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July 22, 1967

Report, Embassy of Hungary in North Korea to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, 22 July 1967

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

The South Korean parliamentary elections of 8th June elicited not just the protest of the opposition parties but also led to a new demonstration of the students in Seoul. Partly by administrative measures, partly by temporization, and also by the reinforcement of its international prestige (the visits of Humphrey and Sato), the Park Chung Hee regime gradually overcame the internal crisis. To our knowledge, the demonstrations of the students did not produce any particular effect on the various strata of the population. In order to offset the criticism that the opposition parties directed against the victorious government party, Park Chung Hee did his best to take advantage of the danger of the so-called „intrusion of northern partisans.”


According to some information available for us, the South Korean situation and the issue of the student demonstrations was also discussed at the session the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party held at the end of June and early in July […].


On 12th June, during a casual conversation we had, the head of the Youth League’s International Department expounded the following, without referring to the [aforementioned] plenum but presumably in the latter’s spirit:


The South Korean situation is becoming more and more complicated both in an internal and in an international sense. The guidance of the South Korean revolution and of the local work requires very great competence and experience (he did not say it straight out but he made me feel after all that they may have made mistakes as well). In what follows the departmental head referred to that a certain political passivity was characteristic of the working class and the peasantry, and agreed with that the increasing inflow of foreign capital lessened unemployment to some extent. A relatively large part of the not-so-numerous working class is employed by the Americans in this or that respect. In such a situation, he said, it fell to the intelligentsia, to which we should pay great attention, to play a particularly important role. On the whole, the South Korean national intelligentsia is still far away from Marxism and the ideas of Communism, by and large it gives expression to the emotions and views of the national petty and middle bourgeoisie. In the last analysis, the great majority of the students is also of petty bourgeois origin. However, the intelligentsia, due to its situation, has greater opportunities and a wider intellectual horizon than the other strata of the society that are exposed to a more intense cultural oppression as well. Although the national intelligentsia’s opposition to the Seoul regime is not really leftist for the time being, by adequate work and patience it can be gradually moved to the left. Therefore, he emphasized once again, one had to pay great attention to the work done with the South Korean national intelligentsia.


[…] While so far only the USA has been present in South Korea, now Japan has also intruded and she is playing a more and more important role there. In the last analysis, the three strongest imperialist powers – the USA, Japan, and West Germany – have completely gotten hold of South Korea in a political, economic, and – last but not least – military sense. These circumstances make the cause of revolution difficult, and create more problems for the DPRK. […]          


 During a conversation we had at the Polish reception, Comrade Pak Yeong-ho [Pak Yong Ho], the head of the F[oreign] M[inistry]’s Department of International Organizations, similarly referred to the present political passivity of the South Korean working class and peasantry, and remarked that one could hardly notice any anti-Americanism in the course of the latest demonstrations of the students.




                                                                                                    Károly Fendler

                                                                                                    (Chargé d’Affaires ad interim)


Károly Fendler analyzes the situation that Park Chung Hee regime faces internally as well as internationally, and North Korea's strategies for inducing a communist revolution in South Korea.


Document Information


MOL, XIX-J-1-j Korea, 1967, 61. doboz, 200, 001202/3/1967. Translated by Balázs Szalontai.


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