Monday, December 22, 2008

Kim Il Sung floated U.S. contacts in 1974

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung proposed setting up secret contacts with the United States through Romania in 1974, declassified documents show.

The documents say an aide to Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu told U.S. President Gerald Ford that Kim wanted to have confidential contacts with the United States in the wake of President Richard Nixon's historic Cold War visit to China in 1972, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Sunday.

The declassified Ford administration memo said the Ceausescu aide told Ford on Aug. 27, 1974, "The North Korean leadership wants to have confidential contacts with the United States for discussions" and Ceausescu "has offered to help if you want to do it."

The document showed Ford's response to the proposal was lukewarm, quoting him as saying, "Certain things must precede such contacts. We don't want to go in without a firm understanding." He said he would discuss the matter with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who was at the meeting.

Yonhap reported the document saying Ceausescu met with Ford at the White House in 1975 and told him he had delivered Washington's position to Kim Il Sung.

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