RES: a trip to North Korea

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Sun Apr 23 18:11:05 PDT 2000

>Brad DeLong wrote,
>> I thought that the CWIHP had new information about Commie germ
>> warfare charges--internal Kremlin documents saying that they were
>> false...
> Nonsense. It was U.S. scientists who documented the germ warfare
>conducted by "United Nations" forces, and who published their findings in a
>U.S. journal (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, if memory serves), and who
>were prosecuted for that publication by the Eisenhower U.S. government. Brad
>is just doing as he always does, regurgitating any anticommunist claim no
>matter how groundless...
>Ken Lawrence

Subject: New Russian Evidence on the Korean War Biological Warfare Allegations: Background and Analysis, by Milton Leitenberg Author: Milton Leitenberg Date: 03/01/99 Origin: CWIHP Bulletin File Size: 94007

... The Soviet Documents Twelve Soviet-era documents (or excerpts from them) on the BW controversy have become available. The first, dated 21 February 1952, appears to be no more than a fragment. All the rest date from 13 April 1953 to 2 June 1953, in the months following Stalin's death. Obviously all the rest-decisions and communications relating to the BW allegations between 21 February 1952 (or earlier) and April 1953-is still missing. It is also evident that other relevant documents dating from late April are missing from the available material. The first document (21 February 1952), a message from Mao to Stalin, states that the US has used BW, delivered by aircraft and artillery. The second document (13 April 1953) is a memo to Lavrenti Beria from Glukhov of the MVD, formerly a Soviet advisor to the DPRK Ministry of Public Security. It states that the Chinese government informed the North Korean government in February 1952 that the US was using BW in Korea and in China, and that China would publicize this. The North Koreans insisted on being the first to make a statement, and "the North Koreans, with the assistance of our advisors, created false areas of exposure." In advance of the ISC's arrival, "[t]wo false areas of exposure were prepared." Cholera bacteria were obtained from corpses in China. So that the ISC delegation would not remain on site overly long, "an unworkable situation was created for them in order to frighten them and force them to leave:" This was achieved by Soviet advisors with the KPA setting off explosions near the location of the ISC. The third document (14 April 1953) is a memo to Beria from Lt. Selivanov, an advisor to the Military-Medical Department of the Korean People's Army until April 1952. He informs Beria that he had been the one to help North Korean medical personnel to compose the statement in 1951 alleging that the US had spread smallpox. He says that the North Koreans felt that the BW allegations were necessary to compromise the Americans, and that they had asked three Soviet advisors, Smirnov, Malov, and himself, to help in "creating sites of infection," which they feared they had not succeeded in doing before the arrival of the lawyer's commission. (No mention is made of the Chinese "Commission" which should be present in North Korea at this time.) Selivanov also reports that he responded in March 1952 to a query from Gen. Shtemenko, Chief of Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces, and from the Soviet General Staff, that he reported that there have been no outbreaks of plague and cholera in China, no examples of bacteriological weapons, and that if any were found, they would be sent to Moscow immediately. The fourth document (18 April 1953) is a memo to Beria from Lt. Gen. Razuvaev, the Soviet ambassador to the DPRK and Chief Soviet Military Advisor to the KPA. Razuvaev claims that when the North Korean government consulted him about the BW allegation information they had received from China, Soviet advisors had been unable to confirm the information and that he informed Kim Il-Sung of this, but nevertheless the North Koreans and Chinese went ahead with their public statements. He says that General Shtemenko did not inform the Soviet Foreign Ministry of the information that he received. Despite Razuvaev's skepticism about the Chinese material, the North Koreans pressed him for advice, and with the cooperation of Soviet advisers a plan was worked out for action by the Ministry of Health. False plague regions were created, burials of bodies of those who died and their disclosure were organized, measures were taken to receive the plague and cholera bacillus. The adviser of the DPRK MVD [Ministry of Internal Affairs] proposed to infect with the cholera and plague bacilli persons sentenced to execution. Further details are provided as to what was done in advance of the arrival of the commission of jurists and the ISC. Razuvaev also adds that a Soviet investigation of Chinese allegations that the US was using poison gas disproved the charges. The fifth document (21 April 1953) is a memo from Beria to Malenkov and to the CPSU CC Presidium. It states that Smirnov and Glukhov had reported in March 1952 to USSR Minister of State Security S.D. Ignatiev "that with the help of General . . . Razuvaev two false regions of infection were simulated for the purpose of accusing the Americans of using bacteriological weapons in Korea and China," and that "Ignatiev did not report this memorandum, which had special political importance, to anyone. As a result, the Soviet Union suffered real political damage in the international arena. I discovered this document in the archive of the MGB the beginning of April 1953." The sixth document (21 April 1953) is from V. Molotov to the CPSU CC Presidium and is identifiably incomplete. It begins with the opening line: "[On] 22 February 1952, the DPRK received an intentionally false statement from the Chinese about the use of bacteriological weapons by the Americans." It further suggests that the Soviet embassy in North Korea may have informed Vyshinsky that the BW allegations were not true. Molotov proposes that the Central Committee direct Vyshinsky, now in late April 1953, that "it is inadvisable to show interest in discussing this question or even more in 'fanning the flames' of this question" at the ongoing session of the UN General Assembly. (This is, however, after the USSR had already offered to withdraw their BW allegations in the UN Political Committee on 7 April 1953, a date that preceeds any of the documents in this latter group.) The seventh document (2 May 1953) is the message to Mao Zedong, brusquely informing the Chinese leader that the USSR and CPSU had been "misled" (implicitly by the Chinese themselves) about the "false" and "fictitious" charges of BW use that had been lodged against the Americans, and recommending that the international anti-American campaign on the subject be immediately dropped. The eighth document (undated, but subsequent to reports by Glukhov and Smirnov indicated as having been given on April 24) is a protocol of the CPSU CC Presidium, recommending that "for unauthorized actions of a provocatory character which caused significant damage to the interests of the state," Gen. Razuvaev be relieved of his ambassadorship, stripped of rank, and prosecuted; Ignatiev to be dropped from the CPSU CC and investigated; the USSR to draft its subsequent position on the allegations of BW use by the US, and to prepare a report on the subject to be sent to Mao Zedong and Kim Il Sung. The ninth document is a telegram to Molotov reporting on the conversation of the Soviet ambassador in Beijing with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai on 12 May 1953. Mao blames the allegations on reports from Chinese front line commanders in Korea, whose authenticity it would now be difficult to verify, and says that "[i]f falsification is discovered, then these reports from below should not be believed." (The suggestion that the elaborate preparations and falsification-a BW "Potemkin village"-the extraordinary media campaign, the international commissions, etc. could have been organized "from below" in either the China or the USSR governed by Mao and by Stalin is highly implausible.) The tenth document (17 May 1953) concerns the CPSU's internal investigations of Ignatiev. Ignatiev claims that he showed the message from Glukhov and Smirnov to Stalin in July or August 1952, and that since he believed "the published material," he did not believe the information contained in their message and "did not attach any significance" to it. The eleventh document (1 June 1953) is the telegram to Molotov from the Soviet ambassador in North Korea on the discussions with the Secretary of the DPRK Central Committee, Pak Chang-ok, who "expressed great surprise at the actions and positions of V.N. Razuvaev. . . . We were convinced that everything was known in Moscow. We thought that setting off this campaign would give great assistance to the cause of the struggle against American imperialism. In his turn, Pak Chang-ok did not exclude the possibility that the bombs and containers were thrown from Chinese planes, and [that] there were no infections." The twelfth document (2 June 1953) indicts Ignatiev, the former Minister of State Security of the USSR. What Remains to be Disclosed? A great deal still remains to be revealed, including: 1. All of the Chinese documentation, which would demonstrate just how the entire affair was decided upon, organized, and carried out. 2. The Soviet documentation between 21 February 1952 and 13 April 1953, and even before the February 21 cable from Mao to Stalin. These documents would establish exactly whose idea the false allegations were-the USSR's or China's-and provide a more detailed understanding of the nature and degree of the technical assistance that Soviet advisers contributed to the entire process. The available documents imply a Chinese and then North Korean initiative, with Soviet personnel as collaborators. This should remain an open question until it is possible to understand the operations of the USSR Ministry of State Security at the time, its collaboration with analogous Chinese government organs, their elaboration of "active measures" and so forth. It is clear that there is a chain in the allegations that even preceded the onset of the Korean War, although the decision to charge the U.S. with using BW could only have been made in the context of the war. The all-important question is the degree of consultation and cooperation in the area of propaganda between the USSR and China in the period not covered by the documents-between February 1952 and April 1953, and while Stalin was alive.


-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- "Now 'in the long run' this [way of summarizing the quantity theory of money] is probably true.... But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. **In the long run** we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again."

--J.M. Keynes -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- J. Bradford DeLong; Professor of Economics, U.C. Berkeley; Co-Editor, Journal of Economic Perspectives. Dept. of Economics, U.C. Berkeley, #3880 Berkeley, CA 94720-3880 (510) 643-4027; (925) 283-2709 phones (510) 642-6615; (925) 283-3897 faxes <delong at> -------------- next part -------------- An HTML attachment was scrubbed... URL: <../attachments/20000423/55289926/attachment.htm>

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