28. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, March 3, 1973.1 2

March 3, 1973

To: The Secretary
From: EA - Marshall Green

Australian-North Korean Relations

As part of their expanded diplomatic activities last year North Korean diplomats made efforts to meet and have discussions with diplomatic officials of Japan, the U.K. and Australia. The Australians informed us of infrequent contacts with North Korean diplomats in Moscow, Islamabad, Jakarta during 1972 and early this year. When the Whitlam government took office, North Korean President, Kim Il Sung, sent a message of congratulations and another North Korean message was sent some weeks later on the occasion of “Australia Day.” These messages were publicized in the North Korean Media.

On February 15 the Australians informed us, the British, the Japanese and the ROK of their decision in principle to move toward relations with North Korea. They also made known their intention to encourage countries in the communist world and others to move toward relations with the South. They did not plan early recognition but did plan to take the following four steps in the very near future: call North Korea by its official name, DPRK; authorize Australian diplomats to accept routine social invitations from North Korean diplomats and engage in exchanges of views; exchange of short-term visits by journalists and trade missions; and receive short-term “unofficial” visits by North Korean officials. The Australians said they [Page 2] planned to inform the PRC and USSR of their four preliminary steps, and tell them that further measures to normalize North Korean-Australian relations would depend on positive Chinese and Soviet moves to normalize relations with the ROK.

We, the British, and the ROK immediately made representations to Canberra urging that the Australians reconsider this policy. Our request cited adverse effects of the proposed Australian policies on the ROK’s international position and its position in talks with the North. The Australians replied that they did not plan to move quickly on recognition but did intend to go ahead with low key, unpublicized contacts with North Korea as well as other actions included in their four preliminary steps.

In the meanwhile Foreign Minister Kim Yong-Shik made an attempt to visit Canberra on his way home from the U.S. so that he could make representations personally as well as carry a message to Whitlam from President Park. The Australians have deflected the visit but have agreed to defer speaking to the North Koreans, Chinese or Russians pending consideration of Park’s letter which they received this week.

Drafted: EA/K:BDPicard:dpw
X29330: 3/2/73
Concurrence: EA - Mr. Sneider
EA/K - Mr. Ranard
EA/ANZ - Mr. Hall

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, POL AUSTL–KOR N. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Picard. Concurred in by Sneider and Ranard in EA/K and Hall in EA/ANZ.
  2. Green notified Rogers of improvements in relations between Australia and North Korea.