694.95/4–1053: Telegram

No. 644
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Japan1


2411. Embtel 3267.2 Concur Embassy views but consider may be desirable make statement on level US expenditures not necessarily for purpose affecting election but in order give general reassurance business community and minimize pressures trade with Communist bloc. Request Embassy comments promptly on desirability question and answer along following lines for Secretary’s press conference.

Question: I understand Japanese particularly industrial circles are concerned about what may happen Japanese economy event armistice. Do you have any comment? Answer: That assumption about armistice is big one to make at this point but I think I can say something about Japanese economy. Stability Japanese economy is of course of great concern United States and we giving great deal thought its future. We know in recent years Japan’s balance-of-payments position has been largely supported by United States expenditures arising from hostilities Korea, maintenance United States forces Japan and various United States mutual assistance programs Far East. Whatever may or may not happen regarding [Page 1411] Korean armistice negotiations I believe total United States expenditures Japan will not be sharply reduced but will remain at relatively high level for at least next two years.

However if serious situation develops in Japanese economy I can assure you we would want sit down together with Japanese to try consider ways in which we could help.3

  1. Drafted in NA on Apr. 10 and approved for transmission by Johnson.
  2. Dated Apr. 10; see footnote 4, supra.
  3. In telegram 3282 from Tokyo, Apr. 14, Murphy stated: “On balance I consider proposed question and answer for Secretary’s press conference desirable.” He added that it would not have a fundamental effect on the election but would provide material for Liberal and Progressive Party speakers. “Quite apart from immediate purpose of campaign I consider statement timely and beneficial.” (794.00/4–1453)

    The statement was eventually made in somewhat different form by McDermott at a press briefing held on Apr. 15. The question-and-answer format was dropped, as was specific reference to the possibility of a Korean armistice. However, the Department retained the substance of the undertakings in the last two sentences of the draft. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, Apr. 27, 1953, p. 611.

    Acting Secretary Smith requested the changes in the statement. (Handwritten note by Young in the margin of a memorandum from Assistant Secretary Robertson to the Acting Secretary, Apr. 14, 894.00/4–1453)