761.5622/11–452: Telegram

No. 533
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Japan1

top secret

1158. Def has passed State copy Gen Clark’s2 CX 57735 Oct 253 re overflights Jap terr by Sov aircraft. Gen Clark states his concern over this situation and his intended courses action. Among others he intends keep you and Jap Govt informed Sov air activities this regard and to auth engagements with unfriendly Sov aircraft over Jap terr. He concludes he is sure situation receiving attn at US Govt level.

Dept has been concerned over repercussions in Jap and elsewhere both of such overflights and succession Sov attacks on US aircraft. Dept wld be inclined concur above courses action; however Jap attitudes this matter not entirely clear here.

For full consideration measures cope with continued overflights, Dept wld appreciate ur comments and suggestions re CX 57735, particularly (1) any Jap reactions to previous overflights and probable Jap reactions to future overflights if US forces make no determined effort to prevent; (2) probable Jap reactions actual engagement or shooting down Sov aircraft over Jap terr; (3) dipl steps which Jap and US Govt shld take in conjunction to protest any future violation Jap terr; and (4) polit desirability citing US–Jap Security Treaty as basis measures to handle continuous violations Jap terr by Sov mil aircraft.

Re (3) Dept assumes Jap Govt wld lodge protest against violation its terr. US Govt might serve as channel for Jap dipl protest to Sov Govt.

Re Security Treaty Dept of opinion Treaty contains no language by which US has “contracted by treaty to protect” Jap terr as stated CX 57735, and that it wld be unwise this case establish precedent or presumption Treaty contains automatic commitment. However, as matter US policy and not because of Treaty obligation US will use every means deny Jap to aggressor. In light these considerations [Page 1062] it may be unwise refer to provisions Security Treaty in this case. Successful interception Sov aircraft cld be publicly justified basis maintenance security US forces lawfully based in Jap pursuant agreements with Jap.

In sum therefore Dept desires Emb views re (1) polit desirability auth engagements with Sov aircraft over Jap terr and (2) most effective way maximizing favorable and minimizing adverse public reaction Jap.

  1. Drafted by Kenneth T. Young, Director, Office of Northeast Asian Affairs, and cleared by Charles C. Stelle of the Policy Planning Staff, Matthews, Bonbright, Walworth Barbour (EE), and Raymond T. Yingling. U. Alexis Johnson signed for Acting Secretary Bruce.

    The text of this telegram was also sent to Moscow in telegram 485, Nov. 6, for information and for the comments of the Embassy.

  2. Gen. Mark W. Clark, U.S. Commander in Chief, Far East, and Commander in Chief, U.N. Command in Korea.
  3. Not found in Department of State files.