No. 643
Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (Young)to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson)1



  • Japanese request for U.S. policy statement to strengthen election position of present Japanese Government.2

By way of a progress report on developments in this matter as of noon today:

We immediately telegraphed3 the Japanese request to the Embassy in Tokyo. The Embassy forwarded the Department’s telegram to Ambassador Murphy who is in Formosa. The Embassy’s reply is attached.4 It opposes any overt effort by the United States to influence the outcome of the elections.
We have discussed this matter carefully in the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs from the political and economic point of view. We believe that consideration should be given to making a policy declaration regarding Japan’s economic viability and Japan’s fears of a sudden drop in military procurement in the event of an armistice in Korea. My office is now urgently preparing a draft statement for your consideration and clearance with the Defense Department. I am also attaching a letter I have just received from Ambassador Murphy reporting his conversation with Prime Minister Yoshida on April 2, and enclosing the same document which [Page 1410] Ambassador Araki handed you yesterday. Ambassador Murphy does not see what the Department can do about any of the Japanese Government’s requests. Of course he was not aware of Araki’s own suggestion regarding a statement on U.S. procurement in Japan. Perhaps the Ambassador will react differently than the Embassy to the Department’s telegram of last night.
In the meantime, two Japanese officials have raised this matter with me and urged a statement regarding U.S. willingness to help the Japanese in their economic problem. Minister Watanabe, who is in charge of financial matters in the Japanese Embassy, and Mr. Kono, who is Director of the Bureau of the Budget in the Japanese Ministry of Finance, this morning both quite convincingly supported the Ambassador’s request to you yesterday afternoon.
I am also attaching the originals that Mr. Araki left with you yesterday.

  1. Walter S. Robertson entered on duty on Apr. 8. Allison succeeded Murphy as Ambassador to Japan and presented his credentials on May 28. Murphy, who relinquished charge of the Mission on Apr. 28, became Assistant Secretary of State for United Nations Affairs on July 28; on Nov. 30, he entered on duty as Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.
  2. On Apr. 9 Ambassador Araki called on Robertson and presented to him a copy of the aide-mémoire handed to Murphy on Apr. 5; see Document 641.
  3. Telegram 2395, Apr. 9; a portion reads as follows:

    Araki in making presentation expressed understanding difficulties Japan’s request would create for US Government. He suggested as alternatives (a) return civil administrative jurisdiction over Okinawa and Amami group or Amami group alone or return educational administration Okinawa or (b) statement of US policy maintain Japan’s economy viable in any eventuality especially adopting adequate counter measures against sudden drop military procurement in event armistice.” (Attached to the source text)

  4. In telegram 3267 from Tokyo, Apr. 10, signed by Chargé William T. Turner, the Embassy opposed intervention in the election on these grounds: there was not sufficient time to take effective action, any successor government would likely be pro-United States (whether or not headed by Yoshida), any intervention might be a liability rather than an asset. Regarding a loan, the Embassy considered “it would be ill-advised at this time to dissipate bargaining power for any such dubious purposes.” (Attached to the source text)