S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, NSC 125 Series

No. 652
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Secretary of State

top secret


  • NSC 125/5 “United States Objectives and Courses of Action with respect to Japan”.1

NSC 125/5 is to be considered by the National Security Council at its meeting on Thursday, June 18. On April 8, the National Security Council considered NSC 125/4, an earlier and substantially similar draft of this paper. However, it believed that the paper did not sufficiently emphasize the problem of the long-term viability of the Japanese economy, and it therefore referred the paper to the Planning Board for the addition of such material.

The Planning Board added to the Progress Report on Pages 15 to 17 a section analyzing Japan’s economic problem. In addition, Paragraph 2 on Page 1 of the paper calls particular attention to the fact that for the foreseeable future Japan will require “substantial direct or indirect assistance” from the United States. This is the central fact about Japan’s economic situation which necessarily colors all United States policies and courses of action with respect to Japan.

NSC 125/5 reaffirms the previous policy paper on Japan, NSC 125/2, which was approved by the President on August 7, 1952.2 Then in Section 3, the present paper lists certain courses of action which require special emphasis now and in the near future. Since NSC 125/2 was completed in the post-treaty period, we believe after carefully reviewing it that, with the addition of the new paper to stress those matters which are currently most urgent, it is still valid as a statement of our basic policy toward Japan.

Section 3b(1) on Page 3 of NSC 125/5 concludes by saying “Nevertheless, the United States should continue efforts to persuade the Japanese Government to accelerate the development of its defense forces”, which was inserted by the Planning Board at Defense insistence. We believe that it conflicts to some extent with the concept of reaching a mutually agreed program with the Japanese which is set forth in the first sentence of the same section. It would be desirable in the discussion of this paper to emphasize the political, psychological and economic difficulties which defense measures pose for the Japanese, and to call attention to the fact that we may [Page 1435] find that too great pressure—especially public pressure—upon them to speed their defense buildup will be self-defeating.


That you concur in NSC 125/5 “United States Objectives and Courses of Action with Respect to Japan”.