The Wilson Center’s North Korea International Documentation Project has posted a number of diplomatic cables from formerly fraternal socialist nations on the DPRK’s efforts to compete with South Korea for influence in the developing world. Below is a specific cable referring to DPRK – Cuban relations. It speaks volumes with masterful brevity (an art sorely lacking in public discourse today):
JANUARY 22, 1974
HUNGARIAN EMBASSY IN THE DPRK, TELEGRAM, 22 JANUARY 1974. SUBJECT: CUBAN-DPRK RELATIONS.
According to the Cuban ambassador accredited to this country, the DPRK asked Cuba to supply 300.000 metric tons of sugar in 1974. The Cubans replied that they could supply only 80.000 metric tons, and even this amount could be supplied only in quarterly items. If there was any delay in the [Korean] disembarkation of the delivered goods at the end of the quarter, the Cubans would halt the shipments next in line. The Korean trade officials declared that this Cuban measure was incompatible with the policy of mutual assistance that socialist countries pursued toward each other. The Cubans responded that they also needed assistance, and it would greatly help them if they could receive payment for the sugar shipments in a timely manner.