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The Soviet blueprint for the postwar Korean provisional government: a case study of the Politburo's decisions.

AT THE CONCLUSION OF WORLD WAR II IN THE FAR EAST, THE SOVIET Union intervened in the war against Japan and subsequently occupied Manchuria and the northern area of the Korean peninsula. The Soviet military's occupation of what is now the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) significantly influenced Korea's subsequent history, from liberation to division to war. Studying Soviet policies toward Korea, which were a driving force behind the division of the peninsula, still has great academic and practical import for Koreans, who remain separated even after the end of the Cold War.

The academic world has shown a keen interest in studying these Soviet policies. Nonetheless, the existing body of work is far from comprehensive, as it focuses primarily on the Soviets' participation in the war against Japan, their role in the demarcation of the 38th parallel, and their policies toward the northern half of Korea immediately following their occupation of the area (Haruki 1983; Oh 1989; Ree 1989; Jeon 1995). In particular, archival restrictions have resulted in a total lack of research on Soviet policies toward Korea in the Moscow Conference of 1945 and on the undertakings of the US-USSR Joint Commission, which was formed according to the agreement adopted at the conference. Research on the Joint Commission has mainly focused on US policy toward Korea (Shim 1989; Jeong 1996).

I had an opportunity to analyze diplomatic documents regarding the Soviet Union's policies toward Korea, which became accessible to the public only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and to examine the Soviet Union's blueprint for the Korean provisional government, which developed during the Joint Commission's work (Jeon 1997). I discovered that the Kremlin sought to establish a Korean government dominated by the left wing by strictly adhering to the Moscow Agreement and preventing the participation of factions opposed to the Four-Power Trusteeship in the Joint Commission.

Meanwhile, notable changes have recently occurred in the research environment for the Soviet policies toward Korea. The documents of the secretariat of the Soviet delegation to the Joint Commission have been released, (1) as have the decisions of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). (2) An examination of these documents reveals that the CPSU issued three decrees to the Soviet delegation to the Joint Commission, the first two on March 16 and July 26, 1946, and the last on May 20, 1947. The decrees were adopted in the form of decisions by the Politburo, the highest decisionmaking body in the Soviet party-state system. The decrees are definitive in understanding the CPSU's blueprint for the Korean provisional government. They prescribe the general principles guiding the Soviet delegation's work, encompassing the Joint Commission's undertakings and procedures, organizational and political principles for the Korean provisional government, and procedures for holding a conference with political parties and social organizations.

In the meantime, for the purpose of supporting the Soviet delegation to the Joint Commission, a special committee was formed, consisting of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Solomon Lozovsky, Deputy Minister of Armed Forces Nikolai Bulganin, and Chief of General Staff of Soviet Army Aleksei Antonov. This committee, through discussions with different ministries, prepared materials and decision drafts to submit to the Politburo conference regarding key issues such as the decrees that would be communicated to the Soviet delegation. (3) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs documents were none other than the ministry's first drafts, composed in the process of preparing materials to submit to the Politburo through the special committee. Nevertheless, a significant number of differences exist between the contents of the Soviet foreign affairs ministry's first drafts and the Politburo's final decrees. Furthermore, the decree issued on July 26, 1946, whose existence was previously known but not its contents, has been unearthed in full text thanks to the release of the decisions made by the Politburo.

In this article I seek to reconstruct the CPSU's blueprint for the Korean provisional government through an analysis of the Politburo's decrees to the Soviet delegation. I also reexamine the meaning of the Soviet policies toward Korea in light of the Korean national movement's demand for national unification (Shim 1989; Jeong 1996).

Convening of the US-USSR Joint Commission and the First Decree

The Soviet View of the Joint Commission's Functions

To understand the Soviet blueprint for the Korean provisional government during the period of the first US-USSR Joint Commission, we must examine the decree that the Politburo issued to the Soviet delegation to the Joint Commission on March 16, 1946. This decree is crucial in comprehending the CPSU's blueprint for the Korean provisional government, as it comprehensively prescribes for the Soviet delegation procedures for the Joint Commission's undertakings, organizational and political principles for the provisional government, and rules for conferences with political parties and social organizations. (4)

The CPSU planned to divide the Joint Commission's undertakings into two stages: one that would draw up recommendations for the formation of the Korean democratic provisional government, the other that would prepare plans to assist the Korean people's political, economic, and social advancement; the development of democratic autonomy; and the establishment of national independence. In deliberating on the composition of the Korean provisional government in the first stage, the CPSU dictated the preparation of (1) procedures for composing a list of political parties and social organizations to participate in the Joint Commission's conference; (2) recommendations for structural and organizational principles of the provisional government and its local authorities; (3) a declaration of the political principles of the provisional government; and (4) recommendations for the composition of the provisional government.

The CPSU instructed the Soviet delegation to limit the Joint Commission's function to preparing for the establishment of the Korean provisional government and to exclude discussions about economic matters. The CPSU also directed that if the US side attempted to submit the issue of Korea's economic unification to the Joint Commission, the US attempt should be obstructed with the argument that the Joint Commission only had the duty of preparing for the establishment of the provisional government according to the decision of the Moscow Conference. The Soviet delegation was to assert that, until the provisional government was established, the exchange of goods between the northern and southern halves of Korea should be conducted only through mutual payment in keeping with agreements between the commanders of both the Soviet and US armies.

The CPSU further demanded that the provisional government be formed with representatives of "democratic" political parties and social organizations, but that cabinet posts should be distributed equally among the candidates recommended by political parties and social organizations in both halves of Korea. Specifically, the CPSU asserted that a prime minister and two deputy prime ministers as well as ministers of the interior, foreign affairs, national defense, finance, commerce and foreign trade, industry, agriculture and forestry, education and propaganda, justice, health, labor and social security, transportation, and postal services be selected from among individuals who could prove through their actions their loyalty to the Korean people, friendly relations with allies, and commitment to the struggle for a democratic Korea. (5)

The CPSU also stipulated that the Korean provisional government have legislative and administrative authority in all of Korea, and exercise administrative authority in different localities through people's committees elected by universal, direct, and equal suffrage and secret ballot. The North Korean Provisional People's Committee and the South Korean Representative Democratic Council should be dissolved after each people's committee was elected throughout Korea. The new governmental organizations were to exclude anyone with a history of cooperation with Japanese rule. Through a system of consultation with the Joint Commission, the United States and the Soviets were to control and direct the provisional government's central and local activities, (6) and the provisional government was to nominate delegates to both the Soviet and US army headquarters.

As to the makeup of the Korean provisional government, the CPSU further proposed that the Joint Commission convene a conference with representatives of those South and North Korean political parties and social organizations that had registered with the Soviet and US army headquarters in conformity with prescribed legal procedures. No political party or social organization opposed to the Moscow Conference's agreement could participate in the conference. The CPSU suggested the following conference procedure: political parties and social organizations were to be advised to reveal their opinions on political and organizational principles for the provisional government and local governmental bodies; subsequently, the CPSU was to examine the political and social groups' opinions and discuss them with the groups to produce a list of cabinet members for the provisional government.

The CPSU presented the political principles that the provisional government must implement. These principles included the following tasks related to general democratic reform:

* The purging of Japanese colonial influence from the political and economic life of Korea.

* The realization of local autonomy through people's committees elected by residents in line with the principle of universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot regardless of gender or creed.

* A guarantee of all political freedoms including freedom of the press, publication, assembly, and religion as well as freedom of activity for democratic political parties, labor unions, and other organizations.

* Confiscation of land owned by the Japanese, Korean national traitors, and large landowners; abolition of the tenant system; and free distribution of all the confiscated lands to the Korean peasantry.

* The nationalization of large industries, corporations, banks, underground resources, forestry, and railroad transportation owned by Japanese and Korean monopolies.

* The introduction of an eight-hour workday for laborers and office workers.

Formation of the Cabinet

The list of candidates for the cabinet of the provisional government was reviewed multiple times within the Soviet army's leadership before the opening of the US-USSR Joint Commission. On March 7, 1946, chief Soviet delegate Terentii Shtykov finalized the list with reference to the opinions of Kim Il-sung and Park Hon-young and sent the list to the Central Committee of the CPSU. (7) On March 8, Grigory Mekler, the seventh political section head of the military district of the Maritime Province of Siberia, submitted evaluations of the cabinet candidates to Shtykov. (8) On March 15, M. Burchev, the seventh section head of the Soviet army's general political bureau, also submitted evaluations of the cabinet candidates to the Central Committee of the CPSU. (9)

Whereas Shtykov's draft does not list the position of minister of national defense and recommends Kim Il-sung for the position of minister of the interior, the evaluations of Mekler and Burchev recommend Kim Il-sung for minister of national defense and Choi Yong-kun for minister of the interior. Shtykov's draft was based on the Soviet foreign ministry's initial decree, which had eliminated the positions of ministers of national defense and foreign affairs in favor of allowing the two deputy prime ministers to oversee either military affairs or foreign affairs. The candidate lists of Mekler and Burchev were based on the final decree, which stipulated retention of the ministers of national defense and foreign affairs. Mekler's list is more detailed in its inclusion of candidates not only for ministers but also for deputy ministers for each ministry. Mekler's list offers valuable information to understand the nature of the provisional government that the CPSU hoped to establish in Korea.

Although the Soviet leadership allocated eleven positions to South Korea and only six to North Korea, only six positions were open for US nomination. With the exception of Kim Kyu-sik of the South Korean Representative Democratic Council, all of the eleven Soviet nominations belonged to the left wing. Even if the United States were to fill all of the six cabinet posts with those from the right, the left would prevail by ten to seven positions over rightists and the key positions of prime minister, deputy prime minister, and ministers of foreign affairs, the interior, and national defense would all be occupied by the left.

As crucial criteria in selecting the cabinet candidates, the Soviet leadership valued history of participation in the anti-Japanese movement during Japanese imperial rule in Korea, support for the Moscow Agreement, and pro-Soviet tendency. In fact, anti-Soviet forces opposing the Moscow Agreement and the FourPower Trusteeship were completely excluded from the cabinet; at this stage, members of the Workers Party of South Korea headed by Park Hon-yong occupied prominent positions in the cabinet. Clearly, the Soviet army leadership hoped to establish a pro-Soviet government dominated by the left under the pretext of adhering to the precise execution of the Moscow Agreement.

Thus, prior to the opening of the Joint Commission, the CPSU had a nearly complete blueprint for the Korean provisional government. The CPSU had planned to establish a left wing-dominated government through the exclusion of political parties and social organizations opposed to the Moscow Agreement, and subsequently to implement anti-imperialistic, antifeudal political principles. Along with the establishment of the provisional government, the CPSU reaffirmed the enforcement of the trusteeship rule. The provisional government would only hold legislative and administrative powers under the Joint Commission's control. The CPSU's blueprint did not have any clear statement regarding the process of transitioning from the trusteeship rule to complete independence for Korea.

The CPSU's stance was plainly demonstrated in a speech that chief Soviet delegate Shtykov made at the Joint Commission's opening ceremony on March 20, 1946. Shtykov declared that Korea must not become a base for attacking the Soviet Union. He further asserted that the democratization of Korea faced countless obstacles from "reactionary, anti-democratic groups" and that the provisional government must be established by bringing together democratic political parties and social organizations in favor of the Moscow Agreement (Shim 1989). Through his statements, Shtykov made clear the CPSU's intention to exclude the antitrusteeship camp from the provisional government.

The Soviets maintained that since the Joint Commission was formed to implement the Moscow Agreement, political parties and social organizations opposed to the agreement should not be consulted. The United States, however, retorted that such a demand constituted a breach of the "American concept of democracy" and that opposition to the trusteeship rule was a rightful reaction from Koreans. The two sides adopted the fifth statement, which pledged to consult with political parties and social organizations that declared support for the Moscow Agreement, and began drafting a list of organizations with which to consult. Nevertheless, the Joint Commission still did not have a bright prospect. The Soviets again presented a new condition that "political parties and social organizations must not include any representatives who stained their own reputations through active behavior opposing the Moscow Agreement and any one of the allies." (10)

The Soviets claimed that because the South Korean Representative Democratic Council's assertion that "it [was] possible to continue opposing the trusteeship rule after the establishment of the provisional government" contradicted the fifth statement of the Joint Commission as well as the Moscow Agreement, groups affiliated with the Council could not consult with the Joint Commission. The United States countered that such a demand violated freedom of expression, arguing for substitution of discussion on the provisional government with one on economic reunification and the dismantling of the 38th parallel. This proposal was accompanied by an ultimatum that the Soviets' rejection would leave the United States with no choice but to halt the operation of the Joint Commission. On May 8, the Joint Commission was adjourned indefinitely. (11)

The Adjournment of the Joint Commission and the Second Decree

Crafting the Soviet Negotiating Strategy

"The first US-USSR Joint Commission business report" that chief Soviet delegate Shtykov sent to Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov offers a clear view of the Soviets' understanding of the situation, their assessment of US strategy, and their planned future negotiating tactics. (12) Shtykov thought that the United States was stimulating the antitrusteeship movement of the South Korean right, which demanded immediate independence, by spreading propaganda that trusteeship rule would not be enforced if Koreans opposed it. He judged such US behavior as an effort to increase the right wing's popularity among the Korean people, facilitate the right's participation in the provisional government by portraying them as true patriots, spotlight the United States as a supporter of Korean independence (and the Soviet Union as an oppressor) forcibly demanding the trusteeship rule, and create difficulties for the leftists who supported the Moscow Agreement.

Shtykov believed that the Soviet strategy, which insisted on the precise execution of the Moscow Agreement, demanded restricting negotiation partners to political parties and social organizations that supported the agreement. By compelling political parties and social organizations to sign a declaration supporting the agreement, a provisional government dominated by the left wing would emerge. Shtykov deemed the strategy as having the power to subvert the US aim of bringing in the antitrusteeship forces under a right wing-dominated government. He judged the precise execution of the Moscow Agreement as a position that "cannot be retreated from and will not be negotiable in the future, either." (13)

In his report to Joseph Stalin and Molotov on June 12, 1946, Shtykov suggested that since the United States was responsible for the adjournment of the Joint Commission, the Soviets should not show enthusiasm for the reopening of the commission; they should maintain their previous position regarding the terms of negotiation with political parties and social organizations. (14) Shtykov argued the need to strengthen the leftist camp through the integration of leftist political parties, and proposed to expose the "reactionary nature" of the US military government's policies in contrast with the Soviet military government's "progressive democratic reform" implemented in North Korea.

In order to strengthen the Soviets' political and economic status in North Korea, Shtykov proposed instituting extensive democratic reform measures such as the election of people's committees and the nationalization of industries; dispatch of Soviet technicians to North Korea for industrial recovery; expansion of trade to sell North Korea raw materials, fuel, and industrial products necessary for company operation and residential life; and provision of food aid to the destitute. He also proposed forming a railroad guard, border guard, and security executive school, and selling arms to equip these military organizations.

The CPSU's leadership fully embraced the chief Soviet delegate's appraisal of the situation and proposals for future strategy. "The decree to the Soviet delegation to the Joint Commission regarding Korea," (15) adopted by the CPSU Politburo on July 26, 1946, was based on the March 16, 1946, decree. The July decree integrated Shtykov's perceptions and proposals to newly outline the stance that the Soviet delegation must take in terms of negotiation with political parties and social organizations as well as in organizational and political principles for the Korean provisional government.

The CPSU's Instructions

The CPSU instructed the Soviet delegation to maintain the previous position regarding terms of agreement with political parties and social organizations. In other words, the CPSU demanded that the Joint Commission negotiate only with democratic political parties and social organizations that fully and unconditionally supported the Moscow Agreement, and that these groups must not elect as their representatives those individuals who actively rallied against the Moscow Agreement and either of the allied countries. The CPSU asserted that the Soviet delegation must ensure the exclusion of Korea's "reactionary" leaders from the provisional government by adhering to this stance.

In the second decree, the CPSU clearly exhibited its position regarding the decision of the Moscow Conference. The CPSU contended that the Moscow Agreement was the basic document showing the determination of the allied countries to assist the Korean people in achieving a national revival, as Korea must obtain its government and independence with the help of its allies. The CPSU emphasized that the Moscow Agreement, which stipulated the establishment of the Korean provisional government and subsequent enforcement of the trusteeship rule through this government, was a progressive decision catering to the interests of the Korean people. The CPSU further claimed that a small group of "reactionary" leaders and their protectors opposed to the Moscow Agreement were delaying the establishment of the provisional government.

In the second decree, the CPSU stressed the indispensability of trusteeship rule for the sake of Korea. Indeed, the CPSU not only rejected the US delegation's stance that the trusteeship rule should be abandoned due to the presence of Koreans opposed to the rule; it said that the Korean people were being deceived by the claim that they could successfully resolve all their problems without trusteeship rule when the US and Soviet armies were stationed on Korean soil.

The CPSU wanted the provisional government to comprise representatives of both South and North Korean political parties and social organizations, and broke down the composition as follows: 40 percent would be representatives of North Korean political parties and social organizations, 30 percent would be representatives of South Korean political parties and social organizations affiliated with the Democratic National Front, and 30 percent would be representatives of South Korean rightist political parties. The CPSU also demanded that the cabinet posts of the newly formed government be distributed among South and North Korean political parties and social organizations as well as among South Korean leftist and rightist political parties. The CPSU further demanded that the positions of prime minister, deputy prime minister, and ministers of the interior, national defense, industry, foreign affairs, commerce and foreign trade, labor, education and propaganda, and postal services be distributed to North Korean political parties and social organizations and South Korean leftist groups, but that the positions of deputy prime minister, agriculture and forestry, transportation, finance, health, and justice be distributed to South Korean rightist political parties.

The CPSU wanted the political parties and their leaders wishing to participate in the government to sign the following political principles, on the basis of which the government must be formed:

* Korea must be organized as an independent democratic republic.

* Throughout Korea, regional authority must be transferred to people's committees, which are institutions of people's power.

* Land of Japanese and Korean landowners must be confiscated and distributed for free to peasants with little or no land.

* Industrial organizations, coal mines, mine fields, railroads and maritime transportation, communication materials, and commercial and cultural organizations nationally, privately, or corporately owned by the Japanese or by traitors of the Korean people shall be nationalized.

* The people shall be guaranteed various political freedoms including freedom of the press, publication, assembly, and religion as well as freedom of activity for democratic political parties, labor unions, and other organizations.

* Laws shall be enacted to enforce the eight-hour workday, social insurance for laborers and office workers, and other social and cultural policies.

* The new government absolutely must not include any pro-Japanese factions.

The CPSU mandated again in the second decree that the Joint Commission's function be limited to the establishment of the provisional government. The CPSU instructed the Soviet delegation to reject the Korean right's advocacy of dismantling the 38th parallel and the US delegation's demand that this issue be discussed in the Joint Commission's conference. Arguing that dealing with Korea's division would delay the establishment of the provisional government, the CPSU instead proposed completing the establishment of the provisional government in 1947, withdrawing foreign armies from Korea, and dismantling the 38 th parallel by late 1947 or early 1948.

Soviet Aims

The remarkable fact is that at the time of the second decree, or during the latter part of July 1946--by which time nearly two and a half months had lapsed since the breakdown of the first Joint Commission--the CPSU determined that if the US delegation refused to abide by the Moscow Agreement to establish the government, the work of the Joint Commission would not be worth continuing. The CPSU reached the conclusion that if it was impossible to exclude antitrusteeship forces in establishing the government, the CPSU would repeal the Moscow Agreement, which enabled the Joint Commission to enforce a trusteeship rule through the establishment of the provisional government, and leave Koreans to their own devices to form a government. By this point, the CPSU had already decided to uphold the exclusion of antitrusteeship forces from the government as a final policy that could not be compromised. As a matter of fact, this decision can be understood as the Soviets' rejection of establishing a unified government inclusive of leftists and rightists in North and South Korea with US cooperation.

On July 26, 1946, the CPSU Politburo also approved the text of a letter that General Ivan Mikhailovich Chistyakov, commander in chief of the Red Army in North Korea, would send in response to a letter from General John Reed Hodge, the US commander in South Korea, urging the resumption of the work of the Joint Commission. (16) Chistyakov's letter stated the Joint Commission would be reconvened provided the US delegation adhered to the precise execution of the Moscow Agreement and only consulted with political parties and social organizations that did not taint their names through any overt opposition to the agreement.

Although the correspondence between Hodge and Chistyakov paved the way for bargaining over the reconvening of the Joint Commission, the actual reconvening took quite a long time, close to nine months. By February 28, 1947, when the United States and the Soviet Union finally agreed to the conditions for reconvening the Joint Commission, a series of measures to unite leftist political parties in North and South Korea and strengthen North Korea's democratic base had been finished. In the second half of 1946, the Workers Parties in both South and North Korea were formed on the basis of the unification of leftist parties. The regional people's committees were elected in late 1946 and early 1947, and the People's Assembly and People's Committee of North Korea in February 1947 (Seo 2005; Seo 1991). In other words, the Soviets had completed the necessary preparations for the reconvening of the Joint Commission.

The terms of negotiation upon which the United States and the Soviet Union agreed had now become more complicated than before. Chistyakov's terms proposed on November 26, 1946, reflected three positions, the first two of which were previous viewpoints and the last of which was a new one:

(1) Political parties and social organizations that fully support the Moscow Agreement should be included in the negotiation; (2) The political parties and social organizations participating in the negotiation should not select representatives who damaged their reputations through active opposition to the Moscow Agreement; (3) The political parties and social organizations participating in the negotiation should not oppose the Moscow Agreement and the work of the Joint Commission, or incite any opposition from others. Those parties that do not abide by this term should be excluded from the negotiation through the mutual agreement of both countries' delegations. (Soviet Foreign Ministry 1948, 26-27)

In short, the Soviets continued their constant effort to exclude antitrusteeship forces from the negotiation by adding a new condition to the previous terms.

The Reconvening of the Joint Commission and the Third Decree

Restricting Participation in the Conference with the Joint Commission

On May 20, 1947, immediately before the convening of the Second Joint Commission, the CPSU Politburo selected the decree to deliver to the Soviet delegation, thus laying out the doctrinal position that the Soviet delegation must take. (17) The CPSU set the Joint Commission's objective as drawing up a recommendation for the establishment of the Korean provisional government in July-August 1947; it regarded deliberation about other matters not directly related to the establishment of the provisional government as inappropriate. The CPSU instructed the Soviet delegation that if the US side attempted to broach the matter of Korea's economic unification for the Joint Commission's deliberation, the Soviet delegation must denounce the attempt on the grounds that establishing the provisional government was the Joint Commission's foremost concern in accordance with the Moscow Agreement. The CPSU also instructed the Soviet delegation to assert that before a unified Korean provisional government was established, the exchange of goods between North and South Korea should be conducted in the form of mutual payment based on an agreement between the commanders of the Soviet and US armies.

The CPSU outwardly took an active stance regarding the establishment of the Korean provisional government. In reality, it darkened the prospect of establishing a unified government through Soviet-US assistance. This was due to maintaining the previous Soviet position in crafting the terms of agreement with political parties and social organizations and ordering the use of the proposals included in General Hodge's December 26, 1946, letter as a means to strategically improve the Soviet delegation's status in the struggle against "undemocratic" Korean organizations. The CPSU demanded that political parties and social organizations participating in the conference unconditionally sign the declaration in the fifth statement and required the exclusion of those parties presenting other conditions at the time of signing the declaration. The CPSU asserted that if parties opposing the Moscow Agreement signed the declaration, the signatures should be rejected or deferred from acceptance until a thorough investigation had been completed about these parties.

The CPSU also demanded that before allowing suspicious representatives to participate in the conference, investigations be conducted about whether these representatives presently held hostile viewpoints regarding the Moscow Agreement, the Joint Commission, or either of the allied countries. According to the CPSU's wishes, those representatives previously opposed to the Moscow Agreement would be allowed to participate in the conference only if they did not assume hostile positions against the three aforementioned matters. Those representatives who had previously opposed the Moscow Agreement but later retracted their opposition should be allowed to participate, but would be excluded from the conference if they relapsed into their previously hostile attitudes.

The CPSU also demanded the prompt exclusion from the conference with the Joint Commission those political parties and social organizations and their representatives that, after signing the declaration of the fifth statement, encouraged or incited active opposition to the work of the Joint Commission, the Moscow Agreement, or either of the allied countries through public statements, contributions to the press, or other actions.

In the drafting of a list of political parties and social organizations to participate in the Joint Commission, the CPSU revealed a significantly more hardened position than before. The CPSU demanded that the same number of representatives from North and South Korea, or 50 percent from each, be allowed to participate in the conference, but that South Korean representatives have "a majority or more" of leftists among them. The CPSU asserted that its demand was justified considering that the territories and populations of North and South Korea were roughly of the same size; that North and South Korea, temporarily separated along the 38th parallel, should not be placed in an unequal position in establishing the provisional government; and that North Korea's industrial development was higher than South Korea's, with the North possessing a crucial economic significance in relation to the whole of Korea.

The CPSU claimed that in composing the list of South Korean political parties and social organizations, the Workers Party of South Korea, which integrated the Communist Party, the People's Party, and the New People's Party, should be regarded as representing three political parties. The CPSU's justification for such a demand was that the three political parties were all recognized as separate parties in the first Joint Commission, that each of the three parties had at least as many members as any South Korean rightist political party, and that the influence of the Workers Party in South Korea far surpassed that of a large majority of the rightist parties. Meanwhile, the CPSU believed that public groups belonging to the South Korean leftist camp, such as the National Council of Korean Trade Unions, the National Federation of Farmers Unions, and the Korean Youth Federation, should also be included in the conference as independent organizations.

Soviet Plans for Korean Government

The CPSU further shaped the organizational principles for the Korean provisional government but did not stray from the line of forming a leftist government. Korea was to become an independent democratic republic composed of a unicameral legislature and a government responsible to the legislature. Meanwhile, the rights and duties of the president elected in the legislature would be confined to those of the head of a constitutional state who does not possess independent executive power. The CPSU also envisioned a provisional government necessarily formed as a cabinet system and composed of representatives of Korea's democratic political parties and social organizations. The CPSU wanted the cabinet positions equally distributed among candidates recommended by North and South Korean political parties and social organizations, but with leftists occupying "a majority or more" of the cabinet members nominated by South Korean political parties and social organizations.

The provisional government was to exercise legislative and executive powers in all of Korea before the People's Assembly was elected, while the government was to exercise local administrative authority through each elected people's committee. Before the election of the People's Assembly, the positions of prime minister and deputy prime minister were to be reshuffled with the approval of the Soviet and US army commanders. After the council was elected, however, the People's Assembly would set out to form a new government. It was also stipulated that before the People's Assembly was established, a provisional assembly should be formed as a consultative organ of political and civil party representatives. This assembly should consult with the Joint Commission and the provisional government to draft the constitutional, electoral, and other laws as well as policies to aid Korea's development.

The CPSU held fast to the plan of establishing a government in which the left had an overwhelming predominance of 75 percent or more by excluding antitrusteeship forces through the presentation of much more complicated terms of agreement than before. The CPSU insisted that the cabinet system should be the organizational basis for the provisional government. The CPSU also reaffirmed trusteeship rule by the Soviet Union and the United States along with the establishment of the provisional government, but still could not clearly present a plan of transition from trusteeship rule to complete independence.

The Breakdown of the Joint Commission

On May 21, 1947, the Joint Commission reconvened. (18) It encountered continuous difficulties when it discussed the list of negotiation partners in early July, and despite spending the entire month working on the list, the US and Soviet sides failed to reach an agreement. The Soviets insisted on excluding nonsocial organizations and small local organizations, investigating organizations whose number of members and existence were unclear, and excluding organizations belonging to the Anti-Trusteeship Struggle Committee. The US side rebutted the Soviet claims by arguing that the Moscow Agreement did not contain any explanation for the term "social organizations," that there were no rules regarding the participation of local organizations, and that there was no evidence for the Anti-Trusteeship Struggle Committee's opposition to the Moscow Agreement.

The Soviets constantly presented conditions to reduce the authority of the Anti-Trusteeship Struggle Committee, the rightist camp, and the US military government in the eyes of the Korean people. The Joint Commission had failed to take any step forward from May 1946. In late July, Shtykov considered issuing a "final ultimate declaration," leaving the establishment of a government to Koreans and withdrawing both the Soviet and US armies, since the breakdown of the Joint Commission seemed to be irreversible. Nonetheless, if Koreans were left to their own devices in establishing a government, the exclusion of the antitrusteeship forces would be impossible, posing the danger of the right's leading the government formation due to the greater number of experienced politicians on the right than on the left (Shtykov, July 23 and 30, 1947).

But Shtykov judged that dissolving the Joint Commission would be disadvantageous to the Soviets. Because there was a shortage of evidence demonstrating that the parties affiliated with the Anti-Trusteeship Struggle Committee opposed the Moscow Agreement after signing the statement, dissolving the Joint Commission for this reason did not have persuasive power. Also evident was that the dissolution of the Joint Commission would deal a hard blow to the South Koreans left by reinforcing its repression. The right and the US military government could strengthen their status by electing governmental bodies, implementing partial reform measures, and actualizing US economic aid (Shtykov, August 2, 1947).

Faced with the critical prospect of the consolidation of the north-south division due to the Joint Commission's dissolution, Shtykov searched for an active plan to establish a unified government through a general election in North and South Korea. But the Soviet delegates did not agree with his idea. Major-General Nikolai Lebedev "nervously rejected the idea saying that he could not be held responsible" (Shtykov, August 13, 1947). Their opposition meant that a plan for an all-Korea general election could not be proposed to the CPSU. Nor was such a proposal likely to be accepted by the Soviet government, for almost no possibility existed of opening up North Korea's "democratic base," which secured Soviet political and economic interests, to the US and North Korean rightists (Shtykov, August 13, 1947).

Conclusion

The principal aims of the Soviet Union's Korea policies were to prevent Korea from becoming a base of attack against the Soviet Union and to establish a leftist government that would safeguard Soviet political and economic interests in Korea. The Soviet Union therefore sought to separate economic and political matters and prioritize the resolution of political matters. Resisting demands for the dismantling of the 38th parallel and economic unification until the establishment of the Korean provisional government, the Soviet Union focused on North Korea as an independent political and economic entity, founding and strengthening a "base of democracy."

The CPSU relied on a policy of constantly "presenting conditions" in order to obstruct the antitrusteeship forces' participation in the conference of the Joint Commission, in keeping with the CPSU's overarching principle of strict enforcement of the Moscow Agreement. Through this policy, the CPSU planned to establish a Korean government dominated by the left and capable of implementing anti-imperialistic, antifeudalistic reforms. The Soviet Union suggested the cabinet system for the provisional government's organizational principle and formalized the state structure in a sovereign and executive organ. The CPSU also planned to form a temporary People's Assembly to function as a transitional consultative organ before the election of the People's Assembly proper.

The CPSU also clarified the enforcement of the trusteeship rule along with the establishment of the provisional government. The CPSU stipulated that the provisional government only exercise legislative and administrative authority under the Joint Commission's control, that the provisional government reshuffle the cabinet ministers based on approval of both the Soviet and US army commanders, and that the temporary People's Assembly draw up laws through consultation with the Joint Commission. Despite the Soviet conviction that for Korea, a trusteeship rule was the best road to securing the development of democratic autonomy and independence, Moscow did not specify how Korea would transition from trusteeship rule to complete independence.

Although the Soviet blueprint for the establishment of the Korean provisional government was not implemented in all of Korea due to US opposition, it was put into practice in North Korea following the stationing of the Soviet army there. In fact, Soviet plans had already been carried out on a full scale right before the second Joint Commission. Under Soviet military government, North Korea's "people's democratic revolution" was the actualization of the Soviet blueprint. In negotiations with the United States, the Soviet Union was uncompromising, demanding that the United States accept its blueprint. This approach amounted to resolving the Korean situation only in the northern half of Korea.

Directly after liberation, the task of the Korean national movement was to construct a unified government, not a leftist government. The establishment of a unified government was the only way to prevent national division and civil war, which of course are what transpired. Even though the Soviet Union was able to block the creation of a rightist government and the extension of US control over all of Korea by excluding the right-wing factions of individuals like Kim Gu, Rhee Syngman, and Cho Man-sik, the Soviets failed to satisfy the Korean national movement's demand to establish a unified national government. Their national interest took priority over the Koreans' aspirations for a unified national government. In this regard, the Soviet Union was an external force to overcome in the Koreans' quest for a unified national government.

Notes

Hyun-Soo Jeon is professor of history and director of the Peace Research Institute at Kyungpook National University, South Korea. His research focuses on contemporary North Korean history using original Soviet archives. Among his publications is Socioeconomic Reforms in North Korea Under Soviet Military Administration (1997). He can be reached at jeonhs @knu.ac.kr.

(1.) The documents are kept in the Archives of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AFPRF), fond 172 and fond 0392.

(2.) The decisions can be found in the Russian State Archives (RSASPH), fond 17.

(3.) AFPRF, fond 07 (Vishinski Secretariat), opis 8, papka 40, delo "Korea," list 1 (Lozovsky to Molotov, on the formation of a special committee in Moscow, January 21, 1946).

(4.) The full text of this decree can be found in the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense (CAMDRF), fond 172, opis 614631, delo 16, listi 22-26 ("Decree Issued for the Representatives of the Soviet Army Headquarters in the Joint Commission to Establish the Korean Provisional Government"). A draft is stored in the AFPRF, fond 07, opis 11, papka 18, delo 280, listi 1-8.

(5.) The organization of the department of defense and the ministry of foreign affairs is not prescribed in the Soviet foreign ministry draft.

(6.) While this stipulation is in the foreign ministry draft, it is not included in the final text of the decree that was submitted to Shtykov.

(7.) RSASPH, fond 17, opis 128, delo 998, listi 3-4 (Shtykov's draft on the establishment of the Korean provisional government).

(8.) CAMDRF, fond 172, opis 614632, delo 25, listi 228-242 (Mekler to General Shtykov, report on the cabinet candidates for the Korean provisional government).

(9.) RSASPH, fond 17, opis 128, delo 61, listi 1-4 (Burchev to Panyushkin, report on the cabinet candidates for the Korean provisional government).

(10.) AFPRF, fond 06, opis 8, papka 39, delo 638, list 46.

(11.) On the process of the Joint Commission, see AFPRF, fond 06, opis 8, papka 39, delo 638, listi 37-64 (Shtykov to Molotov, report on the US-USSR Joint Commission, May 31, 1946).

(12.) AFPRF, fond 06, opis 8, papka 39, delo 638, listi 37-64.

(13.) AFPRF, listi 58-61.

(14.) AFPRF, fond 06, opis 8, papka 39, delo 638, listi 91-94.

(15.) RSASPH, fond 17, opis 162, delo 38, listi 82, 120-127.

(16.) RSASPH fond 17, opis 162, delo 38, list 128.

(17.) RSASPH, fond 17, opis 162, delo 38, listi 160, 167-174 (decree of the Politburo of the CPSU to the Soviet delegation, May 20, 1947). Two drafts of the aforementioned decree (May 17 and May 19, 1947) are kept in the AFPRF (fond 07, opis 12, papka 25, delo 319, listi 5-23); both of them have been analyzed and compared for the purpose of this study.

(18.) On the Joint Commission's undertakings, see AFPRF, fond 06, opis 9, papka 58, delo 875, listi 1-130 (report of the Soviet Delegation, May-October 1947).

References

Archives of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AFPRF), fond 06 (Molotov Secretariat), fond 07 (Vishinski Secretariat), fond 0392 (Secretariat of the Soviet Delegation in the US-USSR Joint Commission).

Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (CAMDRF), fond 172 (Secretariat of the Soviet Delegation in the US-USSR Joint Commission).

Haruki, Wada. 1983. "Soviet Policy Toward Korea." In Bruce Cumings et al., eds., Modern History of Korea Before and After the Division. Seoul: Il-weol Publisher, pp. 234-308.

Jeon Hyun-Soo. 1995. "The Entry of Soviet Army into North Korea and Its Policy Toward Korea." Studies in the Korean Independence Movement. Cheongwon-gun: Institute of the Korean Independence Movement, pp. 343-377.

--. 1997. "The Blueprint of the Soviet Government for the Establishment of the Korean Provisional Government." In Pang Ki-Joong et al., eds., National Issues and State Formation of Modern Korea. Seoul: Jisik Sanup Publications, pp. 559-591.

Jeong Yong-Wook. 1996. "The American Policy Towards Korea and the Design of the Provisional Government, 1942-1947." PhD diss., Seoul National University.

Oh Choong-Keun. 1989. International Politics in the Korean Peninsula (in Japanese). Tokyo: Japanese Society for International Politics, pp. 96-115.

Ree, Erik van. 1989. Socialism in One Zone: Stalin's Policy in Korea, 1945-1947. Oxford, UK: Berg.

Russian State Archives of Social and Political History (RSASPH), fond 17 (Politburo of the CPSU).

Seo Dong-Man. 2005. The Establishment of the Socialist System in North Korea. Seoul: Seon-in Publisher.

Seo Joong-Seok. 1991. Research on National Movements in Modern Korea. Seoul: Yeoksa-bipyeong Publisher.

Shim Ji-Yeon. 1989. Research on the US-USSR Joint Commission. Seoul: Cheonggye Institute.

Shtykov, Terentii. Shtykov Diaries, 1945-1948, manuscripts.

Soviet Foreign Ministry. 1948. USSR and Korean Issues. Moscow.
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Title Annotation:HISTORY: RUSSIAN POLICY IN KOREA
Author:Jeon, Hyun-Soo
Publication:Asian Perspective
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Oct 1, 2015
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