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April 15, 1967

Telegram from Pyongyang to Bucharest, No.76.134, TOP SECRET, April 15, 1967

The Czech First Secretary told T. Ionescu that the North Koreans are precluding the Czechoslovak and Polish delegations in the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission to undertake any concrete actions regarding the investigation and inspection on the premises of incidents and infringements of the armistice agreement (emphasis in original). Instead the North Koreans insist, sometimes in a quite untactful manner, for its point of view of the incidents to be assumed as the only true version.


Because of this, it is very hard to know the reasons and real causes of these incidents, who and to what extent is to blame for them. Judging by the attitude adopted by the North Koreans, they do not wish for the truth to be known and they are trying to create such circumstances that when incidents and clashes do occur, they can be blamed on the enemy.


The approach of the North Koreans towards the Czechoslovak and Polish delegations puts the military envoys from the two countries in a delicate position. They are mocked by their Swedish and Swiss counterparts, for whom the South Koreans are creating the proper conditions and are facilitating normal working routines.


On the other hand, in some meetings of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, the American-South Korean camp accuse the North Koreans of plotting to undermine the armistice and of carrying the blame for the current incidents on the 38th parallel, using as evidence the fact that the North Koreans are not allowing the Czechoslovak and Polish delegations to investigate the incursions in South Korea, to express their own points of view on those who are responsible for this state of affairs.


The Czech diplomat expressed his belief that the current state of serious tension on both sides of the 38th parallel could easily get out of control and degenerate. Judging by the frequency and magnitude of these incidents, it can be concluded that we are witnessing a continuing increase of the number and scale of these incidents.


He pointed out that one of the main causes for these incidents was the North Korean practice to send groups of agitators to the South, past the 38th parallel. The crossing of these groups is usually covered by military troops, which often accompany them to the DMZ.


The crossing of such a group resulted in the April 5 incident, in which five people died. The North Korean group was intercepted as soon as it crossed the border and when the Americans and the South Koreans opened fire on them, the North Koreans had time to withdraw, leaving no material evidence on South Korean territory. Because of this, the incident was widely speculated on in the North.


However, the interlocutor went on, the Americans learned the right lessons from these events and they no longer allowed them to enter South Korean territory and then shoot them, so as to obtain the necessary material evidence. In these cases, the North Korean authorities are not mentioning them at all. For example, the Czech diplomat pointed out that four days ago two such incidents occurred, as two North Korean groups tried to cross the frontier and enter the South, resulting in the death of six and respectively two North Korean militaries, and one of them, critically injured, was taken prisoner. Their bodies, together with other material evidence, were found 1 km south of the border. Although the South Koreans are extensively exploiting these events for propaganda purposes, in Pyongyang everything is kept secret.


The Czech diplomat, talking about the failures of the North Koreans, mentioned that it was not unthinkable that these two incidents would lead up to larger-scale events and hasten the implementation of the extant plans of the North Koreans.


Signed: N. Popa




An analysis of the causes of the incidents on the 38th parallel by delegates to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Comission.


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Archive of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Obtained and translated for NKIDP by Eliza Gheorghe.


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