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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • October 21, 1976

    Chairman of the Central Information Group to the Deputy Minister

    Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland expelled all embassy workers from DPRK, accusing them of smuggling weapons, alcohol and cigarettes.The Chairman of the Central Information Group (Zentrale Auswertungs- und Informationsgruppe) of the GDR requests the Deputy Minister check all Korean embassy workers, including diplomats and their relative, and to keep them under careful surveillance.

  • October 21, 1976

    Note from Ossi Sunell, Head of Protocol Department, 'The Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Helsinki; Measures in Connection with Activities of Embassy Personnel'

    The North Korean charge d'affairs in Helsinki protests the Finnish Foreign Ministry's decision to expel diplomats from the DPRK embassy in the wake of the smuggling scandal.

  • October 22, 1976

    Letter from Norwegian Information Service in the United States to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Facsimile - North Korean Smuggling in Scandinavia'

    Newspaper articles from the United States report on North Korean smuggling activities in Nordic embassies.

  • October 30, 1976

    The President's Daily Brief, October 30, 1976

    A summary of the North Korean smuggling scandal in Scandinavia produced by the US intelligence community.

  • November 18, 1976

    Memorandum from Anneli Puura, 'Visit by the Acting Counsellor of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea with State Secretary Tuovinen'

    A North Korean official complains about Finnish media attention to the smuggling scandal.

  • February 28, 1978

    TELEGRAM 066.569 from the Romanian Embassy in Pyongyang to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    The Swedish and Finnish governments pressure the DPRK to pay back its debts, while the PRC grants North Korea a loan to partially offset these costs.

  • March 17, 1978

    Press Clippings from 'Helsingin Sanomat' and 'Ilta-Sanomat' concerning the North Korean Ambassador in Helsinki

    Finnish newspaper clippings on the arrival of a new North Korean ambassador following the smuggling scandal.

  • November 12, 1983

    Memorandum on INF and START negotiations

    This memo to Prime Minister Bettino Craxi argues against the merging of the INF and START negotiations proposed by the Finnish government and backed by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. The memo suggests that the proposal could jeopardize the Geneva talks and harm European interests.

  • September 08, 1989

    Ambassadors’ Conference at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, Vienna

    Summary of discussion between Austrian Foreign Minister Erich Maximilian Schmid and ambassadors from Belgium, Finland, Yugoslavia, Luxembourg, and Sweden about the state of Eastern Europe, the decline of the arms race, and Western reactions to German Reunification.

  • June, 2007

    On Human Rights. Folder 51. The Chekist Anthology.

    Outlines the KGB’s response to the USSR’s signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975. The accords obligated signatories to respect their citizens’ human rights. This gave Soviet dissidents and westerners leverage in demanding that the USSR end persecution on the basis of religious or political beliefs. Some of the KGB’s active measures included the establishment of a charitable fund dedicated to helping victims of imperialism and capitalism, and the fabrication of a letter from a Ukrainian group to FRG President Walter Scheel describing human rights violations in West Germany. The document also mentions that the Soviet Ministry of Defense obtained an outline of the various European powers’ positions on human rights issues as presented at the March 1977 meeting of the European Economic Community in London from the Italian Foreign Ministry. The KGB also initiated Operation “Raskol” [“Schism”], which ran between 1977 and 1980. This operation included active measures to discredit Soviet dissidents Andrei Sakharov, Yelena Bonner, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, measures designed to drive a wedge between the US and its democratic allies, and measures intended to convince the US government that continued support for the dissident movement did nothing to harm the position of the USSR.

  • June, 2007

    The Cherepanov Case, 1968-1980 Folder 24. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Vasili Mitrokhin reports that in 1968, a part-time student of the Vilnius Polytechnic University, Cherepanov, was sentenced to two years in a correctional facility for disseminating inflammatory leaflets in downtown Vilnius calling for the overthrow of the Soviet government. In 1970, he returned to Vilnius upon release and was unable to find employment. The KGB recruited Cherepanov, but in 1974 he was fired from the agency network for attempting to exploit his connection with the KGB for personal use, for behaving provocatively and making derogatory statements about the leadership of the KGB, and for intending to leave the Soviet Union. In 1978, Cherepanov met Yolanda Vachatis, citizen of Canada. They tried to get married, but the KGB intervened. In January 1980, Cherepanov attempted to leave for Israel. He applied for permission from the Office of Visas and Registration at the Ministry of the Interior, but was denied. In March 1980, Cherepanov met with Heikki A. Surye, citizen of Finland. Heikki agreed to assist Cherpanov and handed him a map marked with locations safe for escape. Cherepanov persuaded Surovets to come along. The two began collecting information critical of the Soviet regime in order to publish it in the Western press. On June 30, Cherepanov and Surovets left Vilnius for Riga. Once in Riga, Cherepanov mailed a letter to Vachatis, who resided in France at that time, saying that he was planning to meet her there sometime in July. On July 7, Cherepanov and Surovets reached the border zone. The warning system was set off, but, due to a rainy weather, footsteps could not be traced, enabling Cherepanov and Surovets to cross the border. Heads of the 11th and 2nd customs checkpoints and others were reprimanded for negligence and mismanagement of the situation. Cherepanov and Surovets were taken back to the USSR on July 24.

  • June, 2007

    Operational Techniques. Folder 76. The Chekist Anthology

    In this folder Mitrokhin reports on some spy techniques used by the KGB in major western European cities (including Helsinki, Geneva, Bucharest) in 1975. According to Mitrokhin, the main tasks for KGB residents trained in the use of operational techniques were to check post offices for foreign correspondence, to secretly receive information about meetings of officials of a certain country, and to videotape any acts of anti-socialist movements. This note provides detailed statistics on the photographs taken of foreign mail, telephone recordings, and radio-intercepts. Mitrokhin specifically focuses on operations which took place in Vienna. As his note states, KGB agents photographed thousands of pages of secret materials using the “Zagadka,” a mini-camera built into a regular pen. The KGB residency had their own “TS” correspondence service with 98 N-line—undercover agents operated by legal residents—around Europe. Residents used microdot script and steganography —the art of writing hidden messages—for agents of N-line. As Mitrokhin states, X-line—residency subunit of scientific-technical investigation—agents’ tasks were to provide materials for secret operations. They built in a recording device in an ashtray, used the inside of an automobile seats to keep secret materials, and batteries for cameras. Mitrokhin also provides the exact number and names of all KGB residency agencies in Vienna in 1975, and describes security techniques used for their technology and agents.