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September 3, 1949

Telegram, Tunkin to Vyshinsky

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation





On September 3 the personal secretary of Kim Il Sung, Mun Il (a Soviet Korean), came to me and at the commission of Kim Il Sung reported that they had received reliable information that in the near future the southerners intend to seize the part of the Ongjin Peninsula which is located to the north of the 38th parallel, and also to bombard the cement plant in the city of Kaisiu.


In connection with this, Mun Il said, Kim Il Sung asks permission to begin military operations against the south, with the goal of seizing the Ongjin peninsula and part of the territory of South Korea to the east of the Ongjin Peninsula, approximately to Gaeseong [Kaesong], so as to shorten the line of defense.


Kim Il Sung considers, Mun said, that if the international situation permits, they are ready to move further to the south. Kim Il Sung is convinced that they are in a position to seize South Korea in the course of two weeks, maximum 2 months.


I asked [Mun] to transmit to Kim Il Sung that this question is very large and serious, it is necessary to think it through carefully and that I therefore urgently recommend to Kim Il Sung not to be in a hurry and not to take [any measures] while there is no decision on this question.


Kim Il Sung will probably raise this question again soon.


It has been established that the [North] Koreans truly did seize an order to the commander of troops on the Ongjin peninsula to begin artillery fire on the cement plant in Kaisiu on September 2 at 8:00 and to destroy it. From the order it is clear that the southerners consider this plant to be military. The period indicated in the order has past but so far there has been no shelling. The northerners have taken the necessary measures in case of firing on the plant.


Regarding the intentions of the southerners to seize part of the Ongjin Peninsula to the north of the 38th parallel, we have only indications [of this] from deserters from the south.


There have not been any serious incidents at the 38th parallel since August 15. Small exchanges of fire have taken place, [there have been] instances of artillery firing on the territory of North Korea on the Ongjin Peninsula, trespassing of the parallel. The southerners are carrying out defensive work at the 38th parallel at a faster tempo. I ask your order.


3.9.49   [Charge d'Affaires] Tunkin.


Kim Il Sung, having recieved intelligence suggesting South Korea intended to seize the Ongjin Peninsula, requests Soviet permission to move further into South Korea.

Document Information


AVP RF, Fond 059a, Opis 5a, Delo 4, papka 11, listy 136-138.


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Leon Levy Foundation