rights. You can expel [someone] from the Party, arrest a person, [or] shoot him. Not a single government body in a capitalist country, not US President Eisenhower, for example, and no one else has such rights. Therefore, you have to be careful when having such enormous rights. For example, why is it impossible to dispute with the CC Agitprop Department [agitprom - SIC], as Cde. Kim Chang-man thinks [?] This is the indisputable right of every Party member. CC members have the right to speak at CC meetings. If they start to wage a campaign against a CC resolution after a CC plenum and create their own group you can hold them responsible to the Party. Each CC member has great responsibility. If there is responsibility, then you should have rights. How do you explain to your own Party that you why you expelled Party members [?] You'll obviously say that these are bad people, but they'll ask you, why then did they turn out bad when you just elected them to the CC [?] Moreover, they [have been] known to the Party for many years. This plenum denounced six people, but someone else will be denounced at the next plenum. The question arises, what is the situation in the CC [?]. Possibly Party members support these CC members. How will you explain your decisions [?] Repressions might dampen criticism for a time, but it needs to kept in mind that discussions will begin from the other end, and other people will hold them. A policy of severance needs to be employed only in an extreme case, when it has been reliably established that the people have become thoroughly rotten. If a CC member is mistaken it is necessary and try and convince him. Some comrades say that those expelled from the Party wanted to replace the leadership of the Korean Worker's Party. But why were you so frightened, how was there such a panic come from [?] For no one is raising the question of replacing Cde. Kim Il Sung, although legally, according to the Party charter, this question can be raised. We think that Cde. Kim Il Sung needs to be supported in the leadership by the Party, but supported on the basis of principle, on the basis of the [inserted by hand: ideological] solidarity of the KWP leadership, on the basis of [inserted by hand: a patient attitude toward the opinions of CC members when they differ on specific issues] friendship, of friendly relations in the ruling collective, and not on the basis of fear, repression, [or] expulsion from the Party. It is necessary to strictly observe the Leninist norms of Party life in the KWP. We can frankly say that before arrival in Pyongyang we had a conversation in the CCP CC. Both Mao Zedong and the CC of our Party trust Cde. Kim Il Sung, but we have to frankly say that the KWP leadership has often decided issues carelessly, without reckoning with the opinions of those who think differently, [inserted by hand: and those who have a different opinion are subjected to repression]. Both the CCP CC and we think [inserted by hand: such methods of leadership cannot be tolerated, and] that it is necessary to completely put the Leninist norms of Party life [into effect] in all the activity of the KWP from bottom to top and develop Party democracy.


We are pleased with that Cde. Kim Il Sung said today at the CC presidium meeting, and the majority of CC presidium members correctly said that they are ready to correct the mistakes. Some comrades might ask whether the CC is losing authority if it admits mistakes. No, it does not lose [authority], on the contrary, its authority becomes stronger from this. It is necessary again to try measures of education, but not throw people out of the Party. The majority of members of your Party will be satisfied that CC members are not expelled from the Party, otherwise they will say that the people were punished for whom the leadership has no use. Without doubt, they might say those who were expelled advocated raising the population's standard of living, but they were immediately expelled from the Party. But now you can say that we have done everything possible for the population, that [we] are ready to listen to suggestions about a further improvement of the lives of the workers and if the suggestion is not feasible, then everyone will understand. It needs to be kept in mind that a magnanimous Party which treats Party members prudently is a strong Party. [inserted by hand: The Party should exhibit magnanimity even to those who are grossly mistaken]. It is necessary to learn the truth that there is one discussion with enemies, another with those who are mistaken.


We need to clear up what is happening in the KWP, since an entire group of CC members has been expelled. This is a serious event in the Party's experience. Our CC has no decision on the issue of the situation in your Party, but the state of affairs in your Party being alarming, it sent a delegation here. Our delegation wanted [inserted by hand: to have an opportunity] to report to the CPSU CC that the KWP leadership is coping with the situation itself, and it is correcting the mistakes made at the August CC plenum. And the CC of our Party would receive the outcome of the matter with great pleasure.


Obviously it is necessary to convene a CC plenum in the immediate future and adopt a decision at the plenum, even a brief one, and publish this decision in the press.


As regards the CC of our Party, of our delegation, we want only a good KWP, we want its further cohesion and strengthening.


Cde. Peng Dehuai

The Communist Party of China is concerned about the fate of the Korean Worker's Party. We fought together against the common enemy, Japanese imperialism, for many years. Not long ago we shed blood at the front, and therefore a strong combat friendship exists between our Parties. Many Koreans fell in battle for the revolution in China, and therefore the bond between our people and the Korean people is close and a bond in blood. We consider it necessary to exchange the experience of our own work. Our Party has obtained great work experience and learned bitter lessons from the mistakes made at one time. We very much want for the KWP not to repeat the mistakes of our Party. In our opinion, the work of the August KWP CC plenum occurred with mistakes. I completely agree with the opinion of Cde. Mikoyan that it is necessary to correct the mistakes more boldly. Our delegation was glad to hear the statements of Cde. Kim Il Sung and Cde. Pak Ui-won. Cde. Pak Ui-won spoke correctly. It needs to be kept in mind that a simplistic approach to the matter only weakens the Party.


Cdes. Kim Il Sung and Choe Yong-geon, who worked in China for many years, know the path of the CCP from 1921 to 1924 well. We overcame innumerable groups, but nothing good came of it. In August of 1927 we defeated the group of [Chen Duxiu], but then another, leftist, group appeared. When it was overcome, a right opportunist group appeared. At the 6th Party congress [we] wanted to correct the mistakes of this group, but the more mistaken line of Li Lisan appeared in the struggle against it. In 1931 Wang Ming and [inserted by hand: Li Lisan] came to the leadership to replace him. They pursued an even more leftist line. This line caused the CCP the greatest damage. In January 1937 we corrected this line under the leadership of Mao Zedong, but [we] left supporters of Wang Ming not only in the Party, but also in the CC since these comrades deeply realized their mistakes. They told other Party members and this was the best method of correcting mistakes. Li Lisan and Wang Ming were elected to the CC at the 7th Party congress and it is intended to elect them again at the 8th Party congress. We think that they do not represent a danger to us. If they are expelled from the Party others will appear. They have not prevented us from working for 11 years. If there were mistakes in the Party then they would have been without them. Keeping Wang Ming and Li Lisan in the CC does not damage the authority of the CC and does not exert a harmful influence on the Party, although Wang Ming does not even admit his mistakes. For example, he sent the 7th CCP congress a letter with an admission of his past mistakes, but after the congress asked that this letter be returned to him. We returned [it]. Even though the members of the Communist Party know that he is behaving incorrectly. On the eve of the 8th Party congress Wang Ming asked permission to go to Moscow for treatment. We agreed, although we understood that he was going to Moscow in order to avoid criticism at the 8th Party congress. On the eve of the 8th Party congress he sent a telegram to the CC in which he wrote that he considers the line of the CC to be correct, the work successful, and congratulates the CC on [its] success.

It is known that Li Lisan and Wang Ming waged a struggle against Mao Zedong. They removed him from the CC, and declared [him] an opportunist, but Mao Zedong did not display a hostile attitude toward them. Of course, Mao Zedong waged a struggle against Li Lisan and Wang Ming, but a principled struggle, without resorting to vengeance.


Party issues cannot be solved simplistically. One can expel [members] from the Party, arrest, or shoot people, but if there are conditions for incorrect opinions to arise then their new successors will appear. If one KWP member advocates raising the population's standard of living, well it's incorrect. All Communists favor this issue. It's necessary to discuss how this ought to be done. If he wants to do this too quickly, but there is no possibility, it needs to be explained [to him]. Even after the adoption of a Party decision he can say that he has his own opinion on this issue but he should not and will not interfere with the Party in the implementation of the decision. Possibly experience will show that he is right. Today many comrades have spoken about the hasty decision of the August CC plenum. This is correct. But it cannot be agreed that this is the only matter. Haste is only the outer aspect of the matter, but this is not the substance. The essence of the matter is that the decisions of the August plenum showed an underestimation of the strength of the Party. A fear of criticism is also an underestimation of the Party. It needs to be said that your Party is strong since many Party members came from the USSR, where they studied Marxism-Leninism and have much work experience; they came from China, where they also received experience; and there are local cadre. If one believes in the strength of the Party then all problems can be solved by discussion. You have no such questions which cannot be solved by discussion.


The biggest mistake of the August CC plenum was that the Party charter was violated. I do not know exactly whether the charters of our Parties are the same, but as far as [I] know the Party charter does not give the right to expel CC members from the CC for the causes for which they were expelled. Such measures can be pursued in an extreme case. We think that you are all devoted to the cause of the revolution and want to strengthen the Party, but the measures which you adopted conflict with your cause. We have known Cde. Kim Il Sung for a long time, he was in China for a long time, and defended the cause of the revolution. According to the opinion of the CC of the Communist Party of China there is no such person right now who could replace Cde. Kim Il Sung and [inserted by hand: no] such [person] who wants this.


Cde. Mikoyan


Even if such a person were found, this would [inserted by hand: not] solve the problem.


Cde. Peng Dehuai


The CPSU and CCP stand in support of Cde. Kim Il Sung in the KWP leadership. But the Party leadership should pursue correct measures; otherwise, our deeds will contradict our wishes. In China one learned man, a follower of Confucius, is praised for not becoming angry when they criticize him, but on the contrary, he is [inserted by hand: even] pleased by this. I do not completely follow this learned man and will not become angry if you express your disagreement with my opinion at today's meeting. Let's discuss [it] together.


Cde. Choe Yong-geon (a second time)


It will be necessary to convene a CC plenum. To confirm at the CC plenum that the behavior of the people expelled was anti-Party behavior, but thanks to the monolithic nature of the Party we are ready to adopt a more magnanimous decision, that is, KWP members know about their anti-Party behavior and record it again in the decision.


Cde. Kim Il Sung


[We] cannot be bound by the decision of the August plenum. We should say in the resolution of the upcoming CC plenum that in spite of the mistakes and shortcomings of the expelled comrades, it is necessary to give them the opportunity to correct themselves. Of course, it needs to be kept in mind that if we exhibit magnanimity right now then individual CC members at the plenum might say that their mistakes were not big, but others might say that the mistakes were very big. But if there is still material about their anti-Party activity then one can talk about it in more detail.


At the CC plenum it is necessary to correct those incorrect decisions which were adopted with respect to those who were expelled. The CC plenum resolution also ought to say that it is necessary to begin with the CC to develop intra-Party democracy. Cde. Mikoyan and Cde. Peng Dehuai spoke correctly that the strength of the Party cannot be underestimated. It is also necessary for officials of the CC staff to be more patient, treat other officials more correctly, and explain to them the substance of the matter and help them in work, and not to give commands.


Of course, one cannot think that at the plenum we will examine everything of which we have spoken here in two or three hours. The composition of the plenum is diverse. Presidium members will have to conduct explanatory work even before the plenum. And right now at the presidium meeting some comrades say that it is possible to go as far as revocation of the decision and the assessment of the August plenum with respect to those who were expelled, and others say otherwise. This might also happen at the upcoming plenum.


The delegations of fraternal Communist Parties came to us and gave correct advice about a more magnanimous attitude toward the mistaken comrades who were expelled from the CC. It is necessary to point this out in the CC decision that we acted incorrectly. This will serve Party unity.


The meeting ended with a Presidium decision being adopted to convene a CC plenum in two days in the evening, 22 September, and if CC members are unable to arrive, then on the morning of the 23rd. During this time a commission of the CC Presidium will prepare a draft CC resolution and submit it for the consideration of the plenum. The plenum resolution should be published in the press.



Both Mikoyan and Peng Dehuai strongly urge the KWP Presidium and Kim Il Sung to consider rehabilitating those involved in the August Plenum Incident. Choe Yong-geon suggests that they will be restored to the Central Committee, but not necessarily to their original positions, and certainly not to the Presidium. As for those who fled to China, both Choe and Kim say that they will be allowed to rejoin the party, but not the Central Committee and will not be guaranteed their old positions.

Document Information


GARF, Fond 5446, Opis 98c, Delo 718, Listy 18-34. Translated by Gary Goldberg.


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